When Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama’s running mate Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., walked onto the Denver stage at his party’s convention the evening of Wednesday, Aug. 27, the spotlight of the entire nation was shining solely on him.
Less than 48 hours later that had all changed with two words: Sarah Palin.
Almost as soon as word leaked on Friday morning that the little-known Alaska governor had been picked as Republican nominee Sen. John McCain’s number two, the attention paid to Biden quickly vanished into the Mile High air.
Since the Delaware senator left Obama’s side and ventured out on his own on Labor Day, he has hardly garnered any national media interest at all.
His plane, a blue chartered 737, now crosses the country with about three-quarters of its seats empty, rows and rows with nary a warm body to be found.
Biden’s supporters maintain that he is connecting with voters and garnering positive media interest on a local level. They also say that Biden is a "governing" pick, not a "political" pick, unlike Palin. That is, Biden will actually be able to help Obama govern; he’s not just a cynical selection to help his boss win the election.
Either way, as Air Joe flew from Wilmington to Charlotte, Sunday, the only reporters onboard were off-air reporters from the five television networks and correspondents from NBC and Politico. There was only one camera crew. The back of the plane, reserved for press, sat totally deserted.
The New York Times? Gone. The Washington Post? Not seen since the first days of September. The otherwise ubiquitous Associated Press? Left even before that.
And when the senator spent two straight down days at his Delaware home this weekend, the press corps dwindled further, with some members bolting the "small wonder" state altogether, leaving Wilmington a media ghost town.
On Saturday, only four reporters were around to cover any Biden action. Not that there was any.
Meanwhile, in marked contrast thousands of miles west, a media circus of approximately three dozen followed Sarah Palin’s every move, each one wondering if the woman who would be a heartbeat away from the presidency will ever brave their ranks to answer questions.
– Jake Tapper and Matt Jaffe