Late Night with John and Elizabeth Edwards

Published July 28, 2004 3:22PM (EDT)

John and Elizabeth Edwards make their official debut at the Fleet Center Wednesday night, but it won't be their first time in the hall. The couple made a brief stop at the conventional hall early this morning to try out the podium and the microphone.

It was a nothing moment, but every second of it was captured by the four or five dozen photographers who covered it. CNN went live as convention staff moved the electric-powered podium up and down to figure out the best height for each Edwards and showed them where to look for the best camera angles. John Edwards worried that the flashing digital displays around the arena -- the ones that say "A Stronger America" or "Democratic Convention" or just wave simulated American flags -- might distract him as he tried to speak. Elizabeth worried that the microphone wasn't sensitive enough.

Edwards seemed calm in the way that nervous people who are trying to seem calm seem calm. He stood very still, and he stared off into the empty hall a lot. More than anything else, the image-conscious senator seemed to be striking a pose for the cameras. His wife, an accomplished lawyer in her own right, just seemed nervous.

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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