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Breaking news: Edwards' Iowa Express bus breaks down


To cap off his four-year campaign to win Iowa's Democratic caucus Thursday night, John Edwards planned a 36-hour marathon bus tour through 15 of the crucial state's 99 counties with a whole series of policy announcements to garner publicity and caucus votes.

But 12 hours into the political odyssey -- billed as Edwards' "Marathon for the Middle Class" -- his Main Street Express bus began making very disturbing noises in western Iowa. In darkness, the bus with the entire Edwards entourage pulled over at a service station and was abandoned.

Oh, the awful symbolism for a political campaign struggling to overcome a new Des Moines Register poll showing him behind Hillary Clinton and way behind -- like eight points -- this senatorial upstart Barack Obama in what everyone admits is a make-or-break contest for Edwards' presidential hopes in the Hawkeye state, where he finished second to John Kerry in 2004.

Edwards is already famous for his tardiness. But 45 minutes after he was to speak in his Council Bluffs office late Tuesday night, the former senator and his wife Elizabeth were still missing. And the crowd of more than 200 people, including The Times' dogged Seema Mehta, crammed the office full and stuffy and spilled outdoors, where the January prairie temperature was in the single digits.

A few minutes late in Iowa's rural society is perfectly acceptable. This is, after all, the agricultural Heartland where the weather is the first item on the radio news, not the last. But 45+ minutes late on a holiday night before a normal workday in 5-degree temperatures seems like a lot longer. "When he's president he can call the shots," hollered one person, who at least arrived an Edwards supporter, "Get him in here!"

"We've got to work in the morning!" griped another.

Unbeknownst to the crowd, Edwards, his wife and staff were scrambling off their broken bus into two minivans and racing to the event. Eventually, they arrived. He spoke. His staff hastily rented another plain bus and the even tardier campaign headed off to a supporter's house in Atlantic.

Edwards' worried staff assured reporters that the main Main Street Express bus really hadn't broken down. They said the troubled vehicle was left behind in Council Bluffs out of "an abundance of caution."

Looks like the 36-hour bus tour might get to at least 40.

For an UPDATE, click here.

-- Andrew Malcolm

Comments () | Archives (41)

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Transportation seems to have been an issue with nearly all the candidates this time around,Biden was delayed 45 min's due to weather, and he doesnt have a plane or a bus. Even the GOP cndidates have had their share of foibles due to weather and transportation snafu's?

Catty little article by the LA Times, obviously a freakish display of bias. laughing at mechanical troubles as if the fate of the entire world did not revolve around who the Democrats of Iowa select this Thursday.

LA Times, you have absolutely lost all of my respect. Your hypocritical coverage of the Edwards campaign has thoroughly disgusted us. May your paper be besieged by a billion Craigslists and experience "breakdown" first-hand. That is the fate your biased little rag deserves.

(Well, Jef, xcvb sdfat (ljkh ctttt breakdowns. Because mmcnbgh 23tdy. Thanks for reading.)

Winamuka Nevada ... now that's where I broke down in a bus. The people there were mighty friendly. But Edwards lost a long time ago styling his hair on
Where's the heartbeat of America ? It's not Chevrolet...I remember after 69' Woodstock being concerned as a 15 year old about who was going to run this country when I turned 50. Well here we are and my instincts were pretty right on. I'm scared if we don't get some old school visitation going on with our enemy's. I like Ike !!
God Bless America ....dude !

Edwierds can't keep a bus running and he wants to be commander in chief? Has he sued the bus maker yet?

Lol - is this the best you have? Sorry Edwards doesn't imply that Al Gore and John Kerry were too divisive, or bring up kindergarden essays. O The Campaign Bus Broke Down! Take that together with the position of the planets, the phase of the moon and what's left on my plate after breakfast this morning and The Gods Must Be Angry At John Edwards.

Off to go rub myself with fresh pond frog.

Just another attempt to slander the guy who corporations fear most. Of course, the poll numbers cited are bogus -- Edwards has outpolled Hillary and is even with Obama by most accounts -- as will be evident by the end of Thursday night.

Every candidate runs late in Iowa and New Hampshire, usually by more than 45 minutes. Actually, you could just as easily spin this as a triumph of the Edwards staff in overcoming what could have been a real problem.

But of course, writing it that way wouldn't fit the narrative, would it?

