Thursday, January 7, 2016

Joe Biden and where the Secret Service get their suits

All this political stuff going on, got me thinking .....
A few years ago I got a call from the DNC. Joe Biden was coming to town for a private get
together and fundraiser. It was to be held at a “secret place” and they were in need of a
photographer to cover the event. I’ve had other opportunities to cover political figures Bush,
Bush 2 and the Clintons’, so I kinda knew what to  expect. You give them your social security
number so the Secret Service can run a background check. When I was younger I got a ticket
for shooting off fireworks on the 4th of July, I think the report reads “detonating pyrotechnic
devices”, but I haven’t had a problem yet.

Most of these high profile political events are the same. You arrive 4-6 hours early and wait
and then wait some more. No one is ever on time. You’re usually in a group with the local
media folks, TV, radio and newspaper. You’re greeted by the Secret Service and a bomb
sniffing dog and searched from head to toe. One time we were told to stand in a single parking
space for an hour, then moved to 6 squares of the sidewalk and told not to move out of the
squares or something “bad” might happen. Sometimes they have you wait in a room. If it has
windows you’re told to stay away from them. At a Bush 2 event we had a big intimidating
agent watching over us. The agents cell phone went off, it was very loud with some poppy
Top 40 ringtone and we all had a good laugh,except the agent.

        The Biden thing was low key compared to others. I was the only person covering the
event. I was told to report to a “secret” hangar at the local airport. Hmmmm..... I said “how do
I find the secret hangar ? ”. They replied with “drive around the airport and you’ll know it when
you see it.” The Secret Service detail was pretty cool and chatty. I told them I’d seen some
black cars driving past my house and in my neighborhood and asked if it was them. They said
they couldn’t answer on record , but it was probably yes. I told the agents they always dressed
so sharp and asked if they were Armani suits. They said no, we have a guy from China.
Mr. Wong and his crew come over twice a year from China. They bring giant books of fabric
samples and take measurement of everyone who wants suits. Two weeks later the suits arrive
wrapped in brown kraft paper and cost @ $150.00 each. I asked for Mr. Wong’s contact
information, but never got it.
       The moment arrives, Bidens plane touches down and Joe walks into the “secret”
hangar. I’m not usually awe struck by people or power but there was something about
Biden when he walked in. I’ve seen Bill Clinton light up a room afew times and Biden isn’t
far behind. He walked in and the first thing he said was “There’s no press here, there’s
no media here so I’m going to say whatever the **** I want. He moved around the room
with ease and confidence. He seemed very genuine I will say he’s a very close talker so if you
value your personal space stay away, I thought he was going to kiss a few people.
        I’m bummed Biden isn’t running in 2016. I don’t think Hillary has a
chance in hell. I don’t think the entire truth about Benghazi has come out. When the attack on
Benghazi happened I was on assignment for Forbes. The person I was photographing
knew Christopher Stevens and the 2 Navy SEALs, Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty that died
in the attack. He told me a few things about Benghazi and I’ll just leave it at that.

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