Over the course of our four-day jaunt across snowy New Hampshire, a thought occurred to us that has also recently occurred to Marco “Roboto” Rubio: we, the media, are very annoying.
Most of the politicians we saw were at least 20 feet away; at many events, we were penned up at the back or in a separate location altogether, kept as far away as possible from the candidate in question. Mostly, our up-close encounters were with our grim mirror images: the drawn, gray faces of other members of the media.
Nearly every event we attended was an over-capacity disaster that would likely have been tolerable if not for the swollen crowd of reporters blocking all excess movements and causing considerable fire hazards. Multiple times, we tried to interview a member of the press, thinking they were New Hampshire voters. Multiple times, we saw other members of the press do the same thing. We were everywhere, and there was no escape.
Still, we managed to capture some great photos of candidates on the campaign trail.
Here is a photo of the press room at Thursday’s MSNBC-Union Leader Democratic Debate, which was not located in the same building as the debate. We had a lot of fun reporting live from the scene.
And here’s the press room for the McIntyre Shaheen 100 Club Celebration at the Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester. If you look very closely you can see little white and blue sandwich boxes, which were labeled with either an H or a T. This proved highly agitating to the reporters in the room, one of whom muttered, “I do want it if it’s turkey, but I don’t want it if it’s tuna!”
We were actually allowed into the main arena for the 100 Club celebration, which was kind of shocking. This is us getting some good face time with Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. The stage setup looks vaguely totalitarian!
Here’s an exciting up-close view of presidential candidate and famed pediatric neurosurgeon Ben Carson in the hallway of his campaign headquarters, saying hello to the extra supporters who weren’t allowed into the over-capacity event. In a few moments, we’d get to shake hands with him and his wife, Candy. It was a meaningful three seconds for all of us.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie had a “meet and greet” at Bruschetti’s Pizzeria in Sandown, NH. We honestly thought we might be sitting down and eating pizza, which is, in retrospect, hilarious.
We were unable to get into the small restaurant for at least 10 minutes, because cameras and boom microphones were literally bursting out of the front door. Once in the restaurant, we found ourselves boobs-to-back with tens of other vaguely urban-looking media types holding little note pads. When Christie finally emerged from the restaurant, it was apparent that the crowd was about eight-to-one, press to civilians.
Our view from the press section at Gov. Jeb Bush’s town hall in Bedford, NH. What you can’t see from this photo is that the media section spanned the width of the middle school gym, and it was this obnoxious the whole way! The image at the top of this article is of the press pen from the perspective of the audience—bonus points if you can spot a miserable Joanna!
We tried to catch a glimpse of Sen. Marco Rubio at his “Pancakes with Marco Rubio” event in Londonderry, NH. Notably, there were no pancakes because, according to Rubio, his campaign staff “couldn’t figure out how to make pancakes for 800 people.” Ironically, most of the attendees likely only came for the pancakes, not the stump speech and handful of canned answers that he delivered.
We also attended events for Carly Fiorina and Jim Gilmore, but we didn’t experience much trouble getting a good view there.
Images by Ellie Shechet and Joanna Rothkopf.