It's now midnight. We're about ten minutes from landing in Charleston when press is told "breaking news." Due to FAA regulations, the crew can't overnight in South Carolina and then fly tomorrow morning to Tulsa, Oklahoma. Instead, Matt Bennett tells the plane of press that we're landing in Greenville, S.C. to re-fuel and then fly over two more hours to Tulsa, OK. Morning events have been cancelled in South Carolina. Mrs. Clark has made it clear-she is not happy.
We're down on the ground, then we're back up in the air-two people shy who forgo their luggage, opting to stay in South Carolina for a scheduled live shot on the network in the early morning. While everybody tries to sleep on board, General Clark searches anxiously for a blanket to keep him warm so he too can sleep.
It's 4:30am local time when the plane lands in Tulsa, Oklahoma. There is very little talking-there are no morning show tapings-we meet for a 12pm local time event before heading off to three other February 3rd states for events. We're back in Oklahoma later in the evening to overnight.
Coming out of New Hampshire, it's also time to focus on advertising in the Feb. 3rd states. Clark told press tonight that the campaign is "coming up on air in Missouri." Jamal Simmons adds--"you're making news" with this information.
Chanting "U-Wes-A, U-Wes-A"
DIXVILLE NOTCH, N.H., Jan. 27— "Make way for the future first family," yelled Mo Elleithee of the Clark campaign as he cleared press and on-lookers to the side in the ballot room of The Balsams Grand Resort Hotel to form a path for General and Mrs. Clark. At a quarter past midnight, General Wesley Clark was enjoying his first victory lap having won the first town in the state and the nation to cast ballots and announce the results in the New Hampshire presidential primary — Dixville Notch.
Men in bow ties and women in sequins crammed themselves in with press to watch as about twenty of the twenty-six eligible voters in the town (11 Republicans, 15 Independents) cast their votes in the ballot box, beginning with Mr. Rick Irwin. And within thirty minutes from the first ballot cast, town moderator Tom Tillotson stood reading the outcome of the Democrats: Howard Dean and Joe Lieberman, one; John Edwards, two; John Kerry, three; and Wesley Clark, eight.
"I'm looking forward to tomorrow," Clark said in a short statement to the press after his win up north. While clearly happy about is win, his mood seemed that of hesitancy. Tomorrow is actually today and Clark's fight for third place could be tough. And as the Wes Express rolls into Manchester at 4:30 am, everyone knows that in one hour, the long day truly begins. Even at the last minute, the campaign is changing the "post-New Hampshire" strategy announcing Monday afternoon that instead of flying to Columbia, S.C., at 8:45 pm on Tuesday, they are flying to Charleston, South Carolina. They say inclement weather is the reason, but doubts are cast. It's all up in the air until The General's mark is made in New Hampshire.