Michelle Obama got her freak on with James Cordon for a White House special of Carpool Karaoke this week.
And if the first lady looked excited to be jamming to Beyonce, Missy Elliot and Stevie Wonder hits, she was. Due to her high profile and the security threat that entails, Mrs Obama is almost always confined to the backseat of cars.
When probed by Cordon about how often she gets to rock out to music in the car, she was sadly only able to recall one time.
“I’ve been in a car, maybe it was months ago with my daughter who learned to drive, and she rocked out a little bit, we rocked out with her,” she said. “But that was the only time in seven and a half years that I’ve been in the passenger’s seat, listening to music rocking out like this.”
Presidents, both current and former, are prohibited by the secret service from getting behind the wheel on public roads.
It’s something Barack Obama lamented at the end of his first term in office when he revealed on the Tonight Show that he’d been on a secret joy ride around the White House grounds in a friend’s electric car without telling the Secret Service.
But it isn’t just the person in the top job who’s affected by the policy. Hillary Clinton, who was first lady from 1993 to 2001 before attracting her own security detail when she became a presidential candidate in 2008, hasn’t driven a car in 20 years.
She told a meeting of the National Automobile Dealers Association in 2014, “The last time I actually drove a car myself was 1996. I remember it very well. Unfortunately, so does the Secret Service, which is why I haven't driven since then.”
Since JFK’s 1963 assassination from the backseat of a convertible presidential security while on the road has been significantly increased.
The president now travels everywhere in an armoured Cadillac – or tank in disguise – which is affectionately known as ‘The Beast’. It boasts eight inch thick doors, five inch thick armoured glass, shred and puncture resistant run-flat tires and is fitted out with some seriously high-class tech.
Night vision cameras are mounted under the headlights, anti-explosion foam surrounds the fuel tank and plenty of weapons are stored in the passenger’s seat. Its drivers meanwhile, are also specially trained in evasion tactics and defensive driving.
So Mrs Obama’s front seat spin – which was already confined to the White House grounds and tailed by security – may be the last one for some time yet.