The Traffic Snarls Have Already Begun
The pope hasn't even arrived, but the traffic is already a mess in downtown D.C. A report from my colleague Daniela Deane, who is headed to Andrews Air Force Base for Benedict's arrival ceremony with President Bush:
Some 300 American and foreign journalists were told to be at the Westin City Center hotel on M Street NW more than five hours before Pope Benedict XVI was to arrive at Andrews Air Force Base. Security officers and canine units from the Department of Defense and Secret Service swept the journalists' equipment and then searched them by hand and then made them go through electronic screening.
The journalists were taken onto four big buses to go wait at the air base for hours on the tarmac for President Bush's greeting of the pope, who is expected to arrive at 4 p.m. The buses got a police escort with sirens blaring.
The security sweep and corralling of the journalists snarled traffic in downtown Washington.
"I'm a Catholic so I think it's great the pope is coming, but this is a bit of a pain," said Kevin Cane, who was stuck in his car on M Street where the traffic was down to one lane.
Benedict will be met at Andrews also by first lady Laura Bush, Washington Archbishop Donald Wuerl, and other Catholic dignitaries.
No public statements are anticipated at Andrews. Photographers were briefed that Benedict would not be kissing U.S. soil upon his arrival, a departure from his predecessor.
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