WASHINGTON--Demand has been greater than seats available for journalists who want to on the campaign plane of presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) next week when he touches down in the Mideast and Europe.
The Obama campaign plane, a 757, will have only about 40 journalists on the manifest. More reporters wanted to travel with the Obama campaign; some have been told not to pack their bags, one notified to be on standby. I'm told hundreds of news outlets were interested in making the trip with Obama, very popular in Europe. There are fewer seats available for reporters than usual because the campaign is taking on more staff than routinely flies with Obama. Secret Service agents also travel on the campaign plane.
Two U.S. based reporters for foreign newspapers who I talked to today said they were told no foreign journalists--even from the countries Obama is visiting--will be on the plane.
It is not known yet if Obama will give interviews for foreign press based in the U.S before he leaves. Before major foreign trips, Presidents Bush and Clinton often talked to reporters from the countries they were traveling to.
The official travel dates have not been announced, though reporters who are going on the trip have been briefed and asked not do reveal details at this time.
The Obama campaign is going to Jordan, Israel, Germany, France and England. News reports have said Obama will also tour the West Bank.
Obama will also be visiting Iraq and Afghanistan.