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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

VPOTUS

I'd been on an unfortunate streak during the last few election cycles.  Most, but not all, of the big name visits occurred either after my shift or on my days off.  Monday was one of the good days.
Vice President Joe Biden popped into Scranton to campaign for the reelection of Congressman Chris Carney, locked in a fight with Republican Tom Marino.  Above is Air Force Two at Wilkes-Barre Scranton International Airport, an impressive and inspiring sight.

As always, security was tight.  The jet was parked in the cargo area, far away from the public, and far away from the media.
We were kept back.  Way back.  Air Force Two was parked so the doors faced away from the road.  Again, security.  I know it's a must, but it really is a shame that the public can't get a look at the people chosen to lead their government.  Campaigns used to be a lot more fun when you had access.

From the airport, it was off to downtown Scranton, and a fund raising breakfast, invitation only, no public, at a hotel.  That assignment wasn't on my list.

Instead, a photographer and I headed to North Washington Avenue in Green Ridge.  We learned there would be a good chance the VP would head to his boyhood home, near Marywood University.  We were right.  Thanks goes to a savvy and veteran WNEP photographer, who was smart enough to put two and two together.  As a result, we were the only TV station on North Washington Avenue.

Biden arrived on North Washington Avenue a little after 11 AM.  He went inside his old house for a while, then came outside to say hello to the neighbors and people who were lucky enough to be passing by at the time.  The VP wandered about for a few minutes, talking with the crowd and posing for pictures.  He lingered long enough for me to ask a few questions.  I wish I had time for more, but an aide cut off the interview, and sent Biden back to his limousine.

From Scranton, it was on to Dickson City, and a meeting with Carney reelection workers.  This part of the trip was a logistical challenge for us.  We had two microwave trucks set up in Dickson City.  One had a camera wired to the inside of the building.  The other had a camera outside the building, and that would be the one I'd use for my live report at noon.  All I had to do was get to Dickson City.  It sounds easy.  It wasn't.


If you've ever been around a high level visit, you'd know that streets and highways around the VIP are shut down.  If you're not part of the entourage, you don't move.  Above is Biden's limousine parked in Dickson City.

I know my way around the mid valley.  I had a good feeling Biden would drive in from the Scranton side of Main Avenue.  I had the photographer drive from North Washington Avenue, to Fairfield Street, to Olyphant Avenue, to Pancoast Street, to Boulevard Avenue, to Bowman Street,  then to Main Street in Dickson City.  Simply put, we came in from the other side, avoided traffic, secured a great parking spot, and I got to our live location with about 20 minutes to spare.  We fed back some video and part of our interview.  I got wired up and made the live hit at noon.   Thankfully, I had a lot of help-- in the field and back at the office.  A little luck didn't hurt.

It's just under three weeks to the general election, and I have a feeling there might be another big shot or two coming to the area.  If not, 2012 is right around the corner.