On one hand, it's logical for the 3rd in line to the Presidency to have extra security after 911. Prior to that, SOTH used commercial flights. However, Ms. Pelosi wants a craft not only capable of holding a personal entourage, but also one that can make the flight cross country nonstop.
Aren't we pushing the envelope a tad here? Security is one thing. However is it worth removing a larger craft from the AF fleet to accommodate Ms. Pelosi in the style of which she wants to become accustomed?
From today's Washington Times by Rowan Scarborough and Charles Hunt, Pelosi's push for jet remains up in air:
The speaker's request is being handled by her chief counsel, Bernard Raimo, a veteran Democratic lawyer on Capitol Hill.
"Who she can take is being worked out, outside the Air Force," said Ed Gulick, an Air Force spokesman at the Pentagon.
He said the Air Force is studying what types of planes are available for long, cross-country flights. Currently, three planes assigned to the 89th Airlift Wing at Andrews Air Force Base can make such nonstop flights year-round -- the C-32, C-40B and C-37.
Such VIP planes are in high demand.
"She's effectively taking a bird out of the fleet," said a defense source. "It will most directly impact the House, because they're the heavy users of the large aircraft. Congress looks at that Andrews fleet as their Hertz rent-a-car."
So what's next... only brown M&M's aboard? LOL!
Instead of this early push to elevate her transportation style, perhaps the illustrious Speaker should concentrate more on performance that makes her worthy of such preferential treatment. In the interim, this is great fodder. We can all use a good laugh in the wake of this Congress' lack luster start of their reign.
UPDATE - February 8th, 2007
White House Defends Pelosi Plane Request
By JIM KUHNHENN, Associated Press Writer
Turns out Pelosi has a friend in the WH for her requests for Pelosi One. Spokesman Tony Snow (sure miss you in the journalism world, Tony...) downplayed the request, and denied any involvement of the WH in the controversial issue.
The White House on Thursday defended House Speaker Nancy Pelosi against Republican criticism that her desire to fly in an Air Force transport plane is an extravagance.
"This is a silly story and I think it's been unfair to the speaker," White House spokesman Tony Snow said.
Rep. Adam Putnam of Florida, the No. 3 Republican leader, called Pelosi's desire for a large transport plane "an extravagance of power that the taxpayers won't swallow."
"It's important we see what the specific request was," Putnam said.
But Snow on Thursday said the negotiations over Pelosi's transport have been conducted solely by the House sergeant-at-arms and the Pentagon, with no direct involvement by the speaker or her office — or the White House.
The guidelines provided by the Pentagon say Pelosi could be accompanied by family members, provided they pay the government coach fare. The plane could not be used for travel to political events. Members of Congress could accompany her on the plane if the travel is cleared by the House ethics committee.
Considering Ms. Pelosi's unethical personal assaults on the Bush and the WH admin, this is gracious behavior indeed. Too bad she can't learn a lesson from such grown-up, bi-partisan language.