Sunday, August 31, 2008

Gustav for dinner

O.K., I realize this isn't p.c. to say...but will Hurricane Gustav actually help the Republicans politically? I know it's probably not even right to bring this up. But here's what I mean. Republicans avoid the uncomfortable conversations about the unpopular president and v.p., who are both now skipping the convention (yes, I know both men remain very popular with a certain sect of the Republican party--but polls show they're clearly not very well-liked by the rest of the country). Even die hard Repubs with whom I've talked don't really expect John McCain to nail a speech like Barack Obama typically does (although they were hoping for a good showing from his v.p. choice, Sarah Palin).

But because of the hurrican, McCain now gets the chance to show he's on top of leading the country as he responds/plans for Gustav. Outside of McCain and Palin (maybe Palin more so), how many Repubs had highly anticipated convention speeches planned, compared to the buildup of Hillary and Bill? This way, it would seem, Repubs can now focus on getting ready for Gustav, and heaven forbid, if the Gulf Coast hits hard, they can focus on rescue and recovery. Just some thoughts...again, probably not very p.c.







A subject much less deep (can you tell I haven't eaten dinner yet?) , who knew Gustav is a good place to go eat? A restaurant chain of the same name has a group of places on the West Coast. Who knew?


Speaking of eating...well, not really, let the fat lady sing. My Cardinals, after their three-day, weekend-long butt-whoopin' by the annoying Astros essentially end this overachieving season. It hurts. A lot.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Sarah Palin?

Why didn't I go with my gut? Wuss. I really felt John McCain might want to try to pit history vs. history. Barack Obama is working to become the first african-american prez. McCain could find a woman running mate and go for something similar. But repubs just don't seem to really have a lot of well-known female executive-types...like a governor.

I searched through female republican governors. There were only a few. Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's name stood out. At 44, she's quite young (at 38 now, that makes me feel good to write that 44 is quite young:) She is VERY little known across the country. Had you ever heard of her? She's a first term governor, a former mayor, a mother of five. McCain has definitely found a way to infuse a little intrigue and excitement into the race. I wonder when he made this choice. Did he see the video of teary-eyed Obama supporters and a jam-packed football stadium in Denver at the Democratic National Convention? Did that make him feel like he had to do something to regain some mojo.

What's also interesting to me is that the McCain camp had been ripping on Obama's pick of Joe Biden. Supporters said it shows that Obama knows he's weak on experience and foreign policy and that's why he picked Biden. How can McCain now not get grilled for picking someone to help his possible "weaknesses"? McCain turns 72 today. He's been in Washington longer than many of Obama's supporters have been alive. Will he convince voters that Palin, who is now only a heartbeat away from the Oval Office, is ready? Social conservatives haven't been all that hot on McCain. Palin, once social cons get to know her, would seem to make them pretty happy.

I just emailed former Governor Tom Vilsack. I told him last week Palin was my dark-horse pick for McCain. I wanted to make myself feel better, I guess. I should have gone with my gut and picked Palin yesterday. Wuss.

BTW, I just tried (it's 10:09am) to google Palin. Her website in the Alaska governor's office seems overloaded right now. I can't get it to open. I bet a lot of people right now are "searching" her right now to see who she is.


Thursday, August 28, 2008

McCain's V.P.


Tomorrow by this time we should know who John McCain thinks can help him get to the White House. No tech-savvy text message in the middle of the night for this one, it doesn't sound like. So who will it be? I lucked out by picking Joe Biden as Barack Obama's number two. We'll see if lightning can strike twice.

Mitt Romney--pretty well-known. very successful businessman. But this would give the ticket two really rich dudes. Would Mac go for that after the "I don't know how many homes I own" debacle?

Charlie Crist--well-tanned. popular Florida Gov--big state. But this would be the two white-haired dudes ticket. Would that really help McCain will voters who think he's too old to be Prez--an elderly white-haired man with a middle-aged white-haired man?

a woman--this would seem to offer the chance to steal some of the "history" that Obama can bring. Maybe a woman governor. I really only find one that realistically fits: Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. She might be too young. She's only 42. She's not well-known at all. And with all the corruption cases involving Republican leaders in Alaska, would it be a good idea to pick a running mate from that state? There's Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison. She's probably better known. But would Texas be a problem? Maybe this is a stretch, but with the other Texan's horrible approval ratings right now, would Mac really want someone from Texas?

Tim Pawlenty--younger than Mac. obviously. As gov of Minnesota, could he help deliver that state and then give Mac a shot in neighboring Iowa, too?

This history part of a woman pick would seem to offer quite a bit. But for what it's worth (nothing, I assure you), my pick is Pawlenty.

BTW, I left out Joe Lieberman. An Iowa democratic legislator told me this week McCain and Lieberman talked a lot during Mac's Iowa campaigning and the two are genuinely very close. I wonder if McCain would really like to choose Lieberman. The unity thing, you know. But I'm still going with Pawlenty. We'll see if lightning can strike twice.


An Interesting 24 Hours

I awakened at about 2:40 this morning to hear someone sitting in a cab in front of my neighbor's house yelling on the phone about how the taxi driver was "tripping" and that he wasn't going to pay the fare. He said he wanted the police to come and give the driver a drug test. This ridiculous, and apparently drunken, commotion went on for about 15 minutes. Then, I couldn't go back to sleep for nearly an hour. It's time to meet the new neighbors.

My wife had an early flight to go see family in Tampa, so we were up (again) at 5am. At 10:30, I had a tooth drilled (a cavity near the gum line. Not a good place for it.) It's 1:30pm now and I still don't really have much feeling in my right side of the mouth, part of my tongue and about half of my lip. Lunch this afternoon my be called dinner this evening.

Looks like Shawn Johnson gets a little more post-Olympic spotlight. She should get to lead the Democratic National Convention in Denver in the pledge around 4pm. My colleague, Keith Murphy tells me, this isn't any kind of political statement. And according to Shawn's agent, she would also be willing to head the Republican Convention in the Twin Cities next week. I'm sure by this point, Shawn wouldn't have the energy for politics. That girl must be exhausted by now. She deserves a nice long vacation...while her agent hopefully makes her and her family rich for life.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

BAM-BAM




(skip ahead to 1:14 into this clip)

Governor Chet Culver just received his five minutes of non-prime-time fame at the Democratic National Convention. He thanked the country, ripped on McCain and screwed up Obama's name (he called him--phonetically-oh-BAM-ah, instead of, of course, oh-BAHM-ah). Oops.

Here's the text of his speech:

The long journey to this historic convention began on a cold winter's night in the great State of Iowa! So, I'm honored to join you – more than seven months and seven hundred miles from the site of that first contest, as we unite to make Barack Obama the next President of the United States. This summer, in Iowa, we saw the motivating power of hope and determination when our state was hit with one of the worst natural disasters in U.S. history. Despite three tornados and 500 year flood levels, countless Americans rallied to help us. So, on behalf of every Iowan, I want to say "thank you" for assisting us in our time of need. We will get through this difficult challenge! We know the Iowa values of faith, hard work and common sense will guide us and strengthen us, as we rebuild an even better, safer, and stronger state. Today I stand proudly with Barack Obama and Joe Biden – no strangers to Iowa who share our heartland values!
When they are in the White House, our country will once again rise to meet the great challenges of our time. And, on the top of that list of challenges is securing our energy future!
For the last eight years, the big oil companies and their Washington lobbyists have literally written our national energy policies. They have made billions, while the rest of us are paying the bill. Now the oil companies are placing their bets on John McCain – bankrolling his campaign and gambling with our future. McCain has voted against tax credits for renewable energy eleven times, and his only idea to solve our energy crisis is to keep doing what we're doing as we watch prices go up and up and up. Barack Obama understands our need for change. Only Barack Obama has a detailed plan to give us the change we need - lower energy prices and more "green-collar jobs!" If anyone still doubts whether renewable energy can lower prices and create jobs, look no further than Iowa. We have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in renewable energy, created more than 100,000 good-paying jobs, and provided clean alternatives to overpriced, foreign oil. Iowa is fast becoming the renewable energy capital of the United States – and other states, like Colorado, are doing the same. All around the country, entrepreneurs and innovators are joining state and local governments on exciting, cutting-edge projects. Just think how we'll do when we have a president who shares our vision. Barack Obama's clean energy plan will create 5 million new jobs. He will crack down on the special interests who intentionally bid up energy prices for their own profit. And, he will set a national goal of producing 25 percent of our electricity from renewable sources by 2025. In just more than two months, Americans will decide the most important election in a generation. Our choice is to stick with the status quo or move our country forward. On energy, the stakes couldn't be higher. So, my fellow Democrats, let's lock arms and work together. Lets ensure that the journey that began in Iowa will continue on from Denver to Washington, DC. Let's put Barack Obama and Joe Biden in the White House and put our country on a path towards energy independence!

