By Jeff Mason


PIPERSVILLE, Pennsylvania (Reuters) - Republican presidential candidate John McCain got a new campaign plane on Monday with one apparently unexpected surprise: his name is on the side.

The Arizona senator, who has wrapped up his party's White House nomination, dubbed his new in-air home the "Straight Talk Express" after his campaign bus of the same name, so-called for the senator's tendency to speak his mind.

The bus, where the candidate dishes with reporters over policy and politics, is a key part of the 71-year-old's political brand.

So is his name, of course, but McCain expressed surprise when reporters riding with him mentioned it being emblazoned across the Boeing 737-400.

"Really? Is it?" McCain said after the flight. "I thought it just says Straight Talk Express."

Assured that his name also adorned the plane, McCain described how it felt: "Whoops! I feel wonderful," he said. "Maybe it's a little added free publicity, I don't know, at various airports."

Presidential nominees usually get a plane with their names and campaign slogans before the general election. McCain had previously flown on a charter aircraft operated by JetBlue.

The new plane features two phones, a fax machine, and power outlets for electricity-hungry laptops.

So what's missing? Television screens.

"I like it fine," McCain said of the plane. "(But) in the interest of full disclosure, you know we used to have television sets on JetBlue, and I miss out on my fix, particularly when we're on these long flights."

(with wire reports)

This video is from CNN.com, broadcast June 30, 2008.


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