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Obama's unpredictability 'stresses' Secret Service
« on: July 13, 2014, 06:44:19 PM »
http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/212072-obamas-unpredictability-stresses-secret-service

July 13, 2014, 02:31 pm
Obama's unpredictability 'stresses' Secret Service

By Justin Sink



President Obama’s recent campaign-style adventures outside of the White House bubble are a chance for the president to shed the confines of his office, relishing the beer, barbecue, and face-to-face conversations with everyday Americans he wistfully describes as too inaccessible as president.

But the more frequently “the bear gets loose”, as the president and top staffers jokingly refer to the unscheduled forays away from the White House grounds, the more heartburn the president causes for the Secret Service agents charged with protecting his life.

Obama himself acknowledges that his impromptu walks and trips to restaurants can prove stressful for his security detail.

“I don’t get a chance to take walks very often,” he told a crowd in New York earlier this year. “Secret Service gets a little stressed. But every once in a while I’m able to sneak off.”

In Minneapolis late last month, he told a town hall meeting he liked to “tease” his Secret Service agents about how he was becoming unpredictable, before taking an unscheduled trip to a natural foods store and ice cream parlor. And in Austin earlier this week, Obama described how during a previous trip to the city, an unscheduled walk along the river had tested his detail’s nerves.

“I got about probably a mile, mile and a half, and then some people started spotting me so that by the time — Secret Service got nervous, and then by the time we got back, there was a big rope line and there was all the fuss,” Obama said.

The pull between allowing the president more freedom to engage with voters, escaping the confines of his office and the security challenges such movements create seemed crystalized in a pair of events during Obama’s trip to Denver earlier this week.

After grabbing some pizza at a photo-op with individuals who had written him letters, the president decided to forgo his motorcade and instead walk down a downtown promenade. During that trip, the president was approached by — and ended up shaking hands with — a man wearing a full latex horse mask.

Later that evening, Obama dropped by a pool hall and brewery, where one patron asked Obama if he wanted to smoke pot with him.

“Do you want a hit, man?” the man says on a video that quickly went viral online.

While both incidents were ultimately harmless, they underscored the unpredictability of what can happen when a president ventures out of the bubble.

“Any time the president leaves the White House complex, there are risks involved,” said Secret Service spokesman Ed Donvoan.

So-called “off the record” events pose a “unique challenge” for the president’s security team, said Dan Emmett, a former Secret Service agent and the author of “Within Arm’s Length,” a book about his time working on presidential details across three administrations.

“There’s a huge challenge in that you have virtually no time to put it together,” Emmett said.  “The biggest worry is wandering random crime in progress, or if you happen to run into the random crazy guy - the people walking down the street talking to themselves who could be armed somehow.”

Emmett says that the proliferation of smart phones and social media, which allow any individual to instantly broadcast the president’s whereabouts out, only heighten the risk of trips outside the bubble.

“Word gets around quickly — everybody has an iPhone,” he said.

Still, Donovan says the agency “mitigates these risks as much as possible.”

“We apply our knowledge and experience, and we've been doing this a long time,” he said.

Unscheduled trips can also have their benefits, said Mickey Nelson, who retired recently as the Assistant Director of the Secret Service.

“We use the element of surprise to our advantage,” Nelson said. “If we don't know were going there to the last minute, the adversary certainly doesn't know it.”

Nelson says that on presidential trips outside of Washington, the traveling Secret Service team includes dedicated agents who can fan out and help secure areas ahead of the president at a moment’s notice. He also said that in addition to “overt assets” like the agents traveling next to the president, “usually there’s a lot of covert” resources helping to protect him.

And after the president arrives at a restaurant or store, it’s fairly easy for agents to control the flow of patrons in and out — which decreases the risk posed by selfies with the president lighting up Twitter.

“We’ve been doing unscheduled movement since we started protecting the president in 1901,” Nelson said. “We’ve done them in war zones like Iraq and Afghanistan. We know what we’re doing.”

The Secret Service was reluctant to discuss if they had had discussions with the president’s staff about the frequency of the president’s “off the record trips,” which are happening with greater frequency as the midterm elections approach.

“But it just stands to reason, if something is happening more regularly that we are preparing for it more regularly,” Donovan said. “If we’re protecting a foreign dignitary and we know he likes to ride motorcycles, then we bring in people who know how to ride motorcycles. We prepare for things, and that would include if any protectee of ours is doing more events.”

Obama has not been subtle in indicating that such trips are more likely.

“What I’ve said to my team is ‘Get me out of Washington,’ ” Obama told donors at a fundraiser Wednesday night in Texas.

And White House press secretary Josh Earnest has said walks down Main Street are one part of the White House’s efforts to break through a difficult media environment.

“The President, like many of his predecessors, has talked about the challenge that’s posed by the presidential bubble; that one of the things that this President misses the most is the ability to walk down the street and talk to people,” Earnest said.

“That’s particularly important to him because he is sitting in the Oval Office, right up that hallway, making the kinds of decisions that he knows have a substantial impact on the daily lives of Americans,” he continued. “And he is looking for as many opportunities as he can to try to get some access and some insight into what are the challenges that people are facing.”

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Re: Obama's unpredictability 'stresses' Secret Service
« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2014, 06:54:12 PM »
He must be driving them insane.

See the nice young men in the suits and earpieces? That is half a protective detail. And they are nervous as hell - the guy in foreground is ready to go left tit at an instant's notice. Don't blame him, he's getting no feed from the rest of the detail.

When Obama does one of these spontaneous things, the rest of the detail has a problem. They have to do the impossible task of working the crowd fast.
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Offline speekinout

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Re: Obama's unpredictability 'stresses' Secret Service
« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2014, 06:57:28 PM »
Totally disgusting. It must be costing us a fortune to have enough SS guys around to take care of any whim that Dear Leader might have. If he doesn't like the job, he can resign.
All of a sudden, the idea of President Biden doesn't look as scary as it seemed just a few years ago.  **nononono*

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Re: Obama's unpredictability 'stresses' Secret Service
« Reply #3 on: July 13, 2014, 07:59:35 PM »
speekinout wrote above:
[[ All of a sudden, the idea of President Biden doesn't look as scary as it seemed just a few years ago. ]]

Be honest. A question for not only you, but anyone reading this:

Which makes you more uncomfortable:
- Obama and Valerie in the White House,
or...
- Joe Biden ??

C'mon, get it off yer chests... !

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Re: Obama's unpredictability 'stresses' Secret Service
« Reply #4 on: July 13, 2014, 08:13:45 PM »
Quote
“The President, like many of his predecessors, has talked about the challenge that’s posed by the presidential bubble; that one of the things that this President misses the most is the ability to walk down the street and talk to people,” Earnest said.
If he really considers the job so confining, perhaps he shouldn't have run for reelection in 2008.  **nononono*
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Re: Obama's unpredictability 'stresses' Secret Service
« Reply #5 on: July 13, 2014, 08:24:11 PM »
speekinout wrote above:
[[ All of a sudden, the idea of President Biden doesn't look as scary as it seemed just a few years ago. ]]

Be honest. A question for not only you, but anyone reading this:

Which makes you more uncomfortable:
- Obama and Valerie in the White House,
or...
- Joe Biden ??

C'mon, get it off yer chests... !

I go for Obama. Sorry. I have never bought into the Biden=idiot idea.
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Offline speekinout

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Re: Obama's unpredictability 'stresses' Secret Service
« Reply #6 on: July 13, 2014, 08:32:18 PM »
speekinout wrote above:
[[ All of a sudden, the idea of President Biden doesn't look as scary as it seemed just a few years ago. ]]

Be honest. A question for not only you, but anyone reading this:

Which makes you more uncomfortable:
- Obama and Valerie in the White House,
or...
- Joe Biden ??

C'mon, get it off yer chests... !

No question - 0bama & Valerie.

Neither 0bama nor Biden are competent. Valerie probably is, but she has an evil intent, and she just might get a lot of her agenda passed. She's had pretty much success so far.
Biden won't get the support that 0bama gets from voters. He's not black, and he's an even worse speaker. He won't be able to get away with much. He'd be a zero, which is better than a negative.

Offline massadvj

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Re: Obama's unpredictability 'stresses' Secret Service
« Reply #7 on: July 13, 2014, 09:05:46 PM »
Funny, but OPapaDoc's progressive/socialist predictability is what sresses most of us.
"She only coughs when she lies."

