Monday, November 30, 2009

AFSCME Members Vote Yes

AFSCME members decided to give up some pay and benefits, so co-workers could save their jobs. Council 61 President Danny Homan announced the vote today. Members voted 59-41% on a agreement which takes away five days of pay and the state contribution toward their retirement through the end of June (about $75 per month). In exchange, 479 people won't get laid off as a result of Governor Chet Culver's 10% across-the-board budget cuts for state agencies.

Members finished voting last Wednesday, but Homan said he had independent counters re-tally the numbers to make sure they were accurate. That's why he waited to announce the results today, he said. He didn't say if they found any irregularities. But he said about 2/3 of the membership voted. Today he also wouldn't say how many members there are or how many voted. However, at his last news conference earlier this month, he said there were about 9,000 members (there are about 22,000 eligible state employees for AFSCME membership). So by my math, that's about 6,000 or so who voted.

Homan made several suggestions to save money next year:

Let eligible employees retire early with incentives like helping with insurance costs until they're eligible for Medicare or offer cash payments.
Raise taxes/end certain tax credits.
Lower the rate of supervisors per state employees.
Governor Chet Culver's office just announced this morning at about 10:15 he will have a news conference to respond to the vote. By the way, his office also just announced he will be attending the Holiday Tree Lighting ceremony at the State Capitol at 5pm. It also kicks off the state employees' annual Toys for Tots drive. I presume state workers, their families and Santa already knew about the event before this announcement.

Here's the full press conference with Homan from today:

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays

It 's a p.c. world. No, not personal computers. I mean a world of political correctness. But a new poll shows more Americans prefer using the greeting "Merry Christmas" over "Happy Holidays" compared to last year. The new Rasmussen report showed Merry Christmas was the preferred greeting by 72-22%. It was 68-25% last year. Which one do you prefer?

And, in case you wondered, more Republicans and Independents prefer Merry Christmas, while fewer Democrats like that choice (but the majority of Dems still like it over Happy Holidays).

What do more people prefer Merry Christmas this year? Beats me. What do you think?

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thank You

In the middle of this Great Recession, I feel special need to pause to say "thanks" for all of my blessings in life and all the other things that deserve my appreciation.

So I'm thankful for:

My mother-in-law's turkey, followed by pork loin, sweet potatoes, apple walnut stuffing, apple, I ate a lot.

Getting to spend time with my two little nephews, Mac and Ian (along with Emily's mom, dad, brother, and sister-in-law for the holidays and getting to see the Prices for Christmas).

My job.

Bosses that let me help try to keep politicians accountable to the people they represent.

Public servants who don't try to hide information from the public.

Elected officials who are confident enough in their abilities to communicate to the media the reasons behind their decisions and staffs that let them talk to the media.

The most talented photographers who help me share our stories on tv with you.

The fact I married my best friend.

How Iowans make this feel like home, even though I grew up in another state.

All of you friends who watch my stories, read my observations and share your thoughts to make my job the best I could ever ask. Thanks to all of you.

Finally to my Aunt Pris. Growing up, she always made pies at holidays. Emily's family came to town this year, so I didn't make it back for Aunt Pris' pies back in Illinois. But she shared the recipe of one of my all-time favorite pies!

Here it is...

She told me "Kentucky Derby Pie" is copyrighted. So she just calls this "Derby Pie". Enjoy and happy Thanksgiving!

1 unbaked 9 in. pie crust
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. flour
2 eggs slightly beaten
1/2 c. butter (melted and slightly cooled)
1 c. broken pecans
1 pkg (6oz.) chocolate chips (I use semi-sweet)
1 tsp. vanilla
2 Tbsp. bourbon
Whipped cream (I use Cool Whip)

Mix together sugar & flour. Add eggs, butter, pecans, choc. chips (don't melt), vanilla and bourbon. Pour into pie crust and bake for 1 hour @325 degrees. Serve with whipped cream if desired.

another recipe call for 1/2 - 1 c. flaked coconut. I've done it both ways.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Iowa Senator Part of President's State Dinner

Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Blair Underwood, Brian Williams, Katie Couric, Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Swati Dandekar. Yes, Iowa's Swati Dandekar, the Democratic senator from Marion.

