Mitt Romney well protected during D.C. appearance

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Local,DC,Alan Blinder

Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney visited Washington Friday, and the scene at the J.W. Marriott could have had passersby wondering if maybe Romney had actually won that election back in November.

The Pennsylvania Avenue hotel was all but barricaded while Romney was attending a luncheon there.

The presidential-like security included guards who blocked the entrance to the hotel's lobby for hours, allowing only hotel guests and invited attendees access to a building that is normally one of Washington's most accessible.

Another commonly used entrance across the street from Freedom Plaza was locked outright and opened only when luminaries like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell or Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., himself a former Republican presidential nominee, arrived.

But the hubbub hardly unnerved D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray, who was attending another event at the hotel and said he didn't even know Romney was in the building.

Romney has scarcely been seen since his resounding defeat on Nov. 6, and Friday was no exception: The Boston Globe reported that Romney entered the hotel through a private entrance.

It wasn't the Secret Service, though, that escorted Romney. He lost his security detail when he lost the election.

ablinder@washingtonexaminer.com

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