With three presidential candidates in the Capital Region, I am putting on the political reporter hat today.

Normally, I would be covering one of our local school board meetings. But today, I am going to have to follow up on school budgets tomorrow, because I have been pressed into service to cover the Trump rally at the Times Union Center.

It is always very exciting covering presidential candidates. I worked for a daily newspaper in New Hampshire from 2001 to 2007, so I got exposure to two presidential cycles. I got to see candidates such as John Kerry, Howard Dean, Mitt Romney and John Edwards.

The candidate I was assigned to follow in 2004 was Gen. Wesley Clark, the former NATO commander, who was “drafted” into the race amid high expectations because of his foreign policy credentials. However, he whiffed on a question about his support for the Iraq War right out of the gate and ended up finishing third in the January primary.
During the 2008, I got to ride in a van with John McCain, as he conversed with me in between talking calls from a consultant or donor. I also got to sit down face-to-face with then-Sen. Barack Obama after he had a rally. I remember being annoyed because he was 45 minutes late to the event and that pushed back everything. I had already had a busy weekend on duty. At my paper, I was still expected to stay on top of the City Hall beat, in addition to any candidates who blew through.

One of the most memorable events was during President George W. Bush’s re-election campaign. What stood out was the theatrical entrance. The plane pulled up to the hangar, where the rally was being held and Bush and his entourage descended the plane and right onto the stage.