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The President Doesn't Pack Light

by David Gura
Mar 31, 2009

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David Gura

Our man at The White House, Don Gonyea, just set foot on the tarmac at Stansted Airport, outside of London. For the last few hours, he has been on Air Force One, with the president, en route to the G-20 Summit. After that? To Salzburg, Prague, Ankara and Istanbul!

I meant to ask Don to confirm something I read in The Guardian earlier this week: President Obama traveled to England with "an entourage of 500 staff."

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."

Well, not all the food he eats. Jamie Oliver, "The Naked Chef," is preparing dinner during the summit. What's on the menu? The Daily Telegraph reports that "the meal's show piece will be lamb from a Welsh hill farm in Snowdonia, served with simple flat bread and the strong-flavoured English herb — wild garlic, which grows in shaded woodlands around the country and can be either cooked or eaten in salads." Mmmm.

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