Monday, March 28, 2011

Branstad Monday Morning News Conference

Monday Morning: Iowa Governor Terry Branstad holds a briefing with reporters on Mondays at 9am, unlike his predecessor, Chet Culver. Branstad covers a bunch of things. Here are some quick highlights before I head off to the nuclear power subcommittee in the senate this morning: The governor didn't answer the question whether he will be dove hunting now that leaders have legalized it. He did say his son, Marcus, was "excited" about the possibility. He added he worked on a committee pushing for dove hunting back in 1973. He expects the house to pass his remake of the Iowa Department of Economic Development to the new private-public partnership called the Iowa Partnership for Economic Progress. He said his staff also helped to redo 19 pages of amendments into 4 lines. The governor said he heard Caterpillar is looking at leaving Illinois because of high taxes there. He said he already sent the company a letter (along with about 700 other Illinois-based companies) talking up Iowa's lower tax structure to try to lure companies here. Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds also came over to me after the news conference to say she talked with a pharmaceutical company from Illinois that told her about receiving another one of the governor's letters to move to Iowa. She didn't identify the company. Reynolds also declined with a little laughter to say which possible 2012 presidential candidate she thought was the best at Iowa Congressman Steve King's Conservative Principles Conference in Des Moines (Barbour, Gingrich, Bolton, Cain and Bachmann). Reynolds spoke at the conference. Branstad say he was out of state at a wedding. Off to my nuclear meeting. (Not sure why...but I can't seem to put in spaces between each different subject. Technical issue. Sorry about the eye strain:)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Steve King Won't Run for President

No King for Prez: Western Iowa Congressman Steve King told me last year, a few times, he was thinking about running for president in 2012. But this weekend, he told me it doesn't look like that will happen. King said two things were missing for his presidential run: "a calling and a groundswell", he told me. Instead, he said he will be looking at the other possible Republican presidential candidates. He said he won't endorse until at least after the Republican Party of Iowa's straw poll in August. Isn't it a given King will endorse his neighbor to the north, Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann? King told me, no. He said, "She's a great friend. On the issues, we go across the board. We are instinctively together. But (former Colorado Congressman) Tom Tancredo has that same type of relationship. History will show I didn't endorse Tom Tancredo when he ran for president." Tancredo ran in 2008. King (who I thought looks like Tancredo) instead endorsed Fred Thompson. That one didn't turn out so well. By the way, I was trying to figure out exactly how many presidential candidates there were at King's first-ever Conservative Principles Conference Saturday in downtown Des Moines. Tom Beaumont wrote a preview story for the Des Moines Register saying there would be 4 (this will be one of his last stories for the paper as he leaves for the Associated Press). His later story counted 5 possible candidates (he added former UN Ambassador John Bolton). I had gone with 5, but wasn't sure what to do with South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint, who King's event considered the headliner of the evening event. I asked King whether to call DeMint a "possible candidate". King said DeMint made it "pretty clear he's not coming as a candidate." So, I'm sticking with 5 possible candidates for the day. That was plenty to try to fit into one tv story.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Donald Trump Won't Be Coming to Steve King's Dinner

No The Donald: Iowa's Republican 5th District Congressman Steve King holds his Conservative Principles Conference in Des Moines this weekend. He had invited Donald Trump to attend. But Trump's spokesman, Michael Cohen, told me Trump would not be coming this weekend. He did say Trump would come to Iowa "very soon". Cohen didn't specify when that would be. Trump does have to figure out how to handle his continuing role on NBC's show, "The Apprentice". He told me last month he would have to finish his duties with the show, which ends in June, before he could get into the presidential race.

Pawlenty Forming Exploratory Committee

Pawlenty for President: Nothing, it seems, gets done all at once in presidential politics any more. So this afternoon, former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty is announcing a presidential exploratory committee. He can announce his presidential run later, so that he can get more media coverage (sorry, is that too cynical?) For now, Pawlenty is making his announcement on Facebook. If you go there now (as I write this at 11:20am), you can see the countdown clock until the exploratory committee announcement. Last month, Eric Woolson, the architect behind Mike Huckabee's improbable 2008 Iowa Caucus win, reluctantly said he would work for Pawlenty if asked. I say "reluctantly" not for a lack of desire to work for TPAW. But it sounds like the Washington Post's Chris Cillizza scooped everyone on it before some people close to TPAW really were ready for the news to come out.

4:30pm update: O.K., it's happened. Pawlenty made his announcement. He has formed the exploratory committee. I just talked with him. He told me "Iowa is going to be a very important place in our strategy. Of course, we value and respect Iowa's first-in-the-nation caucus state. It's also next door to Minnesota. So when you drive from southern Minnesota to Iowa, unless you look at the road signs, you can't tell you changed states. Many of the issues...the economy, the culture, the background are very similar. It's very comfortable there for me."

Sounds like he plans on playing up the neighbor angle, eh? So as Iowa's neighbor and as a little-known candidate nationally, "the expectations game"...fairly or unfairly...will dictate a strong finish, won't it? He told me, "history would show you gotta do reasonably well in Iowa and New Hampshire. Otherwise, you don't get to move on. So, yeah, we expect to do well. I wouldn't put an exact number on it. But we need to do well in Iowa."

History demands a candidate do well. No candidate has gone on to win the presidency without at least placing in the top 3 in the caucuses.

So what does Pawlenty offer the others don't? He said it's his ability to bring together all factions of his party. He said, "I think the thing I bring to the table is I can unite the conservative movement in the party in a way most other candidates can't. If you look at the conservative movement, it consists of economic conservatives, social conservatives, kind of liberatarian or tea party conservatives...national security conservatives. There's candidates who appeal primarily to one of those categories, but I have the ability to compete and get support from all of them. I think I can be the unifying candidate in the race."

Pawlenty plans to add to his Iowa caucus staff later this week and plans a return visit April 1st and 2nd.

Here's my conversation with him today:

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Save a Life Saturday

Saving a Life: Today, my wife and I sat in on the American Red Cross' "Save a Life Saturday" training. The Red Cross held the free training across the country in light of what happened with Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in January. Bystanders helped provide aid after police say Jared Loughner started gunning people down.

We took part in the training at the Clive YMCA this morning. I must say I was surprised with how little I knew.

Learning lesson #1: When you are giving compressions on a victim's chest to get his heart re-started, you may break the person's ribs. I had no idea. But it may actually make doing it easier. Gruesome, a little, I admit. But it sounds like it's a necessary evil for the chance to save a person's life.

Lesson #2: You try to give 100 compressions per minute to keep the blood moving. Try it. It's tougher than it may sound. It can get pretty physical. Hopefully, the adrenaline keeps you going.

Lesson #3: I didn't know this either. You can either sing out loud or just in your head. The beat of the Bee Gees' song, "Stayin' Alive", hits the speed of your goal for your compression rhythm. Pretty fitting song, I'd say.

Sing along with me...

Friday, March 18, 2011

Tim Pawlenty's Changing Dialect

Southern TPaw: I wasn't the only one who noticed MinnesOOta's former governor Tim Pawlenty seemed to "southern" it up during the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition's event last week. Here's his full speech from that event in Waukee. Minnesota Public Radio took it a step further. A reporter pulled words from a Pawlenty address in Minnesota last year and compared them to him saying the same words at the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition event in Iowa. It's a fascinating idea, although I wish it included more than just one or two words at a time. In a perfect world, a sentence or two would make it a little easier to compare. But it's interesting, nonetheless. Check it out. What do you think?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Branstad Friend, Richard Schwarm, Forms Group

A Little Help: Richard Schwarm has known Iowa Governor Terry Branstad a long time. They used to be law partners. Schwarm used to be Republican Party of Iowa Chairman. Schwarm just formed a new group called the Iowans for Growth and Development. But first, a little Joe Cocker...

(Joe Cocker has nothing to do with this, by the way. The song just came to mind).

I asked Schwarm whether his new group's purpose is to push his friend's agenda of cutting taxes (well, mostly, except for raising taxes on casinos), revamping the Iowa Department of Economic Development and creating 200,000 jobs in the next 5 years. Schwarm acknowledged, "We have known each other a long time...and Terry and I share values." He stopped short of saying, yes, this is a group to push TB's ideas. In the group's articles of incorporation paperwork with the Iowa Secretary of State, here's how Schwarm describes the objectives:

"(1) developing and advocating for legislation, regulations, and government programs to improve and stimulate the economy and (2) conducting research and publicizing the positions of elected officials concerning these issues, thereby bringing about civic betterments and social improvements for the common good and general welfare of the people of Iowa."

Schwarm said we can expect to hear radio commercials pushing his group's ideas. He joked radio is cheaper than tv. He couldn't say when ads would start airing, although he did say fundraising is underway. It's "very early" became his response to several of my questions. He said it's "very early" when I asked whether the group will push for Branstad's casino tax increase (I haven't heard much support at the Iowa Statehouse for hiking casino taxes). So no answer on that yet.

Who pays for this group? We will likely never know. Schwarm has organized this group as one of those 501(c)(4) corporations. That means it isn't for profit but it also isn't for public knowledge about which people write the checks. That seems to be the way groups are doing things these days. Our two analysts this weekend on Channel 13's "The Insiders" didn't sound too thrilled with these types of groups. You can hear what they think Sunday on Channel at 9:30am.

Home School Parents Could Teach Kids to Drive

(Where are your car keys, dad?)

10 and 2: I sat in on the debate in the Iowa house on whether home school parents should be able to teach their kids to drive, instead of having training drivers education instructors do it. Kim Pearson, the freshman house Republican from Pleasant Hill, lead the house debate. She has been a home school educator herself, which actually set up a pretty interesting discussion with one of the Democrats, Curt Hanson, of Fairfield. He taught drivers' education for 43 years.

As you might predict here, Pearson believes home school parents should be well-qualified to teach their kids to drive, while Hanson thinks people trained for the job, like himself, would be better teachers. He brought up the point that methods and rules change, and parents don't always keep up with them. I must say as a new parent (one who is now nearly 14 years from beginning the process of teaching Hayden how to drive--GULP!), I was surprised by something Hanson said. To prove his case, he said instructors used to say to keep your hands at "10 and 2" on the wheel (picture it like the hands on a clock at 10 and 2 o'clock). But he said they haven't taught that for years. Really? I asked around in the newsroom and people here were as surprised as I was. Apparently, according to Hanson, young drivers learn to hold their hands at "8 and 4" now. Here's why: Hanson said it's all because of the invention of airbags. He said at 10 and 2, when the airbags activate during a crash, your hands might fly back and hit you in the face. But at 8 and 4, your hands would fly back lower than your head. Hmmm...never thought of that.

As far as the debate goes, the house passed it easily. Now it goes to the senate. But senators had already talked about a similar measure earlier this session and shot it down. So it's not likely to have much of a chance the second time around. 8 and 4, everyone.

The Pepsi Challenge: Coke is the country's top selling soft drink. But Diet Coke just passed Pepsi for number 2. An Associated Press story says 4 of the top 10 soft drinks on the list are diets. How are we still so fat then? Or is this a sign of progress?

For the record, I'm a Coke Zero guy, which didn't make the list. Of course, finding restaurants or convenience stores that sell it, is a tall order.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Same-Sex Marriage Rallies

Return Rally: This same-sex marriage fight won't end...almost certainly not this legislative session at the Iowa Statehouse. We had dueling rallies, although, really there was just one rally and one event. Here are some random observations:

By the numbers: Nearly 500 people opposing same-sex marriage. Several dozen supporting it.

Attire: Anti-same-sex'ers mostly wore red. Pro-same-sex'ers didn't dress the same. They did wear stickers showing support for their cause.

Age: A lot more gray in the crowd from the same-sex marriage opponents. Many retired people. Not all, but many. Same-sex marriage supporters seemed to be more 20 and 30-somethings. Does that reflect changing opinions in the state? Or is it just a coincidence?

Here Comes the Judge: Former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore spoke in opposition to same-sex marriage. I actually covered Moore's election 10 years ago in Gadsen, Alabama, when he became chief justice. He was later removed from the bench for refusing to take down the Ten Commandments in the supreme court building. I left the state for Iowa before that happened. I do remember watching the Bush-Gore presidential race with him on tv back then though. I also remember trying to figure out what the heck Dan Rather was saying sometimes.

More By the Numbers: Times Bob Vander Plaats ran and lost in the race for governor: 2. Times Roy Moore ran and lost in the race for governor: 2.

BVP VP: This was the first time I saw Vander Plaats signing autographs. He did it before event began. He spoke at the rally but apparently left before it finished. I couldn't find him afterwards for an interview. Moore signed autographs, too, in case you were wondering.

Iowa, Onionized: Coincidentally, this week Iowa's same-sex marriage debate made the satire-publication, "The Onion".

Gingrich, the Giver: The Washington Post reports likely 2012 presidential candidate Newt Gingrich helped give a bunch of cash to oust the 3 Iowa supreme court justices. Will the $150k help get Gingrich some love next year for the caucuses?

