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Edwards readies for a marathon

December 31, 2007 |  3:04 pm

If Republican Rudy Giuliani defines one way of dealing with Iowa -- i.e., blow it off -- Democrat John Edwards provides an example of the other extreme.

From the start of his current presidential quest, Edwards and his staff have made no bones that his fortunes will likely rise or fall on how he does in Thursday's caucuses. He began with a core of backers from his 2004 campaign, when he ran second in the caucuses (which helped him garner his party's vice presidential nomination). And he has worked tirelessly to expand his support.

That "tirelessly" point now will be accentuated.

On Tuesday, with the New Year just barely begun, Edwards will embark upon a 36-hour trek across Iowa, billed as a "Marathon for the Middle Class." And just to keep everyone on their toes, the campaign promises that each hour of the trip -- at events and at johnedwards.com/iowa -– the candidate will spotlight a specific step to help the middle class.

The schedule calls for Edwards to pass through 15 of Iowa's 99 counties: Appanoose, Cass, Des Moines, Henry, Jefferson, Johnson, Lee, Linn, Polk, Pottawattamie, Poweshiek, Story, Union, Wapello and Webster. The journey will culminate with a rally late Wednesday in West Des Moines, where Edwards will share a stage with one of his high-profile supporters, singer and songwriter John Mellencamp.

Edwards is hardly the first candidate to wrap up a hard-fought campaign by inflicting sleep deprivation on himself, aides and those covering him. Perhaps most famously, Republican Bob Dole hit the road nonstop during the final 96 hours of his 1996 bid to unseat then-President Bill Clinton. (Here's a story from mid-tour.)

Edwards will be hoping for a better result from his jaunt. Clinton swamped Dole in the electoral vote, 379 to 159.

-- Don Frederick

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