In the last week, I've attended rallies for three of the leading presidential candidates: John McCain in Georgia, Hillary Clinton in Arkansas, and Barack Obama in Massachusetts.
Each has a defined and unique style, of course. But their rallies are oh so similiar in a notable way.
It's the Hollywood-ization of campaigning. Yes, the candidates want to talk to the local folk, but they need the cameras there. And in this campaign, I see the most extensive efforts to turn the high schools, retirement homes, and fire stations where they deliver their speeches into sophisticated sound stages.
In 2008, the lights are brighter and the colors are bolder. The music blares out of concert quality sound systems. And it is now a prerequisite for a select, usually multi-cultural group of supporters to be positioned prior to the event, behind the candidate, to increase the energy level and visual power of the images.
In the "olden" days, during Reagan and Mondale rallies, during Bush and Dukakis extravaganzas, during Clinton and Dole events, the organizers wanted the cameras, but their set-ups were more rudimentary.
In these days of TV and Internet saturation, not to mention HDTV, the visuals and the audio are not left to chance.
You see, just like the movies!
– Gary Tuchman, 360° Correspondent
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