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Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann get on the campaign bus bandwagon

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Glen Stubbe/Minneapolis Star Tribune/Newscom

(Read caption) Michele Bachmann waits on her tour bus for the results of the Ames Straw Poll Saturday, August 2011 in Ames, Iowa. (

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In a country as vast as the US, anyone who wants a prayer of winning a presidential election has to devote significant time and resources to the "flyover" states. And there is no better vehicle to build a groundswell of attention than the campaign bus.

In the old days, presidential hopefuls campaigned by traveling around the country via train on "whistle stop" tours. These days, contenders such as Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann are rolling around in patriotically decorated behemoths emblazoned with inspirational mottos like "Get America Working Again."

America is the land of the road trip, after all, and the bus tour taps into our collective wanderlust and latent desire to see such obscure roadside attractions such as the Boll Weevil monument in Enterprise, Ala. Campaign buses also conjure up the excitement of a rock and roll band, with its glamour, gladhanders, and groupies.

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