Wednesday, September 21, 2005


Today we read this in the New York Times (link via Tapped):
When people refer to battlegrounds in presidential races, they are usually not thinking of airport runways. But those people probably have not heard of Runway 4/22 at the airport in Las Cruces, N.M.

The runway, the airport's longest, has been closed since President Bush made a campaign stop in August 2004. It has gouges six inches deep and a hundred yards long, which the city says were put there by two Air Force cargo planes accompanying the president. Las Cruces put the damage at $2.1 million.

The city said airport officials warned the Air Force that the planes, a giant C-17 and a military version of the 757, were too heavy, and that the hot asphalt would be too soft for landing that day.

When Bill Clinton paid a presidential visit, he landed at Holloman Air Force Base nearby, said Terence J. Kelly, a spokesman for Las Cruces. When Senator John Kerry and former Senator John Edwards, the Democratic candidates for president and vice president, visited, "they landed elsewhere," Mr. Kelly said.

After a year of discussions, the Air Force has offered $600,000 for repairs.
First of all, why the fuck is the Air Force paying for anything? Get some Pioneers to fork over the damn money.

Second, who wants to bet this will be the last time we here about this? Must I remind...

The Associated Press, May 19, 1993:
President Clinton followed in his wife's footsteps and got a haircut, but instead of going to a fashionable New York salon, he had his trimmed aboard Air Force One.

Clinton arrived home about 90 minutes late early today from a two-day trip to New Mexico and California, partly because of time spent getting a haircut during about 45 minutes aboard Air Force One sitting on an airport tarmac in Los Angeles.
The Washington Post, May 20, 1993:
Nothing would ever be the same again, from world politics to little boys' wondering why the barber has to pump that handle so hard on the side of the barber chair when office chairs and loungers move up and down with a tiny lever.

Given the news of the president's haircut, as reported in today's Reliable Source (Page D3), Americans are going to be asking a lot of questions, wondering whether we've seen yet another glum augury of the next four years.

What kind of man goes to a barber who charges $ 200 for a haircut?

What kind of man gets his hair cut by a guy named Cristophe?

What kind of man holds up the takeoff of Air Force One for 45 minutes so he can get his hair by a guy named Cristophe who also happens to be his wife's hairdresser?
CNN, May 20, 1993:
SUSAN ROOK, Anchor: Well, a presidential haircut apparently waits for nothing, not even air traffic. Air Force One became a barbershop as President Clinton was coiffed in Los Angeles Tuesday. While his plane was grounded, the haircut left others up in the air. CNN's Jill Dougherty has more.

JILL DOUGHERTY, Correspondent: Here is before, here is after. Not a big difference, but it's turning into a big deal. Tuesday, on the West Coast, the president was trying hard, as he says, 'to look like America.' Before heading home, though, he did what most Americans can't - he kept his 747 on the runway for nearly an hour while Hollywood hairdresser Monsieur Cristophe - going rate $ 200 - gave him a presidential trim. Two of Los Angeles International Airport's four runways were shut down, and two commuter flights were delayed up to 25 minutes, while Air Force One was transformed into what a Washington Post wag dubbed, 'Hair Force One.' Back at the White House, it was a bad hair day.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, White House Communications Director: I mean, the president has to get his hair cut. Everybody has to get their hair cut. I mean, if he would have stayed back-

DOUGHERTY: Republicans weren't laughing.

Rep. DAN BURTON (R-IN): That's Bill Clinton. He's really concerned about the middle class. He spent thousands of your tax dollars waiting to get a haircut for 200 bucks from Hillary's hairdresser. He ought to be more concerned about trimming the deficit than his own hair.
The haircut was discussed on five separate CNN programs that day.

Associated Press, May 20, 1993:
President Clinton's haircut aboard Air Force One delayed a couple of inbound flights at Los Angeles International Airport and shoved Beverly Hills hairdresser Cristophe into the limelight.

Cristophe spent about 45 minutes cutting Clinton's hair Tuesday, while the plane sat on a tarmac in Los Angeles...

"It was not a problem at all. These kinds of things cause virtually no interruption in operations," Reesman said. "We get VIPs here all the time."
World News Tonight, May 20, 1993:
PETER JENNINGS: Finally, as we said, we're going to return to the White House for a report on the haircut. Here's ABC's Brit Hume.

BRIT HUME: No doubt about it, on his western trip this week Mr. Clinton certainly seemed in need of a haircut. Indeed, in Los Alamos, New Mexico, before doing some TV interviews Mr. Clinton had a local barber come to the airport and trim his sideburns and neck. But the really major job had to wait until the next day when, after a busy afternoon in Los Angeles, the President boarded Air Force One to leave. He was met on board by this man - Cristophe of Beverly Hills, proprietor of a stylish hair salon. He attended to Mr. Clinton's hair while Air Force One sat on the ground for nearly an extra hour, tying up runway space and delaying other flights. As the President arrived home later, it was clear Cristophe had done his job. But there were questions today about whether the busy Los Angeles runway was the right place to do it.
Washington Post,May 21, 1993:
President Clinton, whose campaign seized with a vengeance on every sign of George Bush's distance from the lives of real people, found the tables turned yesterday. The White House staunchly defended high-rolling presidential hair care.

"The president has to get his hair cut, everybody has to get his hair cut," an exasperated White House communications director George Stephanopoulos said. He was explaining why Clinton kept Air Force One on the ground in Los Angeles for an hour Tuesday night while his hair was cut and commercial planes may have been delayed. And then why Clinton kept the plane on the ground in New Mexico for 40 minutes the day before while the presidential sideburns were trimmed.
May 21st:
  1. Air Force One Haircut Has Politicians in Snippy Mood, The Associated Press, May 21, 1993, Friday, PM cycle, Domestic News, 334 words, By JAMES ANDERSON, Associated Press Writer, LOS ANGELES
  2. CLINTON TAKES A LITTLE OFF HIS CLEANCUT IMAGE, The Augusta Chronicle (Georgia), May 21, 1993 Friday,, ALL EDITIONS, NEWS,, Pg. A01, 486 words, Steve Goldstein; Knight-Ridder, WASHINGTON
  3. Presidential style; Air traffic waits for Beverly Hills haircut, The Boston Globe, May 21, 1993, Friday, City Edition, NATIONAL/FOREIGN; Pg. 1, 688 words, By Michael Putzel, Globe Staff, WASHINGTON
  4. Clinton's Runway Trim A Public Relations Nightmare, CNN, Inside Politics, May 21, 1993, Transcript # 337 - 4, Show, News; Domestic, 1738 words, BERNARD SHAW
  5. Hairy time for Clinton over taxes rebellion, Evening Standard (London), May 21, 1993, Friday, Pg. 22, 760 words, Jeremy Campbell
  7. >"Putting stylist first' gets Clinton clipped; Snips at hair care have staffers abuzz, The Houston Chronicle, May 21, 1993, Friday, 2 STAR Edition, A; Pg. 4, 653 words, ANN DEVROY; Washington Post, WASHINGTON
  8. COMMUTER HEADACHE, Journal of Commerce, May 21, 1993, Friday, EDITORIAL PAGES, Pg. 6A, 148 words
  10. Haircut Grounded Clinton While the Price Took Off, The New York Times, May 21, 1993, Friday, Late Edition - Final Correction Appended, Section A; Page 10; Column 4; National Desk, 342 words, By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN, Special to The New York Times, WASHINGTON, May 20
  11. Hair to the Chief; TALK ABOUT A HEAD OF STATE; Bill's Shear Exuberance, Newsday (New York), May 21, 1993, Friday, CITY EDITION, NEWS; Pg. 4 Other Edition: Nassau and Suffolk Pg. 17, 766 words, Gail Collins, COLUMN; BILL CLINTON; PERSONAL; HAIR; CRISTOPHE
  12. Hair to the Chief; Unkindest cut of all sparked by $ 200 'do, Newsday (New York), May 21, 1993, Friday, CITY EDITION, NEWS; Pg. 5 Other Edition: Nassau and Suffolk Pg. 5, 826 words, By Timothy Clifford. WASHINGTON BUREAU. Martin Kasindorf and news service reports contributed to this story, Washington, BILL CLINTON; PERSONAL; HAIR; CRISTOPHE; CALIFORNIA; AIRPORT; SAFETY
  13. Bad Hair Day; Clinton gets a trim, planes go on hold, Newsday (New York), May 21, 1993, Friday, NASSAU AND SUFFOLK EDITION, NEWS; Pg. 5 Other Edition: City Pg. 5, 954 words, By Timothy Clifford. WASHINGTON BUREAU. Martin Kasindorf and news service reports contributed to this story., Washington, BILL CLINTON; HAIR; AIRPLANE; AIRPORT; SECURITY; CHRISTOPHE; BUDGET DEFICIT; ROSS PEROT; GEORGE BUSH; CALIFORNIA
