Q&A on the News

Q: How long after the election do losing presidential candidates get Secret Service protection?

—Wayne Harrison, Loganville

Q: Candidates lose Secret Service protection when they formally drop out of the race or suspend their campaigns, but there isn't an official rule, according to published reports.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s protection detail left after his concession speech in 2012, GQ reported.

John McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential candidate, told his security detail to leave the night of the election.

“The next morning, McCain was seen driving his own car to get groceries,” GQ wrote.

Bernie Sanders caused controversy this year when he continued to campaign after he had mathematically lost the Democratic nomination because of the $40,000 per day price tag for Secret Service protection, CNN reported.

As a former first lady, Hillary Clinton will retain Secret Service protection for life, or until she declines it, under the Former Presidents Protection Act of 2012.

Major presidential and vice presidential candidates can receive Secret Service protection up to 120 days before an election.

Q: On “The Andy Griffith Show,” what kind of job did Thelma Lou have? She lived in a nice house, always wore nice clothes and had money to spend, but I don’t remember her going to work.

—Andy Sims, Douglasville

A: It's not known where Thelma Lou worked, but she mentioned her office in at least one episode, according to show websites. Her last name also is never mentioned.

Andy Johnston with Fast Copy News Service wrote this column; Will Robinson contributed. Do you have a question? We’ll try to get the answer. Call 404-222-2002 or email q&a@ajc.com (include name, phone and city).