Obama’s (Almost) Round-the-Clock Coverage

Jul 6, 2008 2:03pm

ABC News’ Sunlen Miller reports: Sen. Barack Obama — subjected now to a press pool of reporters categorizing his every move — says that it’s taken some getting used to adjusting to the new level of press surveillance.

It’s been one week since the Obama campaign agreed to a "protective pool" or "bodywatch" — allowing reporters to follow the Illinois Democrat, not only in his public moments, but his private moments of down time off the campaign trail, as well.

The pool has followed Obama to the gym, to neighborhood BBQ’s, to get his haircut, to his daughter’s soccer game, and even taking his wife out for a date at a hip Italian restaurant in Chicago. When Obama is inside his Hyde Park home, reporters wait for his next movement in a van parked outside. The additional amount of monitoring has left the presumptive Democratic nominee with a certain level of unease about his privacy and the pomp and circumstance of his every move — even after a full week.

"I’ve never been a big entourage guy, and so, one of the adjustments of being a candidate is not being able to go take a walk somewhere without having a big fuss," Obama told his pool of reporters aboard his press plane on Saturday. "And that takes some getting used to."

While most of the private moments categorized by reporters are typical of a husband and a father, it is often a clue to the candidate’s lifestyle.

For example, pool reporters caught Obama heading to the gym every single day in the inaugural pool week. Reporters also now know the routine of Obama’s grooming schedule. The candidate gets his hair cut on a weekly basis, usually on Sundays in Chicago. The schedule also shows how the rigors of a candidate’s lifestyle spill over to his private life. Reporters caught Obama yawning six times in 30 minutes while watching his oldest daughter’s soccer game, for example.

"Now, fortunately for Michelle and my life, our lives have been sufficiently boring that most of the things we do are not particularly press worthy anyway," Obama joked about the interest of his down time.

But minus the daily routine, the nearly round-the-clock surveillance also informs reporters of any goings on that the campaign may not want reporters to know about, but may be hard to hide with the new press contingent.

On the 4th of July in Butte, Mont., pool reporters picked up that Davis Guggenheim, director of "An Inconvenient Truth," was filming a convention video for the senator — a tid bit the campaign did not share outright with reporters — and wouldn’t have been known had it not been for the pool reporters spotting him leaving the building with Obama after private filming.

The Obama campaign says the decision to move to a protective pool with their candidate is part of them being an "open and transparent campaign," and they challenge the McCain campaign to do the same with his campaign coverage.

"We hope the McCain campaign will join us in welcoming the press to join them from dawn till dusk for family moments, like soccer games and movie nights," notes Obama spokeswoman Jen Psaki.

Obama says that his family will maintain their regular life as best they can –– even with a large group of reporters trailing their every move.

"We’re gonna try to keep on doing the things that we do," Obama tells reporters.

What’s on tap this Sunday for the presumptive nominee who is "down" in Chicago with no campaign events?

An early morning workout with his brother-in-law, a haircut, a basketball game with his half sister, niece and his daughters, and a barbeque at a neighbor’s house.

Just a typical Sunday — with a group of seven reporters in tow.

You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus