"According to local political legend (unofficially confirmed by locals with serious nods over pancakes and eggs), it has been over half a century since a major political candidate visited McAlester, Oklahoma. Senator John Edwards brought that run to and end Tuesday morning when he stopped by a breakfast organized by state senators in the small southest Oklahoma town. About 120 men and women came to meet Edwards and hear him speak at his seventh campaign stop in the state, and Edwards has been endorsed by 23 state senators."
"Edwards campaign staffers say the small town, small gathering is Edwards' best format. He is more relaxed, more apt leave his stump speech and go off the cuff. He is clearly at ease with people and one-on-one interaction, unhurried and focused."
"'All of of these people are just excited that a candidate on a national level is here,' said State Representative Mike Mass. 'It makes me feel very proud that he would pick McAlester,' attendee Barbara Gilbertson told me. 'We want to feel like the candidate running for President knows about small town USA and understands it.'"
From ABC News' Graham campaign reporter Tarana Harris:
"Senator Graham met with the League of Conservation Voters yesterday in Washington, D.C. Graham scored a 64% on LCV's 2002 report card, compared to Kerry's 92%, Gephardt's 91%, Lieberman's 88% and Edwards's 68%. So far, candidates Kerry, Lieberman, Edwards and Dean have also lunched with LCV."
"Mark Longabaug, LCV's Senior Vice President of Political Affairs, was forgiving about Graham's missing the hearing on Utah Governor Mike Leavitt's confirmation hearing for a fundraiser. The hearing was moved from its originally scheduled date due to hurricane Isabel, he said."
"Graham, the oldest candidate, set his sights on younger voters yesterday at a fundraiser on a sunny patio at the Capitol City Brewing Company. It was the only non-private event of Graham's day. He'll attend another event for young professionals tonight at Pier 63 in New York. On Saturday he'll keynote a Young Democrats rally in South Carolina before attending the South Carolina State football game."
From ABC News' Kucinich campaign reporter Melinda Arons:
"If every event in which Kucinich participated had the crowd of the Tibet House's forum on 'Ethical Revolution and the World Crisis,' one would think he was poised to take the White House in a landslide."
"The Congressman had definitely found his audience in the left-leaning crowd (also on the program: Susan Sarandon, The Nation editor Katrina Vanden Heuvel, a holistic medicine expert and various peace activists) and was greeted with rousing applause as he dominated the conversation sitting beside Rev. Al Sharpton, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and a fellow nuclear de-proliferation activist."
"He really got the crowd going when he spoke of the interconnectedness of the entire world's population and said, 'Our politics must be heart-centric,' imploring the Dalai Lama to become involved in world politics in order to purify it. It was a tailor-made group event for his message."
As for that other group event this week, the debate, he would only say 'I'm ready to debate every second of my life.'"
ABC News' Sharpton campaign reporter Beth Loyd was also there: