Cheap Hotels, Mate Tea, and Friendly Secret Service: On the Nevada Trail with Bernie Sande
Over two days, multiple reporters on the trail would tell me that the Sanders outfit was one the most open campaigns towards media they had ever come across. At the bar Thursday night, staffers who had previously worked in Obama's 2008 and 2012 campaign agreed, saying even they were surprised how much access Sanders's top tier of operatives have granted to the press.
Sanders campaign staffers are also a fairly friendly lot. Most have no qualms telling you about their pre-campaign lives or pouring you cups of mate tea from a thermos in the middle of a rally. The senator's head of secret service is the first to say good morning and point you toward the sandwich table. It's always sandwiches at Sanders events, but no one can complain we're travelling with the socialist candidate after all. The whole vibe typically is a world apart from other candidates' tightly controlled and buttoned-up campaigns. At Donald Trump rallies, bouncer-type security guards gruffly handle reporters and protesters, many times at the direction of the man himself. Most campaigns also regulate the production of their official candidate merchandise, sales from which go directly into their war chests. Sanders staffers on the other hand, tolerate but do not encourage an entourage of travelling salesmen who set up shop outside major events hawking unofficial gear, including hats, badges, and t-shirts bearing the now-famed slogan "Feel the Bern."
The level of openness surprised me, not least because Sanders's disdain for corporate media is infamous, and as a rookie embed you're not exactly sure what to expect.
Even Sanders's celebrity surrogates are housed in hotel rooms that are usually around the $100 mark. In Iowa, artists and musicians like Vampire Weekend and Foster the People, who were there to stump and play concerts for Sanders, were put up in poky rooms at the Hampton Inn near the Des Moines airport. In Las Vegas, where hotel rooms are generally cheaper than other cities (they're usually subsidized by the money casinos make off their patrons at the tables) the digs were slightly more upmarket. Some campaign staff stayed at the Flamingo on the strip, while others were put up at the quieter Vdara hotel with the senator and his family.
the fun, open camaraderie described in the article would appear to be Bernie's style permeating the rest of the group.
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What a great story. Thanks for posting it