With an entourage of 500 staff, an armour-plated limousine and a fleet of decoy helicopters, America’s new president will arrive for his first visit to Britain amid huge razzmatazz on Tuesday for the G20 summit.
(U.S. President Barack Obama shown above as he speaks at Attorney General Eric Holder’s ceremonial installation at George Washington University in Washington, on Friday, March 27, 2009.)
More than 500 officials and staff will accompany the president on his tour this week – along with a mass of high-tech security equipment, including the $300,000 presidential limousine, known as The Beast. Fitted with night-vision camera, reinforced steel plating, tear- gas cannon and oxygen tanks, the vehicle is the ultimate in heavy armoured transport.
In addition, a team from the White House kitchen will travel with the president to prepare his food. As one official put it: “When the president travels, the White House travels with him, right down to the car he drives, the water he drinks, the gasoline he uses, the food he eats. America is still the sole superpower and the president must have the ability to handle any crisis, anywhere, any time.”
Michelle Obama will have eight of her own staff, including a secretary, a press officer and bodyguards. And Obama’s personal aide Reggie Love – called by the president “the kid brother I never had” – will be at hand to provide pens, Nicorette gum, throat lozenges, tea or even aspirins.
Question: Is the Beast traveling by air or sea?