Democrats await Edwards homecoming

Packing bag after bag of snacks for supporters, New Hanover County Democrats prepare to roll out the welcome mat for Senator John Edwards.

"They're energized like I've never seen before," said party chairwoman Helen Worthy of her fellow party members.

Edwards and Kerry campaigned late Friday in New Mexico. Their next stop is NC State University in Raleigh on Saturday.

Local Democrats are booking two busses to shuttle supporters who sign up for tickets. Two of them are from Massachusetts.

Meantime, the campaign is launching a week-long, state-wide blitz of t-v ads. They show Edwards and Kerry side-by-side, promising to build "a stronger America."

They're not to be outdone by President Bush, who is fighting back with spots attacking Kerry's record, also shown state-wide.

Some say the back and forth ads are a sign that Kerry and Edwards believe they actually have a shot at winning North Carolina, something no Democrat has done since 1976.

"Well, you saw the bumper stick," Worthy said, smiling. "It says 'Fire Bush!'"

They're words that mobilize supporters, eager to welcome Edwards home. Their hope now --that he can help a Democrat beat a Republican presidential candidate in North Carolina for the first time in a generation.