Air Pelosi


New House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is nothing if not combative.

Even as she was being elected speaker, she unsuccessfully tried to oust her No. 2, the current House Democratic leader, Steny Hoyer, in favor of her own candidate. She forced her fellow Californian, Jane Harman, off the House Intelligence Committee, where Harman was in line to become chairman. Then she got into a fight with the powerful and senior-most House Democrat, John Dingell, by trying to carve out a chunk of his turf from his Energy and Commerce Committee.

These fights could perhaps be excused as necessary for Pelosi to exert control over her unruly charges and, as one of her predecessors as speaker, Tip O’Neill, once said, politics ain’t bean bag.

But now Pelosi has picked a fight that can only embarrass her and gladden the hearts of House Republicans.

She is demanding — and, given her style, “demand” is the correct verb — that the Pentagon supply her with an airliner-size jet, the military version of a Boeing 757, to fly her to and from her San Francisco district. Gleeful Republican critics are calling it “Pelosi One.”

For security reasons, the Pentagon provides the speaker, the third in line to the presidency, secure transportation to and from the home district. It did so for then-Republican Speaker Dennis Hastert.

But the Pentagon, as with Hastert, is offering commuter jets with space for no more than 10 passengers. Republicans charge that Pelosi wants the larger aircraft so she can load it up with family members and political donors, but the speaker’s office says it’s a matter of security because a smaller jet has to stop to refuel en route.

One Republican-allied group weighed in, decrying the “42 leather business-class seats, a fully enclosed stateroom for Nancy Pelosi, stewards who serve meals and tend an open bar, and other such luxuries aboard.”

Maybe that’s a little overwrought, but Pelosi should know from what happened to the House Republicans last November that voters resent what they saw as the GOP’s overweening sense of entitlement and privilege. Indeed, one of her first acts as speaker was to push through a ban on the cherished perk of lawmakers accepting rides on corporate jets.

Fly the commuter jet, Madame Speaker, and just be glad that you don’t have to stand in long lines, endure long delays and get crammed in coach like, well, like the voters.


  1. Older Hoosiers will remember Vance Hartke, a former Senator from Indiana. He demanded special Senator status treatment at the Evansville airport. The reason he is “former”. Pelosi, like Hartke is insensitive to experiences of ordinary men and women. She could have utilized the inequity to her advantage if she had been sensitive to the needs of ordinary people.

    I also believe she has no sense of justice by allowing Bush off the hook. I’m looking at an equality party.

  2. Old Curmudgeon

    I’m kind of disappointed with CHB for running with this obviously slanted and as has been proven erroneous reporting. Smacks decidedly like something Faux Gnus would run. When a news source loses the faith of its readers it surely is doomed.

  3. How embarrassing for this website. Talk about partisan hackery! This story was so easily discredited. Don’t you guys do any investigation about the stories you publish? There are enough problems with Pelosi that you don’t need to publish bogus reason to criticize her. Shame on you!

  4. Keith

    Doug, I have to agree with Jim Z on this one.

    Ms. Pelosi IS the third in line to be the President and her security IS most definitely an issue. Maybe she doesn’t need a 757 all the time, but certainly a military transport of some sort is more than warranted.

  5. Andres Fimbres

    What is up with CHB today? I’m cutting you some slack because after years of reading I know that no one bats a thousand, but it’s almost as if this website WANTS this story to be more than it is. Go after Pelosi for her methods of management, for backing away from impeaching a President that clearly deserves it, for not pushing a more forceful resolution to stop the debacle in Iraq. But please, don’t waste your (and ours in the process) time on something so trivial. Let me know when Pelosi gets someone fired for not getting her the jumbo jet. Until then, all you’re doing is tarnishing (ever so slightly) your own great reputation.

  6. Ardie

    Actually, it was the Senate Sargeant at Arms who requested the plane; not the Speaker of the House, Pelosi. But this has never demurred Republicans from sniping or telling more lies. Of course, we pretty well know that the DOD has been behind these lies because of Pelosi’s hard stance toward Don “The Wacko” Rumsfeld.

