DES MOINES, IOWA -- If the campaign trail is like a traveling circus, then Tim Albrecht is the ringmaster.
As Mitt Romney's Iowa press secretary, Albrecht runs the show for the embedded media. He answers our incessant questions about everything from logistics to the governor's campaign platform, and he acts as a liaison between us and the campaign. But perhaps his most difficult task is to try to keep the hoard of invariably late journalists on schedule.
"I think it's fun," Albrecht told CBS News. "I get to work with all of you guys."
Life on the campaign trail is full of very long days in very tight quarters. Not only do members of the media get to know each other quite well, we also have to develop relationships with the campaign staff—whether we like it or not.
Albrecht has become something of a celebrity among the Romney press corps. His upbeat demeanor has roused us after many 6 a.m. wakeup calls, and his quick wit has kept us laughing through the days. We've come to appreciate his love of Steve Forbes and hatred of fruit. And we let out a collective cheer when we heard that Albrecht will be continuing on with us to New Hampshire tonight.
Hailing from northwest Iowa, Albrecht first saw Romney speak in 2004, when the governor delivered the keynote address in Des Moines at the Republican Party of Iowa's Ronald Reagan dinner.
"I'm looking at this guy, and I said, 'This is what I want in my next president. I hope he runs,'" Albrecht said.
Albrecht started working for the campaign in mid-January of 2007. Now that it's judgment day, he knows that the race is as uncertain as ever.
"We know it's gonna be close," Albrecht said. "It's absolutely gonna be close."
But one thing's for sure. Even though Romney has been campaigning for a full year, we're only just getting started.
"Everybody wants to say, you know, 'Well, it's going to be all over tonight. What do you think?'" Albrecht said. "And I say, 'No, it's just beginning.'"