Sunday, October 31, 2010

Iowa Poll

Mid-term Math: The Des Moines Register's Iowa Poll shows Democratic Governor Chet Culver is down a dozen points to Republican challenger Terry Branstad with just two days until the election. Sunday, Culver, the former high school government teacher, laid out the math that he claims shows this race isn't what it may seem. Democrat Roxanne Conlin also had to give her best take on the numbers that show, according to the poll, she hasn't made up any ground against Republican U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley since the last poll in September. And that means she still trails by 31 points.

Our NBC affiliate, KTIV in Sioux City, asked both "C's" about the numbers.

Judicial retention

Backing the Judges: I think it's safe to say the groups trying to make sure Iowa Supreme Court justices don't get swept out of office Tuesday read the Des Moines Register Sunday. The new Iowa Poll shows more Iowans likely to vote want to vote out the judges than want to keep them in....37% to 34%. Sure, it's close. But, let's be honest, the judicial retention idea is not exactly what typically brings in the crowds to the polls. And if you have more interest in the topic, you are probably a lot more likely to flip over the ballot and cast your vote.

Sunday, Fair Courts for Us held a 4pm telephone conference call featuring two former Iowa governors: Republican Bob Ray and Democrat Tom Vilsack. Vilsack wouldn't say he was worried the judges were going down. He did agree with Ray that he is concerned Iowans don't fully realize what their vote is about on Tuesday. The concern is that Iowans ticked off that same-sex marriage is now legal want to take down the judges to turn things back to the way they used to be when same-sex couples couldn't legal marry in Iowa. That won't happen, of course, with this retention vote. But the govs aren't so sure people realize that. This whole issue is fascinating to me. It's always the unexpected issues that intrigue me the most.

Here's what the govs had to say:

Iowa Congressional Races

Campaign 2010: It's been a bit of whiplash following the Iowa Congressional races. Even the most die-hard Democrat doesn't have a lot of hope of upsetting Republican Steve King in the 5th District or Tom Latham in the 4th District. But handicapping the other three races, all held by Democrats, is tougher to do. Over the summer, it seemed the "insiders" were saying the 3rd District looked most likely to flip (and some publications still call it a "toss up". Of course, I've lived in Iowa nearly 10 years now. And every election, Republicans say they are going to take this seat away from Des Moines Democrat Leonard Boswell. It never happens. This year was supposed to be different:

It's a Republican year.
Health care reform, cap and trade and the federal stimulus were less than popular with voters.
Boswell's Republican challenger, Brad Zaun, is a former mayor, hardware shop owner and current state senator, making him well-known in the metro.
But then, The Des Moines Register got a hold of a police report from a decade ago when Zaun's former girlfriend had called police to say he was harassing her and pounding on her house one night. Later Zaun flipped his position on ethanol subsidies. First, he was against them. Then, he seemed to support them. National Republicans held onto their money and put it other races. Boswell and national Democrats kept pounding away. I don't recall Boswell ever running this many negative ads before this race. Zaun has started airing a commercial the last few days with his wife. No question the Boswell ads/police report have hurt his standing with women. Will the new ad do any good or has the damage been done?

Fast forward a bit...and insiders were saying, no, it's the 1st District that could change hands. It wasn't that long ago that Democrat Bruce Braley seemed like he would have no real problems getting re-elected. Braley's mentioned on the shortest of short lists when people start to speculate about Democrats who could replace Democratic U.S. Senator Tom Harkin, if Harkin decides not to run again. But then...the American Future Fund dropped in a mess of money ($800,000 if my memory is accurate) going after Braley. All of a sudden, little-known Independence Republican attorney Ben Lange starting closing the gap and the national folks started paying a lot more attention to this race. Vice-President Joe Biden just flew into town to help Braley, probably not a destination figured would be on the travel itinerary a short time ago., the latest talk is that...wait a's the 2nd District that could actually have the best chance of changing colors. Former college professor Dave Loebsack may not have the easy road to victory fellow Democrats once thought. This is the district that kept Republican Congressman Jim Leach in office for 30 years. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, who ran against him 2 years ago, is running again. She quit her job and loaned her campaign nearly half-a-million bucks (can I get some of that?). Now, Republicans have eyes on her chances there.

