I wish you could come with me when I cover big political events, like the Mitt Romney and John McCain rally at the Scottsdale Princess Resort. If you had come with me today, here’s what we would have seen together.
1. A good many journalists sitting at long tables in the back of a big room. They’re mostly men. They’re pecking away at laptops and checking their emails. They’re eating hard candy from little candy dishes.
2. About a dozen wait staff carrying setting places on about two dozen round tables with tablecloths.
3. On a riser, a bunch of TV folks setting up cameras. They’re testing their sound connections to a podium where Romney and McCain will soon pretend to be mutual fans in order to unite the GOP. (I can’t imagine they really are mutual fans, after the two fought so bitterly for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination. But maybe they worked out some sort of deal, a la Game Change.)
4. Several Secret Service guys with those earpieces you see in movies.
5. Concierge-type hotel staff in blazers who look most accommodating.
6. Here come the GOP state chairmen, exhausted from all the convention-attending in the last two days. They are all, as far as I can tell, white. Next, McCain and Romney come in. McCain looks like a retiree. Romney looks like a president.
7. They sit down. They eat salad. They eat chicken. They eat apple pie.
8. McCain speaks. He extols Romney. He trashes Obama.
9. Romney speaks. He extols McCain. He trashes Obama.
10. Everyone leaves the room except for a couple of journalists.
11. A lot of the women head to the bathroom.
12. In the bathroom, a middle-aged Mexican maid wipes the sinks.
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Bio: Journalist Terry Greene Sterling has lived in Arizona most of her life, and has reported on the political brawls and human tragedies that have long made Arizona the focus of national news. She was raised on an Arizona cattle ranch, and learned to speak Spanish at the same time she learned English. The author of Illegal, Life and Death in Arizona's Immigration War Zone, Sterling has been honored with more than 50 national and regional journalism awards. She was named Virg Hill Journalist of the Year, Arizona’s highest journalism honor, three times. She was a staff writer for Phoenix New Times for 14 years before branching out on her own. She is a contributor for The Daily Beast, and Writer-in-Residence at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. Her work has also appeared in The Washington Post, Newsweek.com, Salon.com, Rollingstone.com, The Nieman Narrative Digest, Phoenix Magazine, The Arizona Republic, Arizona Highways, High Country News, and Preservation Magazine. She tweets @tgsterling and blogs about immigration in Arizona at terrygreenesterling.com.