Rally Day at Iowa State Capitol

Re-Rally Time: The Family Leader holds another rally to oppose same-sex marriage at the Iowa State Capitol today. One Iowa, the same-sex rights group, holds another rally at the Iowa State Capitol today to support same-sex marriage. holds another rally at the Iowa State Capitol today to support union rights. Do you notice a pattern here? I'm not sure how many rallies from each of these organizations we have covered in the past few months. But their messages are usually the same. And so far, the outcome seems the same. The Republican-dominated house passed a bill to let Iowans vote on a constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriages. But the Democratic-controlled senate pledges to let the bill die. The Republican-dominated house also passed a bill that would take away some bargaining power from state employee unions. But the Democratic-controlled senate pledges to let that idea die, too. So what is the point of all these rallies when nothing changes? Waste of every one's time or is it worth it to let passionate people continue to show their passion in the hopes pressure can change other people's minds?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Potato Bars, Mitch Daniels for President

You Say Potato. I Say, What?: I must admit I haven't heard of this one before. But there were three churches in Newton, Iowa, this weekend that held potato bars. The Newton Daily News had some background on it. I've seen all-you-can-eat potato bar buffets at restaurants. But I didn't know churches did their own potato thing. Because I'm nosy, I called Pastor Tiare Mathison-Bowie from one of the potato bar hosts, First Presbyterian Church in Newton. She said the church has been doing the potato bars for a half-dozen years or so. And, in case you thought of this before I did, there is, indeed a St. Patrick's Day connection. The timing of the potato bar event is no coincidence. It's all because of the potato famine in Ireland in the 1840s. Pastor Mathison admits her church's event is really the opposite of the potato famine. It's more, "Thank God for the blessings of potatoes", she told me. And she said this weekend offers a natural connection, coming before St. Pat's Day, giving everyone an excuse to get together for fellowship and thanks. About 95 people potatoed at the church today. Sorry to bother you on a Sunday night, pastor:)

(Pastor Tiare Mathison-Bowie. Photo courtesy: First Presbyterian Church, Newton)

And, of course, no potato story is complete without this spud dud memory:

More Mitch?: Did you see Indiana's Governor Mitch Daniels on "Meet the Press" this morning? I must say he didn't ooze the "I want to run for president" vibe, did he?

Here are some highlights thanks to the Politico's Mike Allen:

MITCH DANIELS, to Chuck Todd, guest moderator of "Meet the Press," on whether he'll run for president: "I'm not sure. ... I've agreed to consider it." On his deadline: "I don't know." On whether he can wait all summer: "I have no idea. ... There are some REALLY good people running. I like 'em all. ... It could be any one of those folks."

Saturday, March 12, 2011

2012: Gingrich and Bachmann

Their Words, Your Thoughts: Newt Gingrich said he screwed around on his wife because he loved his country. I'm curious if your spouse would take that as a legitimate excuse. Mine wouldn't. Gingrich made his comments to CBN's David Brody during an interview at the famous Machine Shed Restaurant in Urbandale, Iowa (my mother-in-law's favorite breakfast place when she comes to town). Gingrich said his passion for the country lead him to do things that were inappropriate. O.K., married people, how would this excuse go over at home?

History Problem: Michele Bachmann offered an historic gaffe during her stop in New Hampshire about the "shot heard 'round the world". The gaffe may not be historic. But the topic was. She apparently confused the Granite State's history with its neighbor, Massachusetts. Hopefully, for her sake, she ad libbed that speech. And she just had a mental mix up. Because if she prepped that line for the speech and then said it, that would really be an unfortunate "oops".
But, perhaps, even more embarrassing for Bachmann is this: that moment in history is intertwined with the genesis of today's tea partiers and Bachmann is a proud member of that tea party group. Oops.

By the way, don't think she's not serious about running. Indianola Senator Kent Sorenson is already working to push support for her (on a volunteer basis) in Iowa. More to come on this...

Bachmann will be interesting to follow if Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin don't run. It sure doesn't seem like Huckabee is planning to run, at least not yet. Eric Woolson, Huckabee's campaign manger for his 2008 winning (Charlie Sheen has now ruined that word, "winning") Iowa Caucus campaign just had to announce his support for Tim Pawlenty, after word of the future support leaked out in the Washington Post. Palin has been scarce in this state as her poll numbers fall. I don't know of any elected official pushing Palin's cause so far. Conservative blogger, Shane Vander Hart, is a Palin backer and posts about her on his Caffeinated Thoughts blog. But that's about it, as far as I know.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Union Bill

Day Two: Perhaps, Iowa house lawmakers and their staff members aren't quite as bleary-eyed as some feared, but the coffee is still flowing fast. The house started debating the union bill at 2pm Wednesday. The new rules in the house would prohibit most voting after midnight, unless leaders decide to suspend the rules. So there didn't seem much point to try to discuss amendments past that time period. And lawmakers didn't. They adjourned last night at 10:37 and then re-started at 7:05am. Most other house business has been delayed today as the house continues to debate the union bill. We'll see how long it goes. Today? Tomorrow? Saturday?

