Complaints of tighter press handling by both campaigns have been mounting in recent weeks. Obama’s people push back on stories. Reporters on the McCain beat can’t ride shotgun . What next—secret travel schedules?
One of the great frustrations of covering presidential candidates is never knowing where the hell they—and therefore you—are going to be. Yet the campaigns still make you sign up for the flights!
Here was Barack Obama’s travel schedule as released to the traveling press on Aug. 2 (and since updated, I’m told):
( RON means “Rest Overnight.”)
So what’s a campaign reporter to do? Figuring out Obama’s sked is often a catch 22. “Usually the campaign aides on the plane will give you a hint as to where they will be headed—but only if you’re on the plane,” one reporter gripes. Another journalist had to find out through published sources that Obama would be in Minneapolis on Wednesday.
“They’ve also stopped sending pool reports to people who aren’t on the plane, just like the White House,” the first one tells me. Pool reports are write-ups for events that only one reporter is allowed to attend. So if you have to be on the plane to read pool reports, that sort of defeats the purpose of being on the plane in the first place.