This morning I covered John Edward's visit to Pomona College in Claremont CA for The Student Life
(the student newspaper for Pomona College). Thanks to a hastily made press badge I got to sit next to the Edward's pool reporters during the event. Here are my observations about Edwards and the Press:
- Pomona PR announces that reporters have to show up at 10 AM to be screened by the Secret Service. I show up around 9:50. Already six satellite trucks are parked outside the building Edwards will be speaking in. Everyone soon learns Edwards won't be here until 11:45. 45 minutes late.
- After about 50 minutes all the reporters line up to be hand screened by Secret Service agents. All of our gear is checked by a bomb sniffing dog.
- Once inside reporters fill out a sheet listing their name and what publication they are with.
- There is annoying techno music playing as the press and students filter in. The line for students stretches several 100 feet. The music makes it hard to interview people.
- The local TV stations start interviewing people. If you want to get on TV bring a cute kid along. The press will interview you.
- Around 12:25 the pool reporters arrive. Since Edwards isn't here yet they decided to construct a metaphor about him being late. One of them reads a copy of The Student Life and comments "this is good."
- Around 12:40 Edwards finally arrives. He is introduced by Herb Wesson, the chair of the Edwards for President campaign in California.
- Edwards talks about poverty and how America has a moral responsibility to eliminate it. "This is what the Democratic party is about," he says.
- Announces a plan to lift 10 million Americans out of poverty.
- When Edwards starts praising Dean a reporter starts making kissing sounds. The rest of the pool laughs
- After Edwards speaks, he holds a short press conference.
- He announces he is actively courting the Dean leadership around the country.
- Edwards announces he is personally against gay marriages but he refuses to explain why. When it is pointed out that marriage and civil union are not every different Edwards says he is done talking about gay marriage.
- When asked why he chose to come to Pomona he says he wants to talk to young people about poverty. Obviously he misses the irony that he just addressed a crowd of largely white upper middle class liberals.