Thank you and God Bless America!

Drama

TNT may say it's the place for drama. But I'll be watching the drama elsewhere tonight. And I don't just mean Governor Culver's afternoon speech at the Democratic National Convention.

What will Hillary Clinton say tonight? How will she do? Will it be passionate? Convincing? Will it look like she's really trying to get her supporters to, once and for all, commit to Obama? Or will skeptics suggest a half-hearted attempt because she really wants to try again in four years? Must See TV tonight, no doubt.

Of course, I'll be torn, because my Cardinals play the Brewers tonight at 7pm. It's nearly a must-win sweep for the Cards. Nearly. Mediacom had better not be blacking this one out.

And what is this crap from the Brewers? They have this annoying habit of untucking their jerseys after they win a game (they did it four times during their sweep at Busch Stadium earlier this summer). It's so cocky. SOOO annoying. Now, they even have a song to go with it. And it's even more annoying!

You'll need your speakers up to hear it.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Sad news


Donna Courtney, the wife of Burlington Senator Tom Courtney, has died. She and her husband married exactly four years to the day before I was born. She was born on Christmas Day. The following comes from Lunning Chapel in Burlington:

Donna Jeanne Courtney, 59, of Burlington died Sunday, August 24, 2008 at her residence.
Born December 25, 1948 in Burlington, she was the daughter of Darrell and Jeanne Schneider Strawhacker. On August 15, 1966 she married Thomas G. Courtney in Muscatine, Iowa.
Mrs. Courtney was a graduate of Wapello High School. She worked in food service for the Burlington Community School District for over thirty years and also was a clerk in the Iowa Senate for six years.
She was a member of Legislative Ladies of the Iowa Senate. She enjoyed crafting, scrap booking, gardening, her coffee group and spending time with her grandchildren. She was an Iowa Hawkeye Fan, Girl Scout leader, and a little league coach.
Survivors include, her husband Senator Thomas G. Courtney of Burlington; two daughters, Dawn (Matt) Schulte and Shawna (the late Steve) Casady both of Burlington; one son, Brian Courtney of Englewood, Colorado; four grandchildren, Rachel and Samuel Schulte and Courtney and Brynn Casady; six sisters, Joyce Albin, Ruth Brown, Shirley Hall, Myrtle Heater, Mary McDonald, and Jolene Strawhacker; and one brother, Mark Strawhacker.
Her parents preceded her in death.
The memorial service for Mrs. Courtney will be held 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, August 27th in Lunning Chapel. The Senators Dave Moulder and Gene Fraise will officiate. Visitation will begin after 8:00 a.m. on Tuesday, August 26th in Lunning Chapel where the family will receive friends from 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. According to her wishes, the body of Mrs. Courtney has been cremated.
A memorial has been established for Great River Hospice.

The Weekend

I'm going to call it 1 for 2. I picked it right that Obama would go for Biden. But, man, did I get the timing all wrong. My text came at 2:41am Saturday, two days later than I "predicted". Maybe that's why I'm so hesitant to make predictions.

Here's Biden's first video message to supporters:

Here are the highlights:

Catholic, Foreign Relations, middle class, change, change, 50 states, change (yeah, I know).

I know it's way too early to think about this, but... Biden is 65 years old. Let's say Obama wins this fall and then wins again. Biden would be 73 when Obama leaves office, seemingly too old to run for president. So we could again have one of these crazy, double open (no sitting prez or v.p. running for the White House). Yeah, I know. It's way too early to think about it.

Bachman's Ballboys are winners (btw, I didn't pick out that name). Our softball team put a whippin' on our opponent today in our last game of the year. It means we get a 7-6 record. We can be winners all winter long now. Andy Fales wasn't there. Maybe that's why we won. My shoulder hurts. My back hurts. My right leg hurts. I'll have plenty of time to heal.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Deep Throat

Microsoft announced today it was coming to West Des Moines. It's always reassuring to have an announcement that says the same thing I reported the day before. Phew! For me, it was one of those "sources say" kind of stories, not exactly something that will likely make my old school journalism professors giddy. But sometimes, if it's sources I can trust, it's the only way to get the information out to the public. And first (which is nice, too).

