(NY Mag) Olivia Nuzzi Oct. 27 2019 Inevitably he arrives late by SUV or van. The former vice-president is thin and yes hes old. He dresses neatly and always in blue. Staff envelop him. Theres the body man the advance man the videographer the photographer the digital director the traveling chief of staff the traveling press secretary the local press secretary the adviser the other adviser the advisers adviser the surrogate the other surrogate and the bodyguard. The looming presence of the last guy Jim is especially important for optics. Jim is tall and official-looking. He greets the world chest-first his hands resting in a dignified clasp his expression even his mouth unmoving. Most people assume that hes a Secret Service agent. Which he was. But ex-VPs dont get security for life the way ex-presidents do. Most people dont know that not even the politically savvy types who attend these sorts of things. And thats all for the best because Jim or whatever local guy theyve got filling in for him in Iowa or New Hampshire or Nevada or wherever else is a necessary component of the vibe theyre trying to generate here the Big Presidential Energy if you will that powers this production. And it is a production. This is true even when the event is small which it often is because the stakes never are Joe Biden speaking off the cuff is something the entire campaign seems focused on preventing at all costs. Inside the community center or union hall or college auditorium the stage is crafted just so. The red and blue letters each roughly the size of a 9-year-old spell IOWA 4 BIDEN. The American flag is stretched taut and stapled to the plywood. The lawn sign is stapled to the lectern. The delicate panes of teleprompter glass angle to meet his hopeful gaze so that he may absorb the programmed speech as he peers out at his audience which usually skews quite old and white unless hes in South Carolina.
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