The swing states are awash in money this campaign season. You see it everywhere. In the many campaign ads on the local TV stations. The dozens of campaign offices set up across the state. Phone banks. Canvassers knocking on doors.
What’s it like to live in campaign land? The first thing you notice is you keep tripping over the presidential nominees. Or their running mates. Or families. They’re all swarming the state.
Right now I’m stuck in traffic. It’s not rush hour. It’s a secret service slowdown. President Obama is holding a rally in a baseball stadium in Woodbridge, Virginia. A long line of people snakes toward the entrance. Among them: graphic designer Leigh Duvall-Parks. She’s wearing a navy blue Obama tee shirt and button. In fact, she’s worn an Obama tee shirt almost every day for a year.
"I have one that says BO-08, Ba-rock-n-roll," she says. "I have another one that just says making history, Obama, with his picture on it."
At this point, Duvall-Parks has to move on. And so do I.
It’s time to visit some Romney-held territory in campaign land. I pull up to a temporary Romney campaign office. In an upscale strip mall. Here I meet Dara Fox. She's a stay-at-home mom. Her navy blue tee shirt says Mitt Romney For President. She’s at the Romney office every week calling voters. She’s worn Romney paraphenalia every day for about three months. She calls herself a walking billboard.
"I went into T-mobile the other day and the guy said, 'oh, why are you supporting Romney?' And I mentioned Romney’s five-point plan," Fox says.
Yep, here in campaign land your neighbors have memorized their guy's policy points. But now, it’s the end of the day. Time for a cold one. I head to Manassas and Mackey’s Pub. But - no escape here. Cable news is on one of the TVs above the bar. Political ads march across the screen.
All told, the campaigns and outside groups have spent at least $44 million on TV commercials here. Keith Lucas is sitting at the bar. He says some of his friends are fed up. And voting for a third party candidate.
"I know several people who are doing that," Lucas says. "They don’t like either one of them now. Because the ads have turned them off that bad."
Lucas says he wishes it could all be over tomorrow. Living in campaign land is getting really old.