John Edwards on the Campaign Trail

ABCNEWS' Gloria Riviera is on the trail with North Carolina Sen. John Edwards as he makes his bid for the White House. For the latest report, scroll down.

Edwards Unstilted

ATLANTA, Georgia, March 2--Way back before it all started, this whoa-nelly-we-are-a-national campaign (!), and Sen. Edwards made his inaugural visit back to reporters' quarters on the campaign plane, the visits were few and far between. He walked slowly down the aisle and often did not make it halfway before heading back to his sequestered section up front. Despite the fact that many of the reporters had been on the trail for months and were on a first name basis with the Senator, he was slightly stilted in navigating the casual, off the record environment. "How are you," he'd ask. "You guys doin' alright?" Maybe the reporters held back as well, unsure of exactly how to go from inter-acting with an ultra-disciplined, always on message candidate to the newly renovated, laid backwards Edwards.

It is stilted no more. Edwards has been back and forth on just about every leg of every trip in the run up to Super Tuesday. Instead of cautious questions that yield cautious answers, reporters and candidate (sometimes) chat with something approaching candor. While it might pale in comparison when veteran campaign reporters spin lore of candidates past, for example there are no nicknames doled out a la Bush, it is significant in another way. Edwards has learned a thing or two along the way, and in no small part that lesson has included press-candidate etiquette 101.

To provide an illustration of how far things have come from sequestered, silent candidate to now: Sunday Edwards' two young children were on board the plane. As Body Man Hunter Pruette put it, three-year-old Jack Edwards has never seen a camera he does not like. In fact he took a real liking to MSNBC embed Dugald McConnell's DV camera, sitting on McConnell's lap as Edward plopped down across from him and settled in for a chat as Jack commandeered the lens. Edwards introduced five-year-old Emma Claire to Dugald as well. This would be the Dugald whose first piece on the campaign was entitled, "Go Away Duglad" because it featured campaign staffers from the candidate on down (Elizabeth Edwards included) saying (not without reason) straight to camera, "Go Away Dugald!" What did Emma Claire have to say upon meeting the famous Dugald? Her eyes widened, "Duuu-gaaalllddd?? Your name is Duuu-gaaalllddd?" Apparently she had not heard that one before.

In fact, on and off the campaign plane, Edwards appears relaxed. It is as if he is fully enjoying this run up to Super Tuesday, despite the daunting polls and the once and for all end of the honeymoon with the national press. Tuesday he canvassed Ohio from Toldeo to Cleveland to Dayton. Attendance was between 200 and 400 at Monday's events, culminating with a Hootie and the Blowfish concert in Macon, Georgia. The concert was held in a massive hanger space, which was just about half-filled what with equipment and staff and a less than elbow-to-elbow audience.

Senator Edwards has been here before, a primary day that could make or break his campaign. But this time it has come down to two. Though the vertical on the uphill battle against Senator Kerry is clear, his stump speech reminds audiences of the hills he has climbed thus far in his life; getting to college, becoming a lawyer and "taking on the Jesse Helms political machine" when he ran for Senate.

Page
Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...
See It, Share It
PHOTO: The scene near the finish line of the Boston Marathon is seen in this April 16, 2013 file photo. Inset, suspects Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev are seen. Tamerlan Tsarnaev died after a gunfight with police and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, was captured.
Elise Amendola/AP Photo; Inset: Lowell Sun, FBI/AP Photo
PHOTO: The first explosion knocked down a runner at the finish line of the 117th Boston Marathon.
John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images
PHOTO: Pulaski Township Police Sgt. Chad Adam seen here in this undated Facebook photo, went undercover as an Amish woman.
Pulaski Township Police Department/Facebook
PHOTO: The Earths shadow is cast over the surface of the moon as a total lunar eclipse is seen though a Magnolia tree top in the sky over Tyler, Texas, April 15, 2014.
Dr. Scott M. Lieberman/AP Photo