Half the audience who showed up last week to see John Edwards' first South Carolina appearance since he won his home state's primary in February walked out before he arrived - two hours late.

And in another sign of trouble in paradise, the state's Democratic Senate candidate - whose campaign the Edwards visit was supposed to boost - declined to be seen on the same stage with him.

Democrat U.S. Senate hopeful Inez Tenenbaum "has gone to great lengths to distance herself from the national party," reports the South Carolina newspaper, The State.

Edwards "is about as close as she’s going to allow herself to get to the national party," the paper added, noting, "Tenenbaum didn’t appear on the platform with him" at either the rally or a fund-raiser scheduled for later that day.

Aides said she would have skipped the event altogether if John Kerry had been the guest of honor.

Life isn't measured by the breaths you take. Life is measured by the things that left you breathless