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.