Air Force One landed in Newark, NJ and the President, NJ Gov Christie, and other state legislators climbed into a Marine Helicopter and flew over the areas ravaged by Irene's rain. Because of this visit, planes all across the country were placed on long delays and tens of thousands of travelers were forced to sit and wait because the airspace over New Jersey was under a Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR).
Newark's Liberty Airport ranks among the busiest travel hubs in the country, unless you happened to be trying to get in or out of there today, while President Obama was in town surveying the damage done by floodwaters from Hurricane Irene. Every time the president visits an airport, TFRs must be in place and with good reason. Safety is vital and you want the leader of the country to be able to get in an out of an airport without delay. However, the White House might be wise to consider how often this president uses Air Force One and the Marine One helicopters and the rippling effect that has on air travel.
How much air travel could President Obama be taking? CBS' Mark Knoller is keeping track of the President's time on Air Force One and Marine One. You might be surprised to read the numbers. From a tweet posted on Friday (before the trips taken this weekend):
Based on Knoller's numbers, as of today President Obama will have flown on Marine One over 500 times and close to 410 flights on Air Force One.
Of course Presidents MUST visit disaster areas and show concern for those who lost family members, or homes, cars, etc. But you also must question the wisdom and timing of this trip. To shut down one the the country's busiest airports in the middle of the Labor Day weekend, will no doubt be remembered by all those who spent most of the day waiting in another city, held up, not any bad weather, just by bad timing.