ATERLOO, Iowa, Oct. 31 - Everywhere he goes, Senator John Edwards says that every vote counts, and to make the point he went for a stroll on Sunday amid the split-levels and fallen leaves of a closely contested voting ward in Columbus, Ohio.
"I hope you all are going to vote," he told Misty and Paul Williams on the steps of their home on Manitoba Court, getting nods of support. "We want your vote. This is a very important election."
The neighborhood, Ward 62, went for Mr. Bush by a 12-vote margin in 2000, campaign aides said, a result Mr. Edwards sought to help reverse with a choreographed canvass of six houses in a state that is essentially deadlocked and could prove pivotal to the victor.
The doorstep pitches came on a day that was all about marshaling voters to the polls. The day also included an appearance at a black church in Jacksonville, Fla., and rallies in Latrobe, Pa., and this small town 90 miles northeast of Des Moines.
Mr. Edwards showed a populist touch, in speech and manner. He spoke from the bed of a pickup truck - painted red, white and blue and with a grinning Kerry face on the sides - in a schoolyard before his house visits in Columbus.
And in these last few days of the race, Mr. Edwards, a former trial lawyer, has been boiling down his message to what sounds like last-minute instructions to the jury, in this case the voters.
"Let's assume you get to the polling place first thing in the morning," he said at the Latrobe rally.
"You just dropped the kids off at school, car's run out gas - sounds familiar, doesn't it? - and so in the morning you ask yourself, has the price of gas gone up?"
"Yes!" the crowd roared back.
"Has college tuition gone up? Is George Bush going to fight for my job as hard as George Bush fights for his own job? Do I want four more years of this or do I want a fresh start with John Kerry in the White House?"
He hit particularly hard on domestic themes like job loss and health care, but he also sought to vouch for Mr. Kerry's bona fides on national defense and terrorism.
"He took bullets for this country when he didn't have to," Mr. Edwards said.
On Monday Mr. Edwards will rally supporters in St. Paul, Des Moines, Cincinnati and Pensacola, Fla. On Tuesday he will spend much of the day in Florida before arriving in Boston to await election results with Mr. Kerry.
On Sunday, as Vice President Dick Cheney headed for Hawaii for a rally, Mr. Edwards conducted interviews by telephone with newspaper reporters from that state, which is usually solidly Democratic but where polls show the race has suddenly tightened.
But the focus of the day was on the mainland battlegrounds, including Florida, where Democrats are seeking to avoid a repeat of the recount in 2000 that delivered the state to Mr. Bush by 537 votes.
"We're not waiting for Tuesday, right?" he said to parishioners at Greater Grant Memorial A.M.E. Church in Jacksonville, letting his drawl run looser than usual. "No, we're going to go and vote, we're going to vote today, we're going to vote tomorrow. We're going to make sure your votes are counted this time."
bless you, cInyc....
There was an interesting call this afternoon to a local talk show (Baltimore) from a guy who was very familiar with Hawaii. He mentioned several factors leading to a possible change in HI:
1. Republican governor is apparently very popular.
2. Lots of military and military retirees.
3. Lt. Gov. has long been telling people who typically vote in their home states via absentee ballot to stop and vote in Hawaii.
4. Same-sex marriage. Hawaii was where it all started. (I had forgotten that)
And then, there is terrorism. In some ways, Hawaii is closer to Bali than to the mainland of the U.S..
So, Mawaii just might shift.
Holy smokes! Has hell frozen over? Amazingly positive article on Cheney. Amazing.
My beeber is stuned by this my friend!