  14. OFF WITH THEIR HAIR! 1ST COUPLE CUTS UP, Orlando Sentinel (Florida), May 21, 1993 Friday, 3 STAR, A SECTION; Pg. A1, 343 words, Compiled From Wire Reports, WASHINGTON
  15. Clinton cuts into flight schedules for sake of a trim, The Ottawa Citizen, May 21, 1993, Friday, FINAL EDITION, NEWS; Pg. D14, 181 words, BOSTON GLOBE, WASHINGTON
  16. FIRST FAMILY SHEARING SHARPENS JEERING, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pennsylvania), May 21, 1993, Friday,, SOONER EDITION, Pg. A1, 531 words, STEVE GOLDSTEIN, KNIGHT-RIDDER NEWS SERVICE
  17. Is Clinton still a regular guy after getting celebrity clip?, The Record (Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario), May 21, 1993 Friday Final Edition, NEWS; Pg. B9, 538 words, Los Angeles times
  18. MUCH A-DO; CLINTON'S UNTIMELY TRIM, St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Missouri), May 21, 1993, FRIDAY, FIVE STAR Edition, NEWS; Pg. 1A, 453 words, WASHINGTON
  19. Bad hair day causes L.A. airport delay // Planes circle as Clinton clipped, USA
  20. TODAY, May 21, 1993, Friday, FINAL EDITION, NEWS; Pg. 1A, 194 words, Richard Benedetto
  21. Clinton Staff Says Flap Over On-Board Trim Is Splitting Hairs, The Washington Post, May 21, 1993, Friday, Final Edition, FIRST SECTION; PAGE A11, 647 words, Ann Devroy, Washington Post Staff Writer
It just gets worse from there, with over 250 stories between then and July 1, 1993, with hundreds and hundreds afterward. That's despite the fact that, on that day, stories started appearing like this one, from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
The story was that planes were kept circling as President Bill Clinton had his hair clipped on Air Force One at Los Angeles International Airport last month. The runway haircut by Beverly Hills stylist Cristophe became such a metaphor for perceived White House arrogance that the president himself felt compelled to apologize for the reported flight delays. But the reports were wrong. According to Federal Aviation Administration records obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, the haircut May 18 caused no significant delays of regularly scheduled passenger flights - no circling planes, no traffic jams on the runways. Commuter airlines that fly routes reportedly affected by the president's haircut confirmed that they had no record of delays that day. The FAA records show that an unscheduled air taxi flight had the only delay attributed to the closure of two runways for an hour in anticipation of Air Force One's departure. The air taxi took off 17 minutes after leaving the gate - two minutes late, by FAA accounting. "If you understand the air traffic system, you'd find that statement (that planes were circling) ludicrous," said Fred O'Donnell, an FAA spokesman at the agency's Western-Pacific regional office. The office responded to Newsday's May 21 request under the Freedom of Information law. O'Donnell said that although two runways were closed, traffic was light that afternoon and arriving flights were simply diverted to the two other runways. "It did not cause any problems," he said. Press secretary Dee Dee Myers said Wednesday that "we're happy that the matter has been cleared up." The latest report was "consistent with what we were told at the time," Myers said. "The president made a point of asking and ensuring that no air traffic would be impaired if he should remain on the runway." During the uproar over the haircut, an unidentified FAA spokesperson was quoted in wire service reports as saying that a flight from Yuma, Ariz., to Los Angeles was delayed 25 minutes, a flight arriving from Palmdale, Calif., was delayed 17 minutes and several other flights were delayed about 10 minutes. These details were widely repeated by news media.
And don't miss this bit from The Jerusalem Post on July 4th:
Clinton has been mercilessly savaged by an American press corps smarting from accusations that it was too close to the previous establishment and so lost in trivial pursuits that it entirely missed the Savings and Loan and BCCI bank scandals - two of biggest financial disasters in the country since the war. In their attempt to recoup credibility, the media have dogged every second of the new president's days, simply because he is new - and therefore a soft target. Yet again, they are losing sight of the obvious. A frenetic pack hunting a hare is infinitely more silly and ineffectual than one lone wolf stalking a tiger.

