A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Bo’s Private Plane?


Q: Did President Obama have his dog, Bo, flown to Maine in his own private jet for the family vacation?

A: No. The family and staff took two small jets because the airport couldn’t accommodate the usual presidential plane. Bo flew with several staffers.

FULL QUESTION

Fact-check this for me please:

Chain e-mail: This is about the guy who just hates those dirty corporate executives who make over $200,000 a year.

Bo’s vacation

HOW CAN AMERICA BE SO BLIND???????? UNBELIEVABLE!!!!!!!!!!! I guess since they had to swallow their pride and use the Gulfstream there just wasn’t enough room for the dog and one other person. Did you know the Pres. flew BO, the dog, in on a separate smaller jet to Maine for their vacation???? Wonder if that sets well with all the unemployed, hurting, US citizens who can’t afford food, but we can pay for this.

The above is true. I Googled "Bo the dog flying to Maine " and got 76,700 references verifying this.[EET ]

One of them follows: Michelle Malkin: Just Plane Crazy: Obama’s Dog Flies to Vacation on Separate Jet

Doug Powers: The Obama’s arrived at their vacation spot in Maine, and the local paper, the Morning Sentinel, described the scene:

The president was the first to walk onto the tarmac, dressed casually in a pale blue Oxford shirt and khakis. A few minutes later, the first lady, dressed in black caprice, a tank-top and sandals, walked onto the runway. Shortly afterward, Malia and Sasha joined their parents. Baldacci and his wife, Karen, presented the family with gift bags full of Maine-made goodies, including baskets made by the Passamaquoddy Tribe, popcorn from Little Lad’s Bakery in East Corinth, iconic L.L. Bean bags, University of Maine ice hockey hats, and an assortment of other Maine foods and books.

Karen Baldacci said the bags for Malia and Sasha contained one loon toy and one chickadee toy that sound their natural calls. Arriving in a small jet before the Obama’s was the first dog, Bo, a Portuguese water dog given as a present by the late U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass.; and the president’s personal aide Reggie Love, who chatted with Baldacci.

The president who said the rest of us are going to have to sacrifice to get out of these hard economic times let his dog fly on his own plane? Not enough room on Air Force One (a Gulfstream on this trip) for a Portuguese water dog and Reggie Love? My dog saw this story and wants his own jet now, too. Thanks Obama. OH, by the way, Mr. Love, Bo’s handler, is paid $102,000.00 a year to take care of him.

What side of the ballot will you mark in November?

http://www/.snopes.com/politics/obama/bo.asp

Chump change next to Michelle’s trip to Spain. [/EET]

FULL ANSWER

This chain e-mail controversy has been around for months, but we’re still getting queries from readers about whether Bo flies (nearly) solo. The dog doesn’t. Bo was on a small plane with several White House staffers when he arrived in Maine this summer.

Here’s how the Internet rumor got started: The Morning Sentinel, a newspaper in Waterville, Maine, ran a story on July 17 about the Obamas’ arrival in Bar Harbor for a weekend trip. The story included this sentence: "Arriving in a small jet before the Obamas was the first dog, Bo, a Portuguese water dog given as a present by the late U.S. Sen Ted Kennedy, D-Mass.; and the president’s personal aide Reggie Love." That caused an eruption on conservative-leaning blogs, which misinterpreted the sentence to mean that the presidential pooch and Love were the only passengers on that plane.

But that wasn’t true. The Sentinel published a clarification the same day about Bo’s flight:

Morning Sentinel, July 17: Clarification: Today’s story about the arrival of the Obamas said the Obama’s dog and one aide arrived on a small jet before the First Family, but there were other occupants on the plane, including several other staffers. The presidential party took two small jets to the Hancock County-Bar Harbor Airport in Trenton because the airport was too small to accommodate the president’s usual jet.

The rumor, which magnifies the original version of the story, was debunked by Snopes.com on July 18, just one day after the Sentinel article ran. PolitiFact.com posted a piece July 22. The chain e-mail above even links (nearly correctly) to the Snopes story that knocks down the e-mail’s claims. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a chain e-mail link to something that discredits the very claim it’s making — and we’ve suggested before that recipients can do some easy fact-checking of their own before forwarding these anonymous messages to their friends.

The anonymous author of this e-mail claims that he or she "Googled ‘Bo the dog flying to Maine’ and got 76,700 references verifying this." Maybe. But when we searched that exact phrase, the first result was Snopes’ article calling the claim false, followed by two links to other stories debunking this bogus rumor.

Also, Reggie Love, the president’s personal aide, wasn’t hired to be "Bo’s handler," as the chain e-mail claims. As an ABC News profile said, Love’s position makes him "Obama’s ‘body man,’ a title given to the personal aide of every president and presidential candidate." His duties include "keeping the … president on schedule" and "anticipating his needs." That might even include occasionally taking care of Bo.

It’s safe to assume the first dog is a high-class hound, but he doesn’t fly around on his own plane.

— Melissa Siegel

Sources

Mikkelson, Barbara and David P. "Dog Daze." Snopes.com. Accessed 15 Sep 2010.

Pleva, Lukas. "Bloggers claim Bo flies in his own plane." Politifact.com. Accessed 15 Sep 2010.

Mason, Julie "Travels with Bo." Washington Examiner. 22 Jul 2010.

Metzler, Rebeka. "White House wanderers tour Acadia." Morning Sentinel. 17 Jul 2010.

"Person of the Week: Reggie Love." ABC News. 23 Jan 2009.