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Edwards to Florida: "Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha."

Two days of talking to New Hampshire voters has failed to turn up a single person who would be offended if the Democratic candidates broke their pledge and campaigned in rogue state Florida.

Informed of this fact, presidential contender John Edwards responded with a chuckle as he walked out of the Salem High School cafeteria where he had met with about 200 New Hampshire voters.

"We've all pledged not to campaign in Florida and abide by the DNC (Democratic National Committee) rules," Edwards said. Then he hopped in his awaiting car and sped off to spend the night in Iowa, another authorized early primary state and the one where he is staking his campaign.

The DNC, trying to exert control over states jockeying for position at the front of the presidential primary calendar, has punished the state for scheduling its primary before Feb. 5. Penalties include stripping the state of its convention delegates.

But many New Hampshire voters empathize with Florida's plight. Donna Thompson, 42, moved to New Hampshire from Massachusetts - which might as well be Siberia when it comes to the presidential campaign because of its late primary. She's been enjoying the attention lavished on New Hampshire voters.

"It's a world of difference up here," said Thompson, who along with her son, Kyle Ruby, 17, has signed up to volunteer for the Edwards' campaign. "The candidates come through town all the time, Barack Obama was speaking on the lawn next to the library."

Thompson said she wouldn't mind sharing the wealth with Florida, but she cautioned that it comes with responsibilities.

"It gets annoying," she said. "Your phone rings constantly, the flyers are in the mail, people are knocking on your door."

Posted by Miami Herald at 09:22 PM on November 13, 2007 | Permalink

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