Going on the road as a news producer to cover the President of the United States is always a bit heady - riding on Air Force One, seeing the president up close and in the flesh.
But in my 20 years in journalism, I'd never traveled with a vice president before - until recently - when I spent two days flying around Missouri with Joe Biden. The vice president was there to promote the economic recovery package to a college audience, praise American troops at Whiteman Air Force base and tell high school students at a Boys and Girls Club that money was coming from Washington to help them get summer jobs.
A vice pesident usually generates a lot less news interest. On our two-day trip, there was only one other news organization along for the ride - The Washington Post. Not surprising, everything is a bit smaller and a bit more relaxed when it comes to the Veep.
Air Force Two is a more compact aircraft which means, as news media, you can get stuck in a middle seat at the back, unlike on Air Force One where reporters usually get two seats each - one for you and one for all your junk. The food is plentiful - lunch and a snack and dinner and all the Diet Cokes you want. And lest you think this is all at taxpayer expense, it's not. News organizations pay the equivalent of a first class ticket on a commercial airline for every reporter on the plane.
The one thing that doesn't seem to be diminished is the Secret Service contingent - it's a hefty one.
Our interview with the vice president seems to have been his "coming out" event and you'll be seeing and hearing a lot more from Joe Biden in the weeks ahead.
In an interesting twist, the most recent polls show Biden's popularity dropping, while the pesident's is rising. His aides say that's because he's been keeping his head down and working hard. They say now that his influence with the president has been proven, and his role solidified, he won't be so much the "invisible right hand man."
Written by Karen Sughrue