February 20, 2009

Inside view: AF1: A novice's account

The first flight captured

I could have written these words about Air Force 1:

"AF1 was something I'd romanticized since childhood, a symbol of motion, internationalism and national pride and power that transcends whichever plane – or president – is in action at the time.

There was a time when I was sure I wanted to be on that plane as a press reporter, wanted to be on the bus on the presidential campaign trail, wanted to be inside the White House and sharing what I had learned in print.

But my earlier dreams of covering the president of the United States or any politician have been replaced with newer dreams. Still it was fun to read what it was like Feb. 5 aboard Air Force 1 on President Obama's first official flight.

The post, AF1: A novice's account, on Planet Washington, a McClatchy blog opens:

After a year and a half of dragging my laptop and bags on and off of candidate Barack Obama's campaign buses and planes, I wondered if my first trip on Air Force One might feel sort of ho-hum.

The adrenaline kicked in as I drove from downtown Washington into Maryland last Thursday afternoon, cleared the gate at Andrews Air Force Base, went through the Secret Service security sweep and got a special ID tag to wear on my lanyard.
Ahead, I saw a gleaming 747, white with a sky-blue stripe and the words "United States of America" down its length and an American flag painted on the tail."
XXXwas the traveling print pool reporter for half-hour flight each way,to Williamsburg, Va. She wrote five reports that night, so didn't get much time to see much or eat much. Obama did come back to the press area, something the "regulars" said was unusual. But I suggest go read the entry to get more details of the inside.

The post gives details such as this:
The pool serves as the eyes and ears when there isn't room for the full press corps. The White House travel- and in-town pools, with representatives for wire services, networks, news magazines, radio, photography and print, are determined on a rotating basis, and news organizations pay their way.
Just don't expect to find easily who wrote the piece . Guess you are supposed to be a Washington insider to know that.

If you want some more details, including some "historical" info on the first flights of other presidents then check Mark Smith's piece.


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