  7. Moji

    Hmm, i wonder do they have to go through all the security checks that the average folk have to go through to fly….somehow i doubt these privileged people have too….and so much for global warming or perhaps this plan fly’s on solar energy.

  8. Joe Lawrence

    Dale McFeatters tried to jump on a passing bandwagon, only to find – after climbing aboard – it was a WasteIndusrtries truck. Screw him, and screw everyone who pounces at every Rove tidbit thrown out.

  9. Philadelphia Steve

    The claim that Pelosi demanded a large plane has been documented as an outright lie, promulgated by the Republican national Committee.

    But some people still repeat it, hook, line and sinker.

  10. Pat

    Rove and his gang are using the same old tired tricks to distract from the important issues of the day: Scooter Libby trial, the Iraq war resolution, and pending war with Iran. There are some naive people who still fall for their manipulation of the news, but I truly didn’t expect to find any of them HERE.

    The story was just another smear job from the masters of smut and slime. Why would this site print such propaganda? Try doing something very “un-fox” like and get the facts before you speak!

  11. You say “Capitol Hill Blue is a not-for-profit, non-commercial, non-partisan experiment in on-line journalis” It may not make any profit or successfully sell anything, but I think you blew the non-paqrtisan part of the “experiment”

  12. Karl Eklund writes:

    You say “Capitol Hill Blue is a not-for-profit, non-commercial, non-partisan experiment in on-line journalism” It may not make any profit or successfully sell anything, but I think you blew the non-partisan part of the “experiment”

    The only thing we blew was your blind belief that “non-partisan” means only supporting your partisan point of view.

  13. Michael

    I think the people of Capitol Hill better get there facts straight before you open your month and insert foot. This is a BIG LIE that the Republicans have been trying to sell. And the stupid people of capitol Hill fell for it. The republicans can lie about a war, steal and lie for years and nobody said a word. What a bunch of hippocrates you are.

  14. Jim Hassinger

    I think it started with the constant coverage of the Nancy Kerrigan attack — at any rate, sometime in there — that our journalism went completely yellow. One of the other things that happened at the same time was that trash like Drudge and Limbaugh enabled the passage of RNC propaganda directly through to the yellow media. We will now have endless yammering about this story, following the RNC guidelines, and there’s one important thing to say: none of it will be based on reporting. No one will call up the Sergeant At Arms. Nobody will figure out how the facts were massaged like this. I guess when CNN went and investigated the “madrassa” story, that was the end of our quota of real facts for the year of 2007. Happy Astronaut Diaper Day, Capitol Hill Blue! Your motto: They All Do It, Even When They Don’t.

  15. Jim Arnold

    Dale, you obviously need a refresher course on journalistic methods. Did you ask Nancy Pelosi if the “allegations” were true that she “demanded” a Boeing 757 military jet to take her to San Francisco? Obviously not.

    Thanks for saving me the time of clicking on any article in the future that has your name in the byline.

    The mature response would be to own up to your mistake. If you do that, why not also reveal your political agenda? On second thouight, don’t bother. It’s very obvious what your agenda is.

  16. Ray

    Geeez people, get off Dougs back. Why do you all jump on these people that offer you something to chew on every day. I would like to know just how many times this jumbo jet is going to fly the friendly skys to california and back. Do we jet home for the weekend only because our fool taxpayers give us big planes and gas to fly, or we really doing something that benefits the nation. I also have a hard time with the security issue of gas stops. Just where are those terrorists that are out to kill us all and eat our children. And just where the hell is Osama?

    Pelosi is just another wind bag who has done nothing that the voters wanted. The war is full speed ahead and getting worse by the day, in case no one noticed. I would like to see all them liars on the hill take a bus wherever they needed to go when all they do is posture for donations to there cause. Yeah!! Mc Featters and CHB.

  17. Donna

    I am a bit disappointed in CHB for running this article. It is very misleading and easily disproved. You are asking readers to contribute for Campaign for Our America (which by the way, I have done) and then to put this article up.

    It is a bit difficult to know how you plan to change things in Washington if you are willing to publish this kind of article.

    What exactly is the change?

  18. Tom W.

    Mr. McFEATTERS owes Capitol Hill Blue readers a retraction and apology. And it should be tomorrows lead article.

    He is clearly not a journalist. He showed us he’s not by the fact that he did absolutely no research for his bogus gossip peddling.

    Mr. McFEATTERS should also explain why he feels it benefits America to blindly hate a person and political party so much that he would stoop to such PARTISAN and dishonest behavior.

    Is he attempting to get back in the good graces of Fox News after having recently been fired?

    Please Capitol Hill Blues, regain your good standing by leading tomorrow’s release with a retraction and apology for such unprofessional reporting.


    Tom W.

  19. Old Curmudgeon

    I don’t care if the reporting has a rightwing slant, a leftwing slant or a clippedwing slant. I just want the truth. I have a brain that I try to use to evaluate the stones. The problem comes when the reporting is a lie. You can’t truely evaluate that which is not true. And you surely cannot trust those that propogate and perpetuate the untruth. McFeatters has now become untrustworthy and therefore irrelevant to the ongoing discussion of our times. cya!

  20. For some unknown reason, McFeather’s lies still make me wonder why anyone who is interested in the truth, reads his republican blatherings. Why not discuss how Chinny uses Air Force One/Two to go pheasant hunting, etc., and how Bushwork’s plane uses 53,000 gallons of gas everytime he wants time off from his “job”. And he’s urging his non-adoring public to “save energy”. Evidently that’s why he’s cut back on the taxpayer money that used to go towards helping poor people pay their heating bills. That’s one effective way of saving energy, isn’t it!

  21. bryionak

    The Pentagon has guaranteed her the same plane Hastert used. The Pentagon went further to say she can use the larger plane if it is available, if it isn’t and she doesn’t want to stop she can get her own transportation like she has to if she is travelling for fundraising or other political activity.

  22. ron kay

    ….jeezuz…..she wanted a plane big enough so that it didn’t have to stop and refuel….(wasting time and money)…..and the right wing spin machine just grabs it and swift boats her ass.

    meanwhile…..where’s Osama ??

  23. I do believe that DALE McFEATTERS has been either buffaloed or chooses to mislead as of course the Speaker of the House should be given access to means of transportation that will protect her, as she is 2nd in line to the Presidency. Would Cheney travel on commercial airlines? Dennis Hastert didn’t either.

  24. paolo

    This is just one sign that Speaker Pelosi is not different than any other creature in Washington. She’s a would-be dictator, just like the rest of them. Of course, she took impeachment of Bush “off the table,” even before anyone had a chance to list the innumerable crimes of the Bush administration. She’s just another power-lusting Washington insider. As always, there ain’t a dime’s worth of difference between the two major parties….

  25. JimZ

    I have a different take on this.

    Despite some agreements with the article, in reality, for the 3rd in line successor to the “throne”, I think it is important enough to have the Speaker Of The House on the most secure transportation possible, preferably a military jet with some electronic counter measures (and chaff/flares) in case of a missile attack. Perhaps a gun turret, too.

    Just think. In an “ideal” world, if Cheney & Bu$h were actually impeached, you would WANT Pelosi to be secure in case, the “impeachees”, tried to pull something and have her plane shot down by a U.S. pilot (or hmmm… Blackwater?) pilot willing to do it. So give her credit she deserves security as well as anyone else from any party in that position.

    Now as for the rest of it, yea, give her a bag of peanuts and non-alcoholic drinks but if she wants luxury feeding, like lobster, then make her pony up her own money for that. She’s already rich.

  26. Tom

    I have heard a recording of Pelosi saying that if they don’t have a plane that can go all the way to California without stopping then she’ll just fly commercial. Doesn’t sound like a ‘demand’ to me.

  27. Joe

    What did they call the Pentagon plane that Hastert used? Hastert 2.5? Or was it a jumbo jet?

    Much ado about nothing. The republicans propaganda machine is still working while they are not!

  28. Jim

    The argument has been clearly defined all around as between the Sargent at Arms for the House, responsible for her security, and the Defense Dept. Ms Pelosi is not involved and as stated will fly commerical. The Sargent at Arms was put into position years back by Dennis Hastert and strongly believes that there would be additional costs and security concerns with a fuel stop on the westbound leg…very probable apparently with this aircraft. The story was leaked out of the Defense Dept and picked up by the neocon talk radio clowns and then repeated by some not so bright members of the GOP in Congress. This is another case of the neocon radio clowns being the worse thing that has happened lately for the GOP.

  29. Scrngr

    Of course, the White House says she ought to get it, it was not requested by Pelosi but by the Sargeant-At-Arms of the House for security reasons, she herself has said she’d rather fly commercial just to make it non-stop, yet hey…


    Let’s trot out the insults again!



  30. LindaJ

    Jim, above, is entirely correct. The whole story is due to a malicious leak from Dept of Defense. As all know, Pelosi is not their favorite person. Do YOU know that Don Rumsfeld still has a desk at DOD? It wouldn’t surprise me to find a trail of breadcrumbs right to his door.

  31. Mary J

    I concur with the folks dissapointed in CHB. This article is a blatant lie, aka yellow journalism. You may say that you “don’t play favorites and don’t shill for any political party, philosophical group or ideological point-of-view”, but if you print yellow journalism you become the yellow press.

  32. Charlie

    This story has already been knocked down as false. She never made such demands and even the White House has admitted that. I intend to cancel my subscription to this rant or rag whichever you call it. This is pisspoor journalism and its not the only time its happened..

  33. heathen liberal

    THIS IS COMPLETE BS!! You should be ashamed of yourselves. CHB is no better than Fox news in my eyes. What a complete load of crap you people have put in this article. First of all, a 757 IS NOT A JUMBO JET. A 747 is. Second, all she asked for was a plane to get out to California without refueling. Third, she is quoted as saying she would accept something else if it could make the trip non-stop. Lastly, SHE DIDN’T EVEN MAKE THE REQUEST TO BEGIN WITH. The Sgt at arms did. You guys have been nuked from my favs list and banished into history along with Fox news and all the other crapfest propaganda outlets. Goodbye, liars.

  34. Stan Roberts

    This article is largely nonsense, predicated on poor research and biased “reporting” compounded by echoes within the Noise Machine. I’d like to know why CHB wastes space on such drivel.

  35. Rove Is A Big Fat Idiot

    You guys seeing a pattern here yet? Do you see how all but one or two posters on this thread have called you on your bullshit? How about being men and admitting the right wing propaganda you printed is just that….if for nothing else other than to rescue your reputation as ‘non-partisan’. Or, you could be good little republicans and not admit you were wrong……we’ll see.

  36. Comment Here

    Some ‘non-partisan’ site you are. Too afraid to print people’s comments that are critical of your horrid attempt at journalism. For shame.

  37. Jeanie

    Turns out this is a lie. Ya’ll are slipping. Better check out the truth since it’s already come out.

  38. Jim Arnold

    Can I get a refund on my $25 for the Campaign for Our America? Seems not to be going too well anyway. Oh well. An infusion of integrity might help those efforts, and that is not going to happen if you keep running articles that simply beat people up and are not based on the facts.

    Doug, your reply to Karl Eklund above, which follows here–“The only thing we blew was your blind belief that “non-partisan” means only supporting your partisan point of view.”

    was half right.

    Your reply was a true statement, of course. We are all partisan in many ways. But you also blew the credibility of CHB. I’m certain that can be fixed, but I’m curious why you would even risk that.