What's the point of all of this? Democrats admitted privately to me they are not going to win this. Republicans have a 20-seat advantage in the house. Democrats know they can't overcome that deficit. But they can reinforce their commitment to unions and their supporters. Unions are such a devoted voting block and financial supporters of the Democratic party. Maybe they can also keep stalling the clock and convince Republicans to drop some provision in the bill? Democrats know cranking out amendments and talking and talking and talking are about their only weapons in this fight. There's not a person at the statehouse who believes Democratic Senate Leader Mike Gronstal wants to do anything to weaken labor. So the same question can be asked to house Republicans: why are they trying to push this through when it isn't likely to go anywhere whenever it gets through the house? Republicans can show to their business-friends they're working to weaken unions. They can say they are trying to help taxpayers save money by forcing state workers to pay health care premiums, like people in the private sector do. And this gives them one more piece of fundraising material they can use as they target Gronstal in next year's election as they try to take back the senate.

Ah, politics.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Union Bill Debate

Waiting to Debate: This one will be a doozy. AFSCME union workers have been rallying again outside the house chambers. I'm not going to speculate on how many were here. Wait for the ensuing controversy on the numbers later. Debate on this bill had been expected this morning. It never happened. Both parties went to caucus around 11:30. They are supposed to return to begin debate at 2pm. Here's a breakdown of what's up for debate in this Des Moines Register story.

By my count, there are 101 amendments. This could take a while. A legislator joked this could be two days. I hope he was kidding.

Iowa Faith and Freedom

Catching Up: I didn't get a chance to post yesterday. But we did put the speeches on-line of all 5 Republicans from the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition's event in Waukee Monday. Did you go? The group said attendance approached 2,000. That's more than I would have guessed. But organizers say there were a lot of people in the overflow rooms. I'm putting up a poll on this. If you had to pick from 1 of these 5 guys for president, which one would you pick?

Here are their speeches with a random observation or two on each.

Tim Pawlenty--He comes from Minnesoooota, yet he sounded like a southern preacher at times during his talk. Listen to it for yourself. Am I crazy?

Rick Santorum--Took a little jab at Pawlenty at the beginning. Pawlenty called The Iowa Faith and Freedom's leader Steve Scheffler, "Chuck" several times. Santorum made sure to call Scheffler, "Steve". Funny or petty? What do you think?

Buddy Roemer--Used to be a Democrat. He said Ronald Reagan encouraged him to become a Republican. Will that fly with the caucus crowd? He also said he won't take more than 100 bucks from individuals. Some may see that as admirable, but is it doable to actually finance a legitimate campaign? He also added that he opposes ethanol subsidies. Bold statement to make in Iowa. Seems to me two-time presidential candidate John McCain wasn't a fan of ethanol subsidies at one point and then he later joked about drinking a glass of ethanol with Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley every day. Does that taste better than eating crow?

Newt Gingrich--Didn't address his three marriages. Very curious how that issue will go over with the Republican caucus goers.

Herman Cain--Probably got the loudest ovation of the 5. Very comfortable in front of the microphone. Curious what kind of caucus campaign he would run.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition

Dinner Guests: 2011, meet 2012. Monday night, Iowa hosts its biggest gathering yet for 2012 possible presidential candidates. Five possibles headline the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition event at Point of Grace in Waukee. Five "formers", actually: Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, former Godfathers' Pizza CEO Herman Cain and former Louisiana Governor Buddy Roemer. It's not quite like when the Democrats brought out big names like Clinton, Obama and Edwards, at least not yet. But it should get a good bit of national attention.

Who's the best known? Gingrich, I would guess. This can be his first larger-scale event in Iowa to try to win over social conservatives who may not be too keen on his marital issues of the past...three wives. Pawlenty and Santorum have seemed to be the most serious about Iowa so far. Both have hired Iowa staff. Herman "the Hermanator" Cain's campaign sent me my first full travel schedule. So he seems interested. The Pottawattamie County Republican Chairman called me to tell me how popular Cain is in western Iowa. And then there's Roemer. I really didn't remember much about him before these past few weeks.

