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News Analysis: November 13, 2008

posted on November 13, 2008 at 5:30 PM

David Pitt, of the Associated Press talks with host Paul Yeager about the speculation that former governor Tom Vilsack and Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller may be appointed to offices in the Obama Administration.

Paul Yeager: Hello and welcome to The Iowa Journal. David, let's talk about a little bit of a power shift for the house republicans.  He was house majority leader, the minority leader and even a smaller majority leader but Chris Rants did not survive the vote.  Who is he replaced by and why?

David Pitt: Well, Christopher Rants, republican from Sioux City, as you said has been in the leadership position in the Iowa House for a number of years.  The democrats gained seats in both the house and the senate this time around and frequently when that happens the leadership roles kind of have to prove themselves again or sometimes they are simply replaced and Craig Paulsen will become the replacement for Representative Rants in the Iowa House and lead his party.  In the senate we'll find out later whether the republicans make changes there.

Paul Yeager: And on the democratic side they kept everyone, Kevin McCarthy and Mike Murphy will stay in leadership.

David Pitt: On the house side and I believe the democrats on the senate side will make some decisions on that later as well.

Paul Yeager: Let's move to the federal level.  President-elect Barack Obama is talking about his cabinet.  Tom Vilsack is one of the names being tossed around as ag secretary.  Other names we're hearing and how real does this Vilsack as ag secretary sound?

David Pitt: Well, I think so far what it is, is speculation.  I think these decisions are relatively closely held and as we found out I think during the campaign the Obama organization has an ability to keep those things close and not let a lot of leaks occur although we have seen a few things come out as this transition team is getting into place.  There are going to be obviously a lot more people involved and opportunities for things to leak out.  But right now it's basically just rumor and speculation that Governor Vilsack might be in a position to be considered for secretary of agriculture.  He has written some editorials in newspapers kind of taking positions and really I think thrusting himself out there as someone who has a voice in national politics.  Obviously he was a presidential candidate early on.  But he early on was a Hillary Clinton supporter and then joined the Obama campaign to support the campaign later.

Paul Yeager: One of the other earlier supporters in Iowa, earlier than Vilsack was another Tom, Tom Miller, Iowa's Attorney General.  His name has been thrown around but you don't hear as much.  Is that a possibility?

David Pitt: I think it's just speculation.  People in power in Iowa, obviously in the political positions of power in Iowa have a voice obviously because Iowa did thrust then Senator Obama into the national spotlight and so there will be that kind of speculation but, again, it's very early and I don't think anyone knows for sure.

Paul Yeager: I want to buzz through a couple of things in the final minute.  Former Congressman Jim Leach is going to help Obama, he spoke on his behalf, spoke on the democrat's behalf at the convention, what is he going to do?

David Pitt: Yes, Congressman Leach was a republican from Iowa obviously for a number of years, I think he lost his seat in 2006 so he's been asked to represent with Former Secretary Madeline Albright under the Clinton administration to go to represent the Obama people ...

Paul Yeager: In the global economic climate is what you're talking about.

David Pitt: And so he'll be doing that and as you said he was an Obama supporter and I think that this gives him an opportunity to become involved in the Obama camp.

Paul Yeager: David Pitt of the Associated Press, thank you for stopping by The Iowa Journal. 


Tags: Barack Obama biofuels ethanol governors Iowa news science Tom Vilsack


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