One of the things that fascinates me about the end of a presidential race is how abruptly life changes for the loser when that person isn’t already in the White House. Like, you go from traveling all over the place where you’re greeted by adoring crowds and your every move is dissected by the media and you’re surrounded by smart people trying to help you become president and the Secret Service is protecting your life and then the next day you’re just back to being a semi-regular person. It’s got to be kind of jolting, right?
In regards to that, I’ve always wondered how soon after an election the Secret Service parts with such a candidate. A GQ post on the Romney/Secret Service breakup sheds some light on that. The answer: immediately.
At some point, early Wednesday morning, when Gov. Mitt Romney and family were tucked into bed, a quiet call went out on the radio channel used by his Secret Service agents: “Javelin, Jockey details, all posts, discontinue.”
Of all the indignities involved in losing a presidential race, none is more stark than the sudden emptiness of your entourage. The Secret Service detail guarding Governor Romney since Feb 1. stood down quickly. He had ridden in a 15-car motorcade to the Intercontinental Hotel in Boston for his concession speech. He rode in a single-car motorcade back across the Charles River to Belmont. His son, Tagg, did the driving.
There is no formal guideline for the Secret Service agents in this situation; it’s up to the discretion of the detail leader, who usually consults with the local police to make sure that his protectee’s home won’t be overrun by protestors and supporters all of a sudden.
But the Service leaves quickly. No more motorcades. No more rope lines. No more bubbles. Familiar faces disappear, never to be seen again.
In 2008, agents offered to see John McCain back to his ranch in Sedona, but McCain insisted on saying his good byes in his suite at the Biltmore Hotel. The next morning, McCain was seen driving his own car to get groceries.
Wow. I think the only thing shut down faster following Romney’s loss were his staffers’ campaign credit cards.
(Pic via the White House Flickr feed)