ABC News’ David Chalian and Eloise Harper Report: In a packed (and hot) parking garage in Columbia, SC, the major Democratic candidates for president took the stage at Rep. Clyburn’s (D-SC) annual fish fry, Friday night, to kiss the ring of the number three Democrat in the House and an influential South Carolina Democrat whose endorsement they all covet.
"I have never seen anything like Jim Clybrn’s Fish Fry," said Sen. Clinton to big applause.
Unlike in Thursday night’s debate, the two lesser known candidates in the field, Rep. Kucinich and former Sen. Gravel, were no-shows, leaving the stage to the Big 6 hopefuls.
Sen. Barack Obama came up on stage with a fried fish sandwich in hand and provided the candidate-eating-food picture of the night. (He passed the test – no spillage on his white shirt.)
"We are all trying out for quarterback, but we are on the same team," Obama told the crowd of cheering Democrats.
Former Sen. John Edwards (D-NC) made a splashy entrance into the parking garage with a high school marching band leading his way.
This was not the place for personal pitches. Each candidate spoke briefly — well aware, no doubt, that the crowd wanted to get to the fish, beer, and dancing portion of the evening — and in generic terms about a Democratic victory in 2008.
Rep. Clyburn began his fish fry tradition back in 1992. The event is always held on the same evening as the South Carolina Democratic Party’s large annual fundraising dinner. But unlike the dinner, the fry is free of charge.
The Democratic presidential wannabees now head West to California to address party activists at the California Democratic Party’s convention in San Diego.