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BBC election bus video diary

As part of its election coverage, the BBC is sending a specially designed bus across the States, to cover the final weeks of presidential campaigning.

Travelling from Los Angeles to New York, the bus will cover over 4,000 kilometres and pass through 15 states.

The BBC's journalists on board, from radio, tv and online, aim to build up a detailed and unique picture of America ahead of the election.

World News America's online producer Jennifer Copestake is on the bus and is keeping a video diary of her trip.


TEXAS
DALLAS
September 21
Today we're in Dallas at the Gay Pride parade. It's a beautiful sunny day with lots of music and fabulous costumes. At least three churches including the world's largest gay and lesbian church, the Cathedral of Hope, marched in the parade. Behind barricades a handful of protesters were shouting bible verses and pamphleteering along the route. Harassment like this was just one of the reasons many people I spoke to said they feel uncomfortable living in America and would leave if the Republicans win the White House again. So watch out Canada! There may be at least a handful of Texan immigrants moving to the true north strong and free come November.

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Following Gay Pride in Dallas

And while the number of Americans moving to Canada has reached record highs and may continue after the election, more Canadians are heading south to replace them. For now.

At the end of the parade I met these friendly guys who told me no matter how dire the economic situation gets they will not give up their Hummer.

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Why have a Hummer?

SWEETWATER
September 20
We've left New Mexico and entered Texas. Our first stop is the largest wind energy farm in America in the town of Sweetwater. Energy is the economy here and I wasn't surprised to hear how much support there is for T Boone Pickens.

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America's largest wind energy farm

NEW MEXICO
ALBUQUERQUE

September 18
We've arrived at the state fair in Albuquerque. When I met Governor Richardson yesterday he said he'd cut the cost to get into the fair from $7 to $6 to accommodate families who were struggling financially and staying away from the fair.

While the costs to get in were cut the cost of drinks and food more than made up for the savings. Drinks were selling for up to $4 and a piece of corn on the cob was $3.50.

Today is military appreciation day which began with a ceremonial tribute to New Mexicans who served America in war, including Navajo code talkers. The Rio Grande ROTC high school drill team gave an impressive display. I'm told their school consistently comes last in everything but the team won the national drill championships.


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The Rio Grande ROTC high school drill team show off their skills at the state fair in Albuquerque.

Wandering down the fair's Avenue of the Generals the military theme was in full effect. The most exciting table was this one, where young and old (mainly very young) could hold on to military weapons which have been used in combat.


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'Gonna shoot the bad guys!'

SANTA FE

17 September
I'm in New Mexico, a key swing state in the election. Getting the Hispanic vote is crucial to winning this state, as almost half of the state's population is Hispanic. I sat down briefly with Governor Bill Richardson who told me his state would be influential in the election and staked his career on Obama winning.

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Democratic Governor Bill Richardson has predicted an Obama win in New Mexico

ARIZONA
PHOENIX

15 September
Lehman Brothers went bankrupt today and AIG is in serious trouble. I'm in Phoenix today to get reaction from a few people about the latest economic crisis.

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Phoenix residents react to 'Meltdown Monday'

NEVADA

LAS VEGAS

12 September
I spent the afternoon walking through various casino floors on the strip. Stale cigarette smoke lingers in the air. Elderly men and women rhythmically inserting coin after coin into one armed bandits. There is something startlingly beautiful about the exterior of buildings in Las Vegas - their neon signs and flamboyancy standing out against the Spartan desert backdrop. But on the casino floor everywhere I look I'm reminded of America's failing economy. Debt and hope in equal measure.

In the Orleans hotel I met the only original member of the Temptations, Otis Williams and his manager, Shelly Berger.

They have seen many changes in America over decades of touring.

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Otis Williams and the Temptations' manager on changes in Vegas

CALIFORNIA

BAKER

11 September
We're on our way to Vegas and have stopped here, in Baker, California. One big thermometer dominates the landscape. Run down motels and a strip of fast food restaurants make up the rest. Surrounded by a Navajo reserve the town can not expand any further than its one mile square. Its meagre population is dominated by Mexican immigrants, legal and illegal. The bus stopped for lunch at the Big Boy burger restaurant. I had a quick look around the town and some of the locals told me why the election hasn't captured the imagination of citizens here.

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Views from Baker in California

VENICE BEACH

10 September
Certainly one way to make a buck. Viewer discretion advised, it's painful.

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Perry Hernandez, Venice beach glass walker

INSIDE THE BUS

9 September
Tomorrow the BBC election bus sets off for a 38-day tour of America which will take us through 16 states. We will be living on this tour bus, which has also chauffeured Cher and rock band Linkin Park.

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A look inside the BBC election bus




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