Help us out: How can we say the same thing, again… differently?

A couple of weeks into a pre-Pennsylvania primary voting lull finds candidates not just “campaigning” but, in Obama’s case - per MSNBC— launching a “charm offensive.”

And what differentiates a “charm offensive” from garden variety “campaigning” as practiced by politicians everywhere always? Not much.

Obama spent the weekend in Pennsylvania bowling with locals (and for cameras) and otherwise participating in and chatting with Local People about Things Locals Like (bowling, beer). Sometimes he made stops that weren’t on his official campaign schedule. Charmed, I’m sure.

The campaigns know that reporters need new ways each day to say: “Candidate X is Campaigning in State Y.” And the Obama camp wants highlighted the image of their candidate bowling over handfuls of average Pennsylvanians to round out the more familiar image of their candidate bowling over arenas-full of adoring supporters. It may just be corn dogs at the state fair but in a different state and with a bowling ball instead of meat on a stick but if a campaign can package it as something New, reporters will buy. Everyone wins.

Now, on to McCain “campaigning” — er, “reintroducing himself to the American people” - in Mississippi.

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.