Flap Over Pelosi’s Ride

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The White House has come to the defense of Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi after she faced a barrage of criticism over her limited transportation options home to San Francisco. Since she’ll take over the Oval Office if the president and vice president somehow become incapacitated, the thinking in Washington is that she should have a secure, nonstop ride home in a military aircraft. Among the military passenger planes that fit that bill is the C-32, a Boeing 757 decked out with 42 business-class seats. Now Pelosi says she’s just as happy to fly commercial, but the administration clearly thinks otherwise. Junior Republicans seized on the perceived wastefulness of her use of a 757 in a display of legislative fervor that had even White House staff shaking their heads. During debate on a bill about alternative fuels, Republicans proposed an amendment urging that aircraft exactly matching the description of the C-32 burn “domestically produced alternative fuels." Republican Rep. Patrick McHenry noted the converted 757 would spew about 10,000 pounds of greenhouse gases on the trip from Washington to San Francisco and his colleague Mark Kirk, R-Ill., chimed in that her use of the plane "appears to remove any spending controls from our operations.” White House spokesman Tony Snow had little patience for the shenanigans. "This is a silly story, and I think it's been unfair to the speaker," he told The New York Times.