This story was a tricky one because officials had been forced by Microsoft to agree to non-disclosure clauses so they wouldn't spill the beans early on this plan. To my knowledge no one did. At least they didn't to me. After the official announcement at the Iowa Statehouse today, some of the principals involved (I won't say who at this time) pushed me again and again to reveal my sources. Seriously. Are you kidding? I'll be honest, I was pretty fired up about this for a bit, but then simmered down later. I was a bit offended they even thought they could get me to reveal who helped me figure out that Microsoft was coming to West Des Moines (instead of Urbandale) and the exact location where it was coming. Like I said, I've simmered down about it now. But since these same folks told me they read my blog, I decided to do this post. Out of respect for your positions, I'm not calling you out by name. A friend thinks I really should. But I won't, for now. Just realize the way we do our jobs in the media (or at least the way we SHOULD do our jobs) involves trust. I need people to trust me. And if I squeal about the identities of sources when I know I shouldn't, then I can not be trusted. Nor should I be. O.K., I'm done venting about this. Next time, don't ask me.

The event itself seemed a little discombobulated (I don't know if I've ever written that word before. Good thing for dictionary.com). The West Des Moines City Manager talked. He pitched to the Governor. The Governor pitched to Microsoft's representative. He introduced Congressman Leonard Boswell. Boswell then didn't know where to pitch. He said, I'm supposed to have a list of who I introduce next and I don't see it. So where did you hide it, somebody?" The Governor then whispered Senator Chuck Grassley's name. He then spoke and walked off without introducing anyone. He then pointed to State Senate Leader Mike Gronstal. Gronstal spoke and concluded with "I'm not sure who's next." The Governor was. Again.

One other note...the Dems may want to save the clip for 2010. When Senator Grassley (the Republican) took the microphone, he said, "Thank you, Governor, for your economic leadership." Next time the Repubs rip on Culver for spending too much money, not doing enough for businesses, taxes, etc., will someone pull out this Grassley quote?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Obama's V.P.

People keep asking me who I think Barack Obama will choose as his running mate and when it will happen. I'm not paid to give opinions, nor are my opinions likely worth much. But from a purely reporting standpoint, here are my hunches (thanks largely to the national reporting done on this topic).

Here's what we know:

Delaware Senator Joe Biden (and former Prez candidate), Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius, Indiana Senator Evan Bayh and Virginia Governor Tim Kaine seem to be the four most-mentioned possibilities.

We know Obama is planning a big rally Saturday in Springfield, Illinois, the city where he announced his prez campaign. He is supposed to appear with his V.P. choice.

We know Obama will notify supporters via text message of his choice beforehand.

We know Obama has a two day travel trip in Virginia with supporters including Kaine.

Would Obama send out the text message before he concluded his Virginia trip? Doubtful.

Would Obama pick Kaine after already spending time with him on tour in Virginia and then campaign with him again Saturday? Doubtful.

Would Obama really pick Bayh--would he really think Bayh will deliver the Republican state of Indiana just by appearing on the ballot with him? Seems doubtful.

Would Obama really pick Sebelius on the day she is campaigning for him in Iowa? Seems doubtful.

By process of elimination, to me, that leaves Biden, who hasn't been out campaigning for Obama this week. Of course, I could be wrong. Of course, Obama could also pick someone other than the four most often-mentioned people.

Microsoft to West Des Moines


Let's be honest. It's all about the bragging rights. In the media biz, we try to "break" stories and then crow about who broke it to you first. A handful of sources confirmed to me that tomorrow morning Governor Chet Culver would announce Microsoft was building its half a billion dollar (or so) data farm in West Des Moines. I was pretty sure I knew exactly where the project would go, but I wanted to drive out there to check it out, just to be sure.

Man, that took a little more searching that I thought. Sources told me (don't you love how these "sources" don't let us use their names just yet?) it will go on the McKinney farm land on Xavier and Booneville Road south of Jordan Creek Mall. If my directions are correct (and, believe me, that is not my strong suit. Just ask my wife), I believe it's south of the MidAmerican Energy substation and east of Michael's Landing (Regency's ill-fated housing development). When you stand on the land, you almost think you're in the middle of the "country". But Michael's Landing is just a minute or so away. So is DMACC West's campus. Beach Girls strip club isn't far away either...from what I am told.

So this means West Des Moines beat out Urbandale for the project. Some Urbandale backers were telling me the West Des Moines would be too prone to flooding, something the West Des Moines backers deny. By my eye-balling, it also looks like West Des Moines' location is closer to the all-important energy substation that the Urbandale spot would be. West Des Moines also has Maffitt Lake Reservoir very close. I'm told the data farm needs a "lot" of power and water, so West Des Moines goes two for two on this. Or so the sources say.

One thing I didn't count on were all trucks. Dozens of trucks fly down the gravel road near the "development". My photographer and I were covered with dust. Not a good day to wear my new suit and tie. Good thing my shoes weren't new. Not they are just dusty.


Microsoft is Coming. Finally

The announcement will come out later today, but Microsoft will finally announce where it's building the $500 million plus data farm. As I told you here a while back, the company has been looking at West Des Moines and Urbandale sites. The announcement later today will actually only announce that there will be an announcement tomorrow at the Iowa Statehouse of the actual location. It'll happen at 10:30am. I'll try to announce what will be announced at the announcement tomorrow later today.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Obama Beating Mac

A new University of Iowa poll has Barack Obama "comfortably" beating John McCain by a half dozen. One interesting note... about two thirds of Obama's "voters" say they strongly support him. Only about a third of McCain's "voters" say they do. Sounds like McCain has some convincing to do.

Here's the poll:

Who's Obama going to pick as his V.P. Wednesday (if the reports are correct)? Joe Biden told reporters he's not the guy today. Is he telling the truth? Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius is coming to Des Moines on Thursday on behalf of Obama. Can we safely assume she's not on the V.P. short list?

Monday, August 18, 2008

Eat Your Wheaties, Shawn

The New York Post says even though Iowa's golden girl hasn't proven gold yet, she could still get a sweet spot on your breakfast table. The paper writes that Shawn Johnson may share the limelight on a new Wheaties' box.

No More Corn

They came. They cast. We counted. Drum roll, please. Wait, hold those drumsticks for a second. I don't know if this matters, but we had about a third more people vote at our Cast Your Kernel this year at the Iowa State Fair than last. Sure, it might just be that people have now heard about what we are trying to do. But is it also a sign of just how much Iowans care about who their next president is? Cue the drummer...

Barack Obama 24,880
John McCain 23,980

This was back and forth early on, then Obama moved ahead, McCain made a surge, then Obama closed strong to win by 900. A couple quick, and probably not shocking observations from my many days at our booth... Obama seemed to do better among the under 45 crowd and with minorities. McCain seemed to do better with the gray hairs.

I dug up our previous results from last year.

A total of 35,448 kernels were cast in the poll.


Democrats

Hillary Clinton 33%
John Edwards 28%
Barack Obama 22%
Bill Richardson 13%
Joe Biden 2%
Chris Doddd 1%
Dennis Kucinich 1%
Mike Gravel 0%

Republicans

Romney 36%
Huckabee 17%
Giuliani 14%
Fred Thompson 13%
Tancredo 5%
Brownback 4%
Paul 4%
McCain 3%


Sunday, August 17, 2008

Olympics...


Random thoughts while I watch the Olympics...

Are there really any people who are actually disappointed that Shawn Johnson has now won three silver medals and no golds? Are you being just a bit greedy?

Why are some of the Chinese athletes are getting scores that seem way too high? Let's not even mention the fact those athletes may not even be old enough to compete.

That Jamaican guy, Usain Bolt, who won the 100 meter dash is way too annoying. And his arrogant showboating cost him a better finish. Of course, he still set a record. But he's still annoying.

I think this IS the year for the Chicago Cubs. They'll probably still choke away the World Series. But I think they'll at least get there. As a St. Louis Cardinals' fan, that really stings. I'm quickly losing confidence the Cards will even make the playoffs. Not that I had a ton of confidence to start.

I never tried that fried pineapple on a stick at the Iowa State Fair. I wanted to, I think. I just didn't think eating a whole one by myself would leave me feeling all that good. Oh, well.

We were tempted to go check out Def Leppard at the fair. Paying 100 bucks for our tickets in seats that didn't seem to offer much of a view....well, that just bites.

How many times does our competitor call itself "Iowa's News Leader" in a day's time. Don't people get sick of that?

Looks like a huge day for the Iowa Speedway on Tuesday. Remember those reports that this project would never get built in the first place. Newton deserves this. Now can the city pull this off? Here's part of the release after the cat's already been let out of the bag (where the hell did that saying ever come from anyway? Who put the cat IN the bag?)

Iowa Speedway will hold a news conference at 10:00am Tuesday, August 19, 2008, in the Newton Club. Topic: An announcement regarding the 2009 racing season at Iowa Speedway.

My wife and I had a rare day off together Saturday, so we tried the Greater Des Moines Restaurant Week. 33 restaurants offered lunch for 2 for $20.08 or one dinner for $20.08. If you save your receipt, you could win a trip to Puerto Rico. Actually, you had to save four receipts. Quite a busy week of eating I'd say. One reminder...some, if not all, of the restaurants, limit your choices. In fact, you may have just one menu choice to get the $20.08 price. It still may be good. Ours at Torocco! Italian Grill in Urbandale was. I wish we could have had a few more options, though.

All this talk about food makes me hungry. Time for a late-night snack.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Edwards' Morality

I just found this on John Edwards' presidential website.

John Edwards' remarks in New Orleans, 1/30:I began my presidential campaign here to remind the country that we, as citizens and as a government, have a moral responsibility to each other, and what we do together matters. We must do better, if we want to live up to the great promise of this country that we all love so much.

One word jumps out to me in the third line...MORAL...in the line "have a moral responsibility to each other". Are mistresses included in that obligation?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Edwards Screwing Around Too Late for HRC


So Hillary Clinton campaign's higher up says she would have won the Iowa Caucuses had news that John Edwards is an adulterer broke sooner. There seems to be some obvious irony about infidelity here (uh, Bill), but I'll let it pass. Clinton's former Communications Director Howard Wolfson claims Edwards' supporters would have gone to Clinton. That doesn't quite jive with the hundreds of interviews I did with Iowans before the caucuses. It seemed to me, for the most part, either they liked Clinton or they were deciding between Edwards and Obama. And I didn't seem to meet too many people who had Edwards as their first choice and Clinton as their second.

A University of Iowa professor reports the complete opposite claim of Wolfson. He believes Obama would have done even better had bed-hopping Edwards got kicked out of the race. Pass me a glass for a sip of that sour grape juice.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

2 Not so Obvious

Tuesday we re-created our quest at the Iowa State Fair...with one small alteration. Monday, we asked Barack Obama's supporters who should be his running mate. Hillary Clinton probably received the most responses. However, Clinton also received the most "no, not her" responses. Tuesday, we wanted to know from John McCain's supporters who he should pick. There was no Hillary Clinton equivalent. Huckabee, Rice and Romney were probably the most frequently mentioned names.

Obama picked up a cross-over supporter today, too. Former Iowa Congressman (and Republican) Jim Leach endorsed him. Leach is definitely considered a moderate, so, perhaps, this isn't considered a monstrous surprise. But it's hardly common for cross-over support like this. McCain's campaign didn't ignore the endorsement, far from it. They trashed McCain's former fellow member of Congress. Here's what the McCain campaign sent out:

"It’s rather ironic that someone like Jim Leach, a person who placed such a strong focus on campaign finance issues, would be endorsing the first presidential candidate since Watergate to skirt the public financing program in the general election. Despite Obama’s lofty speeches on change, Iowans know that real change comes from working across the aisle to get things done. A single endorsement does not hide the fact that Senator Obama has no record of achievement beyond the confines of his party. While John McCain has spent his career putting the country first - ahead of personal and party interests - Senator Obama's record is a lesson in partisanship.”

Wendy Riemann McCain Spokesperson, Iowa

Leach Co-Authored The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act Which Obama Blames For The Subprime Lending Crisis:Leach Was The Co-Author Of The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, Which Repealed The Glass-Steagall Act And Allowed Competition Between Commercial And Investment Banks And Insurance Companies. (S. 900, Signed 11/12/99)Obama Has Attacked The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act As A Lobbyist-Driven Deregulation That Led To The Subprime Lending Crisis. Obama: “By the time the Glass-Steagall Act was repealed in 1999, the $300 million lobbying effort that drove deregulation was more about facilitating mergers than creating an efficient regulatory framework. … The regulatory environment failed to keep pace. When subprime mortgage lending took a reckless and unsustainable turn, a patchwork of regulators were unable or unwilling to protect the American people.” (Cheyenne Hopkins, “Regulatory Revamp Newest Plank In Obama's Platform,” American Banker, 3/28/08)

