IN THE AIR EN ROUTE TO CLEVELAND — Hillary Clinton, who has had a standoffish relationship with the traveling press corps that follows her, made a point Monday of venturing to the back of her new campaign plane to offer greetings shortly before its maiden voyage – and promised a “more formal” conversation later.
“Hey, guys, welcome to our big plane,” Clinton told about three dozen members of the news media occupying the plane’s final seven rows. “It’s so exciting.”
“I am so happy to have all of you with me,” she said in response to a question about sharing a plane with the press corps. ” I have just been waiting for this moment.”
Before Monday, Clinton and the press corps had been traveling the country on separate charter planes, with limited interaction between the Democratic presidential nominee and those who cover her on a daily basis.
The plane is a Boeing 737 that the Clinton campaign noted was manufactured in the United States. The color scheme is described as scion blue and white, and it is prominently adorned with Clinton’s “Stronger Together” slogan and the campaign’s “H” logo.
Clinton’s motorcade arrived Monday at the airport in Westchester County, N.Y., not far from her Chappaqua home, shortly after 10 a.m. The plane was soon en route to Cleveland, the first of two cities the candidate plans to visit on Labor Day.
Her ticket has a full day of events to commemorate the holiday. Clinton’s running mate, Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, is also on the trail, as are their spouses and Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, the runner-up for the Democratic nomination.
Speaking to the media, Clinton said Labor Day marked the start of “the mad dash” to the November election, in which she faces off against Republican Donald Trump.
It has been several months since Clinton last held a full-fledged news conference, a dynamic that has been in the news lately and has served as a talking point for Republican critics.
Trump’s campaign made note of Clinton’s new plane in an email to reporters, offering several suggested questions for reporters to ask her later Monday about her use of a private email server during her tenure as secretary of state.
“New plane, more questions,” read the subject header.
Asked whether she had a Labor Day message, Clinton offered this: “If you want more happy Labor Days, you know who to vote for.”