Politics on Wheels: Critiquing Campaign Buses

Like any design element of a political campaign, a candidate’s bus is important for how it represents the candidate himself.

The return of campaign season means the buses are back, as presidential hopefuls ditch their blazers and roll up their shirtsleeves to partake in the decades-old tradition of campaigning on the road. Most years, the buses themselves don’t get much attention—they’re simply the vehicles for their candidates’ messages. But that all changed last week, when Senator John McCain dissed the President's campaign bus on the Senate floor.

On a three-day road trip through Virginia and North Carolina to promote his American Jobs Act, President Obama traversed the countryside in Ground Force One, a sleek black motorcoach loaded with more technology than an Apple store. McCain took offense to the bus’s origin—the vehicle’s shell and chassis was purchased from a Canadian manufacturer and customized in Nashville—but he also critiqued its visual appeal.

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