I’ve been trying for some time to get one of Asymptotia’s regulars, Amara Graps, (click on image to the right for larger view) to give us a guest post. She sent me one by email, somewhat unexpectedly, a couple of hours ago, and I must say I did not anticipate the topic!
So here we have it… Amara telling us a bit about certain recent events in Rome. Enjoy!
What happened to Bush’s Cadillac One?
As recorded by a viewer of the motorcade and posted to YouTube [jump to 3:15 point to get to the main event]:
It apparently sputtered to a stop. It broke down, right there, on via del Tritone (near the Trevi fountain) in Rome, in the middle of the motorcade. He was ripe picking for a sharp shooter too; no wonder the police were pushing people further back, off of the street. It looks like the solution was to switch limos, because he got out of the limo with Mrs. Bush and climbed into another one.
This is a very special car. If it is a mechanical failure, then the manufacturers have a lot of explaining to do. His visit to Rome had been preceded by a large security operation (perhaps inconsistently). The Tiber was dragged. The sewers were searched. Squares were cleared and roofs occupied. The presidential motorcade along its route was preceded by a swarm of more than a dozen motorcycles, scooters and even motorized three-wheelers carrying tough-looking armed police.
Yet, it sputtered and stalled. As others have noted, this particular car is under guard 24/7. Modern engines are highly reliable. When is the last time one saw the Presidential Limo fail to proceed?
One could dismiss this as a grand Roman comedy of which Alberto Sordi could be proud. After the limo-switch, Bush’s new limo then did not fit into the secondary gate of the American Embassy (via Lucullo); it was apparently too long to enter. Rome is, after all, a city where tragedies and comedies are amplified 100 times. Witness the latest spectacle by the Italian politicians, the highest-paid in Europe, who want ice-cream in the Parliament.
Yet, the White House is spinning the story:
Bush’s limousine stalled between the Vatican and the U.S. embassy, White House counselor Dan Bartlett said. It took about two minutes for the motorcade to get going again. He said Bush did not get out of the car during the stop and resumed his ride in the same limousine. The president’s entourage passed a mechanic working under the hood of one of the presidential limousines as it left the embassy later.
The large press have just begun to pick up the story. I suggest to look for it, and follow it scattered in blogs, here and there.