(Actually, they don't ALL run late. A few are precisely-timed, thinking how can they ask for your vote but make you wait to hear it. In 2000, Bradley was always late too, sometimes 2 hrs.)

Anyone else out there sick and tired of having the whole country's leadership for the better part of a decade presumably determined by what people in Iowa or New Hampshire think? Or what about Florida? How sick are YOU of hearing about voter problems in Florida? It's like the fate of the free world rests in the hands of people who insist on living someplace like Iowa or in counties in Florida who are too cheap to modernize their voting systems. Someone had better win big this time or they're going to be counting chads until Thanksgiving 2009.

John Edwards is an idiot, by the way. Just wanted to get that in too.


-15 wind chill


Pathetic misinformation

Global warming?


his bus broke down a long time ago.

A friend commuting into work actually saw the bus - still dead - on the Nebraska side in Omaha this a.m.

I wonder which corporation be blames for the breakdown. Probably all of them.

Looks like the bus can't make it to the finish line either. Edwards is toast.

Obama 08!

This is a stupid article full of lies about Edwards. ALL of the candidates are late to events. I know because I have been to many here in Nevada.

Being on time is the exception, not the rule.

Well, it's another way to promote the candidacy of unelectables Clinton and Obama.

That's OK Iowa. You can have Edwards. He's done more for you and spent more time there, than he ever spent in NC and Washington, when he was our "supposed" Senator.
As it stands, Edwards can't even carry his adopted hometown of Chapel Hill,NC.

Will Shooter
Chapel Hill, NC

But where is Al Gore and his global warming when you need it?
Weather like this also stopped Hitler's panzers during the invasion of Russia.

Anybody notice Hillary loitering around Edwards bus just before departure?

So, Edwards' staff said that the main Main Street Express bus really hadn't broken down. They said the troubled vehicle was left behind in Council Bluffs out of "an abundance of caution."

Unfortunately, Iowans won't put him 1st or 2nd place because of "an abundance of caution."

So, Edwards' staff said that the main Main Street Express bus really hadn't broken down. They said the troubled vehicle was left behind in Council Bluffs out of "an abundance of caution."

Unfortunately, Iowans won't put him 1st or 2nd place because of "an abundance of caution."

Edwards should just drive on back to his big house on the funny farm and do something else, like grow peanuts for a living.

I guess he can now sue the bus manufacturer and anyone else responsible. Really, his campaign is in shambles and hopefully he will stop running for prez.

We all recall Al Gore and Breck Girl Edwards leaving carbon footprints the size of the Grand Canyon while they advise the rest of us to huddle closer to the hearth in order to save us all from "GLOW BULL" warming.

How beffiting that his fossil fuel driven carbon dioxide "belching" bus broke down in Iowa due the severe cold.

I know; cold, warm, or the same all roads lead to "GLOW BULL" warming

Rumor has it, the reason the bus went belly-up was that Edward's hair dryer shorted out its electrical system.

You'd think a guy who made about $50 million suing Ob/Gyns and lives in a $20 million house would be able to afford a working bus.

Mr. Edwards do those of us who appreciate our country and want its borders defended a favor.....get your bus fixed. Then pick up queen hillary and just drive off into the sunset...

I actually saw the "Main Street Express" on the side of I-80 in Omaha, NE about 6 miles from the Iowa-Nebraska border. A tow truck was hooking up to it. I think it was actually broke down folks, and that was at around 8:55 AM this morning.

No doubt Edwards will blame some or many corporations if he doesn't win in Iowa. I'm also sure Hillary will blame a "vast, right-wing conspiracy" if she doesn't win either....

Edwards bus is an older Eagle 15. Why he didn't use a newer bus like a Prevost for pracitcally the same money is the question. Bands aren't touring like crazy in the winter. There should have been plenty of newer tour busses to charter for long stretches this time of year. Plus, the Prevost's are a lot bigger and more comfortable.

Sounds like a snip-it in "This American Life."

The Iowa Caucus has a tremendous boon for the state's economy, the Des Moines Register has a poll lauded, and the good people of Iowa believe their opinions matter. Sadly, January 5, Iowa becomes "fly-over" as the Dems refocus and court the Los Angles and New York City crowds---whose opinions matter much less than their campaign gifts---.

The great thing about Iowans and others living in the "fly-over" States, we don't kid ourselves--unlike California and New York.