I'm getting dizzy.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Campaign Commercials, Culver, Coke Zero, Hardee's and Branstad

Must Avoid TV: Some of these campaign ads are a bit much, aren't they? How do some of these candidates sleep at night after twisting "facts" the way they do? Which ones bother you the most and why?

This Week: It's been a busy week and I haven't been on here as much as I should. So here are some things I've seen and heard this week:

Monday, I covered the "yes, yes, yes" and "no, no, no" dueling rallies at the Iowa Statehouse over the issue of whether to retain 3 Iowa Supreme Court justices following last year's unanimous ruling that allowed same-sex marriages. At each rally, I heard a speaker say, "Thanks for coming out". The phrase, "coming out", just struck me as a bit funny in this context:)

We followed Democratic Governor Chet Culver on his "Main Street vs. Wall Street Tour" on a stop in downtown Winterset. The gov spoke before about 20 people who had gathered at a realtor's office. The gov skipped stops at the next two businesses, a cafe and a coffee shop, when there weren't people there. These events do sometimes offer the unpredictable. A man asked the gov, a former college football player at Virginia Tech, if he would have called timeout as time was running out on the Iowa Hawkeyes last weekend or if he would have had the quarterback spike the ball to stop the clock and save the timeout. Hawkeye's Head Football Coach Kirk Ferentz, you will recall, opted to call his final timeout, which drew the ire of some football fans. Culver replied to the man's question with an emphatic, "Spike it. No question".

(We also stopped at the Winterset Hardee's. The place had Coke Zero! I used to work at Hardee's in southern Illinois as a high school and college student, so I like to eat there every once in a while. But what's happened to the burgers? Why is everything so crazy huge? What happened to the Big Twin?)

We also followed Republican challenger Terry Branstad on his "Road to Victory Tour" in downtown Newton as the Jasper County Republican Headquarters. Mississippi Gov Haley Barbour and Lousiana Gov Bobby Jindal joined Branstad. Virginia Gov Bob McDonnell was scheduled to appear, too. But Branstad's campaign told me the wind was too strong and McD's plane couldn't land. The place was packed with at least 60 people. No doubt the visit drew attention. But do visits like this focus too much attention on whether the two out-of-state govs are thinking about running for prez instead of why Branstad would be a better gov than Culver? Or is any attention good attention at this point of the campaign?

Thanks for Breakfast: Thanks to the Forum Breakfast Club in Des Moines for the invite to speak to the guys. This is one of those groups where each member comes from a different profession. I think the idea is if you need a dentist, you pick the dentist from the group, or a plumber from the group, etc. The members had great questions and they obviously pay attention to what's going on in the community. I wish everyone would do that.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Schultz Misses Votes

Mauro vs. Schultz: Should a person who wants to be in charge of Iowa's elections vote? That's become an issue in the race for secretary of state. Democrats point out Republican challenger, Matt Schultz skipped a number of elections, while incumbent Secretary of State Michael Mauro hasn't missed an election in a quarter of a century. Schultz misses these elections:

- 2009 School Election
- 2008 Primary Election
- 2004 School Election
- 2003 School Election
- 2003 City Election
- 2002 Primary Election
- 2002 School Election
- 2001 City Election
- 2001 School Election
- 2000 Primary Election

Here's the release that gives each man's voting record. And here's my interview with Schultz about missing votes.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Branstad, Culver Tours, Register Endorsement

Governors, Governors, Governors: Quick, how many governors does it take to do a tour? If you are Iowa's Republican candidate for governor, Terry Branstad, the answer is...6. Branstad announced his "Road to Victory tour", which begins Tuesday in Cedar Rapids. So we now know where he will be for the rest of the campaign (Branstad had disappeared from the campaign schedule following the debate Thursday).

On this tour, along with Branstad (a former governor, of course), you have former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Lousiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell. How many of them want to be president? Hmmm....

