Thursday was sort of a different day to be a political reporter in Iowa, mainly because the campaign trail led directly to the dueling events in Des Moines involving Donald Trump and the rest of the Republican field, as it was almost a day off from the grind of the campaign trail travel that will dominate the final weekend of campaigning in the Hawkeye State.
So here’s another peek behind the scenes in Iowa.
+ With a few hours to burn before the start of both the debate and the Trump event, I spent most of my time trying to figure out where all the candidates in both parties would be this weekend, so I could maximize my time on the road.
+ My colleagues gave me a hard time as I scribbled away, trying to figure out the best way to point my oddball rental vehicle. Then they asked me to email them my work. This was just part of the manual spreadsheet for Friday:
+ Radio Row was somewhat compressed at this debate, as Gerry Bodlander (AP Radio) joined me, Steven Portnoy (CBS Radio) and Aaron Katersky (ABC Radio). We still managed to have a lot of fun.
+ The news media filing center was a bit smaller than in past debates; here’s a shot of what it looked like from our Radio Row.
+ Why was there a space issue with this debate? Because we were sharing the convention space with the 2016 Iowa Pork Congress. I’m not kidding.
+ As for the Donald Trump event, the venue was so small at Drake University – for about 700 people – that most reporters were not even allowed in the room.
+ While Donald Trump didn’t want to make nice with Megyn Kelly, Ted Cruz did not have that problem.
+ The Spin Room was right next to the media work space, which made it much easier to access. Here’s a little video after the debate
+ From the other end of the Spin Room – Sean Hannity was set up there, looking back to our work space.
+ As I left around 1 am ET, Hannity was still doing live interviews, some of it being shot by my cameraman friend Eddie, who I’ve known for probably 25 years. “How do you know him?” Hannity asked with a bit of shock in his voice. “Capitol Hill,” Eddie said with a big smile.
+ Back at the hotel, after finishing up my work for the morning, at 2:30 am ET I received an email telling me that my credential had been approved for a Bernie Sanders event this weekend.
Time to figure out my schedule – which will include many miles through the state of Iowa.