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scamper
02-08-2007, 03:20 PM
Pelosi's big bird: Flying the speaker

Posted by Mark Silva at 9 am, updated at 11:49 am and 1:05 pm CST

Since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, protecting the speaker of the House has become a more important national priority and that's all the White House has to say today about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's kerfuffle-stirring bid for an airliner-sized military jet for her long commute from Washington home to San Francisco and back.

The 12-seat corporate-styled jet that the Department of Defense provided for former House Speaker Dennis Hastert for his commutes home to Illinois isn't suitable for the long haul to California, says the new speaker with Pelosi now seeking an aircraft capable of a nonstop commute between D.C. and the Golden Gate.

With the Department of Defense promising the new speaker a bigger ride, pending availability of the military's markup of the Boeing 757-200, the White House is attempting to stay out of the air-space of a story that is causing the Democratic House leader a bit of eyebrow-raising publicity today -- as some House Republicans cry foul over this particular frequent flyer's seating request.

"This is a silly story, and I think it's been unfair to the speaker,'' Tony Snow, the White House spokesman, said today. "I'm not getting into this argument. This is not something we're in the midst of doing.''

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This is a model of the military aircraft the new House speaker wants for a nonstop Washington-San Francisco route.

There is a purpose for military conveyances of the elected official who stands second in line to succession of the president in the event of a catastrophe, the White House maintains.

"In the wake of 9/11, the Department of Defense decided that in order to protect the speaker they would fly him,'' Snow said today. "The whole purpose is to find an appropriate and effective conveyance for the speaker of the House.''

Republicans complain that Pelosi is abusing the privilege of her her office in seeking an airliner-sized conveyance with room for family and friends on the long hops home and back.

The Republican National Committee today is billing it as "Pelosi's power trip'' and has taken to calling the speaker ''Non-Stop Nancy.'' The speaker, the RNC says, "seeks (a) flight of fancy.''

What's noteworthy about this is that the RNC and White House have taken different tacks on the same story -- unusual for an operation that normally operates off the same script.

And House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) has taken yet a third tack, seeking a middle ground, calling the use of a military aircraft understandable but Pelosi's request "over the top:"

"I think that it's clear, after 9/11, that the White House suggested to Speaker Hastert that he fly a military aircraft because the speaker is, in fact, third in line to the presidency. And so I think having access to a plane for the speaker to travel to and from their district, is appropriate.

"I think the questions that have been raised about friends, supporters, relatives, other members flying with her are where the concerns lie, and appear to me to be requests that's a bit over the top,'' Boehner adds

Other Republicans are hewing to the tougher RNC tack.

"It's an extravagance of power the taxpayers won't swallow,'' says Rep. Adam Putnam (R-Fla.), chair of the House Republican Conference.

"It has nothing to do with family and friends and everything to do about security," Pelosi says. "It's not a question of size. It's a question of distance,'' she adds. "We want an aircraft that can reach California."

It's true that the 12-seat Air Force jet that ferried Hastert home and back could make the Chicago loop without refueling. But for Pelosi, it takes a 757-200 to raise a home-village visit without stopping for fuel.

A Pentagon spokesman has promised a big bird, based on availability.

But the White House is staying out of this First Class dispute over airborne accommodations, maintaining these negotiations are strictly between the sergeant at arms of the House and the Department of Defense. "This is not something we're in the midst of,'' Snow says.

Tribune wire services contributed to this report.


http://newsblogs.chicagotribune.com/news_theswamp/2007/02/pelosis_big_bir.html

FORD
02-08-2007, 03:35 PM
It's worth discussing ONLY because the neocon shitbags and mediawhores are trying to twist it into a big deal when it is not.

The fact is that the Speaker of the House is second in line for the Presidency, should the Chimp and Darth Cheney both be killed or incapacitated at the same time (Logical incapacitation arguments could be made for BOTH already, but that's another thread entirely)

This being the case, the decision was made (post 9-11-01) to give the Speaker of the House a plane ride home, in an Air Force operated jet.

Fat Bastert lived in Illinois. Pelosi lives in California. Common sense says that you would need a bigger plane because of the fuel capacity vs flight distance. The whole purpose of the plane ride is SECURITY, therefore, having to refuel the plane halfway through the flight would make it less secure. Therefore, it's only logical that the Air Force use a bigger plane, in order to make the flight from Washington DC to San Francisco - or the closest Air Force bases on either end.And in fact, it was the Air Force themselves who said that the larger plane would be neccessary

It's not a case of Pelosi asking for a bigger plane, it's the physical requirements of the plane needed for the job. Pelosi didn't make this rule, and Republicans didn't bitch when Fat Bastert got the free plane ride.

hideyoursheep
02-08-2007, 06:16 PM
How was it handled in the past? Was it an issue?It's a Dem,now we gotta be outraged?
These bastards better find someting worthwhile to do.

Nickdfresh
02-08-2007, 07:20 PM
Well, at least you asked first....

ODShowtime
02-08-2007, 07:41 PM
I think it's reasonable that this public servant can fly home without a stop. I fucking hate connecting flights.

That's probably a good 2 hours of time wasted. Say what you want, but the Speaker of the House's time is valuable.

LoungeMachine
02-08-2007, 11:49 PM
She had nothing to do with this...

The Sargeant at Arms, or somesuch makes these arrangements.