So why does Branstad want all these other govs for the tour? I asked his Communications Director Tim Albrecht. Here's what he said:

"These visits will provide for enthusiastic events throughout the state as we enter the final week of the campaign. Our supporters are energized, and this will help mobilize them as we continue our get out the vote efforts."

At least at this point, it is more of a day-to-day approach for Democratic Governor Chet Culver's campaign. His campaign has released some details of his "Main Street vs. Wall Street tour". All we now at this point is that it begins Monday at Baby Boomers Monday in Des Moines. Just one governor, as far as I know on this tour:)

Black and White: So which candidate gets the Des Moines Register's editorial endorsement Sunday a.m.? Would this be the final nail in the coffin for the Culver campaign if Branstad gets it? On the other hand, how big a boost would it be for Culver in the campaign's final week plus?
The Register also makes its pick for the U.S. Senate race. The paper has picked all five Democrats in the Congressional races so far. Will it do it again in favor of long-shot candidate Roxanne Conlin? Or does the paper go with Republican long-timer, Chuck Grassley?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Final Iowa Governor's Debate, Shawn Johnson

And Then There Were None: 2 candidates, 3 debates. And now they are finished. So what did you think of the third and final Iowa governor's debate? I must say, I thought this was my favorite of the three by far. And there is no question, the voters won this debate. Sure, it's fun for us tv folks to do a story on how the candidates kept shooting one-line zingers back and forth. But that's about all we had from the first two debates. This third debate featured much more. And kudos to Kathie Obradovich from the Des Moines Register, O. Kay Henderson from Radio Iowa and Dean Borg from Iowa Public Radio (and, of course, Dan Miller and his gang at Iowa Public TV for hosting the event). The format was great. Moderators asked something like 25 questions. Graphics were good. Followups were good. They talked about the future and not just how each candidate's past sucks. We viewers/voters actually learned something! Who knew?

You can watch the entire debate at I thought Chet Culver's biggest hit may have been on two statewide questions for voters, the trust fund for the environment and the retention vote for the three Iowa Supreme Court justices. Culver said he would support the ballot question for the environment and he would retain all the justices. Terry Branstad wouldn't answer either question. He said he has taken the position not to try to influence Iowans on those issues. Culver pounced on that answer (or lack thereof, depending on your viewpoint) both during the debate and in the "post-game". He said, "governors lead".

I thought Branstad's biggest hit may have actually come AFTER the debate. Culver has hit Branstad almost daily for the past week or so on where he will cut 15% from the budget as he has pledged. Branstad hasn't released a detailed list of spending cuts to get to that target. Culver has tried to make points how devastating 15% cuts would be to public service, for one, citing how that will raise crime. I don't recall him saying this when he cut all departments 10% last year. After the debate, Branstad seemed to admit he doesn't have all the cuts figured out. He said, unlike Culver, he would hold budget hearings and meet with department heads and lawmakers to cut up with 3% cuts for each of the next 5 years. He said Culver is assuming he would be doing an across-the-board cut like Culver did. And Branstad said, no, he would not be doing that. Here are both men in the post-game.

So who won? I saw no staggering. No bleeding. Does that mean no earth-shattering, jaw-dropping, holy cow, did you see that moments? Did you? Did Culver's performance earn him standing with voters as he tries to close the gap in the campaign's final days? Is it too little too late? Did Branstad have the ideas and vision to convince Iowans he is best-suited to move back into the governor's mansion? What did you think?

ShawnJohn: West Des Moines native and gold medal gymnast Shawn Johnson is blowing up the internet apparently. She did an interview with the BBC. Yahoo had her listed as one of the most talked about topics. And her own website couldn't handle all the traffic for a while. Shawn tells the BBC about her loneliness now that she has moved back home with her parents, while her friends have gone off to college. She has canceled her celebrity appearance schedule to focus on training four hours a day, six days a week. And she also admits she doesn't know if she can make it back to the world stage. It's a fascinating interview. Good luck, Shawn!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Campaign Ads, Rent is Too Damn High

Down and Dirty: Two weeks left. For better or worse, two weeks left until the election. One race has drawn my attention recently. It is also featured in this morning's Des Moines Register. It is Senate District 37, which covers parts of Madison, Dallas and Warren Counties. And this one isn't for the weak-stomached. One candidate bought a website with the domain of the other candidate. And that candidate is running ads alleging that her opponent is dangerous to children.

