Yesterday morning, mid-way through a guided tour of the US Capitol Building, we encountered unexpectedly locked doors and confused looks on the faces of the tour guides. Then, without explanation, we were escorted out of the Capitol building itself and back into the new underground visitor’s center. I was both disappointed and grateful for the sudden end to the tour: I didn’t get to climb the Dome, but I was able to return a phone call from long-time Washington insider Kit Lunney, who had phoned me while I was in the “all cell phones off “zone of the Capitol.
Standing in the park behind the Capitol, talking to Kit, I noticed a flurry of activity around the Dome of the Capitol…not tourists, but sharpshooters with rifles at the ready. Then a great wailing of sirens started, and a very long motorcade of motorcycle cops and big black SUV’s pulled up to the Capitol. I described the scene to Kit, who said that a motorcade like that is usually the President. So I grabbed my camera, and used the telephoto button to zoom in on the action.It was Barack Obama, arriving in dramatic style for a surprise meeting with a group of Senate and Congressional leaders. His unexpected visit to “The Hill” was a preview of coming attractions for the “new show” in town. The “opening act” begins in two weeks, but this “sneak peak”, indicates that our President-Elect has a flair for the unexpected and dramatic. Unfortunately, the material that Obama is forced to work with at the moment is a real tragedy…the worldwide financial and economic catastrophe.
My Capitol tour may have been cut short, but I was one of a only a handful of spectators (other than the Secret Service and leaders of Congress) who got to experience some real “Obama Drama”. The link below will take you to a news video explaining why Obama made this surprise visit to Capitol Hill: