President Obama and First Lady leave Monday for Mandela service

McClatchy Washington BureauDecember 8, 2013 

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama leave early Monday for Johannesburg, South Africa, where they'll attend the national memorial service for former President Nelson Mandela, who died Thursday at the age of 95.

The White House schedule has the couple spending the night aboard Air Force One, as the plane arrives early Tuesday in South Africa. Also expected to travel with the first couple, former President George W. Bush and his wife, Laura.

The memorial service will be held Tuesday at a stadium in Johannesburg, followed by a smaller funeral on Dec. 15 in Mandela's hometown.

Former President Bill Clinton said last week he also planned to travel to South Africa, along with his wife, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. It was unclear whether the Clintons would also fly on Air Force One.

"My whole family will be there," Clinton said in an interview with CNN last week. "And we're looking forward to having the chance to say good-bye one last time."


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