Friday, September 29, 2006

You Say Potato. He says Pataki.

New York Gov George Pataki officially opened his PAC headquarters in Urbandale. The 21st Century Freedom PAC (insert Mel Gibson's famous line--not the one to the California cop--the one from Braveheart..."They can't take away our fr-r-reedom!")

BTW, I can't seem to find anyone who remembers a possible candidate opening up a place in Iowa this early in the pre-presential race.

We'll have plenty of time to find out what Pataki is all about (You know the election IS still more than 2 years away). So today I started him off with a real hard-hitting question.... "Governor, how do you pronounce your name?" His response (phonetically), "Pa-TAH-kee". There you have it. Straight out of the horse's mouth. Or elephant, in this case.

Here's the release:

16 New Members Join Team in Iowa

Urbandale, Iowa – Governor George E. Pataki, Honorary Chairman of 21st Century Freedom PAC Iowa, today announced that several new members have joined the PAC’s Iowa Leadership Team. Noreen F. Bush, who worked on the Iowa ’04 Victory Team, is the new Operations and Steve Sukup, business owner and former candidate for Governor, has been named Co-Chair of the Leadership Team. They join 14 new grassroots advisors to help the Governor’s get out the vote efforts for November.
"November is a very important election for Republicans in Iowa and across the nation," said Governor Pataki. "To achieve victory, we need to work together to remind people of the core beliefs of our party: lower taxes, smaller government, a strong defense and individual freedom. Our Iowa Leadership Team has been working hard at that and with the addition of our new team members, we will be able to spread that message even farther."
Earlier this week, Governor Pataki announced that Craig R. Schoenfeld has been named Executive Director of the 21st Century Freedom PAC Iowa. Mr. Schoenfeld will direct the PAC’s Get out the Vote program to elect Republicans across Iowa this fall.
Craig was a key member of George W. Bush’s 2000 Presidential Caucus Team, served as the Political Director of Iowa Victory 2000, and he was a key advisor to Bush-Cheney ’04.
These latest additions join existing Leadership Team members: Stew Iverson, former State Senate Majority Leader; Ed Failor, Jr., Executive Vice President of Iowans for Tax Relief; Loras Schulte, Benton County Republican Chairman; and JoEllen Hill, Republican campaign manager and activist.
Paid for by 21st Century Freedom PAC Iowa.


Craig R. Schoenfeld, Executive Director, 21st Century Freedom PAC Iowa
Noreen F. Bush, PAC Operations Director
Steve Sukup, Leadership Team Co-Chair
Adrianne Branstad Polk County Activist,
Carole Chambers Polk County Activist, Business Leader
Sandy Harmel Cedar County Activist
Ann Hunter Polk County Activist
David Kepler Hamilton County Activist
Barb Knight Linn County Activist
Christine Hensley Des Moines City Council, Civic Leader
Steve Noah Former Executive Director, Republican Party of Iowa
Melissa Vander Plaats Polk County Activist
Kathy Potts Linn County Activist
Arlette Quinn Linn County Activist
Marc Ward Des Moines School Board President
Stephanie Wells Former Executive Director, Polk County Republican Party

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Is It Really That Hard to Say?


Another VIP visit, another botched pronunciation for Jeff Lamberti. The Veep called him LAMberti (punching the first syllable) and LamberTI (punching the last syllable). Today in Des Moines, First Lady Laura Bush also went with LAMberti. She did, however, correct herself. And in her defense, she correctly said his name a handful of times.

One slightly mangled word later turned to a missing word. Here's the setup: The First Lady was talking about Lamberti's prowess of managing money. (Mind you, we were carrying her remarks live on tv at the time) She said, "He helped pass the largest income tax in Iowa's history." I'm pretty sure the word, "cut", should have been in that sentence. Oops. Probably not quite the line the campaign was looking for as it tries to pin Leonard Boswell with the name "The Tax Man."

Those minor facts aside, it was apparent the First Lady's visit brought out the women. The crowd was at least 50% females.

Some numbers from the event...

Guests: 240
Total Take: $200,000
Parade Steps Taken (by Lamberti according to Dave Roederer): 114,086

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Is the Blitz Working?

