With his trademark big red and blue "O" festooned on the tail wing, Sen. Barack Obama’s newly retrofitted and re-designed general election plane was unveiled today after receiving a makeover from its shabbier primary season look.
The redone 757 North American plane also has Obama’s "CHANGE WE CAN BELIEVE IN" slogan painted along both sides of the plane, as well as the Web address for his campaign.
Obama’s new plane has 104 total seats, with a new front area of the plane for Obama and his staff, separated by a curtain. Tables for meetings are in the front section for staff.
The Obama express makes its maiden voyage from Chicago to Shannon, Clare, Ireland, to refuel — and then continues on to Amman, Jordan.
The only thing the new plane doesn’t have yet?
Thirty-eight members of the national press made the maiden voyage sans Senator Obama, who will link with the press corps after his congressional delegation trip to Afghanistan and Iraq.
Thirty-one others are on this maiden flight, including Obama senior foreign policy advisors James Steinberg, Richard Danzig, Denis McDonough and Wendy Morigi, and communications staffers Robert Gibbs and Linda Douglass. Obama’s "body man" Reggie Love is also up front.
The plane’s new design partitions the press from the candidate and his staff with a new physical barrier. The new Obama staff section has new wider business class seats replacing the smaller coach-sized ones in the rest of the plane.
- Jake Tapper and Sunlen Miller