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Obama's Car gets stuck pulling out of Dublin Embassy
May 23, 2011 10:26 AM   Subscribe

While pulling out of the American Embassy in Dublin this morning, Barack Obama's bullet-proof, missile-proof, nuclear launch-code enabled limo got stuck on an overly steep concrete incline.
posted by rudhraigh (151 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
And here I was expecting a gunfire exchange......NEXT
posted by wheelieman at 10:27 AM on May 23, 2011


HA-ha

(Where is Nelson Muntz when you need him?)
posted by LooseFilter at 10:29 AM on May 23, 2011


What a farce. And how incredibly dangerous...
posted by KokuRyu at 10:29 AM on May 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Republican spin: "My God, he can't even get a car moving, how can he fix the economy?!"
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:30 AM on May 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


(suppose I should have included this)
posted by LooseFilter at 10:30 AM on May 23, 2011


Overly steep concrete inclines clearly hate our freedom.
posted by The World Famous at 10:30 AM on May 23, 2011 [11 favorites]


What a farce. And how incredibly dangerous...

What's a farce about it, and what's dangerous?
posted by Riptor at 10:30 AM on May 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


If this results in a massive DHS crackdown on speed bumps and poorly-designed traffic structures, I'm all for it.
posted by schmod at 10:31 AM on May 23, 2011 [6 favorites]


Have you been to Ireland? That place wasn't designed to ease the travel of limousines.
posted by Ron Thanagar at 10:32 AM on May 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


What's a farce about it, and what's dangerous?

It's a farce that the Secret Service didn't identify the issue before driving the car over it. It's dangerous because mobility of the vehicle carrying the President is a key part of protecting him.
posted by The World Famous at 10:33 AM on May 23, 2011 [37 favorites]


I like that Death Star Van (probably armored) that pulls up right afterwards.
posted by mecran01 at 10:33 AM on May 23, 2011


Does anyone need a driver? 'cuz I know someone who is looking for a job.
posted by tomswift at 10:33 AM on May 23, 2011


What a quagmire.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 10:34 AM on May 23, 2011


The World Famous is absolutely correct. Having had at least a little experience with USSS and PPD security measures, I'm sure that they had a nice collective freak-out.
posted by awesomebrad at 10:36 AM on May 23, 2011


Okay, I’ll bite:

How’d they get the limo in there?
posted by sidesh0w at 10:37 AM on May 23, 2011 [14 favorites]


C'mon guys, are you even trying? Nothing about gitmo, gay marriage, the destruction of the middle class, our two or three or however many wars we are involved in, how this the the perfect analogy for the dems or Obama's corporate overloards? Can't we even get a comment about the massive expenditure of sending obama to Ireland while millions of Americans still don't have health care? Where is Joe Beese when we need him?
posted by Ad hominem at 10:38 AM on May 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


What a boring video. Did I miss something? After the van pulls up nothing much seems to be going on.

It's an odd little news item, sure, but a boring video.
posted by oddman at 10:38 AM on May 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Doh.
posted by Leezie at 10:38 AM on May 23, 2011


A sense there's a deeper meaning to this video than just a stuck car.
posted by crunchland at 10:38 AM on May 23, 2011


Was the stranded limo then assaulted by a crack squad of crazed rabbits?
posted by Naberius at 10:39 AM on May 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


Heads will roll, unlike cars.
posted by DU at 10:39 AM on May 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


This non-story is also the top news on Fox. (And the rest of the headlines there? WTF.)

It was funny, switching channels a few times during that powerhouse of a speech, FNC spent most of the time talking about the Joplin tornado. After that was done with and the speech was still ongoing, they defaulted to Lou Dobbs talking about Mexican drug runners. I guess it's hard to maintain a race-baiting narrative when your target is talking up his Irish roots in front of an adoring crowd.

At least the U.S. media doesn't have a monopoly on shitty reporting.
posted by Rhaomi at 10:40 AM on May 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


I like that Death Star Van (probably armored) that pulls up right afterwards.

I figured that as soon as it pulls up and obscures the view of Obama's limo is when Danny Ocean and the gang make the switch and Brad Pitt ends up as sitting president.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:40 AM on May 23, 2011 [25 favorites]


These beans can't possibly be overthunk.

I dare you all to prove me wrong.
posted by killdevil at 10:42 AM on May 23, 2011


shakespeherian: "I figured that as soon as it pulls up and obscures the view of Obama's limo is when Danny Ocean and the gang make the switch and Brad Pitt ends up as sitting president."

I think you mean Don Cheadle.
posted by namewithoutwords at 10:42 AM on May 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


This never would have happened if Obama had an armored stretch Hummer. Or a skateboard.
posted by arto at 10:44 AM on May 23, 2011


I dunno, I've seen far worse metaphors for the fall of an empire. I mean, a massive, gas-guzzling overpriced armored verhicle going someplace it should never have been, and being felled by its own hubris is a bit on the nose, but you gotta take what you can get.
posted by drjimmy11 at 10:46 AM on May 23, 2011 [7 favorites]


What's a farce about it, and what's dangerous?

The President of the United States being stuck anywhere is incredibly dangerous. This is especially the case because much of the Secret Service's emergency plans seem to involve "get the president in the car and drive the hell out of there." If you were standing there as part of the security detail, it would have to at least occur to you that someone could have sabotaged the ramp or the limo as the first step in a forthcoming ambush. Remember there was just a bomb in Northern Ireland on Saturday. Now the entrance of the US Embassy in Dublin seems like an unlikely place for something terrible like that to go down, but still, that's a dangerous as hell situation.
posted by zachlipton at 10:46 AM on May 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


George Bush's Car Breaks Down in Rome.

Just sayin'.
posted by Celsius1414 at 10:47 AM on May 23, 2011


To go forward, put it in D.
posted by The White Hat at 10:48 AM on May 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Kept wondering if SEAL team 6 would jump out of the caravan, heft the president's limo onto their shoulders, and run away with it.

