Power Players

Behind the smoke and mirrors: Presidential campaign theater unveiled

Political Punch

Every presidential campaign trip into the heartland has the same goals: craft the president's image, deliver speeches full of gusto from picturesque, Americana scenes, and wield the power of the incumbent. This week on Political Punch, we take you on a behind-the-scenes tour of the Obama campaign's recent bus tour of northern Ohio and western Pennsylvania. It's more than just pretty pictures -- it is a carefully orchestrated campaign strategy to win votes in key battleground states.

From the hay bales carefully placed in the president's camera shot to the classic red barn that frames the scene, every details of these campaign events are carefully planned and executed. And the press is along for the ride — in a bus that trails the President's own super-secure bus, known as Ground Force One.

And the carefully orchestrated details are not limited to the backdrops. While on this trip that included a stop in Toledo, Ohio, the local Toledo, Ohio newspaper landed a front page scoop that just happened to message of President Obama's speeches. Coincidence? We think not. Meanwhile, Republicans try to nudge their way into the picture by flying banners over the area where the president is scheduled to speak -- "Wake up Toledo! Obama's worse than Carter!" read one.

Between events, the president makes unscheduled, highly photogenic stops, but every move is designed to drive home the point that this president is America's president. So where did they stop, and what did the president buy to bring back to the White House? And just what is the proper footwear to don for these official campaign bus tours? Check out this week's Political Punch to find out.

ABC's Sherisse Pham and Mary Bruce contributed to this report.

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