'The Beast' Gets Stuck in Ireland

By Marc Ambinder

President Obama's touring limousine, "The Beast," can reportedly take a 50-caliber round fired at close range, but it proved no match for a piece of pavement in Ireland on Monday.

A steel-reinforced tire on one of the two identical limos got stuck as it attempted to roll over an exit ramp at the gates of the U.S. Embassy in Dublin. As steel contacted pavement, a loud clang was heard, the limo abruptly stopped, and crowds waiting to see Obama "ooohed."


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Because the president is never supposed to be outside in view of unscreened public and not moving, the Secret Service and Irish Garda quickly swarmed the small area while technicians worked to get the limo out of its predicament. A van and another car created a temporary barrier to protect operational security of the rescue operation.

Obama was in the second limo, and could only watch.

As video of the event shows, one of the motorcade's lead cars scraped its fender, suggesting that something about the pavement was hinky.

The day before a president arrives, the Secret Service agent assigned to the motorcade usually practices driving the route in the limousine to make sure that the unusually heavy car can fit into narrow spaces and complete turns without bumping into anything.

It's unclear whether the Dublin embassy exit was rehearsed.

After about 15 minutes, the motorcade was rolling. Watch the crowd's cheers turn to jeers in the video below:

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2011/05/the-beast-gets-stuck-in-ireland/239326/