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Obama Takes Off For Europe

(AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

President Obama is now off on the first leg of his first overseas trip as president. His departure from Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland was at 8:33 a.m. ET -- 18 minutes behind schedule.

Here are some more nuggets about the trip:

  • He'll visit five countries over eight days: U.K., France, Germany, Czech Republic and Turkey. The White House mistakenly omitted Germany from the cover of its press book on the trip.
  • This is the second foreign trip of his presidency. He visited Canada on Feb. 19th. President George W. Bush took 49 foreign trips to 75 countries or territories. President Bill Clinton made 55 foreign trips to 72 nations.
  • Mr. Obama will have six legs on Air Force One totaling 10,997 miles:
    - Andrews AFB to London: 3674 miles
    - London to Strasbourg, France: 401 miles
    - Strasbourg to Prague, Czech Republic: 322 miles
    - Prague to Ankara, Turkey: 1134 miles
    - Ankara to Istanbul, Turkey: 217 miles
    - Istanbul, to Andrews AFB: 5229 miles
  • Background on presidential travel to the countries on this trip:

    - UNITED KINGDOM: Mr. Obama will be the 12th U.S. president to visit the U.K. The first was Woodrow Wilson, who visited King George V and Prime Minister Lloyd George on Dec 26-28, 1918. Further, Mr. Obama will be the 10th U.S. president to meet Queen Elizabeth II. As queen, she has met with every American chief executive since Dwight Eisenhower but one: Lyndon Johnson. She also met with Harry Truman while still a princess.

    - FRANCE: Woodrow Wilson was also the first U.S. president to visit France, attending the preliminaries to the Paris Peace Conference from Dec. 14-25, 1918. Mr. Obama will be the 11th U.S. president to visit this country.

    - GERMANY: Harry Truman was the first U.S. president to visit Germany. He attended the Potsdam Conference with Churchill and Stalin from July 16 – August 2, 1945. Mr. Obama will be the 11th president to visit Germany.

    - CZECH REPUBLIC: Mr. Obama is only the fourth U.S. president to visit the Czech Republic. The first was President George H.W. Bush on Nov 17, 1990, before Czechoslovakia split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

    - TURKEY: Dwight Eisenhower was the first U.S. president to visit Turkey on Dec.6-7, 1959. Mr. Obama will be the fifth.

Mark Knoller is a CBS News White House correspondent. You can read more of his posts in Hotsheet here.
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