Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., received Secret Service protection when he ran for president in May 2007, more than a year out from the general election. (CQ Roll Call file photo)
When a protester walked onstage and took the microphone from California Sen. Kamala Harris at an event earlier this month, it raised serious questions about who is in charge of protecting the Democratic presidential candidate and at what point in her campaign — and others’ — the Secret Service should step in.
Harris remained calm, and security personnel at MoveOn’s Big Ideas Forum in San Francisco leaped onstage as the senator walked away. Harris’ husband, Douglas Emhoff, wrestled the microphone from the protester. But the incident brought with it a flurry of concern about how vulnerable candidates can be on the trail, and who is responsible for protecting them.