{{show_title_date || "Very Last Word: What it's like on the campaign trail, 10/24/12, 8:00 PM ET"}}

Very Last Word: What it’s like on the trail


After the The Last Word on Wednesday, msnbc’s Richard Wolffe and Ari Melber stuck around and shared their experiences of being on the trail with the Obama campaign during the 2008 election, to give us a sense of what goes on inside the bubble.

“You’re campaigning in small towns at this point,” Wolffe said, referring to what it’s like at the very end of the cycle. “It’s the swing-iest part of the swing counties in the battleground states. You’re not talking about midtown Manhattan and Starwood points.”

Melber explained that everything gets faster and more intense toward the end, which can make a candidate or a staff prone to mistakes. “I think when you’re on the road, one of the things you get is an appreciation for what a grind it is,” he said. “You got a microscopic amount of coverage, right? So then people from afar say, well, how was this event done, or why did that look stupid, or why even did someone say something stupid? And then you realize the grind of it.”

Wolffe went on: “President Bush at the time told me that—this was well into his second term—that the 2000 campaign was the hardest thing he had ever done. This was after two wars and after being re-elected.”

Melber highlighted the fact that real people can get one-on-one time with the candidates on the road. “You also have this dynamic where people can actually come up to the candidate, to some degree, and get the microphone for a second.”

Richard agreed, adding, “And remember…the press don’t get to ask any questions at this point [two weeks from the election]. No press avails, no questions, no access to the candidate. It actually is more likely to be a regular voter at this point, who can ask anything and get any kind of meaningful response.”


Very Last Word: What it's like on the trail