BOONE, Iowa -- While Democrat John Edwards sticks to his new street fighter stump speech, he's left it to his wife Elizabeth to sell voters on his electability, reaching back to his 1998 Senate victory in North Carolina.
He won in a red state, she tells audiences, and "beat the Jesse Helms machine" in defeating Republican Sen. Lauch Faircloth.
Elizabeth Edwards implicitly criticizes 2004 Democratic nominee John Kerry, who chose her husband as his running mate. But the campaign, she says, didn't compete in "red" states such as North Carolina, Kansas, Tennessee and Oklahoma, not airing a single ad.
Each of those states, she says, has elected a Democratic governor.
"You have no chance to win a football game if you don't show up," she told more than 400 people here. "Every place you give up you give up to Republicans. John won't do that."
On NBC's "Today Show" this morning, John Edwards denied suggestions that his campaign is finished if he doesn't win or show strong in Thursday's caucuses.
"We have great energy and momentum here," he said from a Storm Lake hotel. "And this message (of fighting for the middle-class) will resonate every single place in America."