And you thought airlines were outrageous in the way they're charging for all the extras:
Bob Zaltsberg is the editor of the Bloomington Herald-Times and back in April he got the idea to send one of his 12 reporters out on a big story, the passing through southern Indiana of the Barack Obama whirlwind.
They routinely cover campaigns when they're local, but this assignment involved traveling an hour away to Columbus, Ind.
James Boyd was the lucky fellow assigned to get himself over to Columbus, where he boarded the Obama campaign bus on April 11 for the 39-mile ride across to Bloomington and Obama's two quick stops there before Boyd jumped off the campaign to write his story.
The other day a bill arrived from the Obama campaign. It was expected. "We didn't want or expect a free ride," says the good-natured Zaltsberg.
What wasn't expected was the amount -- $438.74, which is about $11.25 a mile. No small sum for a smaller newspaper. (Or a larger one either these days!) For instance, Boyd had a turkey sandwich and cup of soup; cost for that $116.62. (He must have used the pepper to account for the extra 62 cents.)
The bus transportation -- $226.17 -- seemed a little large for less than an hour but it was chartered. Then, the paper got nailed for another $91.41 for something labeled "Files."
That must have been a heck of a cup of soup and the best turkey sandwich in the world to be worth $116.62. And speaking of the bus, it seems Obama is never going to run out of people to throw under it: Bye, bye, Scarlett:
Obama was chatting with the guys on his campaign plane when he referred to his personal assistant, Reggie Love. "She sent one e-mail to Reggie, who forwarded it to me," Obama said matter-of-factly.
"I write saying, 'Thank you, Scarlett, for doing what you do.' And suddenly we have this e-mail relationship."