Utahns who might be used to pictures of presidential trips with big airplanes and large entourages were probably surprised to see Wednesday that when first lady Barbara Bush travels, she travels light.
Instead of flying in a jumbo Boeing 747 jet like her husband, Mrs. Bush flies in a 12-seat Air Force Gulf Stream - which may fit in better anyway with the image she projects with her ever-present, unpretentious strings of fake pearls.Also instead of the army of aides, security men and reporters who follow the president, "She just takes a few aides with her," said Anna Perez, Mrs. Bush's press secretary.
Actually, all that is good news to Republican Genevieve Atwood and the other candidates Mrs. Bush travels to help, because they have to pay most of the costs of her appearances.
Perez insists she doesn't know what the costs of the visit would be, but it would be a tiny fraction of the $50,000 to $60,000 that the White House says a typical visit by the president and his entourage usually costs a campaign.
Atwood's costs should also be held down in part because a portion of Mrs. Bush's trip to Utah is on official White House business.
"The candidates have to pay for political appearances. But in this case, Mrs. Bush is traveling to a long-standing invitation to address the American Association for Adult and Continuing Education. So the costs of the trip will be prorated between the White House and the Atwood campaign according to how much time she spends where," Perez said.
Mrs. Bush was scheduled to address that conference at 1:15 in the Salt Palace, attend a 2:30 rally for Atwood at the Marriott hotel and a 3 p.m. press conference with Atwood at the Marriott.
When Vice President Dan Quayle travels to Utah Thursday for a 2 p.m. rally at the Provo airport, he also will be traveling lighter than usual.
"We have to use one of the smaller planes because we're flying into Provo," said David Beckwith, Quayle's press secretary. "Several planes are used as Air Force Two. We will probably be using a DC-9."
He estimated the trip will likely cost the campaign of Republican Karl Snow in the range of $10,000-plus.
"We take all costs and divide them up among the candidates we make stops for," Beckwith said. "They include all the costs of Air Force Two, the per diem of staff, White House communications, etc."
Beckwith said Quayle doesn't exactly take armies with him, either. "He usually has four or five people with him besides security personnel."
Mrs. Bush's visit to Utah is one of only 30 appearances she will make on behalf of candidates this election season, Perez said. And she is one of the most-requested visitors among candidates. "But I don't know any wife of a president who hasn't been popular," Perez said.
A recent story in the Washington Post noted the White House calls Mrs. Bush "the number one requested speaker - aside from the president." The Republican National Committee calls her one of its "hottest properties." The Republican Governors Association drops the "one."