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McCain's bus passes Romney's bus and what does that mean?

January 31, 2008 |  6:08 am

Are buses becoming the campaign metaphor of 2008?

Earlier this month as he sought publicity and votes by making a 36-hour nonstop pre-caucus campaign tour all around Iowa, Democrat John Edwards' bus started making strange sounds in the frigid darkness of western Iowa.

It was abandoned on the roadside as the candidate and his entourage jumped into vans to race to the next appearance very late and greet a restive crowd spilling into the cold night. The next morning Ticket readers messaged they had seen the vehicle being towed forlornly along Interstate 80 for repairs.

And Edwards did not do so well in the Hawkeye state either.

Last night it wasn't so cold in Ventura County. But at the Republican debate in the....

Reagan Library near Simi Valley, Mitt Romney and John McCain argued loudly over who was more to the right on the political spectrum. Every once in a while CNN's Anderson Cooper et al deigned to throw a bone to the other two candidates -- Ron Paul and Mike Huckabee, in the form of an occasional question. At one point Huckabee threw up his hands in disgust and exchanged impatient looks with Paul.

Afterwards, the press gangs assigned to both GOP front-runners trooped outside the library to board separate buses and make their way down the 118 to the 405 to the Beverly Hills Hilton where the campaigns had booked the press for the night, but not the candidates.

The Romney press bus was zipping along quite nicely in the left lane on the 118 when, with a rocking blast, the McCain press bus blasted by in the right lane to take the lead and disappear into the freeway darkness ahead.

Are you picking up on the symbolism here?

Sure enough, The Times' Seema Mehta, who was also on that Iowa Edwards trip, reported from the Romney bus, they arrived at the hotel a full six minutes behind the bus from the McCain campaign, which has now captured the New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida Republican primaries in a row. Second place once again for Romney.

--Andrew Malcolm

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