Riding with the president’s motorcade


President Barack Obama in Austin. Photo courtesy BarackObama.com.

Last week President Barack Obama was in town for a tour of Austin’s high-tech industry which I got to hear about through a friend who managed to join the press pool to cover the day and, most notably, to ride in the motorcade.

No where else does the motorcade for a head of state like America, which will shut down highways and swaths of a city’s blocks, with snipers on rooftops, in addition to the long line of vehicles itself that includes police cars, decoy limos, counter assault vehicles and bomb squads–and a minibus full of reporters where my friend found himself.

He said he had a great time, though the only problem was that the vehicle in which he was traveling was well behind the presidential limo. Add to this the fact that visits are organized with such military precision, so that when the presidential limo arrived at a venue’s entrance the president would be whisked to the stage to give his speech, leaving the reporters about half a mile back and needing to run in to catch up.

Apparently a couple of reporters from some big-name publications were a little on the heavy side and worked up a fine lather of sweat as the gaggle of reporters pounded the pavement to catch up with the president. The day ended for my friend stood on the airport tarmac with the motorcade parked up and watching Air Force One taxi away and take off back to Washington.