It proved to be the ultimate photo op.
Senator Hillary Clinton strolling down Grant Street in Pittsburgh, walking in step with the Governor, Allegheny County’s chief executive and the mayor of the city. Around them, banners upon banners supporting her bid for the White House and thousands more cheering her as she moved down the parade route.
Yes, Saturday morning’s appearance in Pittsburgh’ Saint Patrick’s Day parade was a can’t miss success for the former first lady. It had that “Presidential” look about it: giving those who watched the impression that she was Pittsburgh’s pick for the White House whether that is true or not.
I had a unique vantage point to witness this spectacle: part parade and part campaign ad. The media was placed on a truck in front of the candidate. While it would seem the obvious place to put the media, it was also a calculation on the part of the campaign. The goal was for our cameras to capture the so-called “money shot” of Clinton walking with thousands cheering behind her.
Because she walked the route, she had access to people along the street … but not the media. The campaign did a good job of keeping us close, but arm’s length away from the candidate. We wound up getting the video, but were unable to get an interview.
However, not everything went as the Clinton campaign might have planned. There was a moment before the parade where the Obama supports showed up in force and shouted at the Clinton supporters … and along the parade route there were many green Obama signs in what I thought was the best organized effort when it comes to a public display by the Obama campaign in western Pennsylvania.
There was one other moment I won’t forget. As Senator Clinton was starting the parade, I looked over at the crowd from my vantage point on the truck preceding her. I think a few people must have recognized me because all of the sudden I heard my name being chanted. I guess for one moment I had the crowd .. before candidate Clinton took control.