The Digital Journalist
Dick Cheney's Final Assault Across America
November 2004

by David Hume Kennerly

From Tuesday, Oct. 26, to election day Tuesday, Nov. 2, Dick Cheney's road trip sounded like that old Johnny Cash song, "I've Been Everywhere."

It's Sunday on the campaign trail, it must be Hawaiian shirt day! Vice President Cheney is shown on a big screen at a late-night rally in Honolulu.

Photo by David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images
I packed my Hawaiian shirt along with a parka before running off to join the Cheney traveling circus-that's how you prepare in the fall to cover the final days of a presidential campaign. I didn't know the exact schedule (neither did they), and because I was covering the Vice President's final run into the election starting in Florida, I assumed we'd be spending quite a bit of time in the Sunshine State, one of the critical battlegrounds of the 2004 campaign. We didn't, but the summer shirt did come in handy later. I also figured we'd be blitzing through the less colorful and colder areas of other crucial political battlefields such as Ohio, Iowa, and Michigan. On that score I was correct.

This was Cheney's itinerary:

Washington, D.C, Orlando, FL, Kissimmee, FL. Washington, PA, Waukesha, WI, Milwaukee, WI, Mosinee, WI, Schofield, WI. International Falls, MN, Sioux City, IA., Eau Claire, WI, Lansing, MI, Dimondale, MI. Williamsport, PA, Montoursville, PA, Nazareth, PA, Columbus, OH, Davenport, IA. Toledo, OH, Romulus, MI, Fort Dodge, IA. Los Lunas, NM. Honolulu, HI. Colorado Springs, CO, Las Vegas, NV, Reno, NV, Sparks, NV, Jackson,WY, Milwaukee, WI, Washington, D.C.

President and Mrs. George W. Bush with Vice President Dick Cheney behind them wave to the crowd at the Ronald Reagan Building at a victory rally after winning the presidential election, Nov. 3, 2004 in Washington, D.C.

Photo by David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images
The most grueling day of the trip was Sunday, Oct. 31st when Air Force Two traveled from Toledo, Ohio to Romulus, Michigan, Fort Dodge, Iowa, Los Lunas, New Mexico, and Honolulu, Hawaii-this for two hours on the ground in the middle of the night before flying back to the mainland, ending up in Jackson, Wyoming the following evening. During that excursion in a 24-hour period we logged almost 11,000 miles (alas, with no points awarded), 18 1/2 hours of which were in the air. In keeping with the spirit of the season, it was a certified nightmare. And by the way, on this Halloween I was the only member of the traveling entourage who was actually able to dress up like an Hawaiian!

Ironically, the Vice President's brief stopover in Hawaii produced the biggest crowd to greet him during the whole campaign. More than 10,000 people showed up for the 11 p.m. rally, and despite the tiring excursion deep into the Pacific, Cheney and his staff were buoyed by the enthusiastic reception. Vice President Cheney was the first national candidate in 40 years to campaign in Hawaii. Despite all of that they didn't win its four electoral votes, which ultimately didn't matter.

Election night in Washington, D.C. was also a marathon, and one that ended late the following afternoon. Even though there were scores of other photographers in the room at the Ronald Reagan Building when President Bush gave his victory speech, I don't think I'll ever get over being right up front when history is being made. My career has been spent mainlining the excitement of photographing important moments, and despite the hours without any sleep, this time was no exception.

© David Hume Kennerly

David Hume Kennerly has been photographing history for four decades. For more of David Kennerly's photographs, go to

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