Interest in the presidential election is at a fevered pitch in Manatee County, with early voting setting records and the campaign moving back this week to our battleground state of Florida. The Tampa Bay area is a key target. Gov. Charlie Crist extended early voting hours to 7 a.m – 7 p.m. through Saturday, including at Manatee County’s one site at 600 301 Blvd. W, 941-741-3823.
Democratic candidate Barack Obama is in Sarasota today, where he is expected to continue the charge for early voting at Ed Smith Stadium. We will provide online updates on his visit throughout the day. Caroline Kennedy was in New Port Ritchie on Wednesday campaigning for Obama.
Republican nominee John McCain was at the University of Tampa on Wednesday, where reporter Carl Mario Nudi covered his visit. But Carl couldn’t get in to hear McCain’s speech – it was limited to “pool coverage,” which means one representative of print media was allowed to report on the event and then share that coverage with other media.
We challenged that setup, trying to get our own report for this local news event. Instead, we had to rely on that pool report, with Carl gathering interviews from the crowd outside the speech. I question why, within a week of the election, both candidates wouldn’t want as much exposure as possible for voters to decide.