Just because John Edwards sued the drug companies doesn't make him the champion of the "down trodden." He is a lawyer that would defend the same drug companies he sued if the price to defend was better.

Remember America, someone that is no friend of "big business" is no friend to the economy. As steel died so did Pittsburgh and other cities depending upon steel's "big business." As automobiles from Detriot died, so did Detriot and the other cities that supported the auto industry. Microsoft is a "big business" too. Kill Microsoft and you may damage Seattle and the Silicon Valley too! By the way, MGM, Paramount, CBS, NBC, ABC, Goldman Sacs, and Merrill Lynch are "big business" too! --Interesting that most of us "work for", "invest in", as well as depend on "big business." So really if John Edwards is against "big business," is he really against us?

Most "big businesses" were small once. The best way to stop "big business" is to kill them while their small. Regulate, tax, and make all employees a victim. John is just the person to do this.

GO John GO. Get the bus off the road. Go back to North Carolina, sit on your "big business" corporate boards, draw your "consulting fees", and comb your hair. By the way, isn't your shampoo maker a "big business"---not to mention is your hairspray ozone friendly?

I have to laugh at the left wing liberals here who think this cretin can actually win anything.

I seriously doubt the personality insight skillis of anyone who would support John Edwards. He is the most disingenuous, shallow, self-absorbed and self-serving man I can ever remember running for president. His biggest financial support comes from other trial lawyers who want to keep the gravy train of ridiculous lawsuits on track.

The sooner he's gone, the better.

The thing about Edwards, if he were sitting in the Oval Office and a ambulance drove by with the siren on, he'd be out of the Office chasing the ambulance like a pack of hounds chasing a fox.

Actually, the bus was probably sabotaged by a Hillary or Obama supporter..rflamo...seriously folks, is this all you have to write about in LA??

I wouldn't lose a second of sleep if all the candidates' buses, Democrat and Republican, broke down in an Iowan cornfield on a sub-zero temperature winter night.
Also, on another, yet related note, people should be taxed $2 for every $1 that they donate to a candidate's primary campaign. The tax would then be used for public infrastructure projects, or offsetting tax decreases, or (as a nod to Edwards' supporters) public health insurance initiatives. This is a win-win situation. If it discourages people from donating to candidates, the people as a whole will benefit in that they will not be subjected to the useless, irrelevant and mystifying babble of the egocentric idiot-savants who incorrectly believe that they are able to competently run this country. On the flip side, if people remain as committed to plowing through their checkbooks, as if checks were going out of style, when the candidates come a-knocking, as they do now, the public will at least be compensated for the agony it is made to endure.

If Al (Eco) Gore is not using his private jet to fly over the polar ice cap, he could lend it to John

John Edwards did not sue drug companies. He was known primarily for suing physicians on behalf of parents whose children were born with Cerebral Palsy. Today, it's nearly certain that Cerebral Palsy is a genetic disease, and the birth-room physicans that paid for a majority of Edwards' mansion and $30 million fortune had nothing to do the children's medical conditions. Sad, but true.

Oh yeah, Prevost, the Cadillac of buses.

Guess his bus is a metaphor for his campaign

Haven't these brilliant people heard of cell phones?

He will probaly sue the bus company.

Sounds like the writer is hoping an outsourcing supporter will get elected. I expect journalists to be professional, not biased. Shame on the LA Times for hiring such an unprofessional hack. But I can only assume, from what I've been told, that the LA Times isn't interested in serving the public interest as it is in manipulating the public. Let's only hope the public it serves isn't quite gullible enough.

John Edwards is the ONLY candidate who cares about the problems American citizens are dealing with. Both Clinton and Obama are shills for the corporate elite and foreign governments who hate America and it's legacy of rights and freedoms. Both Clinton and Obama would continue Bush's plan to turn the US into a third world, caste like society.

I'm voting Edwards and only Edwards. I will NEVER vote for Clinton or Obama, NEVER.

This is not a news story. It's a not-so-subtle hit piece. I get that most bloggers here don't care for John Edwards; that says more about them and the sorry state of our ill-informed electorate than it does about Mr. Edwards.
If you're a right-wing troll who doesn't know or care to know where Pakistan is, then go back to the bridge you live under.

Edwards is the best chance we've got to save the Constitution. Not as if you care. . .


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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