No one will forget the Clinton haircut story - so delightful a juicy morsel that the pack went into a feeding frenzy for weeks over the gauche new president who cost the country millions of dollars by holding up East Coast air traffic for an hour while he had his hair styled in Air Force One on a Los Angeles runway. It has taken nearly a month for one lone wolf, New York's Newsday, to do what most people assume is the obvious task of journalists - first check the facts and then present them fairly.

It appears from Newsday's check on Federal Aviation Administration computer and flight records - simply obtained through the Freedom of Information Act - that the notorious haircut caused no delays to air traffic on May 18. Vanished in a puff of hype are the dramatic stacks of circling planes, the traffic jams on runways, the disrupted air commuter flying routes. Air operators, except for one, confirmed they had no record of delays to their schedules on that day. The one anomaly was an unscheduled air taxi flight that took off late because of Air Force One on the runway. The taxi was two minutes late, the FAA calculated, according to the newspaper.
Yet, still, in 2000, Mona Charen wanted to make sure that we all remembered "the famous haircut at the Los Angeles airport that held up hundreds, if not thousands, of travelers" and, in 2001, The Weekly Standard started an article this way:
In the spring of 1993, President Clinton stalled runway traffic at the Los Angeles airport so he could receive a $ 200 haircut aboard Air Force One at the hands of the gifted Christophe. Or maybe he didn't -- the facts of the case have never been established to THE SCRAPBOOK's satisfaction.
It's never stopped.


Anonymous Ruddy Gore said...

Christophe denied the $200 dollar part, too. We can't tell for sure, but where did anyone get that number?
Yeah, it often seems like the media will go to any lengths to avoid actual news reporting.

5:28 PM  
Blogger Nitpicker said...

In looking back over this, it all seems to stem from that WaPo story the day after the intitial report. He was extrapolating, saying that the guy charges $200 in his salon (apparently) and who would use a guy like that. Others took it and ran with it.

7:21 PM  
Blogger Bryan said...

So where was the story about those of us tied up on I-5 once a month so Dan Quayle could play golf at Torrey Pines. He would land at NAS Miramar and they would shut down I-5 while his motorcade went from the base to the golf course, and then back.

It was a real pain in the butt, and all of those cars idling on I-5 didn't help the air quality or gas mileage.

7:47 PM  
Anonymous Jim said...

Sigh. And yet, in some sense, Terry's last line in this later post
sums it all up:

"Hey press, you might as well all change your names to Toby since Bush fucking owns you." It seems the ownership pre-dates Bush.

So, any thoughts as to why the Press will kiss Shrub's ass, but pulled out a shiv for Clinton?

Is it because Bush is the upper class twit that people want to be associated with while Clinton is a smart-ass from a broken home in back-woods Arkansas who pulled himself up through brains, grit, determination, and charisma?

6:00 AM  
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