Super Tuesday in Phoenix

E-mail Maggie Lineback


One hit down, at least five more to go.

We're doing them about every half hour from Arizona Biltmore Resort in Phoenix.

It's where Sen. John McCain's supporters gathered to watch the night's returns and hear from their candidate. Our crew arrived just as McCain was at the podium. We were taking over for Carl Cameron's crew which took over for us this morning. Kris Gutierrez starts at 1a.m. ET and is scheduled to be available for lives through 9 a.m. ET. By the time we do our first live shot, the party's well over and the Biltmore has asked us to move outside so they can clean up the room. It had been packed with supporters and at least a million camera crews.

Outside there were rows of satellite and live trucks, probably most of them had all been at the Superbowl on the other side of town just a few days ago. A couple of the truck operators and photographers I talked with said they'd been working a full week of 16 hour days.

I have renewed respect for the crews that cover the campaigns full-time. They do a ton of work and endure non-stop travel. We actually have a hectic day of travel after this set of live shots, but for us, it's generally not quite this crazy.

As of right now, we're set to travel back to Dallas and then onto Houston Wednesday night for lives at NASA on Thursday. That's when the next shuttle is set to launch. But tornadoes have killed at least 11 people in Arkansas and so I'm wondering if we may be re-routed.

Tuesday, Feb. 5

"Valley of the Sun" is an accurate moniker for Phoenix ... most of the time.

I lived in Phoenix for eight years and was happy to hear our Dallas crew would be spending Super Tuesday there covering the McCain campaign. Usually our region only includes Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas, so it's always a treat to go someplace different.

Of course, here in Phoenix, where the average rainfall is about seven inches a year, what is it doing when we land? Raining. And it rained through two interviews.

We talked with Lisa Keegan, who is with the McCain campaign in Arizona, and Randy Pullen, the head of the Arizona GOP. Pullen and McCain have not seen eye to eye on a lot of things, including campaign finance reform and immigration. But, in general, McCain has solid support in Arizona and is expected to win here.

Super Tuesday began for us at 5 a.m. Arizona time. The polls opened up here at 6 a.m. We were live in front of one of them. The rain has thankfully cleared up, but it was still cold. It's a shortened day for us.

We're here till Carl Cameron takes over. McCain is supposed to fly in to Phoenix in the afternoon, then head over to the Arizona Biltmore, a big resort in Phoenix. That's where the campaign party is tonight. Our crew will come back for the tail end of it. That's why we're off early. We'll have a break and then start back up at 11 p.m. local time and do lives overnight.

I was considering giving up caffeine for Lent. But given my schedule on Ash Wednesday, I'll have to try giving up sugar instead.

Maggie Lineback is a Dallas bureau producer.