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Journo Follows Letter of Law, Whatever That is

FROM THE ROAD

NBC News campaign embed reporter Garrett Haake is so accustomed to the bizarre media rules surrounding presidential campaign events that they no longer strike him as odd.

On Tuesday night, GOP hopeful Mitt Romney held a fundraiser at the Hyatt in midtown Manhattan. Knowing the rules, one of which is that no cameras are allowed at these types of events, Haake tried to get arrival footage by waiting outside by a rear entrance with a small camera and press credentials. But that was a no-no — Haake was tossed from the premises. No one from the campaign ever saw him or, as far as he knows, asked that he be removed.

This is how he describes it: “Last night (Tuesday) Governor Romney held a fundraiser at the Hyatt Hotel in midtown Manhattan. There are no cameras allowed in Governor Romney’s finance events, and we hadn’t seen him in public yet this week so I was dispatched to try to get arrival footage of he and Governor Christie when they showed up at the fundraiser. In the past, I know Romney has come and gone through the back entrance to the hotel on 43rd Street – so I went there first. (I don’t know if you’re familiar with the Hyatt but there’s an elevated bit of street there that serves the back entrance of the Hyatt and then curves around Grand Central.) When I started setting up my camera, a hotel security officer told me I had to move off the sidewalk because it was hotel property and this was a private event. I complied, and stepped into the street. Another gentleman, who I think might have been a plainclothes police officer based on his lapel pin, but I’m not sure exactly, told me I actually couldn’t be on the street either, because that particular stretch of pavement was not city or public property, but somehow otherwise considered off-limits due to the proximity to Grand Central. We went back and forth a bit, but since there was no obvious public property for me to stand on and get the shot, I left.”

Haake told FishbowlDC that he didn’t consider what happened jarring. “I can’t emphasize enough that I don’t really think this is a big deal,” he said. “We (campaign embeds, photogs, etc.) try to get as much raw material of the candidate as possible, and sometimes we don’t succeed. You shrug it off and hope for better luck next time. I’m not going to blatantly trespass on private property.”

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