A day with Mitt Romney

October 29, 2012

Reuters photographer Brian Snyder spent a day behind the scenes with Mitt Romney, documenting his campaign.

By Brian Snyder

Photographing Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney as he campaigns across the United States is often about trying to find the candidate amongst all of the supporters and entourage around him. We see him at rallies surrounded by hundreds or thousands of enthusiastic supporters, at off the record stops in an uncontrolled swirl moving around a restaurant among unsuspecting diners, in a motorcade of a dozen vehicles, and on airport tarmacs while a parade of staff, security and press load onto the campaign plane. We are always in a crowd with more photographers, U.S. Secret Service agents and campaign staff all working in small spaces.

GALLERY: A day with Mitt Romney

But stepping one layer inside that, to document a “day in the life” of the candidate and the campaign, revealed an unexpected calm.  Governor Romney spent time talking to one or two advisors, joked in a room alone with his closest aide, and watched a video feed by himself as he was introduced to take the stage at a rally. There was space.

Ordinarily the photographers traveling with the campaign hustle to keep up, run to get into position, hurry to the motorcade so as not to be left behind. As we photograph the events, we try to wring as much variety out of them as possible. Then we rush to edit, tone, caption and transmit the images while the motorcade is rolling and the plane is taking off — only to land in a new state and get in the motorcade to do it all over again.

Within his protective bubble of calm, Governor Romney neither hurries from place to place, nor has to wait impatiently for the next event to begin. The pace is measured, leaving him time to consider new lines for his speech, talk strategy with running mate Paul Ryan and U.S. Senator Rob Portman, offer candy from a halloween pumpkin to a young girl backstage (after taking a chocolate bar for himself), or sing the refrain of a song with the Oak Ridge Boys in a hold room.

Running for President shouldn’t be confused with zen living, but it’s not as frenetic as it is to be a photographer covering the campaign.

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Good work.
What’s the chance of seeing the pic of me at Tampa Rally (Vietnam Veteran cap w/”I Voted” sticker on the bill)?

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