Edwards’ Three Americas

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Firstly, may I say that this will be my inaugural post on any blog. Ever. As a former wire reporter I always simply filed – so this world is a new (and a little scary) one for me. That said, I’m really excited to join my esteemed colleagues and this wonderful world of Swampland!

I went to John Edwards’ first caucus-day speech this morning at the United Rubber Worker’s headquarters in East Des Moines (we actually were there two days ago, though it seems like a millennia, on the first day of his 36-hour bus tour). All the phone banks had been taken down and Edwards, in a grey suit and teal blue tie – looking appropriately presidential (and, of course, wearing his son Wade’s Outward Bound pin) rallied the crowd for 7 minutes and 19 seconds before heading out to Iowa City. “When we win tonight we will have overcome two campaigns that believed their money would make them inevitable,” Edwards told the crowd of 100+ in a preview of his remarks if he does win. Also, he borrowed a riff from Hillary’s invisible America (See No. 7), promising to “see” the “ignored and forgotten.”

So here’s what I loved about this scene: in 2004 Edwards hardly had any union support and ran on the idea of two America, one rich, one poor. In 2008, he’s clearly discovered that there are actually THREE Americas and it’s the Middle Class that he needs to win.

My stories on his closing arguments and the pain of covering an all-nighter bus tour.