LAWRENCE, Kan. – Supporters stood in the dark as the John Kerry-John Edwards (search) campaign train sped through town in the wee hours of Saturday. They got their chance to spend time with half the ticket Sunday when Edwards and his family paid a makeup call in a rare Democratic foray into a traditionally Republican stronghold.
"Y'all called this rally, and we're glad to be here with you," Elizabeth Edwards (search) told more than 750 supporters packed into an old factory turned restaurant on the banks of the Kansas River (search).
Campaign officials said the train carrying Kerry and Edwards from Kansas City, Mo., to New Mexico had been supposed to slow down in Lawrence, allowing the candidates to greet and say a few words to the more than 1,000 supporters.
Edwards said Sunday that everyone knew the plan except for the conductor.
Chagrinned, the campaign carved time out of the schedule for Edwards to return to Kansas.
Joshua Duringer, 30, an unemployed Internet technical support worker, was part of the first crowd as well as the makeup stop Sunday. He brought his 3-year-old daughter Jadyn to the rally and said he liked Edwards' plan for getting the economy revived.
"I'm doing daddy day care. We can't afford it with my wife working," said Duringer, who didn't mind coming back a second time to see Edwards. "They didn't have to come back to honor us. I don't think people there took offense."
Edwards gave his usual stump speech, touching on recurring themes of improving health care for Americans, raising the minimum wage and restoring the U.S. reputation among allies by asking for help in Iraq.
Kansas traditionally has voted Republican in presidential elections, with President Bush beating Democrat Al Gore by 21 percentage points in 2000.
Edwards dismissed that history. "There is no red state, there's no blue state, only one United States," he said.