She was part of President Obama's first state dinner last night in Washington, D.C. Visiting Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was the guest of honor for the evening. Senator Dandekar moved to the U.S. with her husband, Arvid, in 1973.

Iowa state Democrats sent out this release about her visit.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Purple Matters

Here's the lineup for "Purple Matters" Tuesday night on

Jonathan Narcisse started off coming after almost everyone. Narcisse, the controversial former Des Moines school board member, is traveling the state with Republican gubernatorial candidate Chris Rants. It's a conversation, debate, whatever he prefers to call it. On our show, Narcisse ripped on the Republican candidates and the Democratic Governor Chet Culver. Narcisse is a registered Democrat, but he said he doesn't want to "be put in a box". He also danced around when I asked his real motive for doing this.

What do you think? Does he want to be governor? Should he be?

Here's the link:

Watch live streaming video from desmoineslocallive at

Are the peace lovers on the left getting a little miffed at President Obama these days? They say the Prez spent a lot of time promising Iowans he would change foreign policy. But they're not happy he's thinking about sending more troops to Afghanistan. Kathleen McQuillan of the American Friends Service Committee talked about why she and others are getting so impatient with the Prez.

Plus, when is it o.k. for politicians to go shirtless? Or, perhaps, better stated, when is it o.k. for the media to show shirtless pols? And was Newsweek wrong in trying to "sex up" Sarah Palin with its cover picture? Iowa State University Professor Michael Bugela, journalism and media ethics expert, said, it depends. Do you want to see political skin?

Here's the link:

Watch live streaming video from desmoineslocallive at

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Jefferson Jackson Dinner

I'm a little late with my post from the Iowa Democratic Party's annual Jefferson Jackson dinner. But Joe Biden just finished shaking hands. I'm kidding. Sort of. Biden spoke for 40 minutes and shook hands for about an hour before leaving the floor. Looked like he was glad to be back in Iowa.

Hy-Vee Hall had a much different look to it than the last JJ Dinner I covered. I didn't report on it in 2008. I anchored the news that night. In 2007, the floor was surrounded by thousands of screaming supporters from the half-dozen presidential candidates. This time the surrounding seats were gone, just seats set up on the floor. Dividers were set up around them to make the occasion feel a bit more intimate.

Iowa Democratic Party Chairman Michael Kiernan declared victory on the health care debate. We have a story in our 5pm newscast tonight that shows how victory is far from certain as 4 senators have threatened to vote against the health care bill the way it is now. All 4 senators are Democrats.

Congressman Bruce Braley really worked the stage. Many times, you will see a speaker at the podium with his back to the crowd for his whole speech. Braley took the microphone and walked all over the stage making sure he addressed the crowd from all sides.

Congressman Leonard Boswell also moved about the stage, instead of posting himself at the podium.

Lieutenant Governor Patty Judge tried to fire up the room by joking (I assume she was joking) that she would write a book, presumably like Sarah Palin. At one point, when the room failed to respond loudly to one of her jokes, she remarked, "Come on, guys".

Governor Chet Culver stood at the podium for his remarks. He laid out what he said were his accomplishments of his administration (raising minimum wage and teacher pay, flood recovery efforts). Most of his comments were followed by polite applause. He did toward the ask the crowd to stand as he finished. Following his request, the crowd responded with its loudest ovation of his address.

Senator Tom Harkin had to appear by tape from Washington, D.C. because of the health care vote Saturday night. Harkin predicted President Obama would sign the health care reform before Congress' Christmas break.

Vice-President Joe Biden wrapped up the speakers. He began with what appeared to be a little jab at his boss. I didn't write down the exact quote. But Radio Iowa's bionic-fingered O. Kay Henderson transcribed it on her blog. First, some background...You might remember back for JJ in 2007 when all the Democratic presidential candidates brought out thousands of supporters, some campaigns accused Barack Obama's campaign of bussing in thousands of supporters from Obama's hometown of Chicago. Obama's campaign denied it at the time.

Now back to Saturday night and the Biden quote, according to Radio Iowa, "Hello Iowa! I assume the reason there’s no balcony this year is because Chicago’s in Washington. Come on. Come on. Chicago is in Washington. Thank God for America.”

