2. The End of the Pres­i­den­tial ‘Stroll’

Before JFK’s assas­si­na­tion, pres­i­dents had much more freedom to travel around the cap­ital without extreme pro­tec­tive detail. Pres­i­dent Coolidge was known for his reg­ular con­sti­tu­tionals around Wash­ington, D.C., most often only accom­pa­nied by one body guard. Addi­tion­ally, Pres­i­dent Truman was also famous for his fre­quent walks around the cap­ital with lim­ited pro­tec­tive detail.

But North­eastern Uni­ver­sity Polit­ical Sci­ence Pro­fessor Robert Gilbert notes that after Kennedy’s assas­si­na­tion, unac­com­pa­nied, unplanned strolls were no longer an option for presidents.

Kennedy’s assas­si­na­tion seemed to be the defining moment, per­haps because film clips of the event — shown repeat­edly on tele­vi­sion — were so hor­rific and trau­ma­tizing,” Gilbert said. “Now, pres­i­dents typ­i­cally stroll nowhere except at Camp David and they no longer ride in open cars. The dis­tance between the public and its leader has grown sig­nif­i­cantly — but for good reason.”

That doesn’t mean that a pres­i­den­tial “stroll” never hap­pens, they’re just incred­ibly rare. In 2008 and 2012, Pres­i­dent Obama and the First Lady took a very public, and pro­tected, stroll down Penn­syl­vania Avenue after the inauguration.

Read the article at ABC News →