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Obama signs law giving himself, Bush lifetime Secret Service guard
January 10, 2013 at 4:22 PM

Former presidents have to give up rides on Air Force One. But now they don't have to give up being shadowed by the armed-and-earpieced bodyguards of the Secret Service.

President Barack Obama on Thursday signed into a law a measure giving him, George W. Bush and future former presidents and their spouses lifetime Secret Service protection, the White House announced.

The legislation, crafted by Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, rolls back a mid-1990s law that imposed a 10-year limit on Secret Service protection for former presidents. Bush would have been the first former commander in chief affected.

At the time, lawmakers who supported the measure said it would save the government millions of dollars. They also argued that former presidents could hire private security firms (as Richard Nixon did after he decided to forgo Secret Service protection in 1985).

The bill had sailed through Congress with bipartisan support—it cleared the House of Representatives by voice vote in early December, and then it zipped through the Senate unopposed. The law also provides protection for former presidents’ kids until age 16. But “protection of a spouse shall terminate in the event of remarriage.”

The Secret Service started protecting presidents in 1901 after the assassination of William McKinley. In 1965, Congress passed a law authorizing the agency, which is now a part of the Department of Homeland Security, to protect former presidents for life.


  • FromAtoZ
    January 13, 2013 at 8:25 PM

    Quoting TranquilMind:

    Isn't he special?  SURE...we taxpayers can afford it!  "We don't have a spending problem..."  (Falls down laughing)

    Why yes, he is.  As they all are.  We have been paying for it all along.  This is nothing new.  It only extends it past the 10 year mark.

  • Euphoric
    January 13, 2013 at 8:29 PM


    Quoting free1:


    Quoting UpSheRises:

    They should have lifetime protection.


  • Princess_s21
    January 14, 2013 at 12:58 AM
    Thought this was always the case, I'm sure former presidents already have secret service protection.
  • OneToughMami
    January 14, 2013 at 1:14 AM

    Good. Bush needs it just as much as Obama.

  • OneToughMami
    January 14, 2013 at 1:15 AM

    Quoting TranquilMind:

    Isn't he special?  SURE...we taxpayers can afford it!  "We don't have a spending problem..."  (Falls down laughing)

    Did you read that Bush is also going to benefit?

  • LauraKW
    by LauraKW
    January 14, 2013 at 4:16 PM

     Ok, wait - the President signed a bill into law that: 1) he did not write; 2) passed the Republican held House of Representatives; 3) passed the Democratic held Senate; and 4) benefits all living and future former Presidents.  So he basically did not veto a bill that both houses of Congress approved.  That bastard!

  • LauraKW
    by LauraKW
    January 14, 2013 at 4:20 PM

     And as many others here have said, I didn't realize there was a 10 year stipulation on the Secret Service protection.  I totally agree that EVERY former President - past, present, and future - deserves lifetime protection.  It is the least we can do in respect for the office.

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