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Worst Week Ever

Adriana Pratt | Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A visit to speak about trade in the Western Hemisphere? Definitely presidential. A trip to hang out with Colombian prostitutes? Not so much.

U.S. Secret Service agents and military personnel are under fire for allegedly spending time with a certain set of ladies during their South American trip last week. While they supposedly pursued the rendezvous before President Barack Obama arrived, they’re feeling its repercussions long after its end.

American Secret Service and military men, you may have had your night of fun, but now you’re having the worst week ever.

Eleven Secret Service agents and at least ten military personnel are under investigation for misconduct, allegedly keeping the company of at least 20 women late into last Wednesday night, according to CBS News.

While prostitution is legal in Colombia, paying for special attention ahead of Obama’s visit garnered these gentlemen a whole lot more than they bargained for. Once the media caught wind of the breeze blowing down south, headlines exploded and investigations ensued.

When Obama arrived at the summit in Cartagena, he said the U.S. has “never felt more excited about prospects of working as equal partners with our brothers and sisters in Latin America and the Caribbean.”

I don’t think this is what he meant.

If the allegations are true, the United States isn’t going to look too fabulous. All this suspected fun time with friends comes at a price – literally.

Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, the senior Republican on the Homeland Security Committee, was none too pleased with the developments.

“Could they have planted bugs, disabled weapons or in any other way jeopardized security of the president or our country?” she asked in a New York Times article.

Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters Monday the team was embarrassed.

“We let the boss down, because nobody is talking about what went down in Colombia other than this incident,” Dempsey said.

The cat was let out of the bag after one woman supposedly demanded an additional payment of $170, according to The Washington Post. An agent got upset and the ensuing dispute drew hotel attention, The Post reported.

Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan acted quickly, and the Secret Service put 11 agents on administrative leave Saturday in lieu of the allegations. They’ve been stripped of their “top-secret” clearance and lost their official identification and firearms.

Peter King, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said there is no reason to believe security was compromised, but the team will still conduct investigations to be safe.

While a casual dalliance might have been the intention, an exploding scandal is the reality. Men in charge of protecting the president are in a quandary, as their ability to protect themselves and America’s reputation comes into question.

It sounds like the Secret Service’s services might need some fine-tuning and maybe a little reworking. Perhaps some time to reflect, regroup and refocus could serve the gentlemen well. As the situation continues to develop, one thing is for sure: the Secret Service’s secret ain’t a secret anymore.

Contact Adriana Pratt at apratt@nd.edu

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer. 

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The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.

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Worst Week Ever

Adriana Pratt | Friday, April 13, 2012

Republicans and mommies around the world gasped in united offense. M.R.S.-degree candidates fainted in horror. The Democratic National Committee sprinted into action. Mama Obama hit her Twitter feed hard.

When Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen opened her mouth on CNN Wednesday night and let slip a less-than-politically-correct comment, the political gods that be began molding and folding their responses in true partisan fashion. Abandoned and alone, the once prominent pundit Rosen is having the Worst Week Ever.

In a pointed comment calling out Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney for his underdeveloped understanding of women, Rosen said his perspective was obviously skewed since his wife Ann, a stay-at-home-mom, has “never actually worked a day in her life.” Oh no she didn’t!

Mommy Romney, perfectly groomed and poised like her polished hubby, responded in a politically savvy fashion.

“My career choice was to be a mother,” she said on Fox News.

“And I think all of us need to know that we need to respect choices that women make. Other women make other choices to have a career and raise a family, which I think Hilary Rosen has actually done herself. I respect that. It’s wonderful.”

And from then on, the issue was no longer about the economics of women, but instead who could suck up to progenitors more profusely.

Mama Obama quickly told her tweeps, “Every mother works hard, and every woman deserves to be respected.”

The White House disowned and disaffiliated itself from anything Rosen, claiming records that tracked numerous visits from a certain “Hilary Rosen” could be numerous Hilary Rosens.

Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz also took to Twitter and said, “As a mother of three there’s no doubt that raising children is work.”

Ann tweeted, “I made a choice to stay home and raise five boys. Believe me, it was hard work.”

And for Ann, it certainly has been a handful. No matter how beautiful those Romney boys might be, there are five of them – who were born over an 11-year time span. Just as one became potty trained, another started using diapers. Just as one matured, another hit puberty. Just as one graduated college, another began. And if they’re as big of pranksters as their daddy claims to be, there’s no doubt Ann had her fair share of headaches.

However, Rosen’s point was bigger than simply telling Mommy Romney that by not working for a paycheck, she’s led a privileged life. Rosen was arguing that more attention needs to be paid to women who are both bread bakers and breadwinners.

Her argument was well-intentioned, though the delivery was a little rough. The female vote is going to be crucial to whoever eventually calls the White House home in January, and Romney would be wise to heed Rosen’s message.

Unfortunately for Hilary, this week proved that every Rosen has its thorns. While her point might have been valid, no one seems to be getting past its prickly language. Here’s to hoping she irons out the message before she’s doomed to the political grave.