Saturday, August 18, 2007

This is the Place

How appropriate that "Iowa" comes from an Indian word for "this is the place." It's as if someone foresaw this state's eventual place in the world of presidential politics. After spending the last two days here, I can tell you that when it comes to the race for the White House, Iowa isn't just the place: it's John Edwards' place.

Anyone can see that John Edwards is leading in most Iowa polls. But, here on the ground, his connection to Iowa voters is remarkable. He is passionate. He is real. He is gets it, and the people here know it. This week, when he spoke "on the stump" at the Iowa State Fair, he drew the largest crowd of all the candidates. Last night at sunset, he rolled his Fighting for One America bus tour into a small town in Iowa and was greeted by a crowd of about 140, seated on the courthouse lawn, riding in on their bikes, playing with their babies in the background and entirely taken with John Edwards. This morning, in the pouring rain, at an auditorium on the banks of the Mississippi, over 400 people showed up to hear him speak. In both cases, he took time to answer questions from the crowd.

He is excellent in these settings, so completely at ease in his jeans and signature blue shirt you'd think he was at his mom's kitchen table instead of a hotel ballroom. It's easy to see why he is doing so well here. In so many of the ways that really count, he is "from" here.

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