Barack Obama
Carolyn Kaster  /  AP
President Barack Obama waves before boarding his bus after having lunch and greeting people at The Old Market Deli, Monday, Aug. 15, 2011, in Cannon Falls, Minn., during his three-day economic bus tour. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
updated 8/16/2011 11:37:34 AM ET 2011-08-16T15:37:34

President Barack Obama is traveling the Midwest on a new $1.1 million bus purchased by the Secret Service, an impenetrable-looking conveyance the size of a cross-country Greyhound, painted all in black, with dark tinted windows and flashing red and blue lights.

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.

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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 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.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Video: Obama bus tour rolls through Midwest

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