Upton flying in on Air Force One

Published 1:04 pm Monday, May 3, 2004

By By SCOTT NOVAK / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- It has been a busy couple of weeks for U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich.
Today, the St. Joseph Republican is going to be a lot busier.
Upton, along with Indiana Congressman Chris Chocola, is scheduled to fly into Michiana Regional Transportation Center in South Bend, Ind., on Air Force One to join President George W. Bush when he speaks at Niles High School this afternoon.
Upton has been busy helping the Bush campaign figure out a site for their Berrien County stop as well as Congress being in session.
Upton does know that he will be on Air Force One when it arrives in South Bend, Ind. at approximately 1 p.m.
He will then, along with Chocola and others, accompany the President to Niles High School where he will hold an "Ask President Bush" session.
The group will then head to Kalamazoo for a rally at Wings Stadium before returning to South Bend to catch Air Force One.
President Bush will complete his day in Michigan with another stop in Sterling Heights.
Upton said that President Bush and his campaign staff are well aware of the fact that he needs to win in Berrien County if he wants to win in Michigan.
Since the 1920s, Berrien County has supported the winning president every time with the exception of 1980 when it supported Michigan's only chief executive, Gerald R. Ford, who lost to Jimmy Carter.
When asked why Niles, Upton said that first of all he wanted to come to Berrien County. So Upton's staff gave campaign officials a list of potential venues, some of which were in St. Joseph and Benton Harbor.
Upton is no stranger to travel on Air Force One, either.
He has made several trips on the "flying Oval Office", including one with former President George Herbert Walker Bush in 1992, or as Upton likes to call him, "Bush 41."
Upton said he had a choice to speak prior to the President's appearance in Kalamazoo or be with him in Niles. He chose Niles.
Upton also accompanied the current President on his March 2001 trip to Western Michigan University, as well as accompanied former President Ronald Reagan on a campaign stop in 1988.