Caption by Yellin: “After a long day on the trail, what I look forward to most is a comfy bed. Sometimes you have to settle for this. At least those weren’t bedbugs.” Location: New Mexico.
Jessica Yellin is a national political correspondent for CNN. Always a crowd pleaser amongst journos, she gives us the lowdown of some of the more unusual things that happen to reporters on the campaign trail. She should know. In just the last two weeks, she has traveled to Florida, Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, California and more.
Have you had any interesting, awkward or great moments with the candidates? This was a first for me. You may have seen this on air. In Nevada we tried to interview press-shy Republican Senate nominee Sharron Angle. Her campaign wouldn’t set up an interview so we went early to an event and waited outside. After an hour the car carrying Angle pulled up, but when they saw us they floored it — the car took off down the block and parked behind a bush. Angle later snuck into the building through another door. It was bizarre. Her comms team eventually showed up and let us into the event to ask a few questions.
What has surprised you? All the women candidates calling the men sissies (“man up”, “be man enough”). The political consultants say its cryptonite. The male candidates can’t respond without seeming sexist. I don’t know, seems like a dangerous path to start down for women candidates. The experts say this year we’ll see a decline in the number of women in Congress – first decline in 30 years.
What annoys you: Road food. Why do they put cheese on everything?
Read about the Conga line Yellin witnessed at O’Donnell campaign headquarters after the jump…
Most amusing moment so far: At Christine O’Donnell headquarters primary night. The DJ was rocking out. I was interviewing a supporter when two women boogied up, shouted “Conga line!” Grabbed the guy I was talking to and conga’d away.
What have you learned on the trail? For all the talk of voter apathy and disengagement there are a heck of a lot of Americans still engaged and motivated. Also, voters are increasingly inclined to accuse us (the press) of bias when we report facts one side or the other doesn’t like. I’m not sure if it’s a sign of the partisan mood or the changing media. Voters are increasingly getting news online from sources that reflect back what they already believe to be true.
If there’s anything off the wall or interesting that has happened that I’m not asking you please tell me: Susana Martinez running for governor of New Mexico. She’s a county DA and her dad runs a security firm. When our cameraman went to clip the microphone pack on her belt she pulled away. “Watch out,” she said “there’s a gun back there.” She told me she has “a concealed carry” permit. A candidate packin’ heat.
A clip from the trail. Watch here. You don’t want to miss this. It’s Yellin interviewing O’Donnell on the night of her primary victory.