From School Library Journal
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From the Author
I still can't believe it. It hasn't sunk in that Barack Obama is now the President-Elect of the United States. I can't believe that the long-shot candidate I started following almost two years ago actually won. I can't believe the American people elected a man named Barack Obama. I can't believe that the guy who spent two years making faces into my camera is going to be the leader of the free world.
And to think, the first time I photographed Barack Obama, I didn't want to go. I was interested in him, but I had plans that weekend that did not involve driving five hours to New Hampshire to photograph what I assumed would be a deadly dull event.
I had been right about a few things. The event was in a building that was dark, cavernous, and impossible to find. I showed up late and in a panic. Looking around at the space, I wondered why I had even bothered.
But when Obama walked into the room, my concerns became irrelevant. The crowd was transfixed. Hell, some of the other news photographers were transfixed. And this was New Hampshire! New Hampshire photographers are not impressed by politicians. Ever. Immediately after the event ended, even before filing my pictures, I called Kelly and told her that I was going to cover the Obama presidential campaign. I did not offer her a choice. The fact that he wasn't technically running yet was immaterial. I knew that this was going to be important, and I wanted to be there.
For the next twenty-three months, I followed Obama from event to event, only heading home for quick breaks to meet with editors and remind my boyfriend what I looked like. I followed Obama into coffee shops and diners, auto manufacturing plants and bowling alleys. I followed him in a rental car, and I flew in his charter jet. I photographed him wooing potential voters in expensive houses and on poverty-stricken Indian reservations. I covered small events where I was the only photographer present, and I covered massive rallies with more than 75,000 people.
Even as the campaign stretched from one year to two, and as I marked my third winter As a friend said on election night, we are now living in a different world than the one we woke up in. I will be forever grateful that I had the opportunity to witness this moment in history.