Hmmm...Wonder what the Prez thought of that one?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Boswell's Race Downgraded

In yet another sign that some of the national observers think 2010 could be a tough one for incumbents, and specifically Democrats, Congressional Quarterly has knocked down Des Moines area Congressman Leonard Boswell a notch in his re-election efforts next year. Boswell is still favored, by the way. But a trio of Republicans is now planning on running for the right to take on the Boz: aviation consultant Dave Funk, State Senator Brad Zaun and former Iowa State coach/wrestler Jim Gibbons.


Is your office gossip central? A new study says a little gossip may not be as bad as the bosses think. Not that I'm one to gossip about it, of course.

Friday, November 20, 2009

1 on 1 with Terry Branstad

Thursday, former Iowa Governor Terry Branstad starting making the media rounds as he tries to find his fifth way back into Terrace Hill. We've all been waiting for some time with him. My conversation with him coincided with the day of his first statewide of the state as a candidate, or almost official candidate. O.K., maybe it wasn't much of a coincidence. We met at his campaign headquarters in Urbandale. It looked familiar for several reasons. Tim Albrecht was there. He is Branstad's communications guy. He was also former presidential candidate Mitt Romney's guy, too. Romney also used the same Urbandale location for his efforts. He finished second in Iowa. Branstad won't be happy with a second place finish. Obviously.

A nice woman greeted us as we walked in. The office is pretty sparse, so far. There were signs up on the walls. But other than Jeff Boeyink, Branstad's campaign manager, and Tom Beaumont, the political reporter for the Des Moines Register, I think the office was empty.

We met in a back office with Branstad while Albrecht watched and kept track of the time. Branstad had a busy morning of meetings and interviews. It was two days after Branstad turned 63. He mentioned he got Sarah Palin's new book, "Going Rogue", and loaned it to his uncle. So I couldn't get the gov's literary reviews of her work. He also showed me a prized collection of autographed baseballs. Branstad told me when he was younger, he visited St. Louis to watch former Cardinal great, Stan Musial, play ball for my beloved Cardinals. Musial's autograph is one of the highlights of his collection. Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig, I would say is one of the lowlights. Those were my thoughts, though, not his:) Branstad said he was a Cubs, Cards and Twins fan, but mostly a Cubs' fan. So much for his judgement:)

He also proudly pointed to a baseball he threw out during an Iowa-Iowa State baseball game (ISU got rid of its baseball program after the 2001 season.) He seemed to take great pride in mentioning he threw a strike that day.

O.K., now the interview. Thanks to my photographer, (and the pride of Wellsburg) Travis Jungling, for putting together the full interview. Carroll's pride and joy, Dave Olson, our other photographer, ran the second camera.

Here are the highlights:

He admits that his coming out speech fell flat.
He comes out against same-sex marriage.
He doubts the legality of the plan of rival, Bob Vander Plaats.
He doesn't have much good to say about Governor Chet Culver.
He praises fellow Republican Christian Fong, for trying to one-up one of Branstad's ideas.

Here's our conversation. Your thoughts, as always, are welcome. And encouraged!

10pm story, including response from Gov. Chet Culver:

Raw Interview:

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


To continue our earlier conversation about frustration right's another item. The University of Iowa just released its "Hawkeye Poll". It shows nearly half the country worries health care reform will do more harm than good and more than half the country now disapproves of the job President Barack Obama is doing. A lot has apparently changed during his first year in office.

Here's the poll.

People keep sending me great song ideas to capture their frustration about jobs, economy, politics, life, whatever it is.

Here are a few more ideas:

Johnny Paycheck --"Take This Job and Shove It"
Loverboy -- "Working for the Weekend"
Johnny Cash -- "Five Feet High and Rising"
Willie Nelson --"Whiskey River Take My Mind"
Marvin Gaye--"Inner City Blues (Makes Me Wanna Holler)."

Keep singing, friends, and keep the songs coming!

