Its only been 2-1/2 months since Air Force One visited 42N's tarmac at the Eastern Iowa Airport in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Campaigning season is intensifying and Iowa's six electoral votes are considered essential for either candidate to win the presidency. As one person noted today, internal polling must indicate the closeness of the race, that's why the president visited - and its only July - and before the conventions!
Local news crews covered the arrival, speech and departure. Since Air Force One was parked behind a wall of baggage containers near a chain link fence it was hard to get a clean look at the plane. Television reporters climbed atop their news vans and filed live reports at noon. On the left is Waterloo NBC affiliate KWWL. On the right is Cedar Rapids' CBS/FOX affiliate KGAN. The ABC affiliate, KCRG was present but reported a half hour earlier per their format.
The president talked to people at the plane's base, then moved to a group by the bunting, and then left for a home visit followed by a speech at Kirkwood Community College. He stopped downtown for an ice cream cone (mint chocolate chip) before returning to the plane mid-afternoon.
Making everything run smoothly for a presidential visit requires considerable coordination. One huge element of planning is special convoy vehicles. Those vehicles are transported the night before Air Force One's arrival via a C-17A Globemaster. The giant plane parked today away from Air Force One.
While the election is still months away the likelihood that these components will be visiting Cedar Rapids again and again and possibly again is quite high.