SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Hillary Rodham Clinton, a former first lady who hasn't driven a car or pumped gas in many years because of Secret Service restrictions, joined a blue-collar worker at a filling station Wednesday to illustrate how the high price of gasoline is squeezing consumers.
The Democratic presidential candidate and sheet metal worker Jason Wilfing, 33, pulled into the station in a large white Ford 250 pickup truck, Clinton riding shotgun. Never mind that it wasn't even Wilfing's truck - he had borrowed his boss's larger vehicle to accommodate Clinton's security agent and personal assistant, who rode in the back.
Trailing Wilfing and Clinton was a Secret Service motorcade consisting of six gas-guzzling Suburbans, two squad cars and a green SUV bearing photographers and TV cameras. Several other reporters and cameramen stood shivering in unseasonably cold temperatures, ready to capture the multi-vehicle arrival.
Clinton and Wilfing stepped out of the car and approached the pump. Wilfing chose regular unleaded gasoline, and began filling the tank. The two engaged in chit chat, with New York senator mentioning her proposal for a temporary gas tax holiday to ease the price pinch on consumers.
The tank filled, Clinton looked at the price recorded at the pump and shook her head.
"Sixty-three dollars," she said. "For just about half a tank."
Shutters clicked, cameras whirred. Point made.