Purple Matters

We had a fascinating, albeit sad, conversation on "Purple Matters" last night. Kathleen Nebel shared her story, which is almost too astonishing to believe. She said her ex-husband has been abusing her in one way or another for more than 25 years. She estimates they have been to court 800 times. 800 times! Her story was especially captivating in light of the horrible incident last week, where Randy Moore is suspected of kidnapping and killing his estranged wife. Here's her story:

So much of everyone's focus is on money right now. And rightfully so, as we remain in the middle of this Great Recession. As state leaders keep looking for ways to cut expenses to make the numbers work, Iowans for Tax Relief came up with an idea. President Ed Failor, Jr. joined us to share it. He wants to merge all three state university systems into one. The University of Northern Iowa, Iowa State and the University of Iowa would still exist in their three separate locations but they would have one president, for example. Failor said other states like Minnesota and Wisconsin have just one system and save tens of millions of dollars doing that. Here's his idea:

And we're still looking for songs that capture your frustration with life, politics, the economy, whatever it is that has you a bit ticked off. Last night on the show viewers suggested "What's Going On?" by Marvin Gaye and "Tragedy" by the Bee Gees. Keep coming up with your songs. We've had some good ones. Here's the others on the list so far.

Thanks for watching.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Frustrated Songs

Monday, I did a tv story on Iowans' frustrations with incumbents in light of the economy, etc. I'm looking for songs that capture people's mood right now. Here's what we've come up with in the newsroom so far this morning. Can you send me your ideas?

"We're Not Gonna Take It" by Twisted Sister

"I Can't Get No Satisfaction" by the Rolling Stones

"Changes" by David Bowie

"Changes" by Three Doors Down

"I Won't Back Down" by Tom Petty

What else do YOU have???

Monday, November 16, 2009

Incumbents in Trouble

Government spending is up. Unemployment is up. Bankruptcies are up. Foreclosures are up. Frustrations are up. You get the picture. Many Iowans may not like what they see. That has some experts predicting a tough 2010 for incumbents. The Des Moines Register's Iowa Poll shows Democratic Governor Chet Culver has lost a third of his support so far this year. Even Republican U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley has lost 18% percent of his vote. I say "even", because even many Democratic insiders have told me for my entire time living in Iowa how Grassley is virtually unbeatable every election. Until this year, that is. Although, it seems only the most optimistic Democrats think Grassley could lose next year to a Democrat, like Des Moines attorney Roxanne Conlin.

I interviewed one of those frustrated Iowans today. His name is Richard Bockewicz. He lives in Urbandale. He's one of those purple people, not a Democrat or a Republican. He votes for the person or the issue, not the party. He'd vote for the politician who could help him get his life going in the right direction again. Bockewicz is working two part-time jobs to try to provide for himself and his fiance until he can find full-time work. He is tired of empty promises and he wants governmental leaders to start listening to the people again.

The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza took notice of the Register Poll. He writes that Culver appears to be "in a free fall".

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Culver Drops in Polls

Iowa Governor Chet Culver has been falling and he can't get up. At least not yet. Culver's popularity, according to the Des Moines Register Iowa Poll ,has dropped 20 points during the year and 10 points just since September. It's doubtful the budget mess or filmgate has helped his popularity efforts.

Two Republican candidates beat Culver head-to-head, one by quite a bit. Bob Vander Plaats topped Culver by 8 points. But Terry Branstad tripled that margin...24 points. Branstad is the only candidate in the poll who tops 50% popularity. TB hit 57%.


Speaking of popularity...My wife and I hung out with about three dozen University of Missouri-Columbia journalism students this weekend. They checked out her station and then checked out mine. I'm sure they like mine better:) They were really sharp, inquisitive and bright and made me proud.

One student said something to me like, "Wait...I just figured this out. YOU'RE Dave Price." I replied, "yep". She continued, "Dave Price is the name of the best camera we have at KOMU (the NBC station in Columbia where many of the student work part-time)." Apparently, the news director named each camera after certain employees who used to work at the station over the years. Quite an honor, I thought. I was feeling pretty good about myself...well, that is, until a friend sent me this...

