John McCain Criticizes Obama for Using a Canadian Bus for American Jobs Tour

Sen. John McCain – a politician who has seen his share of campaign buses – had harsh words Monday for Pres. Barack Obama’s choice of election transportation.

US President Barack Obama walks to his bus as he arrives in Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, Minnesota, August 15, 2011, where he is to begin his three-day bus tour in the Midwest centering on ways to grow the economy. Photo: Pete Souza/The White House

“I’ve never seen an uglier bus than the Canadian one he’s traveling around on – a Canadian bus touting American jobs. So — and one of the reasons why Americans and I and my colleagues are a bit skeptical, because we’ve seen this movie before,” McCain said on the Senate floor this afternoon.

President Obama heads out on the road Monday to kick off his three-day “American Jobs Act” bus tour throughNorth Carolina and Virginia.

These two critical states, which had long been in the Republican column in presidential elections before Obama’s 2008 victory, are perhaps most emblematic of that sweeping win and all the promise for hope and change that accompanied it.

Obama’s bus – an imposing black model from the Canadian company Prevost – was first used on a tour of the Midwest in August. At the time, CNN reported that the Secret Service bought two buses at $1.1 million apiece with the intention of both parties’ nominees using them come the general election.

“On the taxpayer-paid dime, the president is now traveling attacking the Republican plan. Obviously I think unfairly,” McCain said.

He continued, “I think he has the, certainly in a political venue, the right and privilege to do that. I think the question might be, ‘Is that appropriate on the taxpayer’s dime’ since it is clearly campaigning.”

McCain became known in the 2000 campaign for traveling on a bus called the Straight Talk Express, with open media availability. He also campaigned on the Straight Talk Express in his 2008 campaign. Photo: Maureen Heard/Flickr

The Secret Service purchased two buses last year for $1.1 million each, according to the Associated Press.

The president used the buses earlier this summer for hisMidwestjobs tour, but the Secret Service said that the buses would also have future uses for traveling dignitaries.

White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer downplayed the criticism Monday on CNN’s “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer.”

“I think that’s a lot of politics from Senator McCain,” Pfeiffer said. “As we’ve talked about this before, the Secret Service acquired the bus from an American company. It is made by the same company that made Mr. McCain’s very famous ‘Straight Talk Express.'”

In Asheville, N.C. today, the first stop of a three-day bus tour that will bring the president to Virginia as well, Obama said the Senate Republicans’ jobs plan amounted to little more than a plan to “gut regulations…to let Wall Street do whatever it wants….to drill more…(And) to repeal health care reform. That’s their jobs plan.”

Responded McCain, “I was somewhat taken aback since the president and his spokesperson had billed his trip as a taxpayer paid visit. And in his remarks, the president was very strongly condemning of the plan that we have put forward.”

“In fact, remember, my colleagues and friends, the president made these remarks on a taxpayer-paid-for, riding in a Canadian bus, visit for the next three days,” he added. [via Huff Post, CNN, PBS and ABC]

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