This afternoon, after my mom got home from work, we got in the car and drove up to North HS so we could stand in line. Twenty or so minutes later, the line started moving, and we flashed our cheapo printout tickets so we could stand for another 90 or so minutes in the North gym, after which we got to see John Edwards.
I was kicking myself for not bringing the camera, but I thought (mistakenly, it turns out) that there would be more security than there was. No outside bags, signs, or umbrellas (despite a little drizzle), granted, but we weren't searched, didn't go through metal detectors, and only had to make it past a few beleaguered volunteers to get pretty close to he who would be VP. I was, honestly, a little surprised by this, but oh well.
The crowd was well-behaved, knew when to boo and when to cheer, and looked from my perspective like a nice cross-section of the community. Of course, it was pretty clear that some of them were more interested in Edwards' opening act, Jon Bon Jovi. As for me, I found it quite entertaining to watch the woman to the side translate the lyrics of "Dead or Alive" into sign language.
And Edwards is nothing if not an engaging speaker. Some of what he offered was tightly scripted (the story about his dad studying math on tv you've no doubt heard a few times already), but some of it was clearly improvised from no more than an outline. He moved around the stage, he spoke well, and he conveyed a sense of energy and urgency. None of which was exactly unexpected, of course, but he's gotten more relaxed as he's gotten practice at all this.
It's been interesting for me to be here in a swing spot, with all the national commercials ($400 mill worth at last count, I heard tonight) and appearances. How jaded are we about this here? I checked three local news sites (two tv and one newspaper), and not only were there no graphics or video clips for me to link to, Edwards's appearance didn't even make it onto the front page of any of the sites. It's been almost 5 hours since it happened. Weird. Propaganda overload. And the national commercials make the local, shoestring ones look pretty sad by comparison.