The victory speech Obama gave on Tuesday night was extraordinary for dozens of reasons. But I must admit I have great anxiety about his safetly when I see him in these enormous arenas . Yet, assassination is not discussed much in the media — almost as if it is a taboo subject.
For good reasons, the Secret Service must be a difficult agency to crack for the journalism community. Still, because of their discretion, we know little of the measures being taken to protect Obama and his family. Obama must be at considerably more risk than most, if not all, of his predecessors.
Newsweek embedded a team of reporters that covered the election on an embargoed basis until yesterday. They have many interesting observations. Among them was this:
The Obama campaign was provided with reports from the Secret Service showing a sharp and disturbing increase in threats to Obama in September and early October, at the same time that many crowds at Palin rallies became more frenzied. Michelle Obama was shaken by the vituperative crowds and the hot rhetoric from the GOP candidates. “Why would they try to make people hate us?” Michelle asked a top campaign aide.
Palin did overstep the line here, but let’s not make this about her. With or without Governor Palin’s poor judgement, President-Elect Obama would still be at risk.
Obama’s charisma is electrifying. But can the Secret Service really protect him inside these enormous stadiums and arenas? Can they guarantee that no gunmen could have reached him in Grant Park Tuesday? Manassas, Virginia Monday? Denver at the democratic convention?
According to media reports, Obama has been losing sleep worrying about governing. I worry about attempts on his life. Let’s reduce the number of extraordinarily open public appearances so that Obama can govern for his entire term or two. Then at least some of us will worry less even if he still lies awake at night thinking about how to improve America.