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To Europe, aboard Air Force One

From NBC's Chuck Todd (ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE) and Domenico Montanaro
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs started with a readout from Secretary of State Clinton's day at The Hague, the news being that U.S. Special Envoy Richard Holbrooke and an Iranian foreign minister. The administration believes the presence of Iran at this conference is a positive sign.

The president also spoke from Air Force One with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown for yet another G-20 consult phone call. He also spoke by phone with Canadian PM Stephen Harper in last 48 hours to talk both autos and G-20

Questions to Gibbs were on Russia, China, G-20 and NATO meeting expectations. He gave a few concrete measuring sticks. Gibbs said it was news when he claimed that the collective G-20 stimulus for the economy will represent 1.8% of the collective GDP of the G-20.

But despite all the obvious talk of international affairs, Gibbs became most animated setting low expectations for the NY-20 special election.

Later in an e-mail to members of the White House press corps, Gibbs echoed pretty much the basic Democratic talking points analysis/spin of the race: "Republicans have a significant voter registration advantage -- 71,000 more voters are registered Republicans than are registered Democrats.

"Kirsten Gillibrand was the first Democrat to hold NY-20 in 28 years when she upset then-Representative John Sweeny in 2006. Sweeny faced significant ethical issues. Even though Obama won the district in 2008, it had previously been solidly Republican. President Bush won NY-20 in both 2000 and 2004. In fact, NY-20 was one of only six districts in New York State voting for President Bush in 2000, and one of only nine supporting him in 2004."

Other notables traveling on Air Force One: Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, National Security Adviser Jim Jones, Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina, Obama adviser David Axelrod and Deputy National Security Adviser Tom Donilon.