On Thursday morning, in a Hyatt Place hotel wedged between the highway and a strip of fast-food joints in North Charleston, S.C., Texas Gov. Rick Perry flashed a thumbs-up to the assembled press and exited the national stage. While some members of Team Perry exhibited levels of strain (“Don’t touch my stuff!” a sound technician screamed at a reporter in the back of the room), other Perry staffers treated the event like a bittersweet graduation ceremony.
Catherine Frazier, a deputy press secretary for Perry’s campaign, posed for pictures with the embedded network reporters she had driven around Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. The group talked about what the future held for them (Florida for the embeds, some rest back in Austin for Frazier) and wished one another luck. They reminisced about the time one of the embeds, CBS News and National Journal reporter Rebecca Kaplan, took offense when Perry suggested a paisley-patterned dress might look good on her, (“Maybe I was too harsh” she said with regret). Frazier recalled the time earlier in the week when she informed the reporters that a fuse in the Perry van had blown, so they couldn’t recharge their equipment on the road. The reporters took it in stride, she said, telling her it was fine as long as the problem was fixed by Friday.