It's the preview on DirectTV about what airs on WHO-TV 13 on Saturday at 10pm. Apparently, some guy named "Dave Bryce" is on. Maybe I will have to tune in. (By the way, our meteorologist also has two t's in Brett.)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Same-Sex Marriage Again

Iowa Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Bob Vander Plaats is again making same-sex marriage a campaign issue. Earlier today, former Lt. Governor Joy Corning told the Des Moines Register she is lending her voice to a "robocall" effort to promote marriage equality in the state.

Corning was lt. governor under former governor-turned-(almost official) candidate Terry Branstad. Vander Plaats, who voted for Branstad and Corning, sent out this statement late this afternoon:



DES MOINES – Former Lt. Gov. Joy Corning’s announcement that she has recorded a statewide call urging Republicans to support same-sex marriage reflects how out of touch she is with mainstream Iowans’ stance on the issue, Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Vander Plaats said this afternoon.

Corning, who was selected by then-Gov. Terry Branstad to serve two terms as his lieutenant governor, said she had recorded the call on behalf of the pro-gay marriage group One Iowa because she believes “it would be nice if we had at least one gubernatorial candidate that was espoused to mainstream traditional centrist values instead of concentrating on those far right social values.”

“This is the sort of thing that happens when you appoint a lieutenant governor who is completely out of step with Iowans’ values,” Vander Plaats said. “As we celebrate Veterans Day, the beauty of America is that our men and women in the military fought to protect our rights, including the right to free speech. The former lieutenant governor is entitled to her opinion, but I’m certain that she is the one who is outside of the mainstream not only in Iowa but across the United States. The belief that the institution of marriage as one man and one woman is simple, settled and overwhelmingly supported. That is why voters in 31 states that have voted on the issue have voted every single time to affirm marriage as one man and one woman. It is the foundation of our society.”

The Sioux City Republican said the timing of Corning’s call is “too obvious to overlook.”

“Terry Branstad enters the governor’s race on Saturday night without stating where he truly stands on the issue and on Tuesday night his lieutenant governor does an automated call urging Iowans to support same-sex marriages. All of that takes place not too long after his former chief of staff wrote an opinion piece saying the Republican Party needs to nominate a candidate with ‘centrist’ views on social issues,” Vander Plaats said. “Urging Iowans to support same-sex marriage is not only out of touch with Republican values but it is overwhelmingly out of touch with Main Street Iowa.”

He added, “If you listened closely to his speech on Saturday night, Terry Branstad did not say he supports one-man, one-woman marriage. He said he would break the legislative logjam that is preventing a referendum by Iowans. That’s not the same thing. If he wants to break the road block, he should join me by committing to sign an executive order banning additional same-sex marriages on day one in office until Iowans have a right to vote on the issue.”

Trompeter back to California

As you regular readers know, it's not ALL politics here. Just wanted to pass along that our old friend, Jeanette Trompeter, is headed back to California. Jeanette is going back to where it all started, her former station in San Luis Obispo. She will be the evening anchor there. Jeanette won back-to-back Emmy's in Minneapolis, despite being laid off from WCCO-TV in a cost-cutting move. Jeanette was a star anchor in Des Moines at KCCI-TV, before she headed north.

Jeanette blogged about her move.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

AFSCME decision

What should they do? About 9,000 AFSCME members need to make a huge decision in the next week or so... do they take off five days without pay before the end of June and give up the state match on their retirement? Or do they watch about 500 of their co-workers lose their jobs?
Tough choice, huh?

What should they do? What would you do? Please send this question to your friends and co-workers. I want to go through as many responses as I can tonight on my internet radio show "Purple Matters" at 8pm on And please say in your response whether you are an AFSCME member, whether you are a state worker or whether you know someone who would be affected by the decision. Thanks a lot.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Branstad's Debut

The reviews haven't been exactly stellar for former Iowa Governor Terry Branstad's appearance at the "Leadership for Iowa" event at the Iowa State Fairgrounds Saturday night.

Radio Iowa's Kay Henderson calls it a "rocky performance" in her story this weekend.

The Des Moines Register's Kathie Obradovich said he "needs more practice".

I talked with probably about a dozen people at the event, maybe a few more...none seemed blown away by Branstad's speech. For the record, Branstad was the only candidate to stay within his allotted ten minutes.

