Sen. John Edwards, in third place in the New Hampshire polls and with scant time to spare, is pulling all-nighters to improve his electoral prospects.
The North Carolina Democrat is in the midst of a 36-hour swing through the Granite State in which, if the campaign follows Mapquest.com's quickest distance routes, he will travel more than 680 miles in 14 hours while in the process of hosting 14 campaign events. This itinerary doesn't even include the multiple stops being made separate of Edwards by his wife Elizabeth.
"It's my goal to make sure that by the time we get to this convention, I'm the nominee," Edwards said this morning on MSNBC. He looked remarkably fresh. "In the next 36 hours I need to make sure voters know they have a very clear choice, especially independent voters... They are looking for someone like me who is independent from drug companies and insurance companies and lobbyists."
The 36-hour "marathon for the middle class" began at noon on Sunday with a health care forum at the Franco American Center in Manchester, New Hampshire. Late that night, the former Democratic vice presidential candidate gathered amidst a packed house at a restaurant in the same city. He implored the crowd that if they were interested in changing Washington, they should cast their ballots in his favor. He concluded to a lengthy ovation as John Mellencamp's "This Is Our Country" - yes, the one that's been peppering Chevy commercials for more than a year now - blasted in the background.
From there, Edwards took a nearly three-hour drive up north for a 2 a.m. stop in Berlin. He was joined during the tour-de-force by the mother of 17-year-old Nataline Sarkisyan, who died while waiting for a liver transplant and who has come to symbolize, for Edwards, the perils of the nation's health care system. Later in the day actors Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon were also slated to offer their support.
By his appearance on MSNBC on Monday morning, Edwards was only half way through his marathon. The tour is slated to conclude at 12:30 am on Tuesday with a "Graniteroots" event in Portsmouth.