- By J. Dana StusterJ. Dana Stuster is an assistant editor at Foreign Policy. He has studied at the American University of Beirut and graduated in 2010 with degrees in English and International Relations from the University of California, Davis. Before coming to FP, his work appeared in the Atlantic and the National Interest, among other publications.
For a vehicle that goes by the fearsome name "The Beast," Barack Obama’s presidential limo has had its fair share of run-of-the-mill car trouble.
Today we learned that Obama is down a limousine for his trip to Israel after his armored Cadillac refused to start. The Beast runs on diesel, but whoever got the crummy job of having to fill up the tank for the president used gasoline instead — forcing the car to be towed away from a gas station in Jerusalem ahead of the president’s arrival. And yes, an eight-ton limousine does look strange on the back of a flatbed truck.
That weight — and the car’s low clearance — made for difficulties on another state visit, when the Beast got stuck on a ramp as it tried to leave the U.S. embassy in Dublin in 2011:
But fear not: Obama will continue to travel in style this week. A spare limousine, one of a fleet of as many as 25, has arrived, and just drove him away from the president’s residence in Jerusalem, where he planted a magnolia tree with Israeli President Shimon Peres.
Update, March 25: The Secret Service told FP that the limousine was not accidentally filled with gasolene instead of diesel, but that they have not yet brought the limousine back to the United States to determine the cause.