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Ex-VP no airport VIP Gore searched twice

Marmaduke McPug

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Ex-VP no airport VIP Gore searched twice during Wisconsin trip

By KATHERINE M. SKIBA of the Journal Sentinel staff Last Updated: June 13, 2002

Washington - Midwest Express Airlines boasts the "best care in the air," but Air Force II it ain't.

Quotable

You're looking out and seeing Al Gore's unmentionables in his big, carry-on suitcase.

- Mark Graul of Green Bay, on Al Gore

Private citizen Al Gore learned that last week - not once but twice.

---------Traveling to Wisconsin, the former vice president was pulled aside for random security screening at Reagan National Airport before boarding the 7:15 p.m. flight to Milwaukee on Friday.

Passengers sharing Flight 406 were startled to hear Gore being told, "Sorry, sir, you have to go through extra screening," and to witness security personnel rifling through his briefcase and suitcase, a witness said.

"You're looking out and seeing Al Gore's unmentionables in his big, carry-on suitcase," said Mark Graul of Green Bay. "You could tell he was thinking, 'This is not happening to me.'

"He did not have a happy look on his face. Basically the whole plane boarded before they got through looking through his stuff.

"He patiently went through it and then took a seat in the front row with, I assume, an aide," Graul said.

Gore was en route to Madison to address the Democratic Party of Wisconsin convention Saturday.

Graul, chief of staff to Rep. Mark Green, House Republican from Green Bay, said a handful of passengers fired up their cell phones before the plane left the gate.

He was one of them. "People were calling friends: 'You're never going to believe what I just saw.' "

What are the chances?

On Saturday afternoon, when Gore was leaving Milwaukee's Mitchell International Airport, he was taken aside for some extra scrutiny at a Midwest Express gate before boarding a flight to New York, said Gore spokesman Jano Cabrera, who accompanied him during both checks.

"My understanding is he was randomly selected both times," he said. "And both times he was more than happy, as all Americans are in these troubled times, to cooperate."

Does the ex-veep and almost-commander in chief see any irony in being frisked and wanded like your average passenger from the rear of coach?

Does he crave being Big Kahuna?

From Cabrera:

"Despite the fact that he won more votes than anyone else in the history of America, except for Ronald Reagan, he is more than happy to do his part for airport security.

"As I recall, he shook the hands of all the airport screeners afterward and thanked them for doing the jobs that they're doing and asked them to keep up the good work."

At Midwest Express, based in Oak Creek, Lisa Bailey, director of corporate communications, referred questions to the U.S. Transportation Security Administration.

TSA spokeswoman Deirdre O'Sullivan stifled her laughter long enough to issue a statement indicating that dignitaries do not merit special treatment.

"The TSA does believe that screening at the gate is an additional level of security that acts as a deterrent to persons who wish to do harm," she added.

Meanwhile, there's been no decision on whether so-called "trusted traveler" cards will be issued to whisk good-intentioned frequent fliers through security, O'Sullivan said.


Publicity stunt or airport security screener stupidity?

For some reason I want to say the latter… go figure.

M.
 

Flint

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This is good. A liberal who is seeing his liberal policy's at work first hand.
 

FL000

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I wouldn't put it past him to have called ahead to make sure he was screened. This would not only get him some press, but also make him appear like the common man, something he has failed to pull off in all his years of campaigning and public service.
 

TriStar_drvr

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I'm glad he got screened. I wish every senator, representative, and especially every official in the DOT and TSA be required to travel on one way tickets, and be subjected to the screening process at least once a week. They might rethink their "random" security screening procedures.
 

SDF2BUF2MCO

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While it is humorous to see ol' Al get the patdown it is also pathetic to see our government treat everyone as if they are a criminal.
Our government, whether it be liberal or conservative, seems determined to take it out on law abiding citizens rather than the real criminals - all in the name of peace, safety, and security.
Though it could be debated whether or not Al is an innocent, law abiding citizen:rolleyes:.
 

kilomike

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At least Gore was gracious and did not demand special privileges. This only makes me respect him more, not less.
 

Ted Striker

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I say body cavity search next time for Al. Maybe they can find the missing chads. Or a hanging chad....ok, ok...that's gross.
 
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