WASHINGTON -- Day in, day out, the food’s the same. The music’s the same. The plane is the same. The speeches are the same. Until you switch sides.
To see campaign life from the other side, McClatchy Newspapers sent its Obama campaign reporters out with the Romney campaign for a few days, and sent its Romney reporters to follow Obama.
Here’s a notebook of what they found:
8:15 a.m. Delray
It’s foggy, it’s cloudy, it’s muggy. But people are lined up all the way to Atlantic Avenue — maybe half a mile away — to get into the huge tennis center to see President Barack Obama. There’s a lot of enthusiasm.
What’s striking is how Delray Beach life seems to go on. Outside the three-block area around the downtown tennis center, the free downtown bus keeps running its normal schedule. There’s a long line at Dunkin’ Donuts, but that’s right next door to the tennis center. A little ways away at Spot Coffee it almost seems like a normal day.
People are squeezing into what’s usually a tennis court, undaunted that they have to stand for hours before the president arrives. Obama emerges like a rock star, walking slowly from the side of the podium, shaking hands as the crowd of about 8,000 erupts in cheers.
8 p.m. Denver.
Mitt Romney seems humbled by the sight of the soaring Red Rocks Amphitheater outside Denver, as one his biggest audiences to date fills the sandstone-cliff rimmed stadium, the Romney campaign slogan illuminating the red rocks.
“What a place this is,” Romney says, marveling at the view. “To come here and look at these extraordinary mountains. You look at the handiwork of our Creator and it’s just overwhelming.”
The Denver Post, however, greets the former Massachusetts governor with a story suggesting that the venue created a bit of irony for Romney: the iconic amphitheater was built as part of the Depression-era New Deal employment programs — the type of government stimulus spending that Romney and his running mate, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, frown upon.
The soundtrack blaring at an Obama rally at the Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds hits all the notes: sweet Memphis soul with Al Green’s Let’s Stay Together, country with Darius Rucker’s This, rock with Bruce Springsteen’s We Take Care of Our Own, and grown folks urban contemporary with Earth, Wind & Fire’s Got to Get You Into My Life.
When the horn riff starts the song at the Obama rally, a woman jumps out of her seat and dances down an aisle.
Romney’s musical selection, by comparison, is usually country. In recent weeks, country singers Ricky Skaggs, Ronnie Milsap and Rodney Atkins have performed at his rallies.
3 p.m. Reno, Nev. At several Romney rallies, including one at the Reno Events Center in downtown Reno — a giant “We Can’t Afford Four More Years” Romney banner shares valuable ad space with signs hawking other candidacies: from the U.S. Senate to the state Assembly.
Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki introduces Romney, but not before putting in a pitch for the down-ballot candidates, including praise for Republican candidates Sen. Dean Heller and Rep. Mark Amodei. “Get your friends out to vote,” Krolicki tells the audience, adding, “Make sure they’re like-minded before you do it.”