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Over 1,000 Southwest Missourians came to see John Edwards at  the Teamsters Hall in Springfield, MO yesterday evening. His speech was similar to the recent one (described here), where he hammered home a twin message of battling corporate greed and creating economic hope for the middle class. He did also comment on the SOTU speech and Bush’s stimulus plan, saying that it leaves out tens of millions of Americans and that it will have little effect for months.

At least one member of the audience had a strong reaction:

After hearing Edwards, Davidson was asked to comment on what he had heard. He couldn’t. There were tears in his eyes. Regaining his composure, he said: “What impressed me the most about his speech was when he said he hadn’t taken a dime from a lobbyist. John McCain can’t say that.”

John Edwards will be returning to Missouri today to give a speech in Jeff City. I like the fact that Edwards is concentrating on a heavily Republican area of the state. As a practical matter, he needs to stay above 15% in a congressional district to get delegates for the district, and he’s visiting two in two days. The more votes he picks up here, the more he gains for the convention.

More than that, he’s transmitting a strong Democratic message with a vision of economic hope and opportunity in an area of the state that needs to hear it unfiltered from a prominent Democrat. And John Edwards does that as well as anybody.