It remains the greatest book ever written about covering a presidential campaign -- Timothy Crouse's 1973 The Boys on the Bus, which began as a series of articles written for Rolling Stone. Of course, at the same time and for the same magazine, Hunter S. Thompson was also covering the '72 campaign, but Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72 was more about the Democratic candidates than those covering them. Crouse was more interested in the personalities behind the bylines -- the Johnny Apples and David Broders leading the pack.
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Turns out, says The New York Times today, if someone were to attempt to write the same kind of tome today, they'd be shit outta luck. It'd be more like a pamphlet, as belt-tightening newspapers -- among them USA Today, The Baltimore Sun and The Miami Herald -- are yanking their reporters off the buses and planes of the two Democratic presidential candidates as they slog toward the fall. Just too expensive, they say -- and, yes, they includes The Dallas Morning News, which doesn't have a reporter on the beaten-down beat. Instead, says deputy managing editor Mark Edgar, the paper now prefers the smaller take-out to Big Picture coverage. “Not being in the bubble is sometimes better,” he insists. --Robert Wilonsky