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`The bear is loose' -- Obama goes out and about


By JOSH LEDERMAN
Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- "The bear is loose!"

Those were President Barack Obama's words as he ditched his motorcade and left the White House on foot, favoring the fresh air in a walk toward the Interior Department.

Tourists near the White House never expected to see the president in person on a steamy spring afternoon. One woman squealed with delight; another suggested she thought Wednesday's sighting might be an Obama impostor.

Since taking office, Obama has grumbled periodically about the claustrophobia that sets in when his every move is surrounded by intense security. That makes it nearly impossible to enjoy the simple pleasures that others take for granted.

"It's good to be out," Obama said.

Traditionally, whenever the president leaves the White House, he travels by motorcade or helicopter. Before he arrives at his destination, Secret Service agents have prepared security, which generally keeps Obama at a distance from anything unpredictable.

Life in this bubble can feel suffocating.

For Obama, relief frequently comes in the form of a weekend golf outing, usually at a military base. But every once in a while, the golf course just doesn't cut it.

"I don't get a chance to take walks very often," Obama said this past week. "Secret Service gets a little stressed. But every once in a while I'm able to sneak off."

Nearly six years into his presidency, Obama seems to be sneaking off just a bit more often.

Last week, diners at a Shake Shack near the White House looked up from their cheeseburgers to see Obama and Vice President Joe Biden stroll in. The White House said Obama was there to promote government-financed work projects and a proposed minimum wage increase, but the hastily arranged visit raised a few eyebrows.

Three days later, Obama was en route to a fundraiser in suburban Maryland when his motorcade made a detour and pulled into a park.

Obama stopped by a baseball field where Little League teams were getting ready for a game. Obama lobbed a few balls toward home plate and posed for photos.

White House officials offered little explanation for the stop, other than to point out that Obama was scheduled later in the week to travel to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York. That visit, officials said, was aimed at promoting tourism to the U.S. as a way to boost the economy.

"And, no, this not just an excuse to go the Baseball Hall of Fame," Obama's senior adviser, Dan Pfeiffer, wrote in a blog post.

Former White House aides said it's always gratifying to depart from the norm by allowing the president to interact more directly with people, even if it's a major headache for those responsible for making it happen.

"Staff loves it, Secret Service hates it," said Ari Fleischer, who traveled frequently with President George W. Bush as his press secretary. "They want everything buttoned down and under total, nothing-could-possibly-go-wrong control."

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danied88 May 24 2014 at 5:26 PM

Hopefully he escapes the country and never comes back! Worse president in history!! TAKE CARE OF OUR VETS SHITBAG!!!!

Flag +99 rate up
50 replies
joeinstlucie May 24 2014 at 5:34 PM

Maybe he should pay attention to the job he never should have been elected to. He is probably the most vacationing president in our history.....at least Jimmy Carter builds houses; this guy makes you lose them....

Flag Reply +99 rate up
39 replies
TOM May 24 2014 at 5:38 PM

HE OUGHT TO WEAR THAT DODGER UNIFORM - AFTERALL , HE'S PRETTY GOOD AT "DODGING" QUESTIONS WITH SO GLIB ANSWERS

Flag Reply +99 rate up
6 replies
Scott May 24 2014 at 5:39 PM

If Obama walked up to me at the Baseball Hall of Fame and attempted to shake my hand, I would be most tempted to ask, "How do you show your face in public?"

Flag Reply +84 rate up
18 replies
johnnysul64 May 24 2014 at 6:09 PM

"The Bear"? "The Chicken" is more like it. Just ask Putin and all of the other hostile world leaders!

Flag Reply +76 rate up
16 replies
rkhaber May 24 2014 at 5:44 PM

He is the only President since Vietnam ended that has allowed the men of the Riverine Forces to apply for Agent Orange Benfits. If it wasn't for him congress would cut the budget for the VA. I have been a 100% disabled vet for over 40 yrs and I follow these things very closely. Force congress to give more to the VA, oh yeah I forgot we love sending our best men and women off to war but we don't want to pay taxes to fix them up when they come home damaged

Flag Reply +65 rate up
32 replies
Ctah May 24 2014 at 5:52 PM

Ego maniac... as usual... what else is news... anything for a rating..

Flag Reply +57 rate up
2 replies
pmaxmaggy Ctah May 24 2014 at 6:48 PM

Stupid comment.....as usual....what else is KNEW.....typical repug.....

Flag Reply +9 rate up
8 replies
schlauger1 Ctah May 24 2014 at 6:55 PM

Many presidents have been known to sneak off and get some breathing room.

Flag Reply +10 rate up
2 replies
Lee Demartin schlauger1 May 24 2014 at 8:16 PM

This guy has taken so many breaths he could supply the whole lung cancer ward with air....

Flag +3 rate up
songbirdgray schlauger1 May 24 2014 at 10:19 PM

or not , if they are not careful. not a very wise move, i think

Flag 0 rate up
wbearl May 24 2014 at 6:00 PM

The people were surprised because they weren't on a golf course. No one actually expected to see the President near the White House.

Flag Reply +46 rate up
5 replies
Rosir Wilson May 24 2014 at 5:43 PM

danie88, DON't RESPECT OUR COMMANDER IN CHIEF. I JUST KNOW THAT YOU ARE NOT A VETERANS SPEAKING LIKE THAT. HE IS OUR LEADER AND HE MUST HAVE SOME RESPECT...... AGAIN COMMANDER IN CHIEF.......

Flag Reply +42 rate up
48 replies
KAJ May 24 2014 at 5:45 PM

What lies he never goes anywhere without protection.

Flag Reply +32 rate up
14 replies
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