And in final color from the campaign trail, the color in press lead Jenni Engenbretsen's face has returned after a harrowing first few days taking over for spokeswoman Jennifer Palmieri. "Tiger" as she is known, was thrown into the mix at a most intense time. She faced complaints of the triple F threat (Filing, Food and Face Time) from the press corps on Saturday when one thing led to another and it all culminated in 4:00 pm tea sandwiches presented as lunch and dinner on the plane. All was remedied by Sunday to utter delight, and onward it is in very capable hands.
Leigh is Her Father's Daughter
HOPSCOTCHING AROUND WISCONSIN, Feb. 16 -- The political press corps traveling with Sen. John Edwards is filled with professionals. They're people who understand the nuances of the campaign, who can pick up the slightest change in a tightly scripted and fine-tuned stump speech, who can analyze a candidate's body language, turn of phrase, and even the way he looks at an audience. They know his positions on the issues, swap jokes over beers on the campaign plane and can tell when he's tired. They write endlessly about crowds, message, and strategy, and they speculate about the campaign's next move.
And for two minutes on the day before the Wisconsin primary, they were upstaged by a 10-year-old girl wearing a scrunchy shaped like a little leopard.
During a press availability Monday morning at the seen-better-days South Milwaukee Community Center, after Edwards had ginned up a crowd of about 150 with theater in the round and talk of bringing together the "two Americas," after questions about when and where he first started talking about NAFTA, Leigh Harwood, daughter of the Wall Street Journal's John Harwood, got her chance.
"Do you have enough followers to win the primary on Tuesday?" she asked.
"I don't know. We'll have to find out tomorrow. But we have a lot of strong supporters in Wisconsin we're very proud of," Edwards said.
It was the question that follows Edwards to every event, even as the campaign plans fundraising events in New York later this week and campaign stops in Georgia, Maryland and Ohio. Does he have enough supporters? Can he win enough to keep going until Super Tuesday? And beyond? At what point is enough enough?
The march forward continues, the campaign maintains, to the shores of March 2. And even a casual observer has to admit that Edwards connects with voters. Whether it'll propel him far enough is a separate question. Another still is whether a finish far behind the winner -- in either second or third place -- will give him enough oomph to go out and keep convincing those donors to write those checks to keep him on the air in huge states. Not to mention whether it will allow him to keep credibility with voters when he says that he's going to be the next president of the United States.
At Edwards' last primary eve event, at the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire, a supporter held up a sign made of red posterboard that read: "2nd in Iowa, 1st in Wisconsin."
We'll have to find out tomorrow…
Edwards looks up with Clark out
MILWAUKEE, Wis., Feb. 10 — And then there were two. Or so the Edwards campaign would very much like to believe. As news of Gen. Clark's retreat from the field of Democratic candidates trickled through the Edwards ranks, one senior staffer was overheard saying, "Exactly as I planned." The question now is, how will that plan play out?