Behind the lens: Capturing an unscripted moment between Romney, McCain

October 3, 2012 | By Chip Somodevilla | Behind The Lens, News, Photography, Photojournalism

During the first week of January, as the Republican presidential race was heating up and gaining speed, I was part of a team of Getty Images news photographers on the ground in New Hampshire for the “First in the Nation” state primary.

Covering the Romney campaign, I had asked his campaign staff for time with the candidate “behind the scenes,” away from the podium and arranged political events. When former GOP presidential nominee Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) endorsed Romney and joined his caravan, I was invited to ride on the campaign bus to photograph the two men.

Both politicians are seasoned professionals with decades of experience in public service, and heated political battles between them, and they know how to behave around photojournalists. Romney happily welcomed me, made a sandwich, drank a soda and made himself at home in the back of the bus. I had extensively covered McCain’s campaign in 2008, and Cindy McCain, who was also on the bus, greeted me warmly.

As the bus rolled from one campaign event to the other, Romney and McCain relaxed and talked about foreign policy and other topics, showing their camaraderie and mutual comfort. For the brief time I had with them, Romney and McCain were honest and real with each other, and so were the photos.


Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney (L) talks with former presidential nominee U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) on Romney’s campaign bus in between events January 4, 2012 near Manchester, New Hampshire. McCain announced his endorsement of Romney the day after Romney beat former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum by only eight votes in Tuesday’s “first in the nation” Iowa Caucuses. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)


Editor’s note: After working for eight years at newspapers across the United States, Chip Somodevilla moved to Washington, DC, in 2005. Since he began working in the nation’s capital, his images of politics and protest have appeared in major publications around the world. He’s won awards in the National Press Photographers Association’s Best of Photojournalism, Pictures of the Year International and the White House News Photographers Association, where he was awarded Political Photo of the Year in 2006 and was named Photographer of the Year in 2010. He is now covering his second U.S. presidential race. Follow him on Instagram @somophoto.

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