Obama offers pregnant Chelsea his motorcade

Obama offers pregnant Chelsea his motorcade
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New York (AFP) - President Barack Obama offered heavily pregnant Chelsea Clinton his motorcade Tuesday, in case she needed to speed through New York City gridlock to give birth.

Obama showed no signs of strain, hours after unleashing the latest US Middle East war, in Syria, and was in a jovial mood, at the annual philanthropy fest hosted by a Democrat who preceded him as president -- Bill Clinton -- and a Democrat who may seek to succeed him, Hillary Clinton.

Obama played on the preoccupations of two proud grandparents-to-be and their only daughter, and poked fun at New York motorists who chafe every year at traffic nightmares brought on by the annual United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

"I was just discussing with President Clinton -- if Chelsea begins delivery while I am speaking, she has my motorcade and will be able to navigate traffic," Obama said, drawing chuckles at the Clinton Global Initiative meeting.

"Actually, it's pretty smooth for me during the week. I don't know what the problem is -- everybody hypes the traffic .... I haven't noticed."

Every time the US president drives the streets of New York, its concrete and glass canyons are cleared of traffic, for his two armored limousines and cavalcade of Secret Service vehicles, heavily-armed SWAT teams and minibuses for officials and the press and an ambulance.

But that means a headache for everyone else stuck in Manhattan's always snarling traffic, which is made even worse during UNGA week by the legions of motorcades of other world leaders in town.

The Clintons have not named a due date for their long-awaited first grandchild.

But the former president told CNN he hoped he would be a grandfather by October 1.

Obama also paid a compliment to Hillary Clinton, who served as his secretary of state during his first term and is now whipping up a new round of presidential speculation ahead of the 2016 White House race.

"She has the post administration glow right now -- she looks much more rested," said Obama.

Clinton, will be 69 when the next president is inaugurated, in January 2017, and her age and health will likely be an campaign issue if she decides to make another run for The White House, after losing the nod for the 2008 Democratic nomination to Obama.

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