The Secret Service’s Second Most Important Job—Driving the Car

By Jack Limpert

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The only driving President Obama does.

Hillary Clinton, in a van named “Scooby,” is off on a 1,000 mile road trip to Iowa but it’s unlikely she’ll be behind the wheel. She’s said she hasn’t driven a car for almost 20 years.

In 1968 I was a Congressional Fellow in the office of Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey, and after he lost the presidential election to Richard Nixon, I helped him with some of his writing—mostly a weekly column that was syndicated to newspapers around the country. He had been Vice President for four years and had learned to enjoy some of the benefits—including being driven everywhere—of Secret Service protection.

Vice Presidents traditionally have been allowed to keep their Secret Service protection for six months after leaving office, and in July  1969 I met with Mr. Vice President (we still called him that) about his next newspaper columns. He wasn’t his usual ebullient self. He finally said he was a little down because he was losing his Secret Service protection the next week.

It wasn’t so much that he feared for his life but now he was going to have to drive his own car—and find a place to park. “And,” he added, “I’ll have to pick up my laundry and dry cleaning.”
Humphrey, before serving as Vice President, had been a United States Senator from 1949 to 1964; in 1970 he was re-elected to the Senate, serving until he died in January 1978.


  1. Mike Feinsilber says

    I can’t remember how I learned this, so I can’t vouch for its verity, but I think it is true:
    Sometime after leaving the presidency, Dwight Eisenhower was asked what he missed most. He answered in two words: “The helicopters.”

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