Presidential Jet Wings Obama to Washington
Updated 7:36 p.m.
By Philip Rucker
President-elect Barack Obama arrived at Andrews Air Force Base tonight, aboard a presidential aircraft for the first time as the principal passenger, as he moved to Washington from his home town of Chicago 16 days before being sworn into office.
After posing for pictures on the windy tarmac with the ground crew, Obama, wearing a navy suit, blue tie and black overcoat, boarded a Boeing 757 painted like Air Force One. This particular jet is frequently used to carry the vice president, first lady and other top officials.
Obama's motorcade ferried him from the Maryland Air Force base to the Hay-Adams Hotel in the District, where he is staying with his wife, Michelle, and two daughters.
Obama told reporters on the plane that he got emotional as he left his Chicago home this afternoon. "I choked up a little bit leaving the house today," Obama said. "What happened was Malia's friend had dropped off an album of the two of them together. They've been friends since preschool and I just looked through the pages and the house was empty. It was a little tough. It got me."
As he boarded the plane, Obama met with Col. Scott Turner, the aircraft commander who will pilot Air Force One for Obama once he takes office, and Reggie Dickson, chief flight attendant. Obama ordered a cheeseburger and french fries from Dickson, who joked with reporters that he prepared the burger "Air Force One-style."
Asked whether he was looking forward to moving to Washington, Obama said: "Yeah, although living in a hotel for two weeks, we kind of did that for two years."
Obama was joined on the plane by several of his top aides, including senior adviser David Axelrod and incoming press secretary Robert Gibbs.
As they boarded the presidential plane for the first time, Obama's transition staffers looked delighted at the fruit plates and baskets of candy on their seats. Although the plane was not officially designated Air Force One, flight stewards and ground staff wore jackets embroidered with the Air Force One logo, and presidential seals decorated the plane's interior.
The president-elect spent his last two days in Chicago working at his downtown transition office, getting his hair cut and packing for the move to Washington. Obama worked out this afternoon at a friend's high-rise apartment building along Lake Michigan before stopping at home on his way to Midway.
Michelle Obama and their girls, Malia and Sasha, arrived in the capital on Saturday night so they would have time to settle in before the girls begin classes Monday morning at Sidwell Friends School.
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