The dems are coming back out for the Boz. The DCCC is again paying for tv ads in the Boswell-Lamberti congressional race. I can only find ad buys in the Cedar Rapids tv market so far (the 3rd Congressional district only covers a few counties in that tv market). I can't find any buys in the Des Moines market, which covers the bulk of the area.

I have heard from more than a few dems in the metro who worry the anti-Boswell ad blitz is a little too fierce. They want the dems to come after Lamberti on tv in Des Moines, too.

I haven't heard of any new polling that shows this race tightening yet. We'll see if all the ads make a difference. Of course, if you don't believe in polls anymore, this really doesn't mean squat.

Looks like the repubs will save us some gas money. They're supposed to name the Twin Cities as the host for the 08 convention. That makes traveling a lot easier. Now, we'll see where the dems want to go. How about Des Moines? (Yeah, I know. I know. We're not on the short list. )

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Why Go?

So I'm at my desk chowing down on some leftover spaghetti for a quick lunch. I'm planning on seeing what Jim Nussle has to say at his 1pm newser about how he will hold down tuition costs. Maybe I don't need to go now. Even though it's an hour before the event, his campaign has already sent out the press release about what happened at the event that hasn't happened.

Wanna read it?

Nussle Only Candidate with Plan to Hold-Down Tuition Costs
Nussle Plan Would Save Iowa Families Thousands on Higher Education Costs
DES MOINES, IA – Speaking before several hundred college students, state educators and economic development officials at the Higher Education Initiative in Des Moines, Iowa gubernatorial candidate Jim Nussle discussed his plan to hold down skyrocketing tuition costs and make access to college more affordable for all Iowans. Nussle stated he’s the only candidate running for Governor who has put forward a plan that actually curbs tuition spikes through his "Iowa College Cost Guarantee."
Jim Nussle declared, "I’m the only candidate running for Governor who has a viable plan to hold down tuition costs AND make college more affordable."
Nussle focused on how to hold down in-state tuition costs and open the doors so more Iowans can attend the state’s institutions of higher learning, including community colleges, Regent universities and independent schools. Nussle says the next Governor must work with the State Legislature to provide more reliable and more predictable advance-year funding so the state’s colleges and universities can plan better and not automatically resort to huge price spikes in tuition rates.
Along with advance-year funding, Nussle called for the creation of the "Iowa College Cost Guarantee," which provides parents and students more certainty to college planning by guaranteeing in-state, undergraduate tuition rates will not increase by more than the annual Higher Education Price Index (HEPI). From the 2001-2002 Academic Year to 2005-2006, in-state, undergraduate tuition rates set by the Iowa Board of Regents soared by 56.9%, while the widely respected benchmark of true college costs, HEPI, rose by just 20%.
"The Iowa College Cost Guarantee strikes the right balance between meeting the needs of Iowa’s students and families planning for college and Iowa’s institutions of higher learning educating our next generation of entrepreneurs and community leaders. While my opponent may talk about new programs to pay for college, his plan is absent of any substantive discussion about actually holding down tuition costs," Nussle continued.
Nussle’s plan would save students thousands on their in-state, undergraduate tuition costs over their college career. Instead of an Iowa family paying $4,890 for a fifth year of in-state, undergraduate tuition in 2005-2006, that Iowa family only would have paid $3,739 if the Iowa College Cost Guarantee would have been in place in 2001 – a savings of $1,151 in that fifth year alone.
"The University of Iowa, Iowa State, UNI and our community colleges should be afforded the same opportunities to plan better and execute better with the dollars promised by the State as our elementary and secondary schools already have. Our higher education institutions are critical to Iowa’s economic development and growth which is why they must be afforded the same priority," Nussle concluded.
Paid for By Iowans for Nussle

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

First Lady Comin' to Town

The invites have already gone out...First Lady Laura Bush is coming to Des Moines. She'll do a fundraiser/luncheon for Jeff Lamberti at the Wakonda Club next Thursday. The visit adds to what's already been a television advertising blitz for Lamberti right now as he tries to overtake Leonard Boswell for his Congressional seat.

Liberal Republicans

The "family" has an interesting story about what we can expect this fall in the races for Governor. The New York Times article talks about how repub candidates are leaning left as a national strategy. More than a few critics have told me that's what Jim Nussle may have been doing when he filled out that questionnaire from Project Vote Smart. Nussle denies that.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Had Enough, Part 2?