Democrat Staci Appel, the wife of Iowa Supreme Court Justice Brent Appel, is running for her second term. She is running an ad. I guess you would have to call it a "scare" ad. I'm not sure what else to call it. In the ad, the announcer says her opponent voted to let abusers buy guns that can be used to kill people while the video shows a child sitting on the floor. I would like to attach the ad, so you can see it. But I can't find it anywhere on-line. It isn't on Appel's website. I also noticed her site doesn't list any events at all for the month of October. Surely, she is holding events, right? Anyone seen the ad anywhere, so I can post it here?

Republican Kent Sorenson is giving up his house seat to run against Appel. He bought and then let a friend take it over. The Register reports he actually bought about a dozen sites with variations of Appel's name i them. The one anti-Appel site doesn't say anywhere on the site that he bought the domain name for it. The site give its take on Appel's positions on the issues.

What do you think of the race? I'm not really concerned which candidate you like. Here's what I want to know: Does Appel's ad go too far with its scare tactics? And does Sorenson go too far in its deception buying a website with his opponent's name? Do you think one is fine, but not the other? Or are both appropriate in love and politics? O.K, just politics. Probably not much love here:)

Rent is Too Damn High!: Who says politics is boring? Have you seen any of the highlights from the New York governor's debate last night? Democrat Chet Culver and Republican Terry Branstad will REALLY have to work in their final televised debate in Iowa to top New York!

In New York, a candidate (and karate master) named Jimmy McMillan is running as a candidate of the Rent is Too Damn High Party. No, I'm not making this up. And he stole the show during the debate last night. Not only did he keep coming back to his theme that, of course, the rent is too damn high. But when asked if he supports same-sex marriage, he said "If you want to marry a shoe, I'll marry you." I assume that means, yes? Here are some highlights for your viewing pleasure...

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Rendell in Des Moines, Chilean Miner Video

Ready for Rendell: Pennsylvania's Democratic Governor Ed Rendell is in Des Moines tonight to try to help fellow Gov. Chet Culver, raise some money for the Iowa Democratic Party and add a little fire to the Dems' efforts. Rendell is the keynote tonight for the IDP's Jefferson Jackson Day Dinner. I will be curious what kind of crowd he can attract. We caught his warm up act this afternoon at a campaign stop for Culver. Here are a few highlights:

He used a football analogy (appropriate on this football Saturday). He said if Dems were a football team, they would be 8-8 (hardly Heisman-hype-type talk, huh?). But Repubs, if they were a team, they would be only 3-13. So he asks why people would want to go back to that lesser record?

He called Culver's opponent, Terry Branstad's opposition to Culver's universal, state-funded pre-k education "about the dumbest idea I've ever heard". And goes on to ask, "What's he thinking. Is he thinking?"

He said Dems have the momentum. But he asked, "Will we get there in time?"

Finally, Culver, as you know, is called the Big Lug, by some supporters. Rendell said, "Knowing Chet and looking at him, when he gets momentum, pretty hard to bring down".

No one said Rendell was boring! ">Here's the video from Rendell Raw.

Chi Chi Chi Le Le Le!--MSNBC (anybody figure out what its new slogan, "Learn forward", means yet?) reports just how captivated we were with the miraculous rescue of those 33 trapped Chilean miners. The cable network said the only event for which it provided more live video streams was President Barack Obama's inauguration. 10 million live video streams, wow.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Culver Justices, Jobs

Culver TV: Iowa Governor Chet Culver supported justices and jobs during his stop at Channel 13 today. I don't want to give it all away, but John Bachman and I sat down with governor for his first appearance on Channel 13's "The Insiders" show since he became governor. Culver said he thinks the three Iowa justices up for retention this November should be retained.

I also revisited a topic with him for which I have struggled to get information throughout the year: his I-JOBS program. I looked up unemployment rates since I-JOBS began and compared that to the national average during that time. Here's what I found:

July, 2009 Iowa Unemployment rate: 6.1% Latest report: 6.8%

U.S. Unemployment rate 9.4% Latest report: 9.6%

Iowa has had Culver's I-JOBS program and the federal stimulus program going on during that time. I wanted the governor to tell us why the Iowa rate has gone up despite that millions of I-JOBS money spent. The governor never really gave us an answer. His campaign later told me the unemployment rate would be worse if it weren't for I-JOBS.

You can see the entire interview on "The Insiders" on Channel 13 this Sunday at 9:30a.m. Did I mention it will be in high-definition (the bosses like it when we mention that:)

Lean Forward: That is MSNBC's new slogan. Can someone please explain what it means? Sorry, I just don't get it.

Rabbitson Cooper: I wondered why Anderson Cooper wasn't live on CNN from Chile from the site of that amazing miners' rescue. It turns out he came to Des Moines. And he dressed up like this?

Cooper is doing a piece at the Great Ape Trust. He tweeted this picture of himself. This story offers a little background for your obvious question...WHAT is he doing?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Parsing Polls: This is the time of year where we get bombarded with election polls. A couple just came out this week. It's always interesting to me when a campaign releases an internal poll, especially when we reporters normally never get them when we ask. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee released one showing Iowa Third District Congressman Leonard Boswell is up 8 points over his Republican challenger, Brad Zaun. Eight points isn't huge. But the question is, is it significant?

This week, the DCCC has pulled money out of the Des Moines tv market. We don't know whether the money is gone for good. But it's difficult to see how this means the DCCC thinks Boswell is a lost cause. It would more likely show the DCCC thinks the money is needed in other races elsewhere. On the other side, where is the national Republican money for Zaun? I asked him that...whether the national Republicans will send money his way for the race or whether he is on his own? Zaun told me he is moving forward like he is on his own. His explanation was that the national Repubs are putting their money in other races with bigger gaps between the candidates. His race is close, he said, so he isn't getting the money. He said no one has told him he won't get any money. Here is what he said to me:

"My game plan is do this by myself. I've been told what they're doing is helping other races. I guess they're involved in races, looking at races that have a larger spread in regards to being, in regards to polling. I think that's kind of a calculated risk they're doing. I think that's kind of a calculated risk they're doing. I don't know why they're doing that."

It's a curious explanation from Zaun. Conventional wisdom, I think, is that the nationals would get involved in races where they feel their money would put a candidate over the top. In this case, Zaun is claiming he is getting bypassed because his race is really competitive.

In the Iowa governor's race, Democratic Governor Chet Culver's campaign released a poll it commissioned. Here's the release it send out:

Latest Polling Results Show Dramatic Shift in Governor's Race
Posted on Tuesday, October 12 at 2:19pm

DES MOINES -- Governor Chet Culver’s Campaign Manager, Donn Stanley, today announced that the battle for the Governor's Office is now an 8-point race. A poll of 600 general election Iowa voters conducted by Global Strategies Group found that 39 percent support Governor Chet Culver versus 47 percent for Terry Branstad. Four percent support another candidate, and 9 percent are undecided.

"Chet Culver clearly has the momentum," Stanley said. "Iowans are seeing more and more that Chet Culver has the vision to carry our state forward, while Terry Branstad wants to take us back to the same failed policies and broken promises. In the final three weeks of this campaign Governor Culver will continue to work tirelessly to close the remaining gap and win this race for the people of Iowa."

The poll was conducted from Oct. 7-10, 2010, by the Global Strategy Group. Six hundred Iowa voters were polled. The margin of error in the poll is +/- 4.0%.

