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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The National Republican Committee (NRC) announced today that for the first time in its history, it would fund and operate a commercial business. If this weren't surprise enough to politicos as well as to others on the street, the business that the NRC has chosen to enter is the airline business, an industry that is under severe economic pressure with no relief in sight.
This venture, however, appears to be motivated less by economics (the party's coffers are brimming) than by pure politics. In announcing the move, NRC Chairman Ken Mehlman said, "It has not gone unnoticed by us that a certain airline — one of the few airlines that is making money and growing its business — is extremely popular with registered democrats. It even calls itself JetBlue. It flies between coastal, democratic stronghold states with hardly a thought of adding service to middle America. Well, by golly, we plan to correct this oversight by providing commercial air service for our citizens who form the backbone of this great country.
"With the launch of our airline," Mehlman announced, "which we call JetRed to capitalize on the great traditions of Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt, we will bring much needed air transportation to the heartland of the country where faith and family values are still held dear, where hard-working people put in an honest day's work and where school children still say the Pledge of Allegiance every morning. While our competitor is flying between the swinging states of New York and California, we will be serving the swing states of Ohio, Florida and Iowa.”
JetRed, based in Topeka, Kan., has leased 16 Boeing 737s, and beginning next month will operate regularly scheduled passenger service between Dayton and Daytona Beach. Service between Ft. Myers and Houston, and between Madison and Cleveland will be added soon thereafter. The carrier plans stops at an additional 17 midwestern airports by the end of the year.
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