Portraits of Exhaustion

A campaign blog.
Jan. 2 2008 4:36 AM

Portraits of Exhaustion

It's 17 hours and 34 minutes into John Edwards' 36-hour pre-caucus bus tour marathon, and the wear is starting to show. Please chalk any incoherence in this post up to the hour and the steady diet of Goldfish, granola bars, and apple sauce.

  • I spend five panicked minutes searching the bus for my notebook. It contains everything I've written so far on this trip. As I'm about to demand that the driver turn the bus around, there it is in my back pocket. 
  • A rival blogger actually does leave everything--camera and iPod included--at that last stop.
  • While greeting supporters at the Creston house party, a groggy John Edwards reaches out to shake my hand. "Oh, I know you," he says, realizing his mistake. I shake his hand anyway. It's warm and rough, like soil. 
  • At a breakfast rally at 5 a.m., a lady is holding her Edwards sign upside down. "Get it right side up, Claire!" shouts her husband across the room.
  • "We're still running on adrenaline right now," Edwards tells the audience. He speaks for four minutes.

Christopher Beam is a writer living in Beijing.