This "dramatic shift" the campaign claims is based on comparing two different polls with two different methodologies. The campaign is attempting to show movement in this race by comparing the results of this poll, which the campaign paid for, and the Des Moines Register's Iowa Poll. The Iowa Poll showed Culver trailing badly to Branstad by 19 points. I wanted to see a clearer measure of the claims of a dramatic shift for Culver by comparing Culver's current campaign poll to a previous one using the same methodology. His campaign refused to release results of an earlier poll and responded with this statement:
We feel this poll is a good snapshot of Governor Culver's momentum at this point in the cycle. While we all agree the only poll that matters is on election day, we'll let this poll speak for itself. Considering Tim Albrecht's statement about our poll, the obvious question is why Terry Branstad isn't releasing the results of their own internal polling?
Albrecht is Branstad's campaign communications director. He sent this out in response to the Culver poll:
1. Consider the source. Polls released by campaigns are normally done so for political purposes by desperate candidates.

2. Hard to believe that any incumbent would take comfort in sitting below 40% three weeks from election.

3. Independent third party polls show TEB consistently above 50% and Governor Culver in the mid to low 30%s.

4. The only poll that counts is the one conducted on election day.

I don't recall seeing any internal polls Branstad's campaign has released.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Culver, Branstad Commit to Insiders

Must See TV: It won't be a debate. But we did get both major candidates for Iowa governor to give us a half-hour of tv time. Governor Chet Culver will be first up on Channel 13's Insiders. His episode will air Sunday, October 17th, at 9:30am. Terry Branstad will air the following Sunday at 9:30a.m.. By this point in the campaign, the two have been asked a lot of things. So we don't want to rehash old news. What hasn't been covered enough yet? Which issues/ideas haven't the candidates answered well enough yet? Comment at the bottom of this post, Tweet me, Facebook me, email me, heck snail mail me...just let me know what you want us to ask on the show. Independents and undecideds, I'm especially interested in what you want to know. So don't hold back!

More to See: Forget "the View" and whatever that new show Julie Chen and those other 18 women are doing for CBS. The Des Moines Register's Rehka Basu is starting an on-line show. She will feature First Lady Mari Culver this week and former First Lady Chris Branstad the following week. Always good to see more options, especially LOCAL ones:)

Grassley Election, Conlin Twitter, Favre Text

Pundit Politician: Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley told us today why the Democrats are in bad shape going into this election. He said they just didn't listen. Here is what he told us at the Covered Bridge Parade in Winterset:

"No one political party can take anything for granted. And if the Democrats had been keeping their ear to the ground the last 15 months, I don't think the trend would be so much in favor of the Republicans."
Grassley's opponent, Roxanne Conlin, has been complaining Grassley has made himself scarce lately. I've noticed she has been dropping in messages in the social media to make her point. Here's what she said in a recent Twitter post:

Charles City ROCKS! Always a great group with smart questions. Floyd County is critical to our victory. And where in the world is Sen G
Foolish Favre: Is Brett Favre really stupid enough to take a cell phone picture of his junk and send it to a woman other than his wife? Wow, and I thought I was just annoyed with the endless "Will he retire or won't he" b.s. after every season with him. Can the NFL really suspend him for this? And Favre won't talk about the whole thing. Sorry, dude, but that doesn't make us think you are innocent on this one. Why won't you talk about the allegations? Maybe you could sext us your response.

Friday, October 08, 2010

2nd Debate

Gub vs. Gub: So, what did you think? Chet Culver and Terry Branstad faced off in their second televised statewide debate at Coe College in Cedar Rapids last night. Did Branstad successfully fend off another major collapse? Did Culver get his game changer?

I don't see how Iowans learned much from the debate. There seemed to be very little new ground covered. And at this point in the race, don't we need to cover new ground? One-liner after one-liner can make for a few laughs, but what do the viewers really learn? Perhaps, they can watch a candidate's behavior and judge which one is more "gubernatorial"? Does that mean Culver lost since he quibbled with the moderator about the rules several times and even got jeered from the crowd when he wouldn't let his point go? Or does he score points with the undecideds for not letting it go?

