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Petty controversy: Does Obama wear a seat belt?
Though D.C. law requires all passengers to buckle up, photos suggest the president doesn't bother. Is the ultimate role model setting a bad example?
 
In this July, 2010 photo, Obama appears to have ignored seat-belt safety guidelines.
In this July, 2010 photo, Obama appears to have ignored seat-belt safety guidelines.
CC BY: The White House

The petty controversy: Multiple images of President Obama taken over time reveal that he does not wear a seat belt while riding in the back of his limo, according to Washington newspaper The Hill. For the past few years, the newspaper has tried to establish whether the President of the United States is exempt from D.C. laws, which require seat-belt use — filing a Freedom of Information Act request after former New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine was seriously injured in a 2007 car accident, partly because he failed to buckle up. For its troubles, The Hill has received a "heavily redacted" report saying that, in the case of motorcades, it's the "driver's responsibility" to make sure passengers strap themselves in. But should Obama be taking matters into his own hands?
The reaction:
"How can you expect [Obama] to wear a seat belt?" jokes Greg Pollowitz at National Review. "It totally interferes with his smoking. Geez." But honestly, it's hard to imagine a driver ordering the president to put on a seat belt, says Ed Hornick at CNN — "just imagine how awkward that conversation would be." This may not be "the equivalent of Watergate in terms of a president considering himself above the law," says Ed Morrissey at Hot Air, but in light of the Corzine accident, "it’s not exactly nothing, either." And "we don’t want to see a president end up as a traffic fatality by neglecting something as basic as buckling a seat belt."

 

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