From CBS News' Aaron Lewis:
BENNETTSVILLE, S.C. -- John Edwards kicked off a two-day barnstorming tour through rural South Carolina by reminding voters that he is the candidate who will never forget the plight of his fellow Southerners.
"Right after the debate (Hillary Clinton) flew out and she's been gone and she won't be back until, I don't know, later in the week or on primary day," said Edwards. "And the question is if she's not gonna spend time here the week before the South Carolina primary, what do you think the chances are that she's coming back after the primary?"
He continued, "You need somebody who when they're President of the United States - and that's me - will come back to South Carolina, will understand what's happening in your lives."
But is wasn't just Democratic rivals that Edwards criticized for not understanding the needs of rural voters.
"John McCain said just a few days ago that the economy's actually doing fine," said Edwards. "He needs to come to Bennettsville and see what's happening in the real world. Because out here in the real world, people are struggling."
Edwards brought along some friends to appeal to his country audience. Dr. Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys performed for the crowd of over 100, with a little help from regular Edwards campaigner Ben 'Cooter' Jones from the Dukes of Hazzard. Cooter couldn't resist dropping a couple verses of an old Hank Williams favorite.
Following Edwards's remarks, he and the rest of the audience joined Dr. Stanley in a singing of Amazing Grace.