Here's what bugs me the most with these first two debates: I want followup questions. Culver in the first debate clearly had the strategy to avoid the moderators' questions and use his time to attack Branstad. I didn't see him do that as much the second time. But I think Iowans would have been better served if the panel could have asked followups to questions to try to force the candidates to answer questions or at least try to get more specific questions. At this point in the race, don't we deserve to hear more than "the other guy sucks"? Seriously. What did we learn about the future? Sure, we need to hear the points they make about each other's failures in office and their own successes. But shouldn't we also find out their vision for the future? It isn't like we are living in the best of times right now. Don't we need to find out how Iowans can go back to work? How our schools can recapture their past successes? How we are going to care for our aging population? What the emerging industries will be in our state? What about our health? We keep getting fatter. Isn't that a long-term problem for our state? I could go on and on. Perhaps, being a new dad makes me want to hear more about the future. I didn't hear that last night.

So who won? The Des Moines Register's Kathie Obradovich gave the debate to Branstad, although, she writes it was hardly a convincing win. Iowa State Political Professor Steffen Schmidt did, too, although, a bit more convincingly. He emailed me:

Interesting and fairly lively debate.

If nothing else Culvers closing comment about Branstad “in the 1920’s” sealed his fate! He seemed rattled.

Also, Culver was sweating (Nixon debate) and kept touching his nose which is a terrible no no - Poker players see that as a clue that you are lying about the hand you are playing.
The Cedar Rapids Gazette's Todd Dorman saw no game changer. He said Culver hit some singles but failed to get the home run he needed since he is down big late in the game. Culver did get props from retired University of Iowa Professor Bruce Gronbeck in a Quad City Times story.

So what did you think?

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Culver-Branstad 2nd Debate

Debate Deux: It's 6:30pm. I'm sure you're pacing around the room waiting for the much-anticipated rematch tonight between Chet Culver and Terry Branstad. It's not like the Twins-Yankees, Nebraska-Kansas State and what's left of "Must See TV" is on tonight, right?

For the dedicated, it is the second gubernatorial debate, this time at Coe College in Cedar Rapids. Here's what we know:

Culver's campaign tells me he will come after Branstad for failing to offer a plan on helping Cedar Rapids recover from the record floods of 2008. The campaign said CC will also hit TB on what it calls "broken promises".

Branstad's campaign offered a few more specific targets tonight. TB plans on talking about his plans for job creation (although, the campaign said we shouldn't expect new jobs ideas from TB). TB plans to come after CC if he fails to answer questions from the moderators like CC did in the first debate (CC used his time instead to attack TB). The campaign is also talking up CC's skills as a debater.

Here are my questions:

Will CC use the same strategy and avoid answering questions and use all his time ripping on TB? Will voters tolerate that for a second straight debate?

Will TB offer any more specifics about his plan to create 200,000 jobs and to trim 15% from the state budget?

Will CC lay out a vision for his second term or concentrate his time on calling TB a "liar, dishonest, etc."?

Will TB visibly show that he is annoyed again with CC's performance/attacks, etc.?

Who will look like he is the best person to lead the state's recovery efforts?

Let me know what you thought? Who scored points? Who won? Will this debate make any difference?

Sunday, October 03, 2010

The election, Mike Pence

Oh, My!--We really get some doozies in our email inbox here at Channel 13. This one should make us all laugh, until we realize this guy, Gary, is probably serious when he wrote this:

"I went to vote today and Obama wasn't even on the balot. How can the president not be on the balot. That is RACEISM! he will loose if nobody cant vote for him. You MUST INVESTIGATE this."
Wow, Gary, I'm sorry u is so woried about this raceism. You shuld probly right him inn on the balot.

President Pence--Yes, I think you should add him to the short list (is it short still?) of the presidential possibilities for the Republican Party in 2012. Radio Iowa's O. Kay Henderson gives the word for word like only she can from Saturday night's Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition banquet at the Iowa State Fairgrounds.

I will bet you a six-pence he will be back in Iowa again.

Flying High--We were nervous about taking our 9-week-old on his first airplane to see his mommy's family in Tampa. Facebook friends gave us some good advice (keeping a pacifier and a bottle handy to help him when his ears tried to pop with the altitude changes). And they worked great! No problems at all. Although, perhaps, the true test will be when he and my wife return Monday night (I came back early for work). Make us proud, Hayden:)