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: