The Price of Protection

By Ed O'Keefe

Apr 3, 2008 12:00pm

ABC News’ Melissa Chee Reports: The United States Secret Service estimates they spend upwards of $76,000 per day protecting Sens. Barack Obama, D-Ill., and Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., as they wage an extended battle for the Democratic nomination.

U.S. Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan told the House Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security that each candidate’s protection detail costs taxpayers roughly $38,000 a day — a figure expected to increase to $44,000 a day as the campaign heats up and the number of events per day increases.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., the presumptive Republican nominee, has not yet requested Secret Service protection.

Testifying at a hearing entitled "Candidate Protection: Balancing the U.S. Secret Service Workload", Sullivan noted the Service initiated protection for Obama earlier than any other candidate in history when they assigned a protective detail to the junior Senator from Illinois in May 2007.

Sen. Clinton, in her capacity as a former first lady, was already assigned a protective detail.

Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., the Democratic presidential nominee in 2004, was not assigned Secret Service protection until February of that year.

Sullivan also confirmed that the Secret Service will be the lead federal law enforcement agency during Pope Benedict XVI’s forthcoming trip to the United States.

For all the latest from the campaign trail, read The Note every morning exclusively on ABCNews.com

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