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Orthodox Jewish wedding party chases Romney

August 08, 2012|By Seema Mehta

The campaign trail can often be bumpy and harrowing -- early-morning wake-up calls, bad food and late-night deadlines all lead to wear and tear on the politicos and reporters who crisscross the nation trying to keep tabs on the men and women who seek to become the leader of the free world. 

But, as an incident involving Mitt Romney showed Wednesday, campaigns can also take on the carnival-like feel of a circus.

The presumptive GOP nominee, upon arrival in Lake Terrace, N.J., for a fundraiser, was literally chased by a wedding party, including one man who tried to scale a fence.

Arriving around 3:35 p.m., Romney’s SUV, along with other vehicles carrying heavily armed Secret Service agents and reporters, passed an Orthodox Jewish wedding party posing for pictures. Sighting the motorcade, the nearest and dearest deserted the couple and chased the line of cars. They were halted, first by the wooden fence, and then by a displeased federal agent.

"Oh, you're Secret Service," a woman responded when an agent asked her to retreat. "We just want to see Romney."

A spokesman for Romney later said the candidate would take pictures with the wedding party.

The colorful chase followed what was a scary ride to the destination. The motorcade hit speeds of 90 mph, shaving 15 minutes off what should have been an hourlong trip from the Newark airport to the fundraiser. Such speedy drives are common on the campaign trail -- after all, between raising money and stumping, candidates of either party and particularly presidents don’t have time to wait at red lights or for pokey drivers.

The late-afternoon fundraiser and a dinner later were expected to raise at least $1.5 million in a few short hours -- pretty good incentive for a few grip-and-grins in front of some cameras.

seema.mehta@latimes.com

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