Is the Obama lovefest getting to be a bit much for the Gov?

Here's a snippet from a NY Times piece (I have to give the Times props. You know, the company still owns our place)...

Tom Vilsack, the governor of Iowa, chatted easily with constituents, watching the news media crush from afar. Mr. Vilsack, who is also considering a presidential bid and recently came in fourth place in a poll of Iowa caucusgoers, played down the response to Mr. Obama, describing it as “certainly predictable.” Asked whether the senator should run, Mr. Vilsack replied, “That’s a question you’re going to have to ask the voters,” and walked away.

Had Enough?

In 2004, insiders complained the dems lost, in part, because they never figured out their "bumper sticker message." Prez Bush had "stay the course." But what did John Kerry have?..."Vote for me. I'm not Bush"?

I asked Barack Obama what the dems message should be this year. (Voters have complained a lot to me dems don't have that message this year. "Iraq's a mess"? "I'm still not Bush"?

Obama said his message actually came from Newt Gingrich. He said when someone asked Gingrich what the message should be, the former House Speaker (and possible prez candidate himself) said the dems' message should be "had enough?"

Obama believes those words sufficiently tap into the frustrated sentiment with some Americans. Obama used the phrase a handful of times during his speech at the Harkin Steak Fry.

Speaking of...there wasn't much of a presidential showdown. The day seemed to offer an early glimpse of the '08 race. It offered Obama, Mark Warner and Tom Vilsack. But Warner gave a speech, mingled and bit and did little media. Vilsack received such a small fraction of the attention, both from the media and the crowd, as he worked his way through the gathering. That's even though the Gov was on his home turf.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

South Dakota?

Should Jim Nussle know South Dakota?

South Dakota lawmakers recently passed that far-reaching abortion law. It bans all abortions except when the pregnant mother's life is in danger. The U.S. Supreme Court is reviewing whether the law can stand. If the Court throws the case back to the states, Iowa leaders could decide whether to change abortion laws here.

Last week, Nussle got hammered by democrats who say he is writing one view on abortion and saying another. On a survey with the non-profit group, Project Vote Smart, Nussle he would go for abortions only in the first trimester and he would approve legal abortions in rape and incest cases. Then, when we talked with him, he said he only wants abortions if the mother's life is at risk. No exceptions. That would seem to be South Dakota's abortion law, right?

Nussle and his campaign both adamently said "no." Nussle told me South Dakota's law is so controversial because it doesn't include a provision for the pregnant mother's life. His campaign said the same thing.

Monday, September 11, 2006

60 days?

Contrary to what you may have heard on another tv station in Des Moines, Tom Vilsack is not planning on making his "do I run for prez or do I not decision" in 60 days. The Gov is standing by (according to his spokesman) that he will decide sometime after the November election. Apparently, the reporter took his comments a little too literally and assumed the decision would immediately follow the election results. Oops...

(Sorry this next post is a little late...too many technical problems over the past week)

Mary Ann Hanusa (the repub running for Sec of State) told me about her harrowing experience on 9/11. She had been working the West Wing, handling correspondence for Prez Bush. She said the Secret Service was running through the West Wing telling everyone a plane may be headed for the White House. Agents told her and others to run from the building and get at least two blocks away.

As she walked through the Healing Fields in West Des Moines Monday, she said it was really eerie, because she recognized many of the names. She had to send correspondence on behalf of the President expressing his condolences to the victims' families shortly after the terrorist attacks.

Friday, September 01, 2006

The Boob Tube

TV sales people are salivating all over the state this weekend. The politicians are starting to open their wallets. Jeff Lamberti has started airing commercials (It's that MTV, quick zooms and pans-style. I saw one just like it in Tampa a few weeks ago for another Republican candidate.) We'll see if the ads do anything to cut into the lead the dems say their polls show Leonard Boswell has right now.

You'll remember, last week I reported the Democratic Congresssional Campaign Committee pulled its big September tv ad buy for Boswell for Des Moines. Dems say they were feeling good about the Boz's re-elex chances, so they'll send their money elsewhere for now. BTW, Boswell starts next week with his first tv spots (It's a positive image ad).

Chet Culver and Jim Nussle are also on right now. Their ads aren't quite so positive. And we've just begun September. Makes you wonder what their ads will look like in October.