Obama Drops Reporters From Plane*

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The Obama campaign has told the Washington Times, the New York Post and the Dallas Morning News that there will not be room for them to travel on the plane in the last 72 hours of the campaign. Though all three papers have recently endorsed John McCain, an Obama aide points out that they still have seats for the Wall Street Journal, Fox News and Fox News Radio (okay, neither Fox News or Fox News Radio to my knowledge have endorsed McCain but the point is perceived bias).

From Obama spokeswoman Jenn Psaki:
“Unfortunately, demand for seats on the plane during this final weekend has far exceeded supply, and because of logistical issues we made the decision not to add a second plane. This means we’ve had to make hard and unpleasant for all concerned decisions about limiting some news organizations and in some cases not being in a position to offer space to news organizations altogether. We are doing everything possible to accommodate the outlets that will not have a seat on the plane including offering assistance with hotel rooms, making sure there is space on buses and providing these outlets with all of the information that traveling press receives.”

Indeed, staff have bent over backwards so that this is not perceived as a Joe Klein/John McCain-type situation. An Obama source explains that given that state of the charter plane industry – I guess it’s pretty bad – there are few medium-sized planes available. They say the demand wouldn’t fill a second large plane (on this point, I’m SURE the campaign could easily fill a second large plane, there’s like 1,000 Japanese outlets with the money and the creepy zealous interest who’d love to travel) and that adding a second plane would add 90-minutes of travel logistics to Obama’s daily schedule (also a weird point since it’s not unheard of to do local interviews to fill this time as Kerry did in 2004).  

In 2004, I remember doing nine events the Saturday before the Election with Bush, and Kerry added a second plane at the end of his bid – both moves were attempts to reach as many voters through the press (local for Bush and national for Kerry) as they could. Obama, by contrast, is averaging three events a day and they clearly aren’t worried that their message isn’t reaching the voters. Indeed, for all of McCain’s griping about press bias, one of Obama’s most impressive feats this campaign cycle has been his ability to speak directly to his supporters. Hey, who needs a hundred pesky reporters following you around when you’ve got the Internet and the money to buy 30-minute commercials?

Scherer tells me that the McCain campaign has added a second plane to handle the increased demand in the final days. 

*Clearly, as commentator Joe Bftsplk reminds me, I was not meant to be a headline writer: I didn’t in any way mean to imply that Obama is literally dropping them out the emergency hatch at 30,000 feet.