The days-long simmering spat over the size of the Air Force jet that will carry Pelosi between Washington and San Francisco has burst into the open. NBC's Mike Viqueira reports that the Pentagon sent Pelosi a letter last night informing her that they will offer her the same plane that was offered to her predecessor, Dennis Hastert. This plane is said to only be capable of reaching San Francisco non-stop under optimal wind conditions. The Speaker's office responded: "We appreciate Defense Department's continuing concern for the Speaker's security. We are reviewing their letter."
Republicans in the House have been raising questions about what they characterize as demands by Pelosi to the military for a plane large enough to carry "supporters" and Pelosi staff non-stop cross-country. Rep. Adam Putnam (R) yesterday called it evidence of Democratic "arrogance of office," while Rep. Roy Blunt (R) said he hears Pelosi wants a plane large enough for a sleeping chamber, or "Lincoln bedroom" aboard her "Air Force III," Viq reports. A Pelosi aide told Viq that she has never asked for a plane or space on a plane to accommodate "supporters." The aide called this "right-wing spin."
Pelosi herself blasted the White House in a press conference yesterday, saying that "the only misrepresentations are coming from the administration," and that she "has to wonder why… they are mischaracterizing a security issue." Asked if she requested a specific aircraft, she said, "I am not involved" in the discussion with the Defense Department, and reiterated that it was about the need to get to California non-stop, Viq reports.