By Paul Harang of "Tigers On The Trail" and in collaboration with HuffPost's OffTheBus.
John Edwards supporters have been using the Des Moines United Steel Workers Union Hall as a campaign call center, and Edwards stopped there this morning for a quick "thank you." A standard mix of Springsteen, CCR, Tom Petty, and The Rolling Stones played while campaign volunteers waited for the candidate. When he got there, you could tell he finally slept--his 36 hour tour ended last night at his John Mellencamp rally.
Iowa First Lady Mari Culver quickly introduced the candidate, and he gave a short speech outlining basic differences between himself and his Democratic competitors. "Two other campaigns believe that their money will make them inevitable," he said before explaining that his relationship with overlooked citizens is more powerful than Clinton and Obama's campaign finances. "We see you, we hear you, we embrace you, and we're going to lift you up."
He used familiar language, paused for raucous campaign chants, and even asked his supporters to go with him to New Hampshire after he wins here in Iowa. The rowdy gathering that packed the small room seemed ready to get back to work immediately after Edwards left. Labor's support for Edwards--the crowd chanted "John loves labor, labor loves John" before he got off the bus--coupled with faithful supporters from 2004 and disenchanted Obama/Clinton Democrats are what keeps him competitive in this race. The latest polls are so close that when results come in tonight, Iowans may deliver him a surprise first or second place that will build momentum for his New Hampshire campaign. Some may even follow him there.