Obama Drives $1.1 Million Secret Service Bus

08/16/2011 07:50 PM ET

President Barack Obama's bus, purchased for $1.1 million by the Secret Service, is traveling the Midwest with dark tinted windows and the size of a cross-country Greyhound.

Obama is speaking to voters at different states where he has been met with Tea Party activists. Critics say it's an early campaign paid with a bus tour paid by the American tax payers. The White House says it was a move to talk to the American people about the economy.

Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan emphasized that the bus wasn't purchased solely for the president and would be used for other dignitaries in the future. He said the agency has not previously had buses in its fleet and was overdue to get some since it's had to protect politicians traveling by bus for decades.

In the past, the service has had to lease buses and retrofit them for that purpose.

Donovan said two buses were purchased and one is being used by Obama as he travels through Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois. Both will be used by other officeholders and candidates.

Donovan declined to comment on the buses' design or capability. He said the decision to purchase the Obama buses was made about a year ago but had been under discussion longer, and that the money was taken from a fund for transportation and armored vehicles.

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