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Bush flies an extra leg, on us

By Brian Williams, Anchor and managing editor

I was told by a jealous former Clinton White House staffer that President Bush got a perk of departure that President Clinton was never granted. President Bush went to Midland, Texas after leaving Washington. He flew on SAM28000, the 747 that served as Air Force One while he was President (and will again for President Obama's first trip). Former President Bush's plans then called for him to travel to Crawford -- which this former White House staffer was assuming would be the first travel leg that the former President would have to arrange on his own. Instead, it appears the Government took care of both legs: he once again boarded SAM28000 and flew it to Waco, where the HMX air wing had a "whitetop" helicopter to take him the rest of the way on his journey, to his ranch in Crawford.

Bush Texas Welcome
Donna Mcwilliam | AP
Former President George W. Bush, left, and his wife, Laura Bush, along with his parents Barbara Bush and former President George H.W. Bush, right, arrive on Special Air Mission 28000, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009 in Midland, Texas for a welcome home rally. The plane is called Special Air Mission 28000 instead of Air Force One since Bush no longer was president.

This former staffer was watching closely because President Clinton was given but a one-leg ticket out of Washington, in effect, from Andrews Air Force Base to JFK. President Clinton traveled on a non-Government jet from JFK. We should just as quickly mention that Presidents extend the courtesy of air travel to each other frequently -- you'll recall one of the 757s from the President's air wing brought President-elect Obama to Washington from Chicago. The moral of the story is: there are people out there watching every move, and comparing notes.

Back to business: so much news again today. Some of it broke when we were leaving Washington last night. We just reached National Airport when we received word that the President had re-taken the oath of office. We'll report on that today, on the Administrations actions today, and on the economic news: both tragic and outrageous. We hope you can join us tonight from our home studio in New York.