Rich Galen

The Secret Service Hookers-in-Columbia scandal will go on for weeks.

It will spread to the military - not so much the White House Communications Agency (WHCA) - but to the guys who handle the dogs and like that.

It will also spread to the political staff. I don't know that any civilian Federal employees or volunteers hired hookers to come to their hotel rooms, but I'm pretty sure someone on Capitol Hill will suggest the Director of White House Advance come up and discuss the matter.

The "discussion" will likely involve who was in Cartagena, when they arrived, what their responsibilities were, and whether those responsibilities were worth what it cost the taxpayers - during PAY YOUR TAXES WEEK.

The outfall from this business should be a real discussion - not a politically motivated discussion - about just how many people it takes to make sure the President of the United States knows how many steps it is between his hotel suite and the elevator.

As I mentioned the other day I have been on advance teams over the years. Not a lot of them, and never in a position of authority. I was often nothing more than a familiar face that the principal might like to see.

I never did a foreign advance, but if I had been asked to participate I certainly would have.

Domestic or foreign, being on an advance team (again, this is the same for Republican as well as Democrat Administrations) is very good duty.

It's called "advance" because you get there before the principal does. In the days before the "boss" shows up you walk through where he or she will be, how they will get from Point A to Point B, who will greet them, who will be sitting next to them, and who will accompany them from the event to the limo.

On "Game Day" everyone - EVERYONE - is on high alert. No one wants to be the one to aim the President or the Veep down a wrong hallway when a Vice-Presidential pee-pee is in the offing.

In advance of the principle's arrival there are daily events called "count-down meetings." These meetings are typically run by the senior political advance person and the senior Secret Service Agent.

As we discussed the other day, anyone who has a role in the event will be in attendance: An Air Force meteorologist will forecast the weather; the hotel manager will talk about how he will secure the appropriate number of elevators; the local police chief and or Sheriff will talk about how the roads along the route will be controlled, and so on.

Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at