Looking for Number 2

You'd have to figure Barack Obama will pick his running mate soon. Here's a scenario (for what it's worth, which probaby isn't much!)... Sunday night, Obama's campaign announced you could sign up to receive a text message that will announce Obama's choice for his number two. Maybe the campaign enjoys the free news coverage of that for a few days, plus gives people a chance to forward the email about the texting to friends and family (or so the campaign hopes). Maybe the veep announcement comes out next week, to give it a full week before the Democratic National Convention in Denver. Just a few maybes to thing about on a rainy morning in Des Moines.
BTW, we asked a bunch of Obama supporters at the Iowa State Fair who they wanted for Obama's running mate. Hillary Clinton was the popular name, but not always in a good way. She did get the most "votes" for V.P. But she also got mentioned most as the person who shouldn't be on the ticket.

Obama leads our "Cast Your Kernel" poll at the fair. It's been back and forth, but Obama has started to widen his lead as of Tuesday morning. Here are the latest numbers:



Does this John Edwards story get more tough to believe or what? And how many of his staffers knew about all of this? So Edwards lied to his wife, his family, his supporters, the American people and the media. The Washington Post has a story that shows the lies aren't finished. This story makes is appear Edwards continued his dishonesty long after he claimed he had finished his "mistake". I'm pretty sure if I ever did this, my wife wouldn't be calling this a "mistake". I'm also pretty sure I'd never sing anything but soprano again.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Almost V.P. Time?

Is Barack Obama about to announce his running mate? I assume he will do it before the Democratic National Convention in Denver August 25-28. But will it be even sooner? Obama's Campaign Manager David Plouffe just emailed this to supporters Sunday night. If you fill it out, you can be one of the first to know his number 2 (or so the email promises). Here's the email:

Dear Dave --

Barack Obama is about to make one of the most important decisions of this campaign -- choosing a running mate. You have helped build this movement from the bottom up, and Barack wants you to be the first to know his choice. Sign up today to be the first to know: http://my.barackobama.com/vp You will receive an email the moment Barack makes his decision, or you can text VP to 62262 to receive a text message on your mobile phone. Once you've signed up, please forward this email to your friends, family, and coworkers to let them know about this special opportunity. No other campaign has done this before. You can be part of this important moment. Be the first to know who Barack selects as his running mate.

Thanks,

David

David PlouffeCampaign ManagerObama for America

Bachman and Boesen

In case you are wondering (and I was), the Bachman family attacked by that madman in China is not related to WHO-TV 13's main anchor John Bachman. There are some coincidences between the families though. The man who died, Todd Bachman, lived in the Twin Cities. John Bachman used to live in the Twin Cities. Todd's wife, Barbara, was also injured in the attack. John's wife is also named Barbara. Todd served on the board of regents for Wartburg College in Waverly. John's father, also named John, served as President of Wartburg. Coincidences. Nothing more.

I'm still trying to figure out what to make of what we're hearing about former Des Moines businessman, Ed Boesen. I don't believe I ever met the man. Davenport police say Boesen committed suicide in Davenport last month. I don't think they've ever released autopsy reports to determine the final cause of death. On a previous blog post, some people who knew Boesen said he was one of the best guys you could ever meet. Generous and kind. Others are questioning if there's more to the story. Banks have now filed lawsuits against Boesen's estate for about $26 million for failure to repay loans. There are allegations of fraud...that Boesen misrepresented his assets in order to qualify for bank loans. No matter what's correct here. This is a sad story. Sad. Sadder still for his wife and four children.

Security?


I forgot to mention one of the more interesting incidents that happened during John McCain's fundraiser luncheon at Des Moines' Wakonda Club. A security problem. I was waiting at the entrance to the hallway where McCain was speaking. The Secret Service makes you empty your pockets, get checked out for weapons and metal, etc. before you are allowed to pass through. I had already gone through this once, but had to do it again because I had slipped out to find the restroom. Anyway, there were two men ahead of me in line. The Secret Service agent asked if they had an invitation. They did not. It turns out they were both members of a health care organization trying push some type of cause.

The agent turned them both away. Both walked away without any problems. However, the agent seemed a bit perplexed about how the two men walked into the Wakonda. Apparently, other agents were supposed to be watching the entrance. Apparently, that didn't happen. Oops. Pretty surprising since we had to have our camera gear checked out by the Secret Service by 9:45am, almost four full hours before our interview with McCain. The invited media were thoroughly checked out. Two uninvited men were not.


