MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. -- As the traveling press corps boarded the Mitt Romney campaign plane in Grand Rapids tonight, Romney and several of his staffers were already seated, munching on roast chicken and pasta with artichoke. After yet another exhausting day on the trail, the thought of a hot meal was enough to make my mouth water, and so I hurried back to my seat and got my tray table ready.
But after we took off and the flight attendants approached the back of the plane with a pile of cold sandwiches in tow, I became confused. Were there really two classes of service here?
Yep. The Romney team had ordered hot dinners for themselves and decided that cold sandwiches (the same thing we had for lunch) would be good enough for the press corps.
Admittedly, there are greater injustices in the world than having to eat another roast beef sandwich for dinner. Everyone knows that having to deal with personal inconveniences is just a part of being on the campaign trail, but it was the brazen inequality of the situation that had the press corps steaming. Airfare aboard the Romney campaign plane today set our news organizations back $2,000 apiece, so we're not exactly free riders.
The embedded press corps relies on the campaign to provide us sustenance throughout the long days we all face together, and the staffers who travel with us generally go out of their way to accommodate everyone. But something seems to have broken down along the chain of command in recent days. Meals have become less frequent, and the vegetarian among us never seems to have an option other than a bag of chips or an apple.
Facing a similar lack of viable food options, the Edwards press corps recently engaged in what they only half-jokingly referred to as a "hunger strike." We thought about it tonight, but our appetites won out over our principles.