WASHINGTON — Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama on Thursday was placed under Secret Service protection, authorities said.
The Illinois senator is the second candidate in the 2008 race for the White House to get a Secret Service detail. The first, Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.), has had the protection as a former first lady.
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff authorized Obama's protection upon recommendation of an advisory committee that includes Chertoff and congressional leaders of both major parties, Secret Service spokesman Darrin Blackford said.
The committee follows guidelines on whether a presidential candidate warrants Secret Service protection. Among the criteria are campaign contributions of at least $2 million and prominence shown in public opinion polls.
Russ Knocke, a spokesman for the Homeland Security Department, declined to discuss the circumstances that led to Obama's protection but said the process generally "begins with the candidate making a request."
Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs could not be reached for comment.