No Explanation — or Apology — for Obama's L.A. Gridlock Nightmare

The agencies involved refuse to discuss the traffic snafu caused by fundraiser

Is it just us, or does the Obama administration have a major domestic travel problem? And if so, do his people even realize it?

TV Hunter sought answers in the aftermath of Obama's epic L.A. traffic jam — an accountability search that turned into a day-long round of hot potato.

TV producer John Wells, who hosted the fundraiser Obama attended in mid-city Los Angeles, declined to discuss the situation and referred us to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

_ Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spokesman Ryan Rudominer also declined to comment; he suggested we get in touch with the White House. "This is something the White House press office would be in the position to discuss," Rudominer said.

Deputy White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said we should "direct this inquiry to the US Secret Service who works with local authorities on these logistical and security issues." Earnest did not respond to subsequent requests to explain the White House's position on the incident.

_ Lisa Hansen, the associate director for transportation in the office of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, also declined to comment and suggested I contact the White House or Secret Service.

_ A statement from the LAPD media relations department also indicated that the Secret Service was ultimately responsible. "It is the obligation of the LAPD … to assist the secret service in providing security and protection for the President of the United States," the statement said.

So what happened when we finally got in touch with the Secret Service?

"We work very closely with local law enforcement on Presidential motorcade routes and we always try to have the least impact possible," agency spokesperson Ed Donovan told TheWrap. "We're not going to discuss any specifics." 

Donovan would not say whether anything had gone wrong with the planning or implementation of Monday's visit. Nor would he discuss the hours of traffic that gripped Los Angeles, or whether anyone stranded on the clogged streets was the worse for it. 

No reports of calamity have surfaced yet; a Fire Department spokesman told TheWrap that they were not immediately aware of any incidents in which anyone was hurt by being unable to access medical care, or for any other reason.

Time will tell whether Monday's mess merely resulted in inconvenience for commuters or more serious consequences. If they do, it's going to be a lot harder for the Obama administration to continue to ignore questions about its apparent problems making proper travel arrangements.

Full disclosure: I spent nearly three hours trapped in the mess closed in on a residential street near Olympic Boulevard. My post about the situation ended up getting comments in the hundreds. One echoed the sentiments of many: "I have lived here 26 years and never seen anything like it."

Truth is, there have been examples of this very thing — from this administration, anyway, and not so much from predecessors, who knew how to come and go reasonably.

And in July, Vice President Biden's appearance on Jay Leno snarled traffic at LAX airport for up to four hours. In the hours before Obama's arrival in Los Angeles on Monday, TheWrap's deputy editor experienced a two-hour delay at Mitchell Airport in Milwaukee while Air Force One sat on the tarmac.

  • David

    “More serious consequences” from a traffic delay. To secure the President of the United States. I think you're right, I think we should launch an immediate investigation into a traffic delay and it's certainly true that Hollywood will stop donating money to the president. Either that, or Sharon made a mistake when she hired you since you are utterly clueless about the workings of this town and about the state of the world in general. Anyone who actually works in Hollywood knew Obama was coming and planned accordingly. The fact that you had no idea what was about to happen says more about your general cluelessness and specific lack of Hollywood knowledge than it does about Obama or the Hollywood insiders who actually are paying attention and did know what was going on. The fact that you continue to advertise your cluelessness is the icing on the cake.

  • Booboo90

    Can anyone tell me how much this fundraising visit cost the City of Los Angeles ?

    I am curious as to whether or not the City of Los Angeles will be reimbursed by the Democratic Party for the expense of road closures during this fundraising visit. I was stuck in traffic for two hours trying to go ½ mile to my home. Not only was nearly every northbound road in the Westside of Los Angeles closed, but also every closed street had the manpower (both police and parking enforcement employees) to enforce those closures.

    And for the record, I am not affiliated with any political party. I’m just a tax-payer.

    • Kubeh

      Shut up you idiot

  • Dan

    Why he hell should Obama be concerned about traffic jams? Doesn't he have enough to deal with?. He's the fucking President of the United States!!!!! Maybe he should ignore troops in Afghanistan so he can turn to problems on the 4-0-fucking-5. I think our priorities are a bit misplaced.

  • gary

    Who is everyone kidding here, when Bush ( W.) was in office anytime he stopped in Chicago or any of the surrounding area Secret Service would not only shut down the Highways but on 2 occasions during his term in office- he completely shutdown Chicago's O'Hare Airport one time by closing all incoming and outgoing air traffic for 6 full hours.

  • chrisdorr

    This is an issue worthy of any discussion?