John Edwards on the Campaign Trail

Is personal fast food service a sign of a robust campaign ready to rock? The Edwards campaign has spun their third place New Hampshire finish neck and neck with Clark as a one week message-based surge of which they can be proud. Coming off Tuesday's primary and addressing crowds throughout the day the Senator pointed out that ten days before the New Hampshire primary most polls put General Clark 20-points ahead of him. Third was a victory for a campaign that spent less time and money in the state.

But coming home is much better. Introduced at various events as the states' "native son," Edwards launched his South Carolina effort with a new campaign slogan, "Bringing it Home." The campaign is focused on tighter, well-produced events that provide camera crews with packed crowds, good lighting and of course, the music. The entire stump speech has been toned down and well tuned down to the number of fist pumps and pauses to smile back at the crowd.

On hand in Orangeburg, SC was Ike Williams, who was asked about Rep. Jim Clyburn's at that time still only possible endorsement of Senator John Kerry. "I am not for this band wagon thing," he said. "There was a band wagon behind Dukakis and we went into a train wreck."

Edwards will fly back to South Carolina in the morning and hold one event in Greenville before the debate that evening.

P.S. Other signs the campaign is ready to really rock include a future concert by the band Hootie and the Blowfish, of mid-nineties "Hold My Hand" and "I Only Want to be with You" fame. And of more recent legitimate claim to musical fame, Boyd Tinsley, the violinist from the Dave Mathews Band, has endorsed the Senator.

And I Won't Back Down

ORANGEBURG, S.C., Jan. 28— Within hours of his Iowa caucus second place celebration, the Senator was understandably and immediately thinking ahead to New Hampshire and reportedly told select senior staff he felt it was going to be a long week. It was.

Although crowd size exploded as the week went on, culminating in a 650+ person rally held in a Church in Portsmouth on Monday afternoon, there was never the consistent buzz building atmosphere in New Hampshire that followed Edwards everywhere in Iowa. At select events, yes, there was an energy and excitement in the crowd, verified by the "head nod to stump speech point" ratio that shot up when the Senator was 'on'. But Edwards could have used a week packed with those kinds of events, as opposed to one or two a day happenings in the final stretch. Gone was the rally cry, "We are going to shock the world!" and it never seemed quite appropriate enough in New Hampshire to bring it back with the same vigor.

Edging out Clark would have been sweet success, but the campaign points out that once Edwards got past two top contenders who enjoyed almost 100 percent name recognition from day one he had to deal with two additional contenders who spent more money and more time in the Granite state than he did since he played in both New Hampshire and Iowa. They maintain their Iowa second was well worth it, as it revitalized their campaign and brought national attention to it, both at a time it needed it most.

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