President Obama’s visit to Boston today presents the city with a security nightmare, with thousands of police officers required from 40 communities to handle Obama’s late afternoon fundraiser and then his departure from the city – as well as the World Series game that starts soon after.
Obama will be in Boston today for a speech on Obamacare and a fundraiser for Congressional Democrats. It’s the fundraiser, which doesn’t start until 5:35 pm, that presents the biggest headache. That, along with his scheduled departure from Logan Airport at 6:50 pm, puts him right in the middle of rush hour and the mass influx of fans coming to watch the Boston Red Sox take on the St. Louis Cardinals. Game time is scheduled for 8:07 pm.
Boston officials are deeply concerned and are scrambling to get the city prepared, according to the Boston Globe.
“The message is consistent, it’s simple, it’s clear,” said city Transportation Commissioner Thomas Tinlin. “If you’re coming into the city of Boston, we still encourage you to take public transportation. There is a lot happening in downtown Boston.”
According to the Globe, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino said Obama informed him that he “hopes” to leave the city by 7 pm but warned that he may be running late. The president is not known for his promptness.
“We informed the White House that we have a baseball game coming up,” Menino joked.
But police are also preparing for the possibility that Obama might decide to make an appearance at Fenway Park. Officials are praying he doesn’t, since it would make the game “a logistical nightmare,” in the words of one law enforcement official.
Obama is often known to tie up traffic while raising money, particularly in New York City, where his frequent stops for cash in 2012 during rush hour regularly inconvenienced the city. But the presence of a fundraising president in a major city during rush hour and a World Series game is uncharted territory.