Local Politics

Volunteer Army Propels Edwards' Iowa Fight

Posted January 2, 2008

— As John Edwards barnstormed Iowa during the final hours before the state's presidential caucuses, an army of volunteers continued to push to wrangle votes for him.

Edwards, a Chapel Hill resident and former U.S. senator from North Carolina, was conducting a 36-hour "Marathon for the Middle Class," criss-crossing Iowa to close the deal with undecided voters before they caucus Thursday night in cities and towns statewide to begin the 2008 presidential nomination process. Pop singer John Mellencamp was expected to appear at a Wednesday night concert as part of the get-out-the-vote effort.

Polls indicate Edwards is in a tight race with Illinois Sen. Barack Obama and New York Sen. Hillary Clinton in Iowa, although national polls place Clinton far in front of Obama, with Edwards trailing in third place.

Meanwhile, Gus Gusler of Raleigh was going door to door in snow and freezing temperatures in Ames, Iowa, trying to pick up a vote at a time. Some residents were coy in revealing their favored candidates, he said.

"A lot of these people are really cagey. They just won't tell you whether they're decided, and if they're decided, they won't tell you who (they support). They just smile, and we ask, 'Are we in the top two?'" Gusler said.

A veteran of George McGovern's unsuccessful 1972 presidential campaign, he said he enjoys meeting voters. An Obama supporter invited him to dinner Tuesday for a Southern tradition of black-eyed peas, greens and ham hocks on New Year's Day.

"It's pretty amazing to have this opportunity," Gusler said. "Not that many people get the opportunity in life to go out and do something for somebody you really care about and believe in."

Volunteers from across the country said they passed up holidays with their families to campaign for Edwards in Iowa.

North Carolina Secretary of State Elaine Marshall and Durham attorney Kerry Sutton were joined on the front lines with people from Pennsylvania to Texas to Indiana.

Robin Winston, of Indianapolis, said he wanted to work a phone bank for Edwards in a Des Moines union hall because the candidate hearkens back to former President John F. Kennedy.

"I remember growing up respecting the president of the United States," Winston said. "I want my child – I have an 8-year-old – to grow up in that same environment, where they respect the president, they respect what they're doing and they have a future and an optimism about the federal government and what it can do to make a difference.

"I think, more than anyone else, John Edwards does that," he said.

Campaign volunteer Linda Frankel said Edwards represents a change for the nation.

"He stands for the transformation of the United States and for the world," Frankel said. "This is a new era that's coming when he's president."


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  • wcnc Jan 3, 2008

    Seeing as I'm in the middle class in NC, where Johnny Boy was my Senator, I can't think of a thing he did to help me.......Can anyone help me with that???

    Boy, I wish there were enough smart Iowan Democrats that they would ask that question of North Carolinians before blindly supporting a man who just answers questions well but hasn't done anything that he says he's done!!

  • Kidw4legs stops in Jan 3, 2008

    Wouldn't the Chinese like to have John Edwards to represent them if/when they are sued for attempted murder by lead-based paint?

    I'd really like for JE to change his name to No Wong Tu, and go much further away than Iowa!

  • sweetsea Jan 3, 2008

    WRAL and the News and Observer are totin water for Edwards as hard as they can. The Breck Boy is as phony as a three dollar bill. He is a better coiffed version of the late Huey "Kingfish" Long and spewing that populist garbage that appeals to the ignorant. He says he is going to take on business(note he does not mention trail lawyers). Sounds great to ignorant folks who have not figured out that business is where most of our jobs come from and what separates us from third world countries. If citizens ever had to have enough sense to pass a simple civics test to qualify to vote, there would never be another democrat elected in the United States.

  • One flew over Randy_s nest Jan 3, 2008

    "Not on my best day - not on my worst day - not with a gun pointed at my head would I EVER vote for such a LYING - egocentric, piece of work like JE who hasn't got a CLUE about anything other than what his hair needs to look like ever"

    I guess that means you didn't vote for GWB either.

  • shine Jan 3, 2008

    This story is just as pitiful as the person it is about.

    After Bill Clinton was deemed President for the first term. I was in Ark. and had an older gentleman and customer ask me very stearnly if I voted for him - My reply "No I did not sir". His reply " I did, alot of us did - to get him the %@#* out of Ark.

    Maybe you folks in Iowa can do the same and give Edwards some kind of job to get him the #@%& out of NC.... forever !

  • Evil one Jan 2, 2008

    Winston Churchill said that if a man is twenty years old and isn't a liberal he has no heart. However if at forty that man is still a liberal he has no brains.

    I like this quote from one of the true greats of history. I however, am disappinted that I did not have a heart at age 20

  • thewayitis Jan 2, 2008

    Annculter, LOL, if you are smart enough to post on this site, surely you should have sense enough to know that a large media organization like WRAL should cover all of the candidates. This is not small-town Robbins, this is the greater Triangle Area. To consistently fail to cover other candidates is bias, pure and simple -- it is bias by omission, something that is becoming all too common in media today. I graduated from Journalism School way back in the dark ages of 1985, and in those days, students were still taught to leave opinion out of a news article, except on the editorial and op-ed pages. Newspapers were supposed to be unbiased. Today, most news organizations are little more than propaganda arms for those who run/own them. And the poor, unsuspecting citizens blindly except whatever news is presented to them as the complete and gospel truth. Sad, isn't it?

  • jgriffith3792 Jan 2, 2008

    Amazing there are poeple out there not only supporting Edwards, but giving of their time and energy to help this con-artist. Only one person from NC? Must be from out of state and not here when Edwards was our "almost" senator.

  • waste-of-time Jan 2, 2008

    tired of this stuff. how many people who say welfare is a handout system have been on welfare or have closely known someone on welfare. put up facts. democracy needs people think critically and keep an open mind.

  • colliedave Jan 2, 2008

    A veteran of George McGovern's unsuccessful 1972 presidential campaign, he said he enjoys meeting voters

    Winston Churchill said that if a man is twenty years old and isn't a liberal he has no heart. However if at forty that man is still a liberal he has no brains.