Click on WORD or PDF for full content



More on the collapse of the Hillary campaign as recounted by Amy Chozick in her new book Chasing Hillary. This time Vanity Fair has published a chapter from the book.  

“To our traveling press corps—Happy New Year!” the e-mail read. “For your safety and convenience we will be providing a bus that will begin in Davenport and transport press throughout the swing.”

It was the beginning of 2016, and the traveling Hillary Clinton press corps had finally gotten our bus—a glorious maroon Signature premium people carrier with TVs over every third row and boxed lunches and bottled water piled up on the front couple of rows, and power outlets under all our seats. For many of us, the arrival of the bus—parked on the frozen Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds in Davenport, Iowa—signified more than an end to speeding tickets and Avis points. We’d finally moved into our very own communal home, like a loft apartment on MTV’s Real World but with wheels. In the outside world, most of us wouldn’t have chosen to spend our time together and certainly not that much time together. But in our shared caravan, we were the Travelers. The bus marked the beginning of us becoming a rowdy, high-strung family forever bound by our bizarre lifestyles, unhealthy diets, and constant search for a power outlet.

The nine or so of us on that first bus trip wanted to mark the moment. We stood on our seats and squatted in the aisle to fit into a group photo. “Say, ‘I’m With Her!’” a young campaign staffer said. “Can you just take the picture?” one reporter replied. …

… call it a slap from the patriarchy or a stroke of bad luck, but by the time women reporters dominated Hillary’s press corps, Twitter and live-streaming and a (female) candidate who had zero interest in having a relationship with the press vastly diminished the campaign bus’s place in the media ecosystem. My colleagues at The New York Times, and reporters at other organizations, could cover a speech or a press conference (on the rare occasion those happened) while watching the livestream from their newsroom desks, where they’d have Wi-Fi and power and wouldn’t have to worry about waiting in line at a porta-potty on deadline or some fresh-faced campaign staffer yelling “loading!” right when you’re crafting the perfect nut graph. …

… Any haughtiness I had in working for the Times diminished during that first ride from Davenport, when, after about two hours and 35 minutes, I found myself somewhere on I-80 perched over the back of my seat pleading with the embeds to let me watch their video feed of Hillary’s town hall. Because Hillary preferred to fly to her events, the bus-bound Travelers couldn’t make it to the Cedar Rapids and Osage stops. Our only option was to live-stream Hillary’s Iowa events from the press bus in Iowa. Then, through a muffled intercom, the bus driver apologized. All I heard was, “So sorry, folks . . . gotta . . . generator . . . break . . .” The power and the Wi-Fi went out. We could live without Krispy Kreme donut holes and Chips Ahoy! snack packs. We could even hold our noses over the toilet that had long ago run out of anti-bacterial hand foam. But the prospect of losing Wi-Fi as Hillary carried on without us in Cedar Rapids pushed us over the edge. How would we explain to our editors that we’d allowed ourselves to be sequestered hundreds of miles from the candidate we were supposed to be obsessively covering? I imagined something terrible happening—a terrorist attack or an assassination attempt. My editors would pull me off the trail forever. I could hear the scorn: “You had one fucking job!” …

… Amid the traveling, we reverted to becoming tweens. The bus almost abandoned us in Vinton (pop. 5,257) after we couldn’t pull ourselves away from the Fast and the Furious arcade game at the roller-skating rink where Hillary spoke. She declared, “The entire country, indeed the entire world, is watching to see what happens right here in Benton County . . .” The entire world except the members of her traveling press, who were in the adjacent room locked in a heated game of Ms. Pac-Man. We established cliques, banishing newcomers to the Landfill, what we called the last row of seats between the bathroom and the trash. We started our periods at the same time and sang Justin Bieber’s “Love Yourself” on a loop. …


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>