Barack Obama: Media’s Flavor of the Week

One way to gauge a candidate’s momentum is the size and composition of the accompanying press corps. At today’s Barack Obama rally in Manchester, the big foots were out in force. There were so many reporters, in fact, that Obama’s campaign ran out of lanyards for press credentials. (Unlike Hillary Clinton’s campaign, Obama has never offered reporters string or fasteners for the journalists to wear around their necks.)  

I grabbed a seat directly behind Judy Woodruff and Gwen Ifill of The News Hour on PBS. Woodruff’s husband Al Hunt of Bloomberg was nearby. From that vantage point, I could see Chris Matthews of MSNBC to my far left and his colleague at NBC, Tim Russert, to my right. Russert stood with Walter Isaacson, who formerly served as the editor of Time Magazine. I happened to check the clock on my cell phone and noticed it was 10:35 a.m. and became agitated. How could Russert, whose “Meet the Press” appears on my television in Boston at 10:30 a.m., be simultaneously standing a few feet from me at that hour. As I rushed out of the hall, he assured me the show was “pre-taped.” Phew. All is well with the space-time continuum.

A sharp new beat reporter on the block is The Boston Globe’s Sasha Issenberg, who was there along with Lisa Wangsness, who has a real future in the business. Another young journalist was Sam Stein of The Huffington Post.

Hillary Clinton’s interminable q & a with voters drew a large press corps as well — including Joe Klein and Jay Carney of Time Magazine, Michael Crowley of The New Republic, Ben Smith of Politico and Lois Romano of The Washington Post.

My sense from observing the various crews is that the crew covering Obama is more excited about it, particularly the uber-boomers like Russert and, especially, Matthews.

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