  39. Jim Arnold writes:

    Can I get a refund on my $25 for the Campaign for Our America? Seems not to be going too well anyway. Oh well. An infusion of integrity might help those efforts, and that is not going to happen if you keep running articles that simply beat people up and are not based on the facts.

    Doug, your reply to Karl Eklund above, which follows here–”The only thing we blew was your blind belief that “non-partisan” means only supporting your partisan point of view.”

    was half right.

    Your reply was a true statement, of course. We are all partisan in many ways. But you also blew the credibility of CHB. I’m certain that can be fixed, but I’m curious why you would even risk that.


    I’m curious. Why is it a risk to believe that the same standard should be applied to everyone? I wrote many columns criticizing Denny Hastert for his screwups, including the use of a military plane for his travels. Should I give Nancy Pelosi a pass because (1) she’s a Democrat or (2) the rationale that if Hastert had a plane she should have one too?

    Pelosi promised a different way of doing business in Congress. So far, I haven’t seen a lot of difference. She held a high-dollar fundraiser for fatcat lobbyists on the first day of the new session (just like the Republicans did 12 years ago). She tried to promote an ethics challenged Democrat (Murtha) for the number job in the House. Now she wants a plane because Hastert had a plane.

    Being bi-partisan means being open to all opinions. Dale has his opinion on this issue (as expressed in the column above). I have mine (as expressed elsewhere on this web site). I don’t agree with all that Dale says but I believe he is entitled to his opinion and we publish opinions from all parts of the political spectrum. What I see in a lot of the criticism of his opinion appears, to me, to be based on partisanship and not on a desire to apply the same standards to both parties. I find that sad.

    I’m sorry but I can’t apply a different standard based on political affiliation. I was suspicious of Pelosi from the start and those suspicions were confirmed when she took impeachment off the table.

    The voters demanded change. So far, all they have got is short-changed.

    If you feel that is unfair, I’ll refund your contribution to our cause.


  40. Jim Arnold

    Doug–Thanks for the reply. I will respond tomorrow because I am very late to a function. You make some good points here and I think that I can make some as well. We’ll converse. Keep the $25. A good weekend to all!

  41. Velma Hampson

    Well, with this particular take of yours on the issue of safely flying the second in succcession to the presidency NON STOP across the country to her homestate for the sake of the nation, you have now clarified that you do not want my money for your fund. I had no objection to Dennis Hastert flying nonstop in a military plane that would get him from DC to Illinois nonstop. I have no objection to Nancy Pelosi flying nonstop in a military plane that will get her to California.

    However much I dislike the president, I do not want him flying on a commercial airliner where he might be at risk of being taken hostage.

    However much I dislike the vice president, I do not want him flying on a commercial airliner where he might be at risk of being taken hostage.

    However much I like the speaker of the house, I do not want her flying on a commercial airliner where she might be at risk of being taken hostage.

    And I do not want any of them flying layover unless absolutely necessary. This is not a preference issue, no matter how you might like to spin it, this is a security issue.

  42. Blake

    Thanks Doug for bringing this non-issue to light. Congressperson Pelosi based in San Francisco, CA can’t fly 2,450 miles (4.5 hours minimum)non-stop to Washington D.C. on the same form of transportation the last speaker flew because the range of the plane he flew (C-20) is only 2,300-2,350 miles. Naturally, she is going to need a bigger plane, usually with more seating capacity, more range and with the same security features. This is going to cost more, especially in fuel costs and countermeasures. To counteract this it makes sense to fly the large congressional delegation (10 members) of the San Francisco Bay Area to save on transportation costs.

    To what you alleged the speaker to have done, she is a choirgirl compared to the waste, fraud and abuse of this administration and to the corporate-owned criminals in the last congress. Not only have they have squandered hundreds of billions of dollars on a phony war in Iraq and Afghanistan but they have doled out billions in corporate welfare, tax cuts for the wealthy and have gutted the constitution in the name of “terrorism”. Don’t stoop to the level of the Republican propaganda machine and let them divert you from the good job you have been doing. Unfortunately they fool us all on occasion.

  43. Cherri says:

    Very disappointed Doug. Your response was inadequate and rebutted by the facts. This isn’t an issue of different standards, as you would know if you had bothered to read the explanations from the Sgt. at Arms and the White House. I will give you the benefit of the doubt this time. Just apologize for your mistake and get on with it.

    I did read the Sgt-at-Arms statement but I have the advantage of knowing how Congress actually works and that allows me to see beyond the propaganda that others accept as fact. The Sgt-at-Arms reports to the Speaker and doesn’t make any request of the military without her permission and direction.

    Sorry, but I will never apologize for publishing different points of view on this web site or for holding both sides of the political fence to the same standard of accountability. Nancy Pelosi said she plans to lead “the most ethical Congress in history.” I’m still waiting to see evidence of that. Holding a high dollar fundraiser for lobbyists on her first day in power, backing an ethically-challenged Democrat for the number two spot and not refusing, outright, the perk of a high-cost military jet just ain’t the actions of the leader of the “most ethical Congress in history.” They are the actions of just another politician on the take.


  44. Cherri

    Very disappointed Doug. Your response was inadequate and rebutted by the facts. This isn’t an issue of different standards, as you would know if you had bothered to read the explanations from the Sgt. at Arms and the White House. I will give you the benefit of the doubt this time. Just apologize for your mistake and get on with it. Remember, being able to admit a mistake is a sign of maturity. :)

  45. adam russell

    1st. How do you consider it “demanding” something when she said she would fly commercial if the military has no coast to coast airplanes available? That sounds to me like she is willing to compromise.

    2nd. How the hell is it that we have cross country commercial flights thousands of times a day, yet our military doesnt have even one?!!! Very fishy.

  46. Lexie Homewood

    A clarifying statement came out from the Sergeant-at-Arms on Friday afternoon. The aircraft in question was recommended by him. Ms. Pelosi issued no “demands.” I was not happy when the story first came out and sent her an email to that effect. But it seems that every time this story goes thru the Republican spin cycle, like the old childhood game of “telephone”, it gets bigger and more outrageous. Contrary to right-wing output, Ms. Pelosi has done NOTHING wrong.

  47. Mary

    What a bunch of babies. It’s worse than the kindergarten room I go to as a Title One teacher. When is America going to GROW UP???? Hastert got it , why can’t I? WHAAA WHAAA WHAAA. I learned about intrinsic motivation vs extrinsic motivation in school to become a teacher. Political officials need to learn this too. Yes, it is hard work to run a country and the pay should reflect it. But if you are in this job solely for the money and the benefits… get out. I wonder how many political officials know what intrinsic and extrinsic motivation is. Not many I predict. I don’t know if I spelled those words right but anyone having a clue as to what I am talking about will know what I mean. Can we get a president who can do without gold plated toilets or any other extreme benefits that they are allowed now? When is someone going to step forward and say I want to be your leader and I am willing to live like the majority of you? I would bet that if some candidate came out and said that and actually did it, they would be elected again. What about members of congress who supposedly get paid full pay throughout their lifetime even after they are done. I don’t know if that is true or not but is that right? Supposedly they don’t have to pay into social security either. I don’t know for sure that that is true either but that is what I have heard. Is it no wonder we have all these politicians wanting all these jobs?

    The American citizens need to band together to get the right people into office. Forget about party. Look at what the candidate is going to do for you. We need to let the candidates know that we don’t want them to follow an agenda. What do they personally feel is right? Do they have to change their opinions to fit into a political party? Eliminating the parties is a good way to find the best candidate. It will never happen, though, because it makes too much sense. The media would benefit too, as they would be able to pit person to person rather than party to party. God help us. We need it.