Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Dinner with President Obama

Last weekend, we went up to Washington, DC to participate in a rally.  And ran head on into the President of the United States of America!

His motorcade came pouring out of the Rose Garden side of the White House, and we were astounded at the power and depth of the entourage.

He has an amazing amount of people helping him to move safely around the world, and we got a glimpse of that.  Even my husband was impressed, and that is hard to do.  One of the more chilling vehicles was this one:

It came right behind a standard box ambulance, and we were told later that it was "additional support".  I guess Kennedy's assassination taught the Oval Office a lot about exposure of the President to the masses.  See that guy right at the steps in black, with his back to the street?  There were dozens of them, and they meant business.  No playing.  Get Off The Street!  Now! 

That's the ambulance that would whisk him away on the left.  And the suits walking in a line across the street are the Press Corps.  If you know DC, you know that this is the Hotel Washington, and that meant that the President, who was giving a reception for the Irish Prime Minister, only went one block from the White House.  With his entire support group. 

Now.  See the snipers on the roof?  There were locked and loaded, with binoculars and very large guns.  And see the Presidential Limo right in the middle of this picture??  Yes.

  After being safely blocked from the public by two square blocks, tons of Secret Service men,  snipers on the roof, and what looked like the entire Washington DC police force, we were allowed to walk down the side street right beside his entourage after we told the Secret Service man that we had a reservation in the "blocked zone", and could we please walk there?  They were about the nicest men I ever met - they understood two Senior Citizens wanting to go to dinner...however, they had steel cold eyes.  Never saw such a combination before.  Those men would slice you down in a second.  No remorse.

Here is Husband, sauntering down the street, right into the Bulls-Eye of the snipers.  "Come on", he said.  "This is the way to the restaurant".  Worst headache of the security team.  See them up on the roof?  Those two vertical hash marks above his right shoulder?  I closed my eyes and followed.  He's my husband, and he will keep me safe, right??  

I couldn't help it.  I took shots of the Limo when we got to the corner, although the cop with the hat had eyes that were boring into me as if to say, "Give me a complete break!".

We turned the corner to our restaurant, Old Ebbitt Grill (what else?) and husband, for God's sake, spotted a bench, and said, "Here, let's sit down and watch".  

Understand this:  the bench he wanted to lounge on was in No Man's Land, in a street stripped bare of bystanders, with only Secret Service Men, Cops, Snipers, and the Presidential Limo on it.  And us.  And he wants to sit down and watch???  I turned to look at the hundreds of people cordoned off by yellow crime tape about a block away, turned back to him, and hissed, "MOVE IT!" And slid inside the restaurant door without looking to see if he was following.  Thankfully, he was.

When we entered the restaurant, a little hush fell over the crowd peering through the windows at the action.  Husband stepped up to the hostess and announced our presence, and we were immediately whisked to a table, past all the people who were waiting for their reserved tables to be freed up, and who turned as one to look at us as we passed by.

Husband, who was by now imbued with the power of Capitol Hill, enjoyed his meal immensely.  And enlivened by our brush with power, so did I.


M said...

The Secret Service presence is insane! When I went to meet Clinton a few months ago they had almost the entire Edgewood center shut down, and when we worked at the airport years ago the entire airspace was shut down for W to just fly through! (hours of delayed flights just because he was in the vicinity!) When you're a POTUS, you're never alone!

Linda McMullan said...

Meg, you are right about that! Folks were grumbling about not being able to get home after work with the streets being shut down - I can just imagine what a snarl shutting down airspace was. Makes you want to think twice about running for POTUS, doesn't it?

snowwhite said...

I can feel very tense and nervous atmosphere in your report. I never forget the day when TV broke tragic news of late President Kennedy. It should never happen again. I wonder how many police officers or vehicles are moving with President.
Last year, by chance I encountered Crown Prince of Japan who was visiting Nara. The traffic was shut down, so I could not cross the street. But I was happy to see him waving to us. He was so classy and elegant!
Thanks a lot for sharing this, super interesting!

Linda McMullan said...

Keiko, the aura of power surrounding
the President and his motorcade was something we had never experienced before. It was tangible and physical. I am so glad we got to see and experience that. It made us appreciate the history of the Capitol City even more!


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