DURHAM, New Hampshire — The lines were long and security was tight, but somehow, I was one of the 100-and-something people lucky enough to score a ringside seat for John Edwards' 12-round heavyweight forum with MTV/MySpace. And as such, I decided that it was my civic duty to provide my fellow Americans with a blow-by-blow recap of all the hot political sparring. Because otherwise, I would've just been sitting there.
11:44 a.m.: I am ushered inside the University of New Hampshire field house, past surly looking state police, a sweet bomb-sniffing dog and what I can only assume were Secret Service agents (either that or they were giving beefy, stone-faced guys a discount at Men's Wearhouse). Wonder if I am actually a real journalist.
11:57 a.m.:MTV News' SuChin Pak is wearing heels so high she should probably be getting hazard pay for this.
12:09 p.m.: We were supposed to get started at noon, but Edwards hasn't arrived yet. (The Democratic presidential hopeful showed up around 20 minutes late.) It's nine minutes after, and still no political discourse.
12:11 p.m.: There is a totally amazing kid sitting across from me, wearing a green ball cap backward, massive shorts and a slightly dumbfounded, glazed look on his face. I secretly hope he asks Edwards a question, because I'm sure it would probably involve: A) a minute-long spiel touting the tensile strength and durability of hemp rope; and B) the phrase "medicinal marijuana."
12:18 p.m.: The same kid is now lying flat on his back, staring at the ceiling. Amazing.
12:28 p.m.: WashingtonPost.com political reporter Chris Cillizza introduces Edwards, who's keepin' it casual in a blazer, jeans and loafers.
12:34 p.m.: Edwards talks up his "College for Everyone" plan, which would require students to work in exchange for their books and tuition being covered. My friend in the green hat looks decidedly unenthused by the prospect.
12:41 p.m.: Cillizza reads off an IM question about educational incentives from someone with the handle "lunargoddess6b." The future of politics in this country sort of terrifies me. Then again, it also totally doesn't.
12:44 p.m.: Edwards fields a question about inner-city violence, making a cringe-worthy "silver bullet" analogy when talking about his solutions.
12:48 p.m.: When I first took my seat more than an hour ago, I surveyed the room, saw a girl in a New Orleans Saints jersey and predicted she would ask a question about Katrina. I am proven right at this exact moment.
12:51 p.m.: I'm not exactly sure what "Brownie's Law" is, but it sounds delicious.
12:57 p.m.: The kid in the green hat is enthralled with the massive jib arm sweeping the camera around the room. Doesn't move (or change expressions) for a solid minute.
1:03 p.m.: A one-minute commercial break comes at just the right time, as my discourse has totally fallen asleep.
1:04 p.m.: Edwards has removed the sport coat!
1:18 p.m.: In a move not seen since my dad attempted to play my Atari 7800 back in 1983, Edwards stares at the onscreen polling widget, cocks his head slightly, blinks. All that's missing is him tossing a controller and muttering, "I have no idea how to work this," as he exits the room.
1:30 p.m.: It's entirely possible that this forum could be titled "Universal Health Care."
1:34 p.m.: We're entering the home stretch, as both SuChin and Gideon Yago have joined Edwards center stage. Seriously, not a single question about legalizing marijuana? What kind of college campus is this?
1:35 p.m.: And we're done. Edwards circles the room, shaking hands. Totally disses me when I stick my hand out, perhaps because he knows I'm writing a snarky recap of his forum.
1:36 p.m.: We're ushered out of the room. SuChin announces that there's free food on the way out. Everyone cheers. Democracy is awesome.
Check out the MTV/MySpace Presidential Dialogue with John Edwards on MTV tonight at 7 p.m. ET.