On ABC’s hit series “Scandal,” President Fitzgerald Grant is often seen sneaking out of the White House for a clandestine meeting with the covert agents of B-613 or a secret rendezvous with Olivia Pope, but nothing could be further from the truth.
The real president isn’t sneaking anywhere.
President Obama explained earlier this week what it’s like to try and break out of the White House bubble.
“Every once in a while, I’m able to sneak off… I’m sort of like the circus bear that kind of breaks the chain, and I start taking off, and everybody starts whispering, the bear’s loose,” he said.
In truth, the chain never breaks. The bear cage just gets a bit bigger.
Even the president’s seemingly impromptu stops and surprise drop-bys are well-orchestrated events.
This morning, diners at Chicago’s Valois Restaurant where shocked when the president popped by for breakfast (two eggs over medium, with bacon and hash browns, to be exact), but the location, no doubt, was carefully selected and reviewed by an advance team and the Secret Service.
For security purposes, the so-called “off the record” stops are planned in secret and kept from reporters until the moment the president arrives and range from visits to local stores to stops by Little League games and pull overs for burgers and shakes.
The visits give the president a chance to mingle with regular Americans and are often intended to highlight part of his broader political agenda, but they are also an opportunity for the most powerful man in the world to enjoy some seemingly regular activities.
Even a simple walk outside is anything but.
Earlier this week, Obama surprised his ever-present press pool when he strolled from the White House to the Interior Department for an event.
Tourists visiting the National Mall were also surprised.
One woman asked if he was real. “Someone’s gonna think you’re like wax!” she exclaimed as she posed for a picture with Obama.
But the security detail and throngs of officers on foot and bicycle were a tell-tale sign that he was the real deal.
At one point an aide seamlessly handed the president boxes of White House M&M’s to dole out to two little girls, ages 7 and “4 and three quarters.”
As he crossed the street, the president told motorists, “sorry to hold you up… You’re trying to go home and here I am messing you up.” The street, of course, had been blocked off.