DES MOINES, IOWA -- Just three days into the final push to the Iowa caucuses and candidates need to cover as much ground as possible. Since Clinton's return to Iowa on December 26th to kick off her "Big Challenges, Real Solutions - Time to Pick a President Bus Tour," the traveling press has covered 1,101 miles on the ground. By the end of tomorrow we will have covered another 303 miles.
Its unclear how many miles Clinton has covered since her bus tour is a part-time gig.
Her tricked-out bus - complete with a kitchen, a seating area, restroom, and a separate and more private seating area at the rear - often times travels empty or with only a few staffers. Instead, Clinton prefers to travel by air on a private jet that her campaign charters.
This means the press has early morning call times in order to beat Clinton to her first event of the day. What takes us 3 hours to cover by bus, Clinton can cover in about 25 minutes.
To be fair, Clinton does board the bus and travels on it on shorter legs of the campaign trips. But she usually flies out of Des Moines in the morning to the first event, and flies back to Des Moines at the end of her day using the bus in between.
Whether or not she's in the bus, it is good advertisement, since her royal blue bus has the words "Big Challenges, Real Solutions - Time to Pick a President" and "HillaryClinton.com" draped around it as the bus canvasses the state. So the message gets out on the ground and she soars above the state.
After her final scheduled event in Mason City last night, Clinton and her staff decided to make an "unscheduled stop" (though it may have not been so unscheduled as mobs of supporters wearing "Hillary" pins waited inside the R&B Steak and Pizza restaurant).
Clinton and the press made the one-hour trek to Osage as about 250 people waited inside the tiny restaurant. But the scene soon became chaotic when about 30 members of the traveling press barged in followed by Clinton, her staff and handful of Secret Service agents. After just 20 minutes of shaking hands and posing for pictures, Clinton was off again. This one-hour drive from Mason City and 20 minute campaign stop left many reporters peeved, especially since the return drive was nearly 3 hours long, putting us into Des Moines just around midnight.
As we rode, Clinton flew, arriving to Des Moines in time to catch the 10 o'clock news.