Cards/Cubs game 3 tonight. Big game. My Cardinals really need this one. It could be a heckuva pitching matchup with Carpenter and Dempster. Have I mentioned the Cards really need this one?


Friday, August 08, 2008

McCain at the Fair


He ate a pork chop on a stick. But he didn't get a fried Twinkie, much to his dismay he told me. John McCain made his return to Iowa today. He spent an hour or so at the Iowa State Fair. He came last year, as well. McCain told me he regretted that he and his entourage were allowed to cut into the long line to get that much sought-after pork chop. Not sure what exactly went wrong with the Twinkie expedition.

Someone did brief McCain well though. He joked with me about the corn dog fiasco from the day before when they ran out during the attempt to set the world record for a corn dog chomp. He almost belly-laughed when I told him that I remembered the look on Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman's face when he tore into one of those Twinkies when he stopped by the fair in 2003 during his Prez run.

I talked to McCain following his fundraising luncheon at Des Moines' Wakonda Club. He seems to have no regrets for the celebrity air wars he started with his commercial lumping Barack Obama in with Paris Hilton and Britney Spears. No regrets at all. "You got to have some humor in this kind of campaign", he told me. He said he just wanted to show Obama "is against off-shore drilling and wants to raise your taxes." Clearly, the tax issue was part of his talking points. He mentioned I think three different times that Obama would raise taxes. He will not, he said adamantly.


McCain denies that his mom called his original Obama/Paris/Britney ad "stupid." I have a little difficulty figuring it out. The web site, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/, posted an audio clip that claims McCain's mother, Roberta, did say the ad was stupid. Here's the clip. McCain told me, "I don't think my mom said that. She hadn't seen it." But then he said, "my mom's 96. Whatever she wants to say, it's fine with me." So, did she call it "stupid" or not...what do you think?

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Meet Me at the Fair

Nothing like the Iowa State Fair. Seriously, nothing. Pork chop on a stick. A corn dog. Chocolate chip cookies. And chicken lips. Not a bad day of feasting. Sure wish I would have worked out this morning.


It wasn't nearly as miserably hot as it was last year. I won't talk about the corn dog stampede. People who showed up at the fair before 8:30am were told they could get a free corn dog. Problem was apparently about twice as many people showed up as there were corn dogs. Oops.


Another far more serious potential mishap. I spent much of the day at our 3rd Annual Cast Your Kernel corn poll at our booth near the Administrative Building (This should get you the latest results). There was quite a distraction next to us. On the air I called it (in all respect) the "square dancing, cross dressing, tractor drivers." There was a group of men on tractors (some dressed as women). They drove around in formation and circles while someone placed square dancing music. It's quite a sight, actually very entertaining. After we finished our "live shot" on the 6pm news, we heard the crowd yell, "OOOWWWW". We turned around to see one of the tractors apparently bump the tire of another and flip over turn the crowd. Fortunately, it didn't fall on top of anyone. Drivers helped flip the tractor back over. The driver was fine. It could have been disastrous.


Hey, thanks to everyone for the well wishes on my painful tooth. Turns out no root canal necessary now. Apparently, I'm a massive teeth grinder. The dentist told me I have grinded my teeth (is that even a word?) so hard for so long, I've actually made a few almost pointy. When I grind at night, I'm digging the bottoms into the back of my top two front teeth. So my extreme pain was just like a really bad, deep bruise. It's almost embarrassing. Actually, not almost. It is embarrassing. I'm supposed to get some kind of mouth guard I wear at night. That'll be sexy.


Come see us at the fair Friday (we'll have the booth set up throughout the entire fair). John McCain is coming to the fair tomorrow. Don't know if he'll come to our booth. No Barack Obama this year. He had quite the entourage of curious onlookers last year. We'll see what kind of throng McCain gets.

Pure Energy

This Obama vs. McCain vs. Paris fight is something, huh? This is how we get through the "slow summer time". For your enjoyment... btw, which one do you like best?

JMac takes on Obama and Paris


Take that, JMac (This is actually Keith Olbermann's story on this. I can't seem to find a live version of the original Paris ad on youtube any more.)


Paris vs. JMac the Parody


Obama vs. JMac