Literally. And it’s not the only thing Dean Reynolds sees wrong with the Barack Obama campaign after covering it for the past year. He recently spent time with the John McCain team for a change of pace, and it turned out to be a much different experience:
After most of the previous 12 months covering Barack Obama’s campaign for the presidency, it was interesting, instructive and, well, relaxing to follow John McCain for the last few days. The differences between the two are striking. …
Obama’s campaign schedule is fuller, more hectic and seemingly improvisational. The Obama aides who deal with the national reporters on the campaign plane are often overwhelmed, overworked and un-informed about where, when, why or how the candidate is moving about. Baggage calls are preposterously early with the explanation that it’s all for security reasons.
If so, I would love to have someone from Obama’s campaign explain why the entire press corps, the Secret Service, and the local police idled for two hours in a Miami hotel parking lot recently because there was nothing to do and nowhere to go. It was not an isolated case. …
The McCain folks are more helpful and generally friendly. The schedules are printed on actual books you can hold in your hand, read, and then plan accordingly. The press aides are more knowledgeable and useful to us in the news media. The events are designed with a better eye, and for the simple needs of the press corps. When he is available, John McCain is friendly and loquacious. Obama holds news conferences, but seldom banters with the reporters who’ve been following him for thousands of miles around the country. Go figure.
The McCain campaign plane is better than Obama’s, which is cramped, uncomfortable and smells terrible most of the time. Somehow the McCain folks manage to keep their charter clean, even where the press is seated.
Sounds like the campaign press may have fallen out of love with Obama. Perhaps that’s the antidote for Chris Matthews’ leg tingles. Or maybe not; after all, the hagiographic coverage hasn’t exactly abated in the last few months. Of course, most of them haven’t seen the contrast between the two campaigns like Reynolds has, either.
Reynolds describes a campaign that seems almost as lost as its candidate in a foreign-policy debate. No one knows the schedule for the day, or at least no one wants to tell the press. And does anyone else wonder why Team Obama seems so keen on getting their hands on the baggage of reporters? I find it curious that the press hasn’t objected to this yet.
Read the entire account, and ask yourself which candidate appears to be the best executive just on the basis of the campaign — which Barack Obama assures us serves as his qualification for office.