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“Santa Cheney” Comes to Shreveport: Helps With Gift-Giving for Dr. John Fleming & The GOP: 11-21-08 By: Tom Pace

“Santa Cheney” Comes to Shreveport: Helps With Gift-Giving for Dr. John Fleming & The GOP: 11-21-08 By: Tom Pace

Posted by: Tom Pace - November 27, 2008

SHREVEPORT, LA (By: Tom Pace, Executive Editor, Talk of the Town) Kind of like Santa Claus, another "heavy-hitter" came to Shreveport, rather early this year.  This time, instead of Rudolph, Air Force 2 guided the way, carrying Vice President Dick Cheney. 


Complete with the U.S. flag and sporting tail number 90003, Air Force 2 gently touched down at 10:56 a.m. Friday, November 21st at Shreveport Regional Airport. Cheney was greeted at the bottom of the ramp by Caddo GOP Chairman Jim Allen and six other VIP’s from the Republican party.


There was even a group of Benton Elementary students who stood outside waving and cheering as Cheney’s limo passed them. A select group of those kids and their sponsors would later get a personal tour of Air Force 2. (They too, were “wanded” before entering the big jet.)


A blue sky filled with gusty winds and a very chilly 40-degree day welcomed the Vice President to the City of Roses.


The modified 757 then taxied quickly to the TAC Air hanger, stopping about 150 feet from the press holding area where we were allowed to photograph Cheney’s arrival and departure.


(No interviews were allowed, nor did the Vice-President seemingly acknowledge our presence.)


TAC Air was a-wash with Secret Service agents, local and state law enforcement officers, and complete with a bomb-sniffing, pure-bred German shepherd named “Rusty,” and his handler.


While the media “made hay” of Cheney’s arrival and departure, the public was not invited.  This was, in-fact, an “invitation-only” visit, paid for by the GOP and the John Fleming for Congress Campaign.


Lots of preparations led up to this day, with a C-117 cargo jet delivering the official VP limo and Secret Service Blazers earlier in the week. Media credentials were checked and double-checked…Rusty “sniffed” all our equipment for any possible explosives (there weren’t any), we showed our picture identifications, and then were “wanded” before we were allowed onto the tarmac.


All this paved the way for Cheney’s visit, (which was paid for, according to Dr. John Fleming, by the GOP and the Fleming for Congress campaign.)


During my radio broadcast of “The Talk of the Town with Tom Pace” on SuperTalk 1340, Dr. Fleming was live in-studio with me Saturday, November 26th in the Cumulus studio. 


When I asked him if any taxpayer money was spent on the Cheney fundraiser, he confirmed that no public money was spent, saying that  “…we had to write a five-figure check to the White House weeks before,” quickly adding, “You’ve got to spend money to make money.”


When I asked about the turnout for the private-event, Dr. Fleming said “It met and exceeded our expectations.”


It’s no secret that Louisiana's Fourth Congressional District Race has become extremely “pricey” in terms of advertising.


In this multi-million dollar race, Dr. Fleming is seeking to keep retiring Congressman Jim McCrery's seat Republican, as he squares off against his major challenger, Democrat Paul Carmouche.  


And, just like Santa Claus, as quickly as he came, “he was gone in a flash” - Air Force 2, wheels-up at 1 p.m. on the way back to the North Pole, better make that, The White House.

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