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Obama outsmarts critics of Copenhagen trip by meeting Gen. McChrystal there to talk Afghanistan

October 2, 2009 |  8:03 am

President Obama confers with Gen. Stanley McChrystal, his top military commander on Afghanistan, in the Oval Office

For three hours the other day, the president's chief military adviser on Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChyrstal, joined a strategy session in the White House Situation Room by video hookup. The reason: He was in London.

So today, President Obama arranged for him to fly to Copenhagen so the two could meet in person.

As Air Force One held on the ground in Denmark, the two met for 25 minutes. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs called it a one-on-one meeting in the plane's forward cabin.

"Gen. McChrystal -- his wife, Annie, is also aboard and had an opportunity to meet both the president and the first lady prior to the meeting that's happening in the president's forward cabin on Air Force One," Gibbs said.

Here's a tour inside Air Force One, which was filmed during the Bush administration and is one of the most in-depth looks available inside the president's cabin in the sky.

Today's strategy session aboard Air Force One, one of the perks of the presidency, could quiet Republican critics on two fronts. Or, this being Washington, maybe not.

House Minority Leader John Boehner has slammed the president for even undertaking the Olympic diplomacy, criticizing Obama for "going to go off to Copenhagen when we've got serious issues here at home that need to be debated."

And the Senate Intelligence Committee's top Republican, Missouri's Christopher Bond, recently criticized Obama for not speaking more to McChrystal and pushed for the general to testify before Congress.

"While the president doesn't want to hear from Gen. McChrystal," he said, "Congress does."

-- Johanna Neuman

Photo: A file photo of Obama and McChyrstal. Credit: Pete Souza / White House

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