But even then, though there were no high fives, there were the first signs of barely suppressible grins from the faces of senior staff on down. Miles Lackey tried but failed to hide a full ear-to-ear grin as reporters filed out, and Sam Meyers Sr. wore a suit and tie for the occasion. Something, it seemed, was up.
And by 9:30pm, when Edwards bounded on stage, kissed his wife on the forehead the way he had almost 26 years ago when they were first dating, and turned to face the crowd it was clear. Nothing was tense about the way Edwards thanked his supporters and staff and vowed to continue what he now commonly refers to as "This cause." At the end of the evening, the expanding press corps flew ahead of the Senator on a private charter in order to get into position for his arrival in Concord, N.H. Approximately 40 hardy staffers danced (someone even did "The Worm") and chanted until Edwards walked through the hangar door and was promptly covered in metallic confetti.
The campaign has been airing two ads, "Right" and "Two Americas". Starting tomorrow "Believe" hits airwaves. The Senator will spend the majority of the week campaigning in New Hampshire, with perhaps one overnight mid-week in South Carolina.
I Believe in YOU
80 MPH, ON THE HIGHWAY TO CEDAR RAPIDS, Jan. 15 — The Body Man believes in country music. The Spokeswoman believes in good karma (recently reunited with the cell phone she left on a plane several days ago). The Iowa State Director believes in the power of rural caucus goers in places like Oskaloosa County, where he grew up and where the librarian at the afternoon event in Mahaska County squealed, "Where's my Aaron!?!" The Advance Man believes in signs, signs, signs, and magic hat remedies for faulty microphones. And the Candidate? The Candidate told audiences from Ottumwa to Burlington, "I believe in YOU!"
While the campaign says there will be no new moves in the next four days, the slightest variance in vernacular is notable to the traveling press. The "I believe in you!" line has emerged in the last few days (Weeks? It's all a post-New Year's blur) in Edwards' direct plea to each and every audience he comes across. His countdown address to crammed-to-the-wall crowds in the majority of venues culminates in this last request: "Join me in this fight! Join me in this cause!"
Edwards is amped. He's pacing in front of crowds, still wearing his black goretex boots day in and day out despite the fact there is little snow on the ground these days. The boots made for an interesting illustration Thursday when Edwards delivered his speech at noon in Des Moines. Joining him onstage for the first time were several new faces hopping on the campaign at a time that has never been as "hot, hot, hot" - to quote the last person one would guess (can you?) as it is now. Amongst the nary-a-scratch pairs of dress shoes, Edwards' boots stood out to the trained (or excessively any-new-detail obsessed) eye, and one couldn't help but ask at where all these faces have been on the climb up.
The campaign is targeting an estimated 50,000 caucus goers in the run up to Monday, with media appearances in-between (including one on Politics Live just before his Des Moines speech kicking off the "Five Days to Change America" tour). Edwards will appear on CBS' Face the Nation on Sunday. Tomorrow, Edwards will campaign in Davenport, Cedar Rapids, Council Bluffs, Greenfield, Creston and Winterset.
Five-year-old Emma Claire and three-year-old Jack will also be out on the trail, as Elizabeth rejoins her husband after a day campaigning on her own.