On the Move

There are many ways in which a vehicle can be used to spread a campaign's message.  One can attach loudspeakers to the top or have someone inside with a sound system and broadcast a message.  One can slap a bumpersticker on the rear bumper.  In the 1992 New Hampshire primary campaign, activists in the Nader write-in effort strapped giant plywood pencils fashioned from 8' sheets of plywood to the tops of cars.  Nowadays with vinyl wraps, one can wrap a car or bus with a candidate's (or possible candidate's) face and message.  For example in 2003 during the New Hampshire primary campaign, the Lieberman campaign had a PT Cruiser wrapped.  The bus or RV tour has been a staple of campaigns for decades.  Usually the campaign will come up with a catchy slogan for the tour.  When the vehicle is on the road between events, it serves as a moving billboard.  Sometimes the campaign will bring reporters on board for interviews.  One of the most famous buses was Sen. John McCain's "Straight Talk Express."  A candidate does not need a full fledged bus, however; during his Iowa caucus campaign, former Sen. Rick Santorum traveled to events in "the Chuck Truck," a pick up truck driven by key supporter Chuck Laudner.  The Santorum campaign also grabbed some attention by sponsoring a car in the Feb. 26, 2012 Daytona 500.  Messages on the move need not be kept to the ground, either.  In 2008 supporters of Ron Paul famously organized a blimp.  Finally, in terms of traveling in style, incumbent presidents are a cut above; their ability to arrive on Air Force One or Marine One dramatically conveys the power of the office.

Photo: Iowa with Newt
late Dec. 2011--The Gingrich bus a few days before his Jobs and Prosperity tour in Iowa.

Photo: Romney for President
Dec. 20, 2011--The new Romney bus is ready for his "Earn It" tour in New Hampshire.

Photo: Mike Dec, 4president.org
Dec. 17, 2011--The Perry bus in Algona, Iowa on day four of his two-and-a-half week tour.

Photo: Friends of Herman Cain
Early August 2011--Herman Cain launched a "Common Sense Solutions" bus tour in Iowa.

Photo: Alex Conant/Pawlenty for President
July 18, 2011--Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN) looks at his "Road to Results" RV at the start of a five-day, 687 mile tour scheduled to visit 13 counties and 18 cities in Iowa from July 18-22, 2011.

Photo: Mike Dec, 4president.org
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) brought her bus to the Independence Day parade in downtown Clear Lake, Iowa on July 4, 2011.

Former Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK)'s "One Nation" bus tour, which started May 29, 2011 in the Washington, DC area, generated a lot of attention.

Photo: Buddy Roemer for President
Exploratory candidate former Gov. Buddy Roemer (R-LA) traveled around New Hampshire on April 12-15, 2011 in an RV driven by a supporter.

Photo: The Keagle Family
In addition to vehicles organized by the campaigns, supporters sometimes take matters into their own hands as with the Ron Paul blimp from 2008 mentioned above.  David Keagle of Saint Charles, Iowa has created a "Constitution Coach," a red, white and blue former school bus that carries the message of Ron Paul in parades and events. (more)

Pre-Campaign Book Tour Buses
Mike Huckabee: "A Simple Christmas" (started Nov. 4, 2009 +) and "A Simple Government" (started Feb. 27, 2011 +).
Sarah Palin: "Going Rogue" (started Nov. 18, 2009 +).

See also: Ryan J. Reilly, "Obama To Use New Secret Service Bus On Campaign Trail." Talking Points Memo, April 21, 2011.