SPENCER, Iowa -- Democrat John Edwards has a new traveling companion as he stumps through rural northwest Iowa today -- "Cooter."
Former Georgia Congressman Ben Jones, who played the tow-truck driving "Cooter" on the old "Dukes of Hazard" TV show, joined the campaign for its swing to small towns spaced between the snow-covered fields of this part of the state.
He's part of the campaign's concerted effort to appeal to rural voters, who because of the particular calculus of Thursday's caucuses, could have a disproportionate impact on the outcome.
Here, as at other stops, voters watched a DVD that features Jones and Edwards' rural adviser "Mudcat" Saunders as well as Edwards' parents from Robbins, N.C. It taps into Edwards' background in rural North and South Carolina.
"As we say back home, he ain't got above his raisin'," Jones told about 200 people packed into a community college room.
"We're supposed to be the people's party," he told another audience this morning. "John Edwards understands that. He comes from the heartland."