DES MOINES, IOWA -- After an exhausting day of questions about lobbyists and 527s, John Edwards energized the crowd of almost 1,100 people at East High School in Des Moines.
Yes, it was the same stump speech we've heard all day and all week and all month, but it was delivered with a particular gusto that played to the crowd size.
Edwards received several breaks in applause and standing ovations, with the most noteworthy recognition coming after his most recent addition to the stump: no corporate lobbyists in an Edwards White House.
But more overwhelming than the cheers was the silence of over a thousand people listening intently as Edwards solemnly rattled off the statistics: 47 million without health insurance. 35 million going hungry. 200,000 homeless veterans living on the streets.
But the silence didn't last.
"I mean really brothers and sisters, enough is enough."
(a couple claps echo through the room)
"It's about time to stand up and say enough is enough."
(The applause builds)
"It is time for us to join together an say we're gonna do something about this!"
(Explosion of cheers)
Edwards tickled his nose a few seconds as he waited for the cheers to fade, and all eyes - and more importantly, all ears - fell back on him. He quickly dialed down the emotions and told with tranquil anger of a girl who died after an insurance company denied her coverage for a potentially life saving liver transplant.
(More deafening silence.)
"And people say to me that they want me to sit at a table and negotiate with these people? NEVER! It will never happen, not when I'm President of the United States!"
(ATOMIC burst of cheers)
The ability to weave in and out of tone and emotion is what made John Edwards such a successful trial lawyer.
And tonight, he successfully made his case to a jury of over a thousand.