March 20th, 2013
09:32 AM ET
2 years ago

Presidential limo breaks down ahead of Obama's arrival

Jerusalem (CNN) - An official limousine awaiting President Barack Obama's arrival in Israel malfunctioned Wednesday but the Secret Service now says the reason for the mechanical problem had nothing to do with the type of fuel used, as first reported.

"The appropriate gas was put in the car," Ed Donovan, spokesman for the Secret Service, told CNN.

Citing an official in the region, CNN reported, as did other media outlets, that the vehicle had been filled with gasoline instead of diesel fuel. At the time, the Secret Service did not waive reporters off the idea that the car had the wrong fuel.

Donovan said the vehicle actually doesn't have a diesel engine and runs on unleaded gasoline. The Secret Service is generally tight-lipped about details of the president's limousine, otherwise known as "The Beast."

Because the vehicle was built on a Chevrolet Kodiak chassis, whose engine runs on diesel fuel, it was believed that the limo also ran on diesel.

The Secret Service says the diagnostics are still ongoing.

However, an Israeli official adamantly stands by the story that the limousine was filled with the wrong type of fuel.

The limo failed to start, and required towing in Jerusalem at 10 a.m. local time. Obama, who landed in Tel Aviv around noon, was not in the country at the time the limo was towed. A second presidential limo was brought to transport Obama.

"We experienced mechanical trouble with one of the cars," Donovan told a pool reporter traveling with Obama earlier Wednesday. "We don't know the cause."

"That's why we bring different multiple vehicles," Donovan said.

The tow truck company owner who picked up the limo said the U.S. consulate called him to tow the vehicle in Jerusalem because it wouldn't start.

Multiple official vehicles are typically flown ahead of time to destinations where Obama is visiting. On his trip to the Mideast, Obama will stop in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem in Israel, Ramallah in the West Bank, and will visit with Jordan's King Abdullah in that nation.

The presidential limousine is a specially built Cadillac that's estimated to weigh 8 tons. There are multiple, identical copies that are used to transport Obama around Washington and on his trips out of town.

The car reportedly features inches of armor and bulletproof glass, doors and windows that seal shut in the event of a gas attack, and special shocks to absorb blasts.

– CNN's Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.


Filed under: Israel • President Obama
soundoff (230 Responses)
  1. TuacaTom

    Obama will blame the sequester yet again, LoL!!

    March 20, 2013 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  2. W.

    In one of the prestigious cabins of Air Force One was overheard, "My kingdom for a horse..." Thus is the evolving process in the fall of the Western Empire. I believe Patton made a similar comment regarding the fuel used in his tanks.

    March 20, 2013 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  3. MG

    See....we still can have the easter egg roll.....

    March 20, 2013 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  4. Jim

    I guess the sequester claimed the presidential limo mechanic. That's making it hurt!

    March 20, 2013 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  5. Donna

    Larry L
    Hate and racism blinds people.
    =============

    Government dependence and blind obedience enslaves people.

    March 20, 2013 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  6. john

    Guess you can't really trust you car to the man that wears the star, the big bright Secret Service star.

    March 20, 2013 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  7. Lynda/Minnesota

    @Dominican mama 4 Obama

    I tip my hat to you. You hung in a lot longer than I could have. I do agree that I've learned a few things today as well. The new GOPerville buzz includes "sequester" and "golf carts".

    As equally uninteresting and childish as the teleprompter buzz was ... yes.

    But, hey. I am talking GOPerville.

    March 20, 2013 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  8. Shorty

    Blame it on Bush.

    March 20, 2013 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  9. asdrel

    HELP WANTED:
    Limo driver who knows the difference between gasoline and diesel fueled vehicles...

    March 20, 2013 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  10. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Donna
    Government dependence and blind obedience enslaves people
    -------------------------------------------------
    But not as quickly and permanently as willful ignorance, and a susceptibilty to plain outright lying as you have amply demonstrated with every single one of your mendacious, and hate-filled posts.

