Washington Times kicked off Obama plane

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Dallas Morning News reporter Todd J. Gillman also was excluded from the Obama campaign plane after an Oct. 18 editorial in the newspaper endorsed Mr. McCain.

“We were informed last week there wouldn’t be room,” said Bob Mong Jr., editor of The Dallas Morning News. “We protested, we continue to protest. We believe that a paper of our size and stature ought to be on the plane. We noticed that they allowed some friendlier media on the plane.”

Mr. Mong said he could not prove the Obama campaign acted in reprisal for the endorsement of Mr. McCain.

“We don’t have any evidence of that,” Mr. Mong said. “We’re obviously asking the question.”

The New York Post endorsed Mr. McCain Sept. 8.

“We are happy to be on the outside looking in.” said New York Post Editor-in-Chief Col Allan. “It’s what makes The New York Post special. We are not in the news business to be liked.”

Obama spokeswoman Douglass told reporters on the plane Friday morning that adding a second plane to accommodate more traveling press would cause the campaign to lose one city per day due to logistical considerations.

She added that Michelle Obama is joining the plane, which will require more Secret Service agents to be on board as well.

The Times formally protested the decision, noting that it has one of the 20 most-trafficked newspaper Web sites in the country, distributes its print edition in the key battleground state of Virginia, and has had its stories repeatedly cited by Mr. Obama and other Democrats throughout the campaign.

“Sen. Obama himself demonstrated he appreciates the importance of The Washington Times and its news coverage. In June, he wrote a letter citing a Times’ investigative project that highlighted government mistreatment of our veterans. Sen. Obama requested an investigation by Congress and the administration, both of which confirmed the problems and led to corrective action at the VA. In his August acceptance speech, Sen. Obama also prominently mentioned our interview with Sen. Phil Gramm and the now infamous comments about a ‘mental recession’ and a ‘nation of whiners’,” wrote Mr. Solomon in an e-mail to Obama campaign manager David Plouffe.

“There are simply no more seats on Senator Obama’s plane,” Ms. Dunn, Obama communications chief said.

“There are press seats available on Senator Biden’s plane for travel this final weekend and The Washington Times is encouraged to include our vice presidential nominee in your coverage plans for this final stretch,” she added.

Meanwhile, the campaign of Republican presidential candidate John McCain responded to The Times being kicked off the plane as “… not surprising.”

“The least-transparent and the least-vetted candidate in history is now the least accessible — not surprising,” said McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds.

The McCain campaign also has been struck by allegations of revenge in booting a journalist from their plane.

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