LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

ATLANTA -- Political campaigning has its memorable moments, sometimes involving thousands of people in the worst place at the worst time.

Wednesday night was one of those times - as Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan arrived at Atlanta's Hartsfield Jackson International Airport, south of downtown Atlanta at the height of the evening rush hour. Ryan was in town to attend a fundraiser at the Cobb Energy Centre north of the city.

Ryan's campaign, who scheduled his arrival in Atlanta, did not factor into account the impact of a Secret Service security blanket shutting down Interstate 75 through the middle of the city as Ryan's motorcade headed north to Cobb County, and then again later as the motorcade made the return trip to Hartsfield Jackson.

As the motorcade made its way through the city, I-75 looked like a lonely stretch of rural highway with security spread out in front of, alongside and behind Ryan's limousine.

The security cordon forced motorists that would ordinarily ride on the interstate on to city streets, backing up traffic on streets surrounding the Downtown Connector and I-75 for hours.

The fundraiser at the Cobb Energy Centre was some 21 miles north of the airport. Supporters paid between $500 and $25,000 to meet, greet and talk with Ryan.

Ryan's arrival time, according to security agencies, was set by Ryan and his staff. The Secret Service only has the role of providing security for the candidate, which in this case meant shutting down the freeways.

For the Secret Service, shutting down highways as motorcades make their way through cities is nothing new. It was done four times this year for Gov. Mitt Romney as he came to Atlanta for fundraisers, and three times for President Obama and the First Lady.

An alternative for Ryan this time could have been a helicopter ride for the 22 minute ride to the Cobb Energy Centre. There's a helicopter pad next to the Waverly Renaissance Hotel just blocks from the Cobb Energy Centre.

11Alive's Bill Liss asked the Romney-Ryan campaign why they did not go that route rather than tie up traffic across the city. 11Alive News has yet to receive a response from the campaign.

No other political interstate shutdowns are expected in Metro Atlanta before Election Day.

LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE
Read or Share this story: http://on.11alive.com/1huTuKJ