    March 20, 2013 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  11. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Lynda/Minnesota

    @Dominican mama 4 Obama

    I tip my hat to you. You hung in a lot longer than I could have.
    -------------------------------------------------
    I'm having a relatively easy day here at work. I'm also in a fabulous mood becasue Dominican Republic, my native country,won the World Baseball Classic.
    I'm in such a good mood that I am actually lowering my standards and responding to some of the Reich wing mouth-breathing knuckle-dragging goons on this thread. I am specifically referring to Donna, of course, but you already knew that I'm sure (wink!).

    March 20, 2013 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  12. Ken S

    Another addition to the ranks of the unemployed, because if he wasn't fired there is just no way he could show his face at work on Monday!

    March 20, 2013 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  13. Rudy NYC

    Tony wrote:

    I find Boehner's lack of charm offensive.
    ------------
    Spoken like a true wordsmith.

    March 20, 2013 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  14. GI Joe

    those Israelies must not be able to read – even with all the welfare for war we donate to them every year. Everyone knows not to put gasoline in a diesel-fueled vehicle. DUH!!!!!

    March 20, 2013 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  15. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Lynda/Minnesota

    @Dominican mama 4 Obama

    I tip my hat to you. You hung in a lot longer than I could have.
    -------------------------------------------------
    This is why we must act like a team, when one is weary the other steps in!
    I'm having a slow day here at the office so I can indulge in my favorite guilty pleasure: talking smack on this blog! LOL!
    Yet you're so right. "These people" ,as Ann Romney would've said, would wear out a Tibetian monk with their crazy theories and suppositions. But it is entertaining if nothing else!
    I'm reposting to you because I don't think CNN is going to post my original response to you my friend.

    March 20, 2013 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  16. Sniffit

    ""Obamacare was a Republican idea".....Guess it makes you happy to believe your very own LIES!"

    Heritage Foundation and myriad Republicans responded to Hillary Clinton's healthcare reform proposal in 1995-1996 by proposing an individual mandate requiring that people purchase health insurance. Mittens then set precisely that kind of system up in Massachusetts. The GOP/Teatrolls then opposed the individual mandate when a black Dem POTUS enacted it. Now, kindly take this information, which proved you 100% uninformed, back to whichever radicalized Teatroll hivemind reality-denial echo chamber you came from.

    March 20, 2013 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  17. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Rudy NYC

    Tony wrote:

    I find Boehner's lack of charm offensive.
    ----
    Spoken like a true wordsmith.
    -------------------------------------------------
    Yup! I agree.
    Right up there with your "Biden's beaming beatifically" (hope I got it right!).

    March 20, 2013 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  18. Sniffit

    It appears not a single GOPer/Teatroll even read the article. Kudos guys....bang up job looking stupid.

    March 20, 2013 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  19. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    It appears not a single GOPer/Teatroll even read the article. Kudos guys....bang up job looking stupid.
    -------------------------------------------------
    Sniffit!! They don't get paid to read, they get paid to POST!!
    Come on now!!

    March 20, 2013 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  20. Lynda/Minnesota

    "I'm reposting to you because I don't think CNN is going to post my original response to you my friend."

    Been there, done that a few times (OK more than a few) today!!! I'd comment on THAT, but what's the use? Congrats to your Baseball team. And ... oh, yeah. They DO entertain us with their bang up job of looking stupid.

    March 20, 2013 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  21. Wake up People!

    Now Sniffit....... You know good and well RWNJ's can't read....... You're slipping a little today.

    March 20, 2013 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  22. Woman In California

    Government dependence and blind obedience enslaves people.

    --

    Government dependence = Congressional paychecks.
    Blind obedience = Grover Norquist.

    You're a riot today Donna.

    March 20, 2013 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  23. Rick in L.A.

    Wow; our Prez has THREE limo's that can travel with him anywhere on his 747 super jet that sleeps 30. C'mon; is this really necessary?

    March 20, 2013 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  24. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    @ Lynda/Minnesota
    They DO entertain us with their bang up job of looking stupid
    -------------------------------------------------
    I'm totally convinced that it is their GOP Gawd-given gift. They do it so effortlessly, and so consistently it is almost awe-inspiring...almost.

    March 20, 2013 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  25. Expat American

    Job Opening: Presidential Limousine Driver
    Start Date: Immediate availability preferred / or about 5 hours ago

    March 20, 2013 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
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