Herman Cain's Secret Service Protection

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Nov. 18 2011 10:53 AM

Herman Cain's Secret Service Protection

Herman Cain became the first 2012 GOP candidate with secret service protection, but the reason given to the Washington Post's Amy Gardner and Ed O'Keefe didn't sound... right.

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. You can reach him at daveweigel@gmail.com, or tweet at him @daveweigel.

Cain spokesman J.D. Gordon said Thursday night that the campaign asked for the protection after The Washington Post posted an article online that morning detailing a series of physical skirmishes involving journalists at Cain rallies.
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The decision was made 1) the same day as the article and 2) to deal with a problem of journalists getting hassled? The first part of that is baffling, because the secret service detail decision is made after the Secretary of Homeland Security consults with a panel that includes John Boehner, Steny Hoyer, Harry Reid, and Mitch McConnell. That all happened over the course of a few hours? Possible; I've asked and will update when I know.

As to the second part, I asked campaign spokesman J.D. Gordon, just to be sure. Was the campaign concerned about injured journalists; was that why the request was made?

"No," said Cain spokesman J.D. Gordon. "It wasn't the reason."

So maybe the campaign is trying to prevent misunderstandings with the bumbling local police officers it's been relying on for security -- like the guy who clotheslined National Journal's Lindsey Boerma.

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Or maybe there's a threat the campaign doesn't want to talk about.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. You can reach him at daveweigel@gmail.com, or tweet at him @daveweigel.