Sunday, all six candidates for governor received the invite to attend the Hamilton County GOP's 3rd Annual Chili Supper and Fundraiser Auction. Candidate Chris Rants points out which four candidates showed up (you can figure for yourself with process of elimination Branstad and State Senator Jerry Behn were the no-shows). Here's Rants' tweet tonight:

Just left Hamilton Co GOP chili feed - me, Rod, Bob & Christian making our pitch for Gov nomination..
No mention of how the chili was...

Huckabee Book Tour

(Photo courtesy: Iowans_Rock)

I'm waiting to anchor the Channel 13 News at 9 on Fox 17 (yeah, that's a mouthful). So we had to send over another crew to cover former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee's book signing at Border's in West Des Moines. It's interesting following tweets and Facebook posts on the wait.
Iowans_Rock, the Twitter handle for one of the lead supporters for Huckabee in Iowa, posts that Huckabee's bus broke down on the way to West Des Moines. So the 8pm scheduled start began about 45 minutes late. A curious Republican also posted on Facebook that organizers handed out color-coded bracelets to the people in line. He writes they will call people up by their color when the signing begins.

Jonathan Martin of Politico is among the people waiting in the lines. He was already in town for Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty's visit to Des Moines Saturday. He tweeted this tonight:
How serious is grassley about re-elect? he's at a borders in w des moines at huck event, working the line thru the stacks
Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley spent the weekend back in the state, as he normally does. Not sure all he did today, but apparently Grassley also stopped by the mega church, Lutheran Church of Hope, in West Des Moines for Sunday services. He later tweeted that he enjoyed some afternoon music:
Rite now enjoying great presentation by Ia Veterans military Band. More than 1000 in dsm
By ending his night with Huckabee, Grassley spent back-to-back days with two of the early favorites in his party to run for president in 2012, T-Paw and Huck. Anyone seen Palin yet? I mean it is 2009:)

More Pawlenty for President

Here's a roundup of the stories of Tim Pawlenty's first visit to Des Moines as a possible presidential contender for 2012:

Jonathan Martin for Politico wrote about how T-Paw came after President Obama.

Radio Iowa's O. Kay Henderson wrote about T-Paw borrowing (with a twist) Obama's campaign line

The Des Moines Register's Kathie Obradovich wrote about T-Paw's "smokin' hot wife". (Kathie also wasn't too impressed with Terry Branstad's speech later that night).

Lee Enterprises's Charlotte Eby wrote about how T-Paw said Dems should focus on jobs.
gave T-Paw a positive write-up. gave T-Paw a positive write-up.

The Associated Press's Mike Glover wrote how T-Paw wants Iowans to focus their anger.

The Iowa Independent's Jason Hancock wrote about how T-Paw urged Iowa Republicans to stick together.

Pawlenty for President

Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty had his "coming out" before more than 500 Iowa Republicans Saturday night at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines. He has been here before, of course. But in 2008, he was here as John McCain's sidekick and cheerleader in McCain's ill-fated presidential run, both in Iowa and in the U.S. This was his first Iowa visit as the main attraction. He told Iowans he is also from the heartland, he shares their values and he won't be afraid to use the word, God. He also went out of his way to praise his wife, and in doing so, became, I presume, the first possible presidential candidate to come to Iowa and quote Ricky Bobby from "Talladega Nights" (I'm told from a Minneapolis reporter, this is a line he has used often...what? A politician recycles an applause line from audience to audience?) This morning Pawlenty's Twitter account tweeted a behind-the-scenes-look at the event last night, which includes the joke about his wife. Watch it below, along with original. Can anyone really deliver it as well as Ricky Bobby?

One clip you won't see is what can happen when an out-of-state politician comes to town to do the obligatory praise of that state's politicians. Pawlenty mistakenly called Iowa Sec. of Ag Bill Northey, "Dave", and called State Auditor Dave Vaudt, Dave "Voyt". Oops. He did correct Vaudt's name. I bet Pawlenty will get another chance to get it right:)

Friday, November 06, 2009

Union Deal?

