Secret Service has asked for an extra $9.5 million to cover presidential candidates.. - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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Secret Service has asked for an extra $9.5 million to cover presidential candidates..

AP Exclusive: Secret Service wants more money

WASHINGTON - The Secret Service has asked for an extra $9.5 million to cover unexpected costs of protecting the presidential candidates during what has turned into an historic year for the agency's campaign security job.

Among other things, the extra money would be used for the added costs for the candidates' international travel and a late-in-the-game decision by Barack Obama to accept the Democratic nomination at Denver's Invesco Field at Mile High — an open-air, 76,000-seat stadium — instead of the 20,000-seat Pepsi Center, which is the site of the party's national convention.

Presidential candidates are traveling overseas with Secret Service protection more than ever before.

Obama is on a six-day trip to Jordan, Israel, Germany, France and Britain. Before that he was on a three-day congressionally sponsored trip to Afghanistan and Iraq. Republican candidate John McCain has traveled to Canada, Colombia and Mexico under the agency's protection.

The 2008 presidential campaign cycle is the longest in Secret Service history by about five months. The Secret Service budgeted $106.65 million for the 2008 campaign cycle, compared to $73.3 million in 2004.

"I thought we had a very, very good plan in place for the campaign," Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan said in an interview with The Associated Press earlier this week. "If past history was any type of an indicator, we anticipated picking up protection somewhere in January, February, March of 2008."

"But the campaigns are different now," Sullivan said.

Obama received Secret Service protection on May 3, 2007 — the earliest the agency has ever stepped in to protect a candidate. Obama, who frequently draws crowds in the thousands at campaign stops, requested the protection. At the time, the Secret Service and Homeland Security officials said they were not aware of any threats to the senator.

McCain picked up protection on April 27 of this year.

During the 2008 campaign, the agency has protected candidates on about 1,500 trips; and each trip has included three to eight stops. To secure the candidates on these trips, the Secret Service has used about 2,200 magnetometers to screen about 1.5 million people.

The crowds have also been larger than expected. For instance, on May 18, in Portland, Ore., an Obama event was expected to draw 20,000. But instead, 75,000 showed, the Secret Service said. And Thursday, in Berlin, Germany, Obama drew a crowd of about 200,000, according to local law enforcement.

These are not the first candidates to travel internationally. In 1984, then-Democratic hopeful Jesse Jackson traveled to three countries in Latin America, the Secret Service said.

"One of the things I've been most proud of is our work force, because it has been a long campaign, but they have been incredible, enthusiastic and just done a terrific job with the campaign," Sullivan said.

Congress is currently considering the request for additional funds, which was made earlier this summer. The money would be drawn from other programs within the Homeland Security Department, the Secret Service's parent agency.

The Secret Service was formed in 1865 to investigate counterfeit currency. It started protecting major presidential candidates in 1968.

AP Exclusive: Secret Service wants more money - Yahoo! News
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