Thursday, June 15, 2006

Travelin' Tom

Sorry, it's been so long. We had some technical problems... We want to keep this thing new, so we'll skip what's happened over the past week. Time to move on...
State republicans won't wait for Gov V to get back to town before they hammer him on another big company headed out of town. Rubbermaid in Centerville's the latest. Newton, Mt. Pleasant (the Gov's adopted hometown) and likely Webster City know how that town feels.
Repubs are saying it's Vilsack's fault. The GOP's lumping Chester C. with the Gov. The party says this shows what happens when they "keep fiddling a failed economic tune of trying to buy-off big business." Is that a slam on the Iowa Values Fund?...the same fund the republican statehouse majority passed?

Is the Gov winning over the folks in New Hampshire? Apparently, this guy says, least, not yet...

Granite Status: Vilsack words do not match actions
By JOHN DISTASOSenior Political Reporter (Manchester Union-Leader)

IOWA GOV. TOM VILSACK was in New Hampshire yesterday checking the political landscape as he considers a Presidential run. He was also lauding the virtues of the Iowa-New Hampshire one-two tandem in helping to pick Presidential nominees.
Vilsack told a political breakfast forum in Bedford, “I sincerely hope that as the Democratic National Committee continues its deliberations about the (nominating calendar), it recognizes the unique responsibility New Hampshire and Iowa have had for so long and preserves the ability of Iowa and New Hampshire to do what they’ve done so well — start the process.”
Sounded good — but the trouble is, Vilsack’s people on key national Democratic panels have opposed retaining that one-two tandem. They’ve gone along with the majority in early key votes that would dilute the traditional impact of New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary by shoving it down the nominating calendar to third or fourth place.
In key votes in December and March, Vilsack’s Iowans voted with the majorities to place an additional caucus or two between the Iowa caucus and the primary.
The plan has yet to be made final by the rules committee and the full DNC, but New Hampshire Democrats widely viewed the Iowa votes as a clear break from the decades-long alliance between the two states to work together to protect their early positions.
New Hampshire Democratic Chair Kathy Sullivan, herself a member of the DNC rules committee, said:
“There are a number of New Hampshire Democrats who are disappointed that the Iowa commissioners and member of the rules committee have not voted with New Hampshire on these things.”
Vilsack said he has not talked to the Iowans on these panels about it. One of them was Des Moines attorney Jerry Crawford, a big contributor to Vilsack’s Heartland PAC. The rules committee member is Sally Pederson, Vilsack’s own lieutenant governor and chairman of the Iowa Democratic Party.
He said he knew that both states’ officials were concerned late last year that both could lose their early events, but the commission decided against such a drastic move.
“I can only assume the reasons the Iowans did what they did,” said Vilsack, “was to make sure the Iowa caucus was preserved in its number one capacity and the New Hampshire primary was preserved in its capacity because there was a real effort to completely blow that process up and start anew.”
Vilsack said it would be “unfair” to say the Iowans voted as they did because they agreed with the majorities that New Hampshire is not ethnically diverse enough to maintain its second spot in the caucus/primary lineup.
Vilsack was asked if he believes the calendar should remain as is — with Iowa’s caucus first, followed eight days later by New Hampshire’s primary — or whether a caucus or two from more diverse states should be in between.
He didn’t follow the lead of potential Democratic hopefuls Evan Bayh, John Kerry and Tom Daschle, who clearly backed the status quo.
“My preference would be that we figure out a process that would be acceptable to New Hampshire and Iowa and acceptable to the secretaries of state of those states,” he said. “I don’t know how this ultimately is going to turn out.”
He said he does not want “a large state to dominate the process,” and promised, “We will fight hard to ensure that Iowa remains first as a caucus and New Hampshire remains first as a primary.”
That’s not quite the point, of course. The DNC plan would keep the first primary in New Hampshire, but would make it the third or fourth event overall.
“If the party makes the decision to insert something in between,” said Vilsack, “then I hope there is sufficient time that it doesn’t do what people here think it may do, which is to diminish the importance of New Hampshire.”
“I may be ‘Pollyanna-ish’ about this,” Vilsack said, but regardless of future DNC action, he doubts the primary’s role will be diminished because candidates will campaign in New Hampshire.
He doubts the DNC will place two states between Iowa and New Hampshire.
“The discussions I’ve heard have not been focused on two states, it’s been focused on one state,” he said. Besides, he said. “Don’t you have (potential candidates) coming here? You are going to continue to have people come here.”
What will the Iowans do in future important DNC calendar votes? The rules committee is expected to vote soon on whether to adopt the commission report fully. Its March vote was to accept it as a “framework.”
Vilsack promised that as a result of questions raised by the Granite Status, “I’m going to find out what the status is.”
Former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner, who also has not clearly opposed a change in the delegate selection process, may be coming around.

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