Last Wednesday, Governor Chet Culver said he "expected" to hear from state unions by today on whether they would agree to re-negotiate contracts to save jobs of state workers. This was his quote, “Unfortunately, we do not have an endless amount of time in which to reach an agreement and to have it ratified by each respective union. I expect to know by Friday, November 6, whether we will move forward in discussions with the unions or implement the layoff plans.”

Earlier this week, Culver's spokesman said today was only a "goal". The office did not say today whether the unions made the "goal".

Apparently, the governor has returned to the state. The office sent out a release late this afternoon to say Culver would be in Spencer tonight for a pheasant hunt. This would be the governor's first public event in Iowa this week. He held campaign-related events in Washington, D.C. this week and held a public event where he met with Iowa veterans on the Iowa Honor Flight. Here's the release on the event we just learned of for tonight:

Governor Chet Culver is attending the “Governor’s Pheasant Hunt” tonight in Spencer, joining dozens of Iowans who love the outdoors, to raise funds for the Clay County chapter of Pheasants Forever.

The annual hunt brings together private individuals, corporate sponsors, and the state Department of Natural Resources, to showcase Iowa’s great outdoors, and to highlight the unlimited opportunities in Iowa’s wilderness.

“As Governor, I can think of no better way to spend a crisp fall weekend than being outdoors with my fellow hunters,” said Governor Culver. “The best part is, this hunt goes to support a great organization – Pheasants Forever. I appreciate the individuals and businesses who have donated their time and funds to make this event a success, and I want to thank Director Rich Leopold of the Department of Natural Resources for all he does to protect Iowa’s lands, lakes, rivers and streams.”

This is Governor Culver’s third annual Pheasant Hunt.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Purple Matters Tuesday night

Here's what you need to know from my "Purple Matters" internet radio show Tuesday night.

Pastor and host of the popular conservative Iowa blog, Caffeinated Thoughts, Shane Vander Hart, talked about his private meeting, along with about ten other Iowa religious leaders, that he had with former Governor Terry Branstad. The short of it...Shane wasn't too impressed. He recorded the encounter.

He is a big early backer of former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. He's not buying the story that Palin wanted 100-grand or so to speak to the Iowa Family Policy Center. But he also doesn't sound like he thinks it's the best idea for a possible presidential candidate to ask for a huge chunk of change to come speak to Iowans. His interview is in the first video segment below.

University of Iowa Professor Marshall Poe also described a horrifying experience he and his family had when a drunken student came pounding on his family's door in the middle of the night recently. Poe wrote an op-ed piece in the "Des Moines Register" Sunday. He wants the university to crack down on all the binge drinking that's going on. He recommends the university start suspending students for serious alcohol incidents. That, he believes, will get people's attention that the university is serious. Poe's interview is also below. By the way, on the side of his work as a professor, he also runs a website to highlight historical works (he's an accomplished author himself). Check it out here. His conversation with us is in the second video segment.

New York Times political writer Jeff Zeleny just finished a big project on how Iowans view President Obama since they helped elect him a year ago. Jeff knows Iowa well. He used to write for the Des Moines Register. He went back and interviewed several dozen of the same Iowans he interviewed before the election. He asked the Democrats, Republicans and purple Independents what they think of the Prez's performance. It seems some of the luster of the hope and change has worn away as reality has set in. Here's his piece in the NY Times. Jeff describes what he learned in his project in the second video segment below.

During the show, I asked for your opinions on whether it's o.k. to show a woman's breasts in a television story. WJLA-TV, the ABC station in Washington, D.C., aired bare breasts in video of a story showing how women should check for breast cancer. It is good journalism or is it just a ratings stunt for the "November sweeps"? Here's the story. What do you think?

As always, please share your news,views, questions, comments and suggestions.

Chet, Stronger Than Ever

Governor Chet Culver's campaign is out with its second tv ad. One thing I noticed in this ad, which, much like the first ad, tauts Culver's decision-making during this time of nearly unprecedented crisis, is that it refers to him as "Chet". Will the "Big Lug" also make a return in a future ad?

Here's the ad:

Monday, November 02, 2009


Ch-ch-ch-changes. Cue David Bowie.

