The first family should publicly submit to the new scanning device and "enhanced" pat-downs before requiring Americans to do the same, suggested rumored Republican presidential hopeful and ex-Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee while blasting President Obama this morning over controversial new airline security measures.
"If he thinks this is an appropriate way for us to deal with security as he has defended, then I've said, 'OK, Mr. Obama, take your wife, your two daughters and your mother-in-law to Washington Reagan National Airport and have them publicly go through both the body scanner and the full enhanced pat-down in front of others,'" Huckabee said in an interview on Fox and Friends. "'If it's OK for your wife, your daughters, and your mother-in-law, then maybe the rest of us won't feel so bad when our wives, our daughters and our mothers are being put through this humiliating and degrading, totally unconstitutional, intrusion of their privacy.'"
Huckabee instead suggested TSA officials adopt "profiling" as a less costly and intrusive alternative.
The one-time Arkansas governor also said he believed that financial motives were at the heart of the new procedures: "This is more about people making millions and millions of dollars off the machines that they manufactured and then lobbied to sell to the government," he said.
The White House has had to contend with a media furor over the new Transportation Security Administration measures in recent days. Some Republicans like Huckabee have seized on the issue as evidence of government overreach, while White House and Homeland Security officials have pushed back, saying the measures help prevent terrorism.
"I understand people’s frustrations," Obama said at a press conference in Lisbon this weekend. "But at this point, TSA, in consultation with our counterterrorism experts, have indicated to me that the procedures that they’ve been putting in place are the only ones right now that they consider to be effective against the kind of threat that we saw in the Christmas Day bombing."
Obama noted in his response to a question about the TSA methods that he does not personally have to go through security checks -- the inspiration, perhaps, behind Huckabee's challenge.
But TSA Administrator John Pistole, recently thrust into the national limelight by the screening brouhaha, told senators at a hearing before the Science, Commerce and Transportation Committee last week that he insisted on receiving enhanced pat-downs before the new measure was rolled out. He also offered to arrange for a TSA officer to conduct a patdown for any member who wanted to understand what was involved.