Eating utensils confiscated before Obama speech to Latino organization

Doug Powers by Doug Powers on June 23rd, 2012

This is article 650 of 1015 in the topic Obama

nullIf we were talking about Mitt Romney, who spoke to the same group earlier in the week, the MSM headline probably would have been something along the lines of “Presumptive GOP nominee doesn’t trust Latino audience with forks.”

From Politico:

Does a fork or dinner knife pose an unacceptable danger to President Barack Obama?

One wouldn’t think so, given the hundreds of lunches and dinners he’s attended ranging from state dinners to political fundraisers to run-of-the-mill stops on the rubber-chicken circuit.

However, at one such lunch Friday afternoon, guests heard an unusual announcement that they needed to hand over their silverware for security reasons.

“It’s very important that you use your utensils as soon as possible,” National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials board member Raquel Regalado told about 1000 delegates at the group’s annual conference.

Regalado hurried the diners to finish up their salads and pre-cut chicken breasts, saying that the Secret Service required that there be no knives at the tables and that the forks be rounded up before Obama entered the room.

It’s not yet known if the knives and forks were rounded up as a security precaution, or were taken as an involuntary campaign donations.

The Secret Service, whose job it is to jump in front of the president and take a spork for him if necessary, says this kind of thing isn’t at all unprecedented:

“The Secret Service coordinates this process with staff and host committee to ensure tables are cleared of material that may be deemed hazardous prior to the arrival of the president,” Special Agent Max Milien told POLITICO. “Any implication that this was unique for this event is completely inaccurate.”

In other words, the announcement at the Latino officials’ event may have been unusual, but the removal of the silverware usually takes place without anyone realizing it’s a security measure.

Still, there are a wide variety of breakfasts, lunches and dinners the president attends where diners still have the full complement of silverware as Obama speaks.

Knives are also routinely confiscated at Joe Biden’s dinner speeches, but that’s to eliminate any chance of audience members taking their own lives.

Those events where guests can keep their knives and forks would include the White House Correspondents Dinner as well as Sarah Jessica Parker and George Clooney fundraisers.

Here’s the “pre-cut your food and if you’re not finished by the time The One gets here you’ll have to eat with your fingers” announcement:

Update: Keith Koffler at White House Dossier asks the rhetorical question of the day: “President Obama is willing to send guns into Mexico, but American Latinos are not permitted forks in his presence”?

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