But no, they stayed stuck.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 10:49 AM on May 23, 2011 [6 favorites]


It's dangerous because mobility of the vehicle carrying the President is a key part of protecting him.

Right the key defensive measure of any armored car is to get the hell out of there whenever anything sketchy happens, which is why in addition to all of the armor they always make sure it's extremely difficult to disable the tires. Although most armored cars are used by rich people in places where they would get kidnapped by a few armed thugs, where escaping is pretty much the only option. I would guess the most important part of protecting the route he drives through is checking for roadside bombs, since that would be the only way to really do significant damage to that tank of a limo, short of firing a missile at it or something. But having it sit immobilized somewhere is definitely not a good thing from a security standpoint.
posted by burnmp3s at 10:49 AM on May 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


That's because it wasn't built to handle balls as heavy as Obama's.
posted by spicynuts at 10:50 AM on May 23, 2011 [33 favorites]


I made the same facial expression I make when I see that happen in real life, you know, that "OH Shiiiiiiiit that sounded bad" face.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 10:51 AM on May 23, 2011


Wow, freak-out inducing indeed for the security team.
posted by odinsdream at 10:51 AM on May 23, 2011


I loved the crowd noise.

"YAAAAYYYY--OH!"
posted by dirigibleman at 10:52 AM on May 23, 2011 [6 favorites]


> This never would have happened if Obama had an armored stretch Hummer.

Perhaps?
posted by Horselover Phattie at 10:52 AM on May 23, 2011


I think you mean Don Cheadle.

I don't see the world through those eyes.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:52 AM on May 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Anyone have a link to the actual speech?
posted by joe lisboa at 10:53 AM on May 23, 2011


He can kiss his deposit goodbye when he brings that sucker back to the Hertz drop-off at the airport. The car rental places in Ireland *LOVE* American drivers, because they can count on them bringing the cars back with damage from the shitty little roads.
posted by briank at 10:55 AM on May 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


nuclear launch-code enabled limo

How does that work?

OnStar?
posted by Trurl at 10:57 AM on May 23, 2011 [8 favorites]


I figured that as soon as it pulls up and obscures the view of Obama's limo is when Danny Ocean and the gang make the switch and Brad Pitt ends up as sitting president.

What I love the most about this line is that you remembered Clooney's character name, or that name is better then the actor's name, but Brad Pitt remained Brad Pitt even though the character was Rusty Ryan. You know, now that I've written that out, I would have written your line up the exact same way. Rusty Ryan? Really! Huh.
posted by cavalier at 10:58 AM on May 23, 2011 [6 favorites]


Rusty Ryan is the only name that doubles as a children's book character and and advanced sexual position.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:00 AM on May 23, 2011 [11 favorites]


See, thats the difference between 1st world and 3rd world country. Had he been the head of state for azerbaijan, it would have been expected for him to get out and push...or at least steer, since he is the prez.
posted by hal_c_on at 11:00 AM on May 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


General specifications of 'The Beast.'
posted by ericb at 11:04 AM on May 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Palin just tweeted on this:

With unlimited axis to our USA's superior technology and security, this admin. can't handle an incline going upwards - doesn't sound very techmological to me!
posted by airing nerdy laundry at 11:06 AM on May 23, 2011


General specifications of 'The Beast.'

8 miles per gallon is pretty good considering "it is fitted with military grade armor at least five inches thick".
posted by Trurl at 11:08 AM on May 23, 2011


What I don't understand is the massive metal 'clinkkerchunk' sound. It is as if a metal grate came loose or broke and the car just dropped into it. IIRC Armored limos of the SUV variety are pretty heavy.
posted by Gungho at 11:08 AM on May 23, 2011


Rusty Ryan is the only name that doubles as a children's book character and and advanced sexual position.

Don't issue that challenge on the internet. Just don't.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 11:08 AM on May 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


I would guess the most important part of protecting the route he drives through is checking for roadside bombs, since that would be the only way to really do significant damage to that tank of a limo, short of firing a missile at it or something. But having it sit immobilized somewhere is definitely not a good thing from a security standpoint.

I'm no security expert by any means, but I'd guess you've hit the nail on the head. The Secret Service is worried about a different set of threats when the President is in the limo in-transit versus out in the open air. If his car is disabled, chances are decent he will have to get out of it. If he has to get out of the limo, even for a moment, he's potentially exposed to a whole range of threats in a location where the advance planning hasn't necessarily included higher levels of security to address those threats. The pedestrians within a certain distance from the President haven't been screened, counter-sniper teams probably aren't setup there, local (foreign) police officers are a lot closer to the action than they might normally be, they might normally have a tent setup where he would be walking in the open air, and who knows what else they might do.

That's what makes this a dangerous situation: something outside of their control forced a certain course of action.
posted by zachlipton at 11:10 AM on May 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


Aside from Mike Mulligan and His Steamshovel.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:11 AM on May 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


What I don't understand is the massive metal 'clinkkerchunk' sound.

My initial thought was one of those pop up car traps (the pointy ones or the triangle ramp style) that might go across that gateway smacking into the (doubtless) heavy plate steel on the bottom of the car (bullet/bomb proofing).

I imagine there's some bloody great bits of steel hanging off that car that could easily make that noise. Pretty obvious flaw in the design, though.
posted by Brockles at 11:12 AM on May 23, 2011


Rusty Ryan is the only name that doubles as a children's book character and and advanced sexual position.

How is a Rusty Ryan different from a Rusty Venture? Is it just a Rusty Venture but without the crying?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:12 AM on May 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


Can't we even get a comment about the massive expenditure of sending obama to Ireland while millions of Americans still don't have health care?

You lost me here. What does this event have to do with the Republicans?
posted by Ron Thanagar at 11:16 AM on May 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Rhaomi: "This non-story is also the top news on Fox. (And the rest of the headlines there? WTF.)

I had to do a double-take, because I was 99% sure that was some sort of Colbert-inspired parody site.

The logic that they're employing in their headlines/stories looks like something taken directly from a Monty Python sketch.

"Chocolate milk removed from a Minnesota school lunchroom. WE'RE NOT SAYING IT'S OBAMA'S FAULT, BUT LOOK AT WHO'S PRESIDENT AND READ BETWEEN THE LINES...HE TURNED ME INTO A NEWT!"
posted by schmod at 11:16 AM on May 23, 2011


General specifications of 'The Beast.'

...Kept in the trunk is a blood bank of the President's blood type.[citation needed]


Oh really Wikipedia? Ya think?
posted by ShawnString at 11:17 AM on May 23, 2011


My thought on the sound was some sort of anti-landmine/IED shield dropping down. Also, I bet that sound you heard was the sound of many thousands of dollars evaporating.
posted by DigDoug at 11:18 AM on May 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


I had the day off work today and so had a lot of the Obama visit on in the background, have to say that he's turned me from being a "meh, who cares" into a "well isn't he just great". Great PR, and now Tourism Ireland have some great photos.

Also, the present, 'Legends of Hawaii' written Padraic Colum, given to the kids I thought was just lovely.
posted by Fence at 11:18 AM on May 23, 2011


On second thought.

Dear Mr. Ailes,

Attached is a printout of http://nation.foxnews.com dated May 23, 2011. I feel that you should be aware that some asshole is posting stupid content to a website with your name on it.

Sincerely,
The Internet.
posted by schmod at 11:20 AM on May 23, 2011 [6 favorites]


Whoa!

This is bizarre to say the least. Seconding several of the other commenters here, this is a massive security violation and someone should lose their job.

Now, the video can be seen other ways. Knowing of course that Mr. Obama got off safely, you can see it as dull. But imagine you were there, and in charge of protecting the President....

Or even more, imagine you were watching a movie and this happened. You'd be shitting your pants because you'd be fully expecting that suddenly the guys with machine guns would suddenly jump out.

The car is stuck for SO long that it's actually vulnerable to unplanned attacks, which is the very worst. There's literally enough time for someone to run home and get their grenade launcher or whatever ironmongery they have lying around from the bad old days and start potting it off.

You know, I consistently get the feeling that the Secret Service just isn't trying very hard with Mr. Obama. When people showed up with unloaded guns to Mr. Obama's rallies and nothing happened to them "because it was their Constitutional right" I was like, WTF!? People carrying unloaded guns around the President makes it exponentially harder to detect that one guy with a loaded gun!

I'm hardly Mr. Law And Order Authoritarian, but if someone shows up carrying a gun, empty or not, to see the President, I completely expect him to instantly be whisked away and be interrogated for a long time, be investigated in detail later, and generally be made miserable that he ever came up with such a stupid idea. Bush was Mr. Guns but if someone had appeared at one of his rallies with a gun, this would never have happened.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 11:22 AM on May 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


There's literally enough time for someone to run home and get their grenade launcher

This is why I always keep a spare grenade launcher in my desk at work.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:24 AM on May 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think the real operational SNAFU is that the first escort car hit the thing (as you can hear in the linked video, and also hear the crowd react), and didn't warn the POTUS limo in time for the POTUS limo to avoid the obstacle. The whole point of a security caravan is to provide the protected POTUS limo advance warning of trouble, so that it can take alternative, avoiding action. This was a stupid communication and driver error, and it shouldn't have occurred, after the first vehicle's obvious contact with the obstacle.
posted by paulsc at 11:28 AM on May 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


When the first shot rang out in Dealey Plaza, the driver of Kennedy's limousine slowed down.

Maybe chauffeuring is where the Secret Service puts its less able people.
posted by Trurl at 11:31 AM on May 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


lupus_yonderboy: "this is a massive security violation and someone should lose their job."

THIRTEEN: I keep replaying it in my mind. Did I drop the pills when I put them on the bed tray? Did I knock them over when I turned to leave?
HOUSE: You know he'd be alive. His dog'd be alive.
THIRTEEN: I know.
HOUSE: You forced us to act on a false assumption.
THIRTEEN: I know.
HOUSE: Everything we built from that step on. Every test. Every theory. Every treatment.
THIRTEEN: (yells) I know! Forget the lecture and fire me already!
HOUSE: If I was going to fire you, I wouldn't be giving you the lecture. I know you're not going to let anything like this ever happen again. (pause) I'll see you tomorrow.
posted by Plutor at 11:31 AM on May 23, 2011


STOP TAKING ATTENTION AWAY FROM MY 112 PAGE PDF.

God this is like creative writing 101 ALL OVER AGAIN.
posted by klue at 11:32 AM on May 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


shakespeherian: Ireland saw some serious military action for decades, ending not so long ago (thus the reference to the "bad old days") - there have been years of voluntary disarmament but I'm sure there's ordinance still lying around.

I'm still shaking my head here.

This reflects badly on the President. "Mistakes happen" should never be the motto of the Presidency and utterly and particularly when it comes to "protecting the king" - making sure that the President is never vulnerable to attack.

"If he can't protect himself, how can be protect America?" is waaaay oversimple, but still has some aspects to contemplate. Yes, I know he isn't personally responsible for his own security, but he isn't personally responsible for anything at all, in that sense.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 11:32 AM on May 23, 2011


Seconding several of the other commenters here, this is a massive security violation and someone should lose their job.

Oh, come on. Nothing was going to happen. It's not like anyone in the Republic of Ireland has access to guns or explosives.
posted by Mayor Curley at 11:37 AM on May 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yeah, they should have had all 500hp of that Beemer bringing up the rear reved up and powering the limo up and over at all costs.

Also, whoever scouted that exit wasn't doing their job. At all.
posted by Slap*Happy at 11:38 AM on May 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


If there's anything in this Dublin visit that could be considered hazardous to Obama's well-being, it's exposure to Jedward.
posted by delfin at 11:38 AM on May 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


The Guardian live blog says a reporter climbed a tree to see over top of the deathstar van and saw them bring another "beast" out of the garage.
posted by Rumple at 11:41 AM on May 23, 2011


This reflects badly on the President. "Mistakes happen" should never be the motto of the Presidency and utterly and particularly when it comes to "protecting the king" - making sure that the President is never vulnerable to attack.

I agree that it reflects badly on the President. But in reality, it should reflect badly on the policymakers who have failed to organize, empower, and fund the Secret Service in a way that would provide for it to adequately and effectively perform its central mission. The Secret Service has a long and ridiculous history of brave, dedicated individuals being prevented at every turn from performing their duty due to idiotic policy decisions, bureaucracy, an unclear mission, insufficient funding, garbled mandates, and unreasonable demands by protectees. The recent developments (i.e. in the last 10 years) regarding agency affiliations and chain of command have done nothing, as far as I can tell, to improve the situation. In short, the Secret Service has never, in the history of the United States, been organized the way that it ought to be, operated as it should, or been properly managed at the direct level, the bureaucratic level, or in terms of authority and congressional oversight.
posted by The World Famous at 11:45 AM on May 23, 2011


Dude, where's the 1960's-era Speed Racer technology? Deploy the rear skids, and push the limo up and over.

Also, I now have Devo's "Speed Racer" stuck in my head.
posted by Eideteker at 11:45 AM on May 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh, come on. Nothing was going to happen. It's not like anyone in the Republic of Ireland has access to guns or explosives.

Anyone with any real knowledge of the history and funding of the various factions over there know damn well, however, that the last target any of them will pick will be someone that will alienate their US allies. The chances of Irish terrorists groups attacking the US President would be somewhere around nil.

Of course, this still means that it is a big security risk, but do we even know that POTUS was even in the car? Or was this one of the dummy convoys? Could it have even been a major sleight of hand distraction as Obama walked across the street on the other side of the building with a hat and sunglasses on?

That'd be awesome if it were true.
posted by Brockles at 11:46 AM on May 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hm, a thread about Ireland has no results for the words potato, beer, whiskey, alcohol, drink, drunk, green, St. Patrick, shamrock, or leprechaun.

Carry on.
posted by desjardins at 11:50 AM on May 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


The chances of Irish terrorists groups attacking the US President would be somewhere around nil.

They're not the only ones with potential motives.
posted by Trurl at 11:54 AM on May 23, 2011


Ireland saw some serious military action for decades, ending not so long ago

I'm well aware. But grenade launchers kept at home is funny, regardless.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:59 AM on May 23, 2011


I have always hated that building in all its revolting concrete bunker glory. It gives me a strange glee to see that its driveways are as badly designed as the rest of it.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 11:59 AM on May 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


I loved the crowd noise.

"YAAAAYYYY--OH!"

I burst out laughing at that--it made me think of this Ask post.

posted by The Bridge on the River Kai Ryssdal at 11:59 AM on May 23, 2011


The IRA are not going to attack the Pres. The USA funds them.
posted by marienbad at 12:02 PM on May 23, 2011


They're not the only ones with potential motives.

That isn't any sort of real indication of a threat. Especially being as neither of those guys were Irish.
posted by Brockles at 12:03 PM on May 23, 2011


The IRA are not going to attack the Pres. The USA funds them.

The IRA is not the only group of terrorists in the world who knows how to get to Ireland and who knew the President would be there.
posted by The World Famous at 12:04 PM on May 23, 2011


I think you mean Don Cheadle.

What, just because Cheadle is the better actor?
posted by Mister_A at 12:12 PM on May 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Remember there was just a bomb in Northern Ireland on Saturday.

Yeah, but there was a bomb for the manager of Celtic, as well. Bombs are just part of the rich tapestry of life.
posted by rodgerd at 12:13 PM on May 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


The IRA is not the only group of terrorists in the world who knows how to get to Ireland and who knew the President would be there.

No, but it would be a pretty stupid place to set up an operation, I'd have thought. The place (well, more the North, obviously) has lived under constant fear of ambush and bomb plots for decades and is probably pretty well versed in spotting and neutralising them.

I'd certainly not put the Irish authorities on any list of 'places easy to hoodwink and set up a terrorist strike' that's for sure. The top half of the country have been living in an almost constant state of alert for more than 30 years.
posted by Brockles at 12:15 PM on May 23, 2011


And besides that, most IRA holdouts at this point who would plot attacks and bombings aren't exactly the most rational people. Most of the IRA has long-since disarmed, and even some of the holdout groups have laid down their weapons in recent years. There's no particular reason to think that someone trying to kill the President is at all mentally stable or capable of complex political analysis to determine the effects of their actions. In fact, past history tells us that the opposite is most likely the case.

None of that matters, however, when the President's car is stuck in an unplanned location and you have no idea what, if anything, is coming.
posted by zachlipton at 12:21 PM on May 23, 2011


What, just because Cheadle is the better actor?

Because it would be awesome to hear Cheadle's take on what it would sound like if someone with a really bad fake English accent attempted to do a really bad fake American accent on top of it.
posted by The World Famous at 12:41 PM on May 23, 2011


ABC News video of 'The Beast.'

CNN's video of 'The Beast.'
posted by ericb at 12:44 PM on May 23, 2011


Speaking of shitty accents...
posted by BobbyVan at 12:47 PM on May 23, 2011


Previous MeFi FPP: The Beast.
posted by ericb at 12:48 PM on May 23, 2011


...Kept in the trunk is a blood bank of the President's blood type.[citation needed] ... Oh really Wikipedia? Ya think?

Citation provided.
posted by ericb at 12:53 PM on May 23, 2011


Interesting detail:
"Security surrounding Obama is so tight that he is not permitted to drink a pint of Guinness unless it has been classified as ‘secure’ by the secret service. Obama is due to have a pint in Ollie Hayes Pub in Moneygall but it has been decided that the keg of Guinness is being brought from the U.S.

‘The last thing we need is for Obama to be poisoned by a pint in Ireland,’ according to sources."
posted by ericb at 12:59 PM on May 23, 2011


Make no mistake.

Please.
posted by Danf at 1:18 PM on May 23, 2011


I don't think that the limo that got stuck was "The Beast." If you compare the photos of the vehicle that high-centered with photos of the current-gen presidential limo, you can see that The Beast has an updated grille and newer-style headlamps.


@ericb, Unless that Daily Mail article got its info from the WH press office, I wouldn't offer it up as a cite. For all we know the article could have pulled its "facts" from Wikipedia.
posted by roomwithaview at 1:19 PM on May 23, 2011


If there's anything in this Dublin visit that could be considered hazardous to Obama's well-being, it's exposure to Jedward.

Well, at least he's been spared from seeing their originally planned performance.
Volcano ash forces Obama to leave Ireland early.
posted by ericb at 1:19 PM on May 23, 2011


@ericb, Unless that Daily Mail article got its info from the WH press office, I wouldn't offer it up as a cite.

Well, how about a cite from Sky News on a 2009 article about the vehicle?
"The car contains a tear-gas cannon, oxygen tanks and bottles of the president's AB blood. It can drive at speeds of more than 60mph with punctured tyros."
As well, also from Sky News this morning:
"And a group of six doctors are on stand-by with supplies of Mr Obama's AB blood ready to use in any medical emergency."
posted by ericb at 1:29 PM on May 23, 2011


Palin just tweeted on this:

With unlimited axis to our USA's superior technology and security, this admin. can't handle an incline going upwards - doesn't sound very techmological to me!


Probability that this is not a joke, and that Palin actually wrote this, exactly as it appears above: 63.7%.
posted by Ratio at 1:30 PM on May 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


The BBC link has a much more satisfying *thunk* and is from slightly to the left of the OP video, where people were laughing their asses off. I also love the sidebarred video of him having his pint. He gets a cheer for taking a fair swig off it, but what tickles me is Michelle has swept like a quarter of her glass.
posted by Iteki at 1:34 PM on May 23, 2011


Does The Telegraph qualify as a legitimate source?
"A supply of AB-type blood, Mr Obama’s type, is on hand in case of a serious incident or assassination attempt."
posted by ericb at 1:34 PM on May 23, 2011


They have multiple limos, and we don't know which one Obama actually rides in, so he may not actually have been in that car.
posted by delmoi at 1:42 PM on May 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


...it has been decided that the keg of Guinness is being brought from the U.S. ‘The last thing we need is for Obama to be poisoned by a pint in Ireland,’ according to sources."

Pah, what a lot of baloney. I hope the Daily Mail is making that up, because really that'd be so so wrong. What a shame, why would you bother going all the way to Ireland and not drink the real fresh stuff? he might have well stayed home really.

"I want you to know that the President pays his bartenders."
Jeez... sorry, Jaysis. This man will never know what esprit d'escalier means.
posted by bitteschoen at 1:42 PM on May 23, 2011


Does The Telegraph qualify as a legitimate source?

No idea. My point was that newspapers can report on the details of the presidential limo all they want, but it's hard to discern fact from speculation when USSS does not comment (PDF) on the legitimacy of each supposed feature.
posted by roomwithaview at 1:49 PM on May 23, 2011


"And a group of six doctors are on stand-by with supplies of Mr Obama's AB blood ready to use in any medical emergency."

Am I a bad person for gleefully imagining a new National Treasure spin-off where Nicolas Cage is a vampire/historian who for some reason has to decipher clues left by the Rosicrucians or some such nonsense so that he can obtain bottles of the blood of every former U.S. President in order to save the life of a dying vampire Diane Kruger?
posted by The World Famous at 2:05 PM on May 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


This non-story is also the top news on Fox. (And the rest of the headlines there? WTF.)

Wow. I love how at the Fox News site, one of the top stories is, "Charles Krauthammer had a zinger on this one TV show yesterday!"
posted by straight at 2:13 PM on May 23, 2011


Wow, I kinda thought you guys were exaggerating about the Fox News page. I am literally speechless. And what the hell is a Krauthammer?
posted by threeturtles at 2:20 PM on May 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


I guess it's hard to maintain a race-baiting narrative when your target is talking up his Irish roots in front of an adoring crowd.

I must have missed it during the campaign as it was news to me that he had Irish ancestry. I wanted to know more and found this comprehensive site which breaks it down as:
         50.0             %      Luo
         35.058 593 75    %      English
          4.687 5         %      Scottish
          3.906 25        %      Irish
          3.710 937 5     %      German
          1.562 5         %      Welsh
          0.976 562 5     %      Swiss
          0.097 656 25    %      French
      -----------------
        100.0             %

posted by Rhomboid at 2:23 PM on May 23, 2011


See! Not American!

kidding
posted by desjardins at 2:30 PM on May 23, 2011


If there's anything in this Dublin visit that could be considered hazardous to Obama's well-being, it's exposure to Jedward.

This was on Reddit and amused me.
posted by tumid dahlia at 2:30 PM on May 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Putting some hydraulics in there probably would have prevented this from ever being a problem as they could raise the body at will, but I imagine that such a thing would be seen as turning the Presidential limo into a lowrider and would sit atop the Fox homepage for weeks as an example of how he's turning the office into some kind of farce...
posted by quin at 2:43 PM on May 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


This was posted by the Jedward itself and amused me a lot more.
posted by bitteschoen at 2:46 PM on May 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Why do i have this gross feeling in my stomach when i think that its probably safer for obama to have car problems in a foreign country than in the US?
posted by hal_c_on at 2:52 PM on May 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Why do i have this gross feeling in my stomach when i think that its probably safer for obama to have car problems in a foreign country than in the US?

I'll bite. Why do you have that gross feeling in your stomach?
posted by BobbyVan at 2:57 PM on May 23, 2011


bitteschoen: "Why would you bother going all the way to Ireland and not drink the real fresh stuff?"

Guinness is a Dublin drink occasionally disparaged within Ireland as "Protestant Porter". The quintessentially Catholic, Nationalist Irish stouts are Murphy's or Beamish. "Real" in this context becomes an exercise more in brand marketing than in history. It is of course amusing that in Ireland the choice of a stout can be seen as a political act, but it rains a lot and when you're stuck indoors so much, some people have time to learn to care about this sort of thing.
posted by meehawl at 3:25 PM on May 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


When people showed up with unloaded guns to Mr. Obama's rallies and nothing happened to them "because it was their Constitutional right" I was like, WTF!? People carrying unloaded guns around the President makes it exponentially harder to detect that one guy with a loaded gun!

They should've held the rallies in Philadelphia.
posted by bentley at 3:39 PM on May 23, 2011


No boobzoom? Lame.
posted by schwa at 3:57 PM on May 23, 2011


Limo stuck? Clinton's detail managed to get the President's plane stuck in the mud in our town.

They ordered Papa Del's pizza, brought in Kennedy's old plane, and then flew out. It was fine.

Tough day for that poor pilot. He's not doing that kind of glamorous work anymore.

And why would this make the President look bad? The Secret Service screwed up.
posted by dglynn at 3:58 PM on May 23, 2011


Rockstar's shitty car physics are starting to infect the real world.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 4:05 PM on May 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


Where is Joe Beese when we need him?

The banhammer got him.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 4:30 PM on May 23, 2011


Clinton came to Flint Mi. in '94. A freeway was closed for his use and a trucker slammed into cars killing 3 people. I really wished he would have used his helecopter that day.
posted by clavdivs at 4:30 PM on May 23, 2011


They see him rollin

They hatin
posted by Halloween Jack at 4:59 PM on May 23, 2011


Harry Truman used to stroll down Wabash St in Chicago back in the day. He would go into Miller's Pub and sit at the bar, by himself or with one other man.

In DC he and Bess used to walk over to the train station on Friday night hand in hand to meet Margaret's train coming in from New York.
posted by Tullyogallaghan at 5:00 PM on May 23, 2011


In DC he and Bess used to walk over to the train station on Friday night hand in hand to meet Margaret's train coming in from New York.

That's a long walk. How did Truman have time while President to walk 45 minutes each way to Union Station and back from the White House on a regular basis?
posted by The World Famous at 5:07 PM on May 23, 2011


My wife saw the prime minister of NZ walking around the airport catching a flight with 2 bodyguards lazily following him from a distance. She said someone could have attacked him if they really wanted.

She didn't do anything, but I would have. I would have asked him some REALLY hard questions about the erosion of workers' rights in nz.

Maybe thats the real reason for bodyguards and security....hard questions. I heard Dubya had a ship load of secret service everywhere he went...
posted by hal_c_on at 5:08 PM on May 23, 2011


How many NZ prime ministers have been assassinated or had assassination attempts on them, hal_c_on? I really don't think it's unreasonable for the President of the United States - no matter who he or she may be - to have a heavy security detail.
posted by The World Famous at 5:11 PM on May 23, 2011


I really don't think it's unreasonable for the President of the United States - no matter who he or she may be - to have a heavy security detail.

There's heavy detail, and there's ridiculous.
40+ vehicles, 2 airplanes, a helicopter or two and who knows how many people.

I mean, seriously, flying Guinness in from America?
All that's missing is someone whispering "Remember that you are but a man" in the President's ear.
posted by madajb at 5:38 PM on May 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


There's heavy detail, and there's ridiculous.
40+ vehicles, 2 airplanes, a helicopter or two and who knows how many people.


You know that's not all just for the one guy, right?
posted by The World Famous at 5:44 PM on May 23, 2011


How many NZ prime ministers have been assassinated or had assassination attempts on them, hal_c_on? I really don't think it's unreasonable for the President of the United States - no matter who he or she may be - to have a heavy security detail.

Relax, I jest.
posted by hal_c_on at 5:50 PM on May 23, 2011


The farcical element for me began when Secret Service dudes started hunkering down and peering under the car.
posted by KokuRyu at 5:52 PM on May 23, 2011


Ah, I relax, then.
posted by The World Famous at 5:52 PM on May 23, 2011


@sarahpalin I havnt seen a campaign hit a roadbump like that since McCain ask you to answer a few questions from Katie Couric.
@sarahpalin way to demonstrate your gravitas.
@sarahpalin who let Todd drive
@sarahpalin Obama should learn a valuable lesson here, don't make any sudden right turns, or you'll end up high centered
@sarahpalin stay classy
posted by humanfont at 5:56 PM on May 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


What's noteworthy to me is that the crowd was cheering and happy to see Obama.

Also, from what I've read elsewhere, it's possible Obama was not in the limo that got stuck, but rather in an identical car behind it.
posted by rmmcclay at 6:11 PM on May 23, 2011


holy smokes
posted by clavdivs at 6:17 PM on May 23, 2011


What's noteworthy to me is that the crowd was cheering and happy to see Obama.

It's fuckin' Obama, for Chrissakes. If he showed up where I live in Canada, there would be crowds lining the streets. People tend to forget just how much the rest of the world absolutely hated George Bush.
posted by KokuRyu at 6:36 PM on May 23, 2011


Speaking of security-casual antipodean leaders, an Australian PM went swimming in the ocean one day and disappeared. The POTUS probably doesn't get within a mile of the beach without his own SEAL detail.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:22 PM on May 23, 2011


You know that's not all just for the one guy, right?

It all comes back to "the one guy".
None of the assorted functionaries, hangers-on, and staff members have any reason to be there if not for the one guy.
posted by madajb at 7:40 PM on May 23, 2011


The Secret Service says the President was in a different limo, for what it's worth.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 7:52 PM on May 23, 2011


meehawl: the "real" in real fresh stuff was referring to the difference between the Guinness you can drink locally in Ireland, and the Guinness you get to drink anywhere else. Big difference. It just doesn't taste the same and doesn't have the same consistency. Why is it always so much fuller and creamier in Ireland?

I asked about this and was told the local Guinness shipped daily to pubs in Ireland from the brewery in Dublin is unpasteurized, while the one that's intended for export is pasteurised. Others say it simply has to do with different recipes for export, or other differences in how it's stored and temperature and pipes and chemicals and whatnot, but well, the one ascertained fact is, the less it has to travel the better.

