Secret Service Agent-Turned Senate Hopeful: ‘I Like the President,’ but ‘Policies Just Wrong’

Sep 26, 2011 1:37pm

After more than a decade protecting presidents with the Secret Service, Daniel Bongino is currently running against the policies that the most recent president he worked under – President Obama – has moved along.

Bongino, who quit his job with the Secret Service in May to run for the Senate as a Republican in Maryland, told us on ABC’s “Top Line” today that it’s nothing personal.

“I like the president a lot personally. We had a good relationship. He was a wonderful man to me, and this is not any kind of a personal gripe,” Bongino said.

“It’s strictly a political, ideological difference. His policies I think are just wrong. We’re headed down a path I don’t think we want to go down.”

Bongino would become the first former Secret Service agent to serve in Congress. And his reason for running sounds similar to the rationale given by dozens if not hundreds of first-time candidates over the last few years.

“I got tired of the establishment bureaucrats who frankly were leading us down a road that I wasn’t comfortable with,” he said. “I think this is the first generation where we’re going to turn over to our children a country that is less prosperous than ours. So I decided it was time for real people who have led real lives with real consequence to get off the couch and to do something, and giving up my job and running for office was my way of doing it.”

Bongino is focusing on jobs in vying to take on Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., next fall.

“I’m not forfeiting one vote, I refuse. I didn’t leave my job to lose. So that’s how I’m going to win,” Bongino said. “I think we really are going to leave a crater in Maryland politics, and a lot of people are taking note. No one is laughing anymore, I can assure you.”

And Bongino shared some trade secrets from his former job. When agents are talking into their sleeves, it’s not always business, he told us.

“Of course. We’re only human beings,” he said. “You’re on constantly when you’re out in front of the podium and you’re watching the crowd, of course you’re scanning and you’re looking for any potential threat. But there’s always those breaks in the action, you know, when you’re in the motorcade sometimes and you’re pulling into an event and you get those five minutes of down time, maybe in the car making a phone call.

“You gotta break the tension, you can’t stay tense for 12 straight hours — that’s no way to function. So yeah, sports scores, jokes, we do that of course. I miss the guys a lot. It was a fantastic experience, really, every bit of it.”

Bongino also admitted that while agents look cool out there, they aren’t always.

“You never ever learn to not sweat,” he said. “If you ever look at some of the B-roll with me and the president, I’m always sweating, constantly. The worst would be when you worked out in the morning, and your body temperature was elevated, and it was 100 degrees at the White House and you’re wearing that thick bullet-proof vest — you are just in a constant sweat. I used to go through handkerchiefs daily, I’d throw 3 or 4 of them out, it’s hot all of the time.”

“So no, you never learn how to stop sweating, unfortunately.”

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