The Presidential Bubble
Presidential appearances shouldn't be treated like audiences with the pope.
Time's Karen Tumulty reports on Obama's healthcare speech today:
When I go to political events, I generally like to talk to people who attend them. You learn a lot that way.
Not today. I arrived at the President's health care speech at Arcadia University in Glenside, Pa., about 45 minutes early, hoping I might chat with some of the Pennsylvanians who were here. No such luck. The press was stuck behind two sets of barriers. I tried asking several times (nicely, I promise) to wander a bit and talk to people, but was told I would have to wait until after the event. (Both the crowd and I had been through security screening.)
So after the event, I attempted to talk to people as they left. That effort, too, was shut down by the security people.
So all I can report is this: The President gave a speech on health care this morning. People applauded and cheered. What motivated them to be here, and what bearing this issue might have on their individual lives — well, I can't answer that.
I don't know if this is standard behavior or not. Maybe it was just a mistake by some overzealous security folks. But it's worth publicizing. When George Bush did this stuff it drove us nuts. Obama doesn't deserve a pass.