Tim Albrecht, a.k.a, the Beanwalker, is trading beans for Branstad. Albrecht has begun as Terry Branstad's communications director. Gee, do you think this means Branstad will run for governor? Yes, that's sarcasm:) Here's the release from the Branstad, uhm, "campaign" (what exactly do we call it at this point?):

Governor Branstad 2010 Committee Names Tim Albrecht as Director of Communications
(URBANDALE, Iowa) – The Governor Branstad 2010 Committee today named Iowa Republican strategist Tim Albrecht as its Communications Director. Albrecht will handle media relations, new media and the online efforts of the campaign. He officially begins today.
“We are excited to have Tim join this campaign,” said Branstad committee leader Jeff Boeyink. “His extraordinary experience in both traditional and new media will be beneficial as we move forward in our efforts. His addition shows growing momentum as Governor Branstad explores a possible gubernatorial bid.”
Albrecht previously served on the campaigns of presidential candidate Steve Forbes and gubernatorial candidate Steve Sukup. He served four years as Communications Director for House Speaker Christopher Rants, R-Sioux City. He then served as the Iowa Press Secretary for Gov. Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, and currently is Communications Director for the American Future Fund – a nationwide conservative grassroots advocacy group based in Iowa.
“Governor Branstad is tested, proven and ready to lead this state in a positive direction,” said Albrecht. “Iowans in every corner of the state are concerned about mounting job and economic losses, as well as the bleak outlook of this state’s finances. It is time for us to have a strong leader in the governor’s office who will focus on moving Iowa forward.”
Albrecht served clients through his full-service communications firm, Albrecht Public Relations, and ran the popular conservative-leaning news aggregator, which Albrecht says will continue under a new publisher to maintain the integrity and independence of the site throughout the primary and general elections.
Former Iowa Representative Libby Jacobs also has a new job. She had been a victim of budget cuts at The Principal Financial Group, which cost her job as director of community relations. Jacobs was a 7-term Republican representative from West Des Moines, who didn't seek re-election in 2008. She just launched The Jacobs Group. Here's how she described her new endeavor in an email to me today:

The Jacobs Group is a consulting firm providing assistance to not-for-profit agencies and for-profit businesses in the areas of community/public relations, fund development strategies, grantwriting, and government affairs. The state's ethics laws preclude me, as a former legislator, from doing lobbying, so the government affairs activities center around issues management and grassroots organization.
And, for the 3rd "ch" of our ch-ch-ch-changes...1st District Congressman Bruce Braley has a new communications director, Caitlin Legacki. The name, "Caitlyn", sure can have a lot of spellings. Anyway, here's the release:

New Communications Director Joins Braley’s Staff

Washington, DC – Congressman Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) announced today Caitlin Legacki will serve as communications director in his Washington D.C. Congressional office. Legacki lived in Iowa during the 2008 presidential caucus when she worked for former U.S. Senator John Edwards’ press office in Des Moines.

Most recently, Legacki served as press secretary for U.S. Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC). During the 2008 general election, Legacki served as press secretary on Senator Jeanne Shaheen’s (D-NH) Senate campaign and is a graduate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

“I’m excited to add Caitlin’s experience and motivation to my team,” Braley said. “She’s very familiar with the people of Iowa and related issues, which make her a great fit. Caitlin has a diverse background of experience and a passion for this field that will make her a unique asset to my office.”

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Steve King for President

Fifth District Republican Congressman Steve King filled us with news this weekend. Two things headlined his chat with us: an almost tea party revolt and a run for president. King wants Americans to rush to Washington , D.C. to stop Congressional Democrats from passing a government-run public option in the health care reform package. King said he doesn't believe the numbers are changing and that more Americans support the public option. He wants Americans to "fill Washington". And if they can't go there in person, he wants them to jam the phone lines, email in boxes and talk shows. He isn't asking people to yell, like some of the most vocal did during town hall meetings this summer. But he wants them to show their passion to Congress. And he wants Congress to hear that passion, he said.

I also asked King about rumors that he may run for president in 2012. He didn't exactly say "no". He did say, for now, he wants what he calls a "national voice". The talk about a presidential run, he said, even attracted the curiosity of his wife. He said she asked him Friday night if he planned to run. Here's part of our interview with him this weekend: