As President, Barack Obama debuts a lot of things: economic plans, foreign policy... likely his own library one day. This week, however, the President debuted some serious hardware in the form of a brand-new presidential bus.
Codenamed "Stagecoach" when the President is aboard, the bus was built by well-known Canadian motorcoach builders Prevost, with an interior fitted by Nashville-based Hemphill Brothers Co., all to the tune of $1.1 million. The Secrete Service actually bought two of these buses using a fund for transportation and armored vehicles. The second will be used by whoever winds up being the 2012 Republican presidential nominee. The President's protectors also claim this purchase will turn out to be both cheaper and safer than what they used to do, which is lease a bus and temporarily outfit it with the required safety equipment.
As for what keeps the President safe in his tuxedo black motorcoach, the Secret Service is understandably silent on the issue of specs. If we use the Presidential limousine as a baseline, the new bus can likely withstand bullets, small bombs and chemical attacks, at the very least. It also probably has a supply of the President's own blood on board in case of emergencies, just like the limo, not to mention a robust cache of arms. A motorcade of over two dozen support vehicles also travels with the bus.
We're also in the dark about what's inside, but we hear it's nothing like what NASCAR drivers get. ABC News reports those who have seen the inside called it "subdued," and that the full bedroom in back has been replaced with a meeting room. Not many people beyond Obama's senior staff have even seen the inside of the bus. A cabinet secretary reportedly hitched a ride for a leg of the trip, but other guests on the tour travel behind the president in a dark red bus.
Check out more pics of the President's new rolling fortress in the gallery below, as well as two videos after the jump.