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A Brief Digression on Logistics

I’m in the air right now, on my way to Sen. John McCain’s first stop of the day in Tampa, Fla. Next comes Blountville, TN. Then we’re off to Moon Township, PA. — sadly, not the home of a “Moon Township Victory Rally” but rather a final stab at Pittsburgh. That ends at 2:30 p.m., and then we run through Indianapolis, IN, Roswell, NM, Las Vegas, and Phoenix and Prescott, AZ, before calling it at day at — gulp — 2:30 a.m. MST, of course.

Sen. Barack Obama’s day is more leisurely, with three events in Jacksonville, FL, Charlotte, NC, and Manassas, VA. His day ends around 10 p.m. CST.

Obama’s load is further lightened by the absence of a large press corps. As has been reported elsewhere, his campaign decided against adding another charter plane to the entourage to seat the dozens of journalists that typically — and understandably — hop on a campaign to report on its final days. Some have interpreted this refusal as a form of revenge on outlets that endorsed McCain; the campaign itself argues that a second plane would have slowed it down. The latter is arguable.

The second McCain plane — affectionately known as the “ass plane” — tends to be *ahead *of the primary plane, but any time you add another person to an entourage, no matter where he or she is traveling, you increase the possibility of delays.

We know that the Obama campaign’s decision not to add another charter wasn’t because it didn’t want to spend the money. While enormously expensive, charters are ultimately billed to news organizations.

I suspect Team Obama skipped the charter because, at this point, it doesn’t need the press to be there to write about them. Heck, at this point, it barely needs the press at all.

For all the talk of the Bush administration’s contempt for the media, and its attempts to work around the “filter” of the MSM, it’s the Obama campaign that’s all but perfected the smooth integration of the public into a message-distribution machine. From its incredible, promoting-from-without volunteer ground game to its cellphone-list-calling ventures, many of Obama’s most ambitious aides have used “earned media” (what political professionals call media you don’t pay for) as almost an afterthought.

Thus McCain’s second plane, as lucky as I feel to be on it (snarky video below notwithstanding), seems less like a luxury than another sign that the Republicans have been lapped, tactics-wise — if not according to mileage specifically.

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