Billionaire Bill Gates learned the hard way that the Secret Service means business when it comes to checking identification at the White House gates, ROLL CALL reports. Gates showed up at the White House on Wednesday afternoon for a substantive meeting with Homeland Security Department Secretary Tom Ridge. But when he was asked to produce some ID, Gates said he had left it in a vehicle parked nearby.
While HOH has to assume that the Secret Service officers recognized the founder of Microsoft, they refused to let Gates in. So he had to cool his heels as Microsoft's chief lobbyist, Jack Krumholtz, rushed back to the car to get the ID. Fortunately for Gates, it took Krumholtz only about 60 seconds to retrieve the wallet, so the big shot didn't have to suffer too long in Washington's 95-degree heat.
"It's like that VISA commercial," one insider explained to ROLL CALL's Ed Henry, about the spot featuring various celebrities who aren't allowed to cash a check without some ID. Gates eventually made it past the gates for his meeting with Ridge. And then, with his ID presumably in his pocket, the billionaire huddled with Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) to discuss tech policy.
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