The story goes like this (emphasis not mine):
In Florida for his bus tour on Sunday, President Barack Obama made an unannounced stop at Big Apple Pizza and Pasta in Ft. Pierce. There, the shop’s owner, Scott Van Duzer, lifted the president off the ground”
Obama entered the shop saying, “Scott, let me tell you, you are like the biggest pizza shop owner I’ve ever seen,” according to a White House pool report.
Van Duzer, 46, is a big guy: He is 6′ 3″ tall and weighs 260 pounds.
After Obama was lifted up, he said “Look at that!” Man are you a powerlifter or what?”
He continued, according to the pool, talking about Van Duzer’s big muscles.
“Everybody look at these guns,” he said. “If I eat your pizza will I look like that?”
Van Duzer, by the way, is a registered Republican who voted for Obama in 2008 and says he will do so again in November.
“I don’t vote party line, I vote who I feel comfortable with, and I do feel extremely comfortable with him,” he told the press pool.
Usually I don’t write about just politics, but as a matter of principle, I found this incident deeply disturbing. It’s dishonest; it’s propaganda, and propaganda can be dangerous. I may not be a specialist in matters of security, but any average citizen can see that this is totally staged.
When the President is in public, the Secret Service agents wear him like cologne (sorry, my husband’s descriptor). This is standard procedure, not just for Obama, but for any president, especially since the assassination of President Kennedy. Do you see a Secret Service agent anywhere in the shot? Nope.
A hug like this by a stranger puts the President in great danger. My husband, the Special Ops retired guy, says there are about 15 different ways (or more) to kill a man in this position, and it takes very little training to know how. Look at how big that guy is. Look at how Obama’s left carotid artery is exposed. One hard bite by someone trained to know what to do, and it can be severed. Death is almost instant. That gives me chills to even type, but the point is — the Secret Service would never permit this to happen unexpectedly. They exist to obstruct these possibilities.
Whether he’s shaking hands with admirers, walking off his own plane, or giving speeches, the President of the United States is surrounded by agents. Remember this interview in February 2009 with Matt Lauer from the Today Show? Even in the White House the President is surrounded by the Secret Service. Do you hear what Mr. Lauer says? (Begin at 6:46.) “I watched you walk down the halls a couple of times and there’s someone in front of you and someone behind you.”
Obama: “That’s exactly right.” That’s how tight security is, at home.
No doubt Secret Service agents were crawling all over this place of business to protect the President, but make no mistake, this little bear hug took lots of resources to pull off. It’s Florida, it’s an attempt to gain votes. I can understand wanting to show that the public loves you, but this went too far. It’s insulting, an antic for dictators. Does he think we are that stupid?