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Re: Obama's unpredictability 'stresses' Secret Service
« Reply #8 on: July 14, 2014, 10:10:52 AM »
Well, the bear can't go on the loose today. Just look at this full and extremely taxing schedule!
Quote
10:30 am || Receives the Presidential Daily Briefing
12:30 pm || Lunch with Biden
2:00 pm || Participates in and ambassador credentialing ceremony
3:15 pm || Meets with senior advisors
8:55 pm || Hosts an Iftar Dinner
White House Dossier
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Offline GourmetDan

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Re: Obama's unpredictability 'stresses' Secret Service
« Reply #9 on: July 14, 2014, 10:16:05 AM »
Quote
2:00 pm || Participates in and ambassador credentialing ceremony

Looks like Keith needs some help with his an/and usage...


« Last Edit: July 14, 2014, 10:16:34 AM by GourmetDan »
"The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left." - Ecclesiastes 10:2

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Offline GourmetDan

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Re: Obama's unpredictability 'stresses' Secret Service
« Reply #10 on: July 14, 2014, 10:21:03 AM »
Quote
Obama's unpredictability 'stresses' Secret Service

Bambi faces no threat whatsoever.

Unless he is now more valuable to his handlers as a 'martyr' than he is as a 'low-polling POTUS'.

Might wanna work on getting those numbers up just in case there Bambi...


« Last Edit: July 14, 2014, 10:21:29 AM by GourmetDan »
"The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left." - Ecclesiastes 10:2

"April Fools Day is the one day of the year that people critically evaluate news articles before accepting them as true." - Unknown

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Re: Obama's unpredictability 'stresses' Secret Service
« Reply #11 on: July 14, 2014, 10:26:12 AM »
If ValJar, et al., decide he'd be useful as a martyr ... he'll be a martyr.
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Offline GourmetDan

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Re: Obama's unpredictability 'stresses' Secret Service
« Reply #12 on: July 14, 2014, 10:34:09 AM »
If ValJar, et al., decide he'd be useful as a martyr ... he'll be a martyr.

And the arrogant fool doesn't even begin to comprehend that...


"The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left." - Ecclesiastes 10:2

"April Fools Day is the one day of the year that people critically evaluate news articles before accepting them as true." - Unknown

Offline Millee

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Re: Obama's unpredictability 'stresses' Secret Service
« Reply #13 on: July 14, 2014, 10:59:00 AM »
His narcissism requires him to surround himself with his fawning sycophants whenever possible.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2014, 10:59:35 AM by Millee »

Offline Chieftain

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Re: Obama's unpredictability 'stresses' Secret Service
« Reply #14 on: July 14, 2014, 11:09:08 AM »
His narcissism requires him to surround himself with his fawning sycophants whenever possible.

#NotInterestedinPhotoOps

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Re: Obama's unpredictability 'stresses' Secret Service
« Reply #15 on: July 15, 2014, 08:40:37 AM »
Another swell Iftar dinner is in the books! Hooray. One thing about which Obamboozler is predictable (sadly) - his love for Islam.
Quote
15 Jul 2014, 5:18 AM PDT 
 
President Obama held an Iftar dinner at the White House yesterday, honoring Muslims celebrating the end of fasting during the holy month of Ramadan.

During his speech, Obama spoke about the importance of religious freedom. “Tonight we reaffirm a simple truth. Fundamental to the character of our country is our freedom of religion -- the right to practice our faith as we choose, to change our faith if we choose, or to practice no faith at all and to do all this free from fear of,” he said.

Obama explained that in America, no faith should ever be targeted or disparaged for their beliefs.

“We are all Americans, equal in rights and dignity, and no one should ever be targeted or disparaged because of their faith,” he said. “And that, too, is what makes us stronger.”

The White House guest list included elected officials, members of the diplomatic corps, and religious and grassroots leaders in the Muslim American community.

“All of us are deserving of an equal opportunity to thrive -- no matter who we are, what we look like, what we believe, or how we pray,” Obama continued.

Obama also addressed the conflict between Israel and Palestine during his remarks.

“People here in the United States care deeply about what’s happening there, and I know there are strong views, as well as differences, about how we should move forward, which is part of American democracy,” he said. “We welcome that debate. That makes us stronger.”
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