And, well, "a keg shipped from the US" would have had to travel a long way -- from the brewery in Dublin, exported to the US, and then back to the pub for Obama's visit! It sounds so implausible, if the supposed risk is "poisoning", then hello, would that not expose it to a lot more risks than getting it straight from Dublin in the first place?!

And what happens to Obama when he's visiting other countries, does he get all his drinks shipped from the US? and what about food? come on!

(And even the phrasing of that ‘The last thing we need is for Obama to be poisoned by a pint in Ireland,’ according to sources is so, so hilarious.)

SO, you know, I was kind of joking, but yeah, point was, if this was true and if the Daily Mail was a reliable journalistic source (hahaha), it would be really sad because it means Obama never got to taste the "real" fresh stuff. There you go.

Oh and the "Protestant Porter" thing? What era was that from? Oh - says she after having to look that up, because I never even heard of that - in the 1800's! No one today in Ireland would even dream of making that kind of difference (thankfully). Not even in Northern Ireland, in traditional pubs in Belfast where they still have posters of Bobby Sands on the walls and jam sessions of Celtic music. They may drink their Murphy's and Beamish too, but nowhere as much as Guinness, no contest.
posted by bitteschoen at 7:53 PM on May 23, 2011


And, well, "a keg shipped from the US" would have had to travel a long way -- from the brewery in Dublin, exported to the US, and then back to the pub for Obama's visit! It sounds so implausible ...

Previous AskMe:
Ok guys. First to clear some things up:

1. All draught and pub draught canned Guinness in the United States comes from the brewery at St. James Gate in Dublin, Ireland.

2. All Guinness is transported to the United States by ship.

Dear J.P.,

We would love to see you drink Guinness free for the rest of your life. Unfortunately, your wife's friend is incorrect. Guinness is transported by ship to the US. Guinness has a shelf life of nine months so the quality will maintain during the transportation. Also, Guinness cans contain the widget which is pressurized with nitrogen. If something were to happen to the pressure in the cabin, it could get quite messy! If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact us again!

Thank you!
Samantha Taylor
Consumer Relations - Supply Quality
DIAGEO North America
posted by ericb at 8:01 PM on May 23, 2011


Ah, Guinness! Britain's gift to the world! Brought to you by British drinks conglomerate Diageo! (Same with Bailey's.)
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:07 PM on May 23, 2011


bitteschoen: "the 1800's!

Don't you know that is, like, *yesterday*?

In traditional pubs in Belfast where they still have posters of Bobby Sands on the walls and jam sessions of Celtic music."

You've not read James Connolly on publicans and the "gombeen men". The same arguments he made against facile "Irishness" expressed through pub culture and consumption to deflect from examination of inequality and non-representation are as true today as they were in in the streets of Dublin a century ago... and he had some choice words for the Guinness family and their brew.
posted by meehawl at 8:51 PM on May 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Speaking of security-casual antipodean leaders, an Australian PM went swimming in the ocean one day and disappeared.

yep. so we named a swimming pool in his memory.
posted by russm at 10:01 PM on May 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm kinda surprised by the reaction this is receiving here. Is it like, "Oh man, if they can't even guarantee the security of the President, how can they guarantee the security of the entire nation??"

I think that's the thing: they can't. The government at all levels is staffed by normal, imperfect humans, who make mistakes. Often they manage to do another normal human thing, and cover up or spin those mistakes. But I think it's incredibly important for people to recognize the fallibility of (their) government.
posted by mantecol at 10:53 PM on May 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yes, Ireland was very, very happy to see Obama. The fact he can trace his history to Ireland plays extremely well here; please note the last time there was a US president so strongly Irish-identified in popular culture was Kennedy. Who also came to Ireland, and if I am remembering my history correctly, drew larger crowds than the Pope. If I am not remembering my history correctly, I'll pit the crowds Obama drew against the next papal visit, cash on the table right now.

The limo thing is a very particular set of circumstances. This incident happened pulling out of the US Embassy, which is universally acknowledged to the be ugliest building in Ireland. It's fucking hideous. It is also sovereign territory, ie US soil. Irish security forces would have worked with US Secret Service to plan and secure every inch of Obama's visit in Ireland, except the embassy, over which they would have had zero remit or access. The fault for that lies squarely and entirely with the Secret Service, who failed to measure the wheelbase of the limo against the grade of the ramp. Yes, it is steep, but its been exactly that steep since 1964.

Between the Queen last week and Obama this week, the Irish government spent in excess of $36 million USD on security, including building Obama his own highway exit ramp. Everything except the ramp went well. (We even got the Queen out alive, so hey, well done all around.)

In defence of the Secret Service, the limo was trucked in and not driven out again until the President was in it. That in and of itself is a security measure. And honestly, if you want the safest place in Ireland to park a presidential limo overnight, the US Embassy is totally the right call; security at that place is unbelievable.

I don't have any information on where the keg the pint Obama drank was pulled from, except that it was an Irish keg. Guinness you buy in the US is not Irish; it is in fact Canadian:

"Labatt's Canada start to brew GUINNESS® Extra Stout for the US. Exports from Great Britain and Ireland cease." Source: Guinness

Yes, the US stuff tastes different; it's made with different water. No publican would allow that stuff into an Irish pub. Guinness did, however, specially provide him with a shiny new sign for outside the pub, to replace the old one that had been there for a couple of decades.

The concept of "Protestant Porter" is absolutely obsolete and perpetuates a harmful Irish mythology that doesn't actually exist in the mainstream here. It's a lazy conception of Ireland, in the same way thinking it's all Riverdance and leprechauns is. The first link in meehawl's results is from a fringe nationalist website, which is like citing the Klan as a source for US political opinion. The second is from a TIME article from 1951. The Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland are two different countries; people here in the Republic generally consider the issues of the Troubles to be confined to the north and prefer that it stay that way.
posted by DarlingBri at 11:31 PM on May 23, 2011 [6 favorites]


I think that's the thing: they can't. The government at all levels is staffed by normal, imperfect humans, who make mistakes. Often they manage to do another normal human thing, and cover up or spin those mistakes. But I think it's incredibly important for people to recognize the fallibility of (their) government.

I see you live in Canada, so maybe everyone there is so used to the Mounties tipping their hats and you like to think of your civil servants like this and your criminals as super polite. Yes I realize that all of Canada is not a Kids in the Hall sketch, but anyway... Here in the US, we are fully aware of the fallibility of our own government. Heck, the perceived stupidity of government workers is pretty much a common political trope around here. The classic line against so-called socialist medicine is "See how inefficient the Department of Motor Vehicles is; that's what going to your doctor will be like if you let the government get involved."

Civil servants here tend to get a largely undeserved bad rap, but any American who thinks that our government is not only well-run and efficient but downright infallible is probably on a waiting list for a spot in an underfunded, poorly maintained, and insecure state-run mental institution.

None of this has anything in particular to do with a car getting stuck in Ireland. That's a basic human screw-up, not a grand allegory for the inability of the government to keep us safe or the decline of American civilization, no matter how much I like drjimmy11's comment.

And just because I can, here are the Daves I know (I know).
posted by zachlipton at 12:06 AM on May 24, 2011


Halloween Jack writes "Speaking of security-casual antipodean leaders, an Australian PM went swimming in the ocean one day and disappeared."

I'm not sure if this is worse, our guy made it out alive, however we've had a guy break into the Prime Minister's official residence and no one noticed till after the PM had fended him off with a loon.
posted by Mitheral at 1:28 AM on May 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


meehawl - look, I was just talking of matter of fact daily life and drinking habits in Ireland, and in my experience it's very much like DarlingBri says. No sign of any controversial politics of drinking one stout vs the other there being "true today in the streets of Dublin" - or Cork or Galway or yes even Belfast (and of course yes eh different countries but the point was, even in traditionally republican pubs in NI that still carry the signs of that tradition, they don't seem to have even heard of that notion either.) If there's one thing that's obviously never been politicised there it's the widespread consumption of Guinness in large amounts!

Guinness you buy in the US is not Irish; it is in fact Canadian:

But... but... then that woman from Diageo Customer Relations was lying? I was already picturing the kegs travelling by boat on the ocean... Dublin to New York... Give me your tired your poor your masses yearning to breathe free, and your kegs of Irish stout.... sigh...

Now I'll stop or it may start to sound like I'm also in Customer Relations from Diageo. Sorry.
posted by bitteschoen at 1:59 AM on May 24, 2011


One last thing on the side topic of drinking Guinness in lreland vs abroad, from your man himself:
He revealed to pub-goers that it wasn't his first pint in Ireland either and suspected that the Irish were holding back their best brew for themselves. He said he first drank stout when he flew into the airport in Shannon, Ireland, en route to Afghanistan.

"I tried one of these and I realized it tastes so much better here than it does in the states," he said. "What I realized was that you guys, you're keeping all the best stuff here. "
Also, for the record:
Previous American presidents didn't fare as well as Obama.

In 1984, Ronald Reagan rejected the Guinness and instead posed for photographers with a pint of Smithwicks, a locally brewed red ale. He didn't finish it.

In 2006, George W. Bush, a recovering alcoholic who drinks non-alcoholic beer, wasn't asked to pose with a pint of Guinness at all.

Many expected more from Bill Clinton, but ended up deeply disappointed. In 1995, Clinton stopped at a Dublin pub bearing his family's Irish name of Cassidy but barely sipped his stout. Aides said he didn't want to be photographed drinking anything alcoholic, but the resultant image was hardly an endorsement of the product. Clinton had abandoned his almost full half-pint.
posted by bitteschoen at 2:07 AM on May 24, 2011


Ahhhh, so there go my dreams of being President some day...I can't stand the taste of beer. Unless. Wait. I do drink whiskey, neat.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:06 AM on May 24, 2011


namewithoutwords: "shakespeherian: "I figured that as soon as it pulls up and obscures the view of Obama's limo is when Danny Ocean and the gang make the switch and Brad Pitt ends up as sitting president."

I think you mean Don Cheadle.
"

And then we're all in Barney!
posted by bwg at 5:58 AM on May 24, 2011


And what the hell is a Krauthammer?

IR£20, same as in Dublin town.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:37 AM on May 24, 2011


Come on, big important visit to another country, and the limo gets stuck in the driveway on the way out of the embassy, complete with sickening scraping metal thud?

Come on, you KNOW that was Biden's limo.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 12:43 PM on May 24, 2011


bitteschoen: "No sign of any controversial politics of drinking one stout vs the other there being "true today in the streets of Dublin" - or Cork or Galway or yes even Belfast

Well personally I'd be careful about expressing some particular choices of stout to a Corkonian in its native habitat. But maybe you just like to live more dangerously than me.

If there's one thing that's obviously never been politicised there it's the widespread consumption of Guinness in large amounts!"

Which is kind of my point as well. The choice of drinks in Ireland used to be far more politicised, and was an ideological bulwark for nationalists and marxists there. But in the end there, as elsewhere, one of the main goals of late-modern capitalism is the inculcation of a consumerist ideology that elides over difficult questions of identity in favour of a generalised cartoonish representation capable of offending the least amount of people. But these things were once capable of arousing strong sentiment - nobody who's seen the Guinness ruins in St Anne's can doubt this.

Unlike 99.9999% of the people reading this thread, I actually lived, literally, next door to the St James' Gate Brewery. Back in the 1980s, when it was definitely not cool, and not really a place you'd care to visit. For me, the rich scent of a Guinness stout will always evoke the weird, meaty combination that happened every few days when Guinness vented an especially dense, stenchy fermentation cloud that mingled delightfully with the corrupt foetor from a local abattoir's bloody runoff that daily washed its waste out and along the cobbled streets, running downhill in a multiplicity of intra-cobbled streams until their disappearance into a sewer drain and conveyance thence into one of the Liffey's many brick-encircled tributaries with effluxary union visible and olfactorily sensible around Wood Quay.
posted by meehawl at 3:37 PM on May 24, 2011


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