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Monday, February 25, 2008

“I’ve got the best protection in the world. So stop worrying.”

posted by on February 25 at 10:30 AM

Today’s New York Times has a front-page story about the question that’s been on a lot of people’s minds:

There is a hushed worry on the minds of many supporters of Senator Barack Obama, echoing in conversations from state to state, rally to rally: Will he be safe?

Dominic linked to it earlier, but if you didn’t already know Obama’s Secret Service knickname is Renegade, you might have read right over the link. It’s a fascinating piece—you learn that John Edwards didn’t get Secret Service protection even though Obama and Clinton have had it for a while; that Obama has become such pals with his security detail that they play basketball on election days together; that Gerald Posner, who wrote books on the assassinations of Kennedy and King, doesn’t think Obama’s in any greater danger of being shot than Clinton or her husband.

Mentions of the fate that befell President John F. Kennedy and Senator Kennedy only increased after Mr. Obama was joined on the campaign trail by Caroline Kennedy and Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts.

“I’m pretty familiar with the history,” Mr. Obama said. “Obviously, it was an incredible national trauma, but neither Bobby Kennedy nor Martin Luther King had Secret Service protection.”

At the end of the piece, Obama is traveling through Dallas.

Mr. Obama’s motorcade passed Dealey Plaza and the Texas Book Depository building, where the fatal shot was fired at President Kennedy in 1963. Several campaign aides looked out their windows, silently absorbing the scene.

Not so for Mr. Obama, who later said he had not realized he was passing the site. And no one in his car pointed it out.

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Many people are going to jump on this that Obama is somehow clueless as to the danger he is in and so forth.

But I find it comforting that he is able to focus on the task at hand without being distracted by things he can not control or really do much about. FDR was famous for always going to bed every night on time for his 12 year stint in the White House and reportedly never had problems sleeping. AND he never talked about the assasination attemp on his life in Miami right after winning the election in 1932. (see Conrad Black's biography on FDR)

Obama is just one cool cucumber!

Posted by Andrew | February 25, 2008 10:35 AM

Good news for Renegade.

New poll from the American Research Group:
Texas: Obama 50%, Clinton 42%

Please let this hold up. My ability to take much more of the Clinton camp's wailing about its perceived victimhood is evaporating quickly.

Posted by Mike in Iowa | February 25, 2008 10:37 AM

Clinton has Secret Service protection because she is a former First Lady, not because she is an at-risk presidential candidate. Just to clarify...

Posted by Julie | February 25, 2008 10:39 AM

i'm telling you obama can dodge bullets.

Posted by some dude | February 25, 2008 10:42 AM

“I was thinking about how I was starting to get a head cold and needed to make sure that I cleared up my nose before I got to the arena.”
That's the last line of the article. Think the author was trying to leave it open for a cocaine joke? Or am I twisted because that's what immediately popped into my head?

Posted by steve | February 25, 2008 10:44 AM

so if a nominee dies before taking office....from any cause ...after the nomination but before inauguration....or after the nomination and before the voting...who becomes president?

Posted by wondering | February 25, 2008 10:45 AM

No; and yes, very much so.

Posted by unPC | February 25, 2008 10:46 AM

@6, the VP becomes President if the President elect dies prior to the inagural. If it is prior to the election I think party rules have it go to the running mate.

Posted by Andrew | February 25, 2008 10:49 AM

Edwards did not have Secret Service protection because candidates usually have to hit a certain point in the delegate count where they look like a potential front runner. Before RFK you had to secure the nomination before getting Secret Service detail.

Obama on the other hand had lots of very violent threats e-mailed to him. Secret Service decided they should protect him.

Hillary gets Secret Service protection permanently as does her Husband because he was a POTUS.

Posted by Cato | February 25, 2008 11:02 AM

I worry far more about Huckabee being knocked off by one of Rove's agents than I do about Obama being in danger.

Even if McCain can then claim plausible deniability of it afterwards, it's still far more likely.

Posted by Will in Seattle | February 25, 2008 11:17 AM

I think it is poor journalism to continue talking about this. The media continues the thought, which then continues to grow.

I'd like to see the Stranger cease all discussion of assassination speculation. There's no need to fan the flames of whacko's out in the World.

Posted by Timothy | February 25, 2008 11:19 AM

Thanks. I worry about myself. I read blogs and blog-comments far too much. I think I'm turning into a dick.

Posted by steve | February 25, 2008 11:33 AM

Edwards did not have Secret Service protection. I went to an Edwards event in Iowa just before Christmas and there was no formal security at all. I walked in the front door and maybe 40 feet to the hotel conference room he was speaking from. Aside from the burly union guys on stage, who were there for political and not security reasons, nothing. Afterward, I walked up to Edwards, shook his hand, and asked him a couple of questions. I had on a heavy winter coat that could easily have concealed a weapon. It kind of amazed me, really, but on the other hand is a candidate in that position really in any more danger than your average second-tier celebrity walking down the street? I doubt it.

The people who need protection have it, and have had it for months.

Posted by Cascadian | February 25, 2008 12:11 PM

I need protection from Jen Graves NSFW images just above this story.


Posted by Will in Seattle | February 25, 2008 12:14 PM

@11, I totally second that motion. There seems to be a fetish with the Stranger staff saying Obama is going to get knocked off.

Posted by Andrew | February 25, 2008 12:42 PM

@15 Count me in for thirds on this one. It's not like we can do anything about it (he's got the protection he's gonna get at this point) and the whacko element out there does definitely take requests on this sort of thing.

So just put a lid on it. *That* is in your power...

Posted by bakfiets | February 25, 2008 4:43 PM

Based on how much ya'all say that the country hates Hillary(you read it here on Slog, like "the most polarizing presidential candidate ever" and "wouldn't vote for her if she were running against Hitler"), I'm guessing she is in MUCH more danger than Obama.

Posted by onion | February 25, 2008 5:05 PM

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