I did find an interesting piece of video on YouTube. Roemer campaigned with 2008 Republican presidential nominee John McCain in Waterloo. He said he came to Iowa a lot when he was a congressman. And one line seemed to offer a bit of a prediction.

We'll see who "the man" really is, I suppose, Monday night.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Tea Party Test

Tea Party Test: It looks like I need to learn more about the tea partiers. I just took an on-line test and only scored a 70%. Granted, that was better than I did in my first accounting class in college. Iowa's head tea partier (yeah, I just made that up) sat in on Iowa Public Television's "Iowa Press" this weekend. He said his group will target Democratic Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal, according to Radio Iowa's O. Kay Henderson's account of the show. Anti-Gronstal-ers are talking a lot these days about knocking him out. But Gronstal has proven to be a force at the statehouse, starting there back in 1985.

First Word: I didn't fare much better in a little unofficial test at home either. Our 7-month-old said his first word. Here's a hint: it wasn't "dad". The last few days, Hayden has been saying "mamamamama" and "bahbahbahbah". So yesterday, "mom" came out...again and again. And to think I'm the one who got up with him at 3am. No respect for dad. No respect.

Today, on his mom's birthday, he did help get his bath ready though:)

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Trump for president, the interview

The Interview: Here's the full interview I did with Donald Trump on WHO radio this afternoon. Yes, he sounds VERY serious about running for president. Either that, or he is a heckuva salesman. My previous post has some of the highlights of the interview. Since then, I now know, Mike Cohen, the man behind, will be flying into Des Moines on Monday (in one of Trump's planes). His official title is this: Executive Vice President and Special Counsel to Donald J. Trump. He plans on meeting with Republican Party of Iowa State Chairman Matt Strawn and some others. Sounds like the Trump people are starting to look into the organizational and ground game aspects of a possible run by talking with people in the know. If Trump confirms that he is coming to western Iowa Congress Steve King's event later this month with some other presidential possibles, perhaps, we'll see how serious Trump really is about 2012. This audio is courtesy: WHO radio.

Trump for president

The Donald--We've heard from Huckabee, Santorum, Gingrich, Barbour and even a little bit from Palin in Iowa. But we haven't heard anything from the Donald. We did today. Donald Trump joins me on WHO radio this afternoon at around 4:35pm (you can listen on-line at We taped an interview with him from his office in Manhattan. Trump sounds serious about running. Really serious. He's also apparently not a big fan of President Obama. He said "nobody respects us". He said the president's actions have been "very disappointing and sad". And he told me it's the president's fault the world doesn't think more of us. He also doesn't think much of the possible presidential field, even on the Republican side. He said they are the reason he would have to get into the race. He doesn't want to, he said, but he has no choice. And he said he is more qualified to be president than someone with just a governor on his/her resume. Trump also has a way to immediately bring down the deficit. He said we have too many troops too many places around the world. And when we send them to help some country, that country should help pay the bill for the assistance.

Trump said if he runs, he will announce it after his show, "The Apprentice", on NBC wraps up for the season. That would be in June. By the way, the show begins its new season this Sunday night. Trump said he will come to Iowa a lot if he runs. And he said he has been invited to western Iowa Congressman Steve King's Conservative Principles Conference on March 26th, where other possibles including Minnesota Congressman Michele Bachmann, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum and former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton have already announced their intentions to come. Trump didn't say whether he will come to the conference.

Trump also has an interesting take on whether, during these crummy economic times, Americans would really want to elect a really rich guy to the White House.

What do you think of him running for president? Join us on WHO radio this afternoon from 4 to 7.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Santorum, Gingrich Suspended from Fox News

They Report, You Decide: Fox News has announced today it is suspending the paid on-air contributions of former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. So what about the more prominent faces/voices of former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and 2008 Iowa caucus winner Mike Huckabee? Those two are not included in the suspension, according to the story in Politico. The article quotes a Fox spokesperson as saying that Palin and Huckabee haven't been seriously looking at forming a presidential exploratory committee.

This announcement would seem to give further "proof" to those who have serious doubts about whether Palin and Huckabee would give up their lucrative lives for a shot at beating President Barack Obama. Palin and Huckabee keep saying they're looking at running. It would be nice to be a fly on the wall to hear how those two talk with the Fox big wigs on their intentions, wouldn't it?