Iowa Public Television

 

Iowa Political Reporters

posted on September 13, 2005

Borg: HURRICANE KATRINA CHANGED THE LANDSCAPE: PHYSICALLY ALONG THE GULF COAST; POLITICALLY, NATIONAL AND IOWA IMPLICATIONS. PERSPECTIVE FROM IOWA POLITICAL REPORTERS ON THIS EDITION OF "IOWA PRESS."

FUNDING FOR "IOWA PRESS" WAS PROVIDED BY "FRIENDS," THE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION FOUNDATION; AND BY THE IOWA BANKERS ASSOCIATION... FOR PERSONAL, BUSINESS, AND COMMERCIAL NEEDS, IOWA BANKS HELP IOWANS REACH THEIR FINANCIAL GOALS.

ON STATEWIDE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION, THIS IS THE FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 9 EDITION, OF "IOWA PRESS." HERE IS DEAN BORG.

Borg: HURRICANE KATRINA, JUSTIFIABLY SO, HAS ALMOST BLOWN MOST OTHER NEWS INTO THE NEWSPAPER BACK PAGES. THE SUMMER CAMPAIGNS FOR STATE AND FEDERAL OFFICES, THE IOWA SCHOOL BOARD ELECTIONS, EVEN THE WAR IN IRAQ HAVE ALL GREATLY REDUCED COVERAGE RIGHT NOW. THE POLITICAL IMPLICATIONS OF THIS MASSIVE DISASTER ARE STILL UNFOLDING. TODAY IOWA POLITICAL REPORTERS ARE HERE TO DISCUSS THE HURRICANE CRISIS, AS WELL AS SOME OF THE OTHER POLITICAL NEWS THAT'S BEEN CROWDED OFF THE FRONT PAGE. "DES MOINES REGISTER" POLITICAL COLUMNIST DAVID YEPSEN; "RADIO IOWA" NEWS DIRECTOR KAY HENDERSON; "IOWA PUBLIC RADIO" STATEHOUSE CORRESPONDENT JENEANE BECK; AND "IOWA PUBLIC RADIO" POLITICAL REPORTER JOYCE RUSSELL. AND, JOYCE, WE'LL START OFF WITH YOU. I SAID IOWA IMPLICATIONS. WHAT ARE THOSE IMPLICATIONS AS YOU SEE IT? AND I'M SURE THAT THERE ARE SOME WE WON'T EVEN THINK OF. BUT HAVE WE SEEN SOME ALREADY, AND ARE THERE MORE THAT REALLY ARE GOING TO HAPPEN IN IOWA THAT WE KNOW ABOUT?

Russell: WELL, A STORM THIS BIG, A DISASTROUS STORM LIKE THIS IS BOUND TO HAVE ECONOMIC CONSEQUENCES ALL ACROSS THE COUNTRY. AND THAT'S PROVING TO BE TRUE HERE IN IOWA. AS YOU KNOW, MUCH OF IOWA'S GRAIN IS SHIPPED DOWN THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER. BARGE TRAFFIC WAS BROUGHT TO A STANDSTILL, AND RIGHT AWAY THAT PUT SOME DOWNWARD PRESSURE ON GRAIN PRICES IN IOWA. THE FEAR NOW IS THE ABILITY TO MOVE GRAIN DURING THE UPCOMING HARVEST. SO THAT'S BEING FELT RIGHT AWAY. AND THEN, OF COURSE, LIKE EVERYONE ELSE IN THE COUNTRY, WE'VE SEEN THESE ENORMOUS JUMPS IN GASOLINE AND OTHER FUEL, AND THAT'S BOUND TO AFFECT THE IOWA ECONOMY AS WELL.

Borg: THAT'S NATURAL GAS, ISN'T IT, THAT YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT, AS WELL AS THE PETROLEUM AND THE GASOLINE WE PUT IN OUR CAR, JENEANE?

Beck: YEAH, ALL OF THEM. I MEAN, YOU KNOW, YOU'VE SEEN AS YOU DRIVE TO THE PUMP THAT THE PRICES ARE UP. WELL, THAT'S AFFECTS MOST OF US IN AN EVERYDAY WAY, BUT IT AFFECTS CERTAIN INDUSTRIES EVEN HARDER. OBVIOUSLY, THE TRUCKING INDUSTRY, ANY OF THOSE WHO HAUL GOODS TO AND FROM ACROSS THE COUNTRY ARE FEELING THAT RIGHT NOW, AND THEIR PROFITS GO DOWN AS GAS PRICES GO UP. AND ALSO, OF COURSE, AS WE LOOK TO HARVESTTIME AS FARMERS ARE IN THE FIELDS, THEY'RE GOING TO BE PAYING MORE FOR THE GASOLINE IN THEIR TRACTORS AND COMBINES, AND THAT'S GOING TO REDUCE THEIR PROFIT MARGIN. SO IT DEFINITELY HAS AN IMPACT. Yepsen: I THINK, DEAN, IT HAS AN EFFECT IN MORE SUBTLE WAYS AS WELL. I MEAN OBVIOUSLY GAS PRICES ARE GOING UP. IT'S GOING TO COST US MORE TO HEAT OUR HOMES THIS WINTER, A LOT MORE. YOU'VE GOT INTEREST RATES. IS THE FED NOT GOING TO RAISE INTEREST RATES BECAUSE OF THIS IN ORDER TO KEEP THE ECONOMY STIMULATED? WELL, THAT COULD BE GOOD NEWS FOR PEOPLE IN IOWA WHO -- FARMERS AND PEOPLE WHO BORROW A LOT OF MONEY ARE VERY DEPENDENT ON THAT. IT'S GOING TO DRIVE UP CONSTRUCTION COSTS. YOU CAN'T HAVE THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT DUMP $50 BILLION INTO REBUILDING LOUISIANA AND MISSISSIPPI AND NOT HAVE IT START SUCKING UP LOTS OF CEMENT AND LUMBER, THINGS THAT -- STEEL, THINGS THAT WERE ALREADY PRETTY HIGHLY PRICED.

Borg: BUT ARE THERE ALSO, IF YOU CAN THINK OF IT THIS WAY, SOME STIMULI, IF YOU WILL, FOR IOWA'S ECONOMY AS A RESULT OF THIS? THERE MAY NOT BE ANY BUT, KAY --

Henderson: WELL, OUR GOVERNOR HAS CONTENDED IN THE PAST FEW DAYS THAT IOWA'S ETHANOL INDUSTRY WILL BE A BENEFICIARY BECAUSE PEOPLE WILL MORE OFTEN LOOK TO THAT E85 OPTION, WHICH IS THE HIGHER CONTENT ETHANOL. MANY IOWANS ARE DRIVING CARS WHICH CAN, IN FACT, BURN THAT ETHANOL, THAT BLEND, BUT THEY DON'T KNOW IT. SO MORE PEOPLE, AS THE PRICE OF REGULAR GASOLINE AT YOUR STANDARD PUMP GOES UP AND UP AND UP, THEY MAY CONSIDER ETHANOL. AND IOWA IS POISED TO CAPITALIZE ON THAT BECAUSE WE HAVE MORE ETHANOL PLANTS THAN ANY OTHER STATE.

Russell: BUT NOT VERY MANY ETHANOL PUMPS --

Henderson: CORRECT. CORRECT.

Russell: AND EVERY YEAR THERE'S A MOVEMENT IN THE LEGISLATURE TO FORCE THAT, EVEN MANDATING EVERYBODY HAVE AN E85 PUMP, AND I THINK WE'VE GOT A GOOD CHANCE TO HEAR SOME MORE ABOUT THAT.

Borg: E85 IS, OF COURSE, 85 PERCENT ETHANOL.

Russell: E85 IS THE SORGHUM FOR THAT.

Borg: YOU MENTIONED, JOYCE, THE PROBLEM WITH GRAIN SHIPPING. AND WE ARE COMING INTO THE HARVEST. IN FACT, SOME CORN HARVESTS HAVE ALREADY BEGUN. I WOULD GUESS THAT WE BETTER GET USED TO SEEING GOLD PILES AROUND ELEVATORS BECAUSE IT WON'T BE ABLE TO BE SHIPPED.

Russell: PROBABLY. PROBABLY EVEN MORE THAN USUAL. OF COURSE, THERE'S ALTERNATIVE SHIPPING THAT IS MORE COSTLY. YOU CAN SHIP GRAIN OUT BY TRUCK, AND THERE ARE OTHER PORTS AS WELL FOR THE OTHER PARTS OF THE COUNTRY. Yepsen: BUT THAT ISSUE, JOYCE, WAS A CONCERN WITH THE GRAIN INDUSTRY EVEN BEFORE THIS DISASTER. I MEAN THEY WERE DUMPING GRAIN ON THE GROUND LAST YEAR, AND IT SPOILS. IT'S NOT A GOOD SITUATION FOR THEM.

Borg: JENEANE, YOU'VE COVERED SOME STORIES THIS PAST WEEK ABOUT THE POSSIBILITY OF EVACUEES COMING OUT OF THE GULF COAST AREA INTO IOWA AND OTHER STATES, BUT IOWA WAS PREPARING. HOW IS THAT GOING TO BE PAID FOR?

Beck: WELL, IOWA DID PREPARE BY SETTING UP A THOUSAND COTS AT THE STATE FAIRGROUNDS, AND THEN INITIALLY EVACUEES DID NOT ARRIVE. AND SO THERE WAS A CONCERN HAD WE DONE THIS FOR NAUGHT AND, IF SO, WHO PAYS THE PRICE TAG FOR THAT. AND THE GOVERNOR HAS ASSURED US THAT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT HAS SAID THAT THE STATE WILL BE REIMBURSED EVENTUALLY FOR THAT COST OF PREPARING FOR EVACUEES WHETHER THEY ARRIVE OR DO NOT.

Borg: AND, KAY, AS THOSE PEOPLE COME TO IOWA, HOW ARE THEY ASSIMILATED INTO THE ECONOMY HERE? HAS THAT ALL BEEN THOUGHT THROUGH IN ANYTHING THAT YOU'VE COVERED SO FAR?

Henderson: WELL, THE GOVERNOR ENTICED SOME LARGER BUSINESSES IN THE DES MOINES METROPOLITAN AREA TO OFFER PART-TIME EMPLOYMENT TO SOME OF THESE EVACUEES WHO MAY BE ARRIVING. IT WAS KIND OF A CASE OF IF WE BUILD IT -- IF WE BUILD THIS INFRASTRUCTURE, WE'RE GOING TO HELP YOU FIND HEALTH CARE, WE'RE GOING TO HELP YOU ENROLL YOUR KIDS IN SCHOOL, WE'RE GOING TO HELP YOU FIND AT LEAST SEMI-PERMANENT HOUSING. THEY DIDN'T COME BECAUSE VERY FEW OF THE PEOPLE WHO WERE EVACUATED TO HOUSTON AND, AS WE ALL UNDERSTAND IT, MOST OF THE EVACUEES WILL BE ARRIVING EN MASSE IN IOWA WOULD BE COMING FROM TEXAS. THEY JUST DIDN'T WANT TO MOVE A SECOND TIME. THEY DIDN'T WANT TO MOVE THAT FAR AWAY FROM THE HURRICANE ZONE BECAUSE THEY MAY STILL HAVE FAMILY MEMBERS THERE. THEY MAY INDEED WANT TO GO BACK THERE THEMSELVES OR HAVE THAT OPTION AVAILABLE TO THEM. IF THEY MOVED TO IOWA WHICH, TO MANY OF THEM, THEY MAY NOT EVEN HAVE A CONCEPT OF WHAT IOWA IS, THAT SEEMS SO FAR AWAY TO THEM THAT THEY CHOSE NOT TO COME. BUT WE ARE ALSO IN OUR NEWSROOM HEARING FROM PARTS OF THE STATE WHERE PEOPLE HAVE, ON AN INDIVIDUAL BASIS, MOVED IN THE BASEMENT WITH THEIR MOTHER IN WINTERSET OR MOVED BACK HOME WITH PARENTS IN WEBSTER CITY, FAMILIES COMING. IN ONE INSTANCE IT WAS THREE GENERATIONS OF A FAMILY MOVING HOME TO IOWA BRINGING IN-LAWS WITH THEM. SO I MEAN WE MAY NOT BE SEEING IT ON THIS MASSIVE -- WE'RE NOT GOING TO SEE 5,00 REFUGEES ARRIVE ALL AT ONCE IN IOWA, BUT I THINK WE ARE SEEING IT IN SMALL TOWNS AND LARGE ACROSS IOWA, JUST VERY FEW PEOPLE COMING.

Borg: JUST PARENTHETICALLY TO ADD, I KNOW THAT IN CEDAR RAPIDS THIS VERY WEEKEND, THERE'S A HOUSING REHABILITATION AND SPRUCE UP, GET-SOME-HOUSES-READY EFFORT THAT'S BEING COORDINATED THERE. AND I THINK THE SAME IN OTHER COMMUNITIES. DAVE? Yepsen: AND THAT WILL HAVE A LONGER TERM EFFECT. I THINK ONE OF THE EFFECTS OF THIS DISASTER IN IOWA IS THE EFFECT ON INDIVIDUAL AND BUSINESS DISASTER PLANNING. I HAD LUNCH WITH A PROMINENT DES MOINES BUSINESSMAN THE OTHER DAY AND HE WAS TELLING ME HOW THIS PROMPTS ANY BUSINESS TO RETHINK: OKAY, WHAT IS OUR DISASTER PLAN; WHAT DO WE DO DIFFERENTLY; WHERE DO WE SET UP OUR BACKUP OPERATIONS? MAYBE IT ISN'T THE BRIGHTEST IDEA TO HAVE YOUR BACKUP GENERATOR IN THE BASEMENT. I MEAN THINGS LIKE THIS, LESSONS THAT PEOPLE ARE TAKING FROM THIS DISASTER BOTH FOR THEIR BUSINESSES AS WELL AS THEMSELVES: WHAT DO YOU DO YOURSELF; WHERE DO YOU GO; WE HAVE TORNADOES; WE HAVE FLOODS IN IOWA. AND SO THAT IS ONE OF THE EFFECTS THAT THIS DISASTER WILL HAVE ON OUR LIVES HERE.

Beck: AND SOMETHING THAT'S BEEN SOMEWHAT INTERESTING FOR ME TO WATCH IS THAT AS IOWANS HURRIED TO HELP AND WANTED TO HELP, THERE IS STILL ALSO THAT FEAR THAT IF THEY HAD A LARGE INFLUX OF EVACUEES OF DO WE HAVE THE JOBS TO PROVIDE THEM AND, IF SO, ARE THESE JOBS THAT IOWANS WANT. I MEAN THERE IS SOME PROPRIETARY FEELING AMONG IOWANS, BUT I DON'T WANT THEM TO TAKE A JOB I NEED, YOU KNOW, BECAUSE OUR OWN ECONOMY IS GOING THROUGH CHANGES AND TRANFORMATIONS. AND ONE OF THE INTERESTING POINTS IS THAT SOME OF THE RIVERBOATS HAVE BEEN BRINGING PEOPLE BACK THAT HAD BOATS IN BILOXI, MISSISSIPPI, AND SAID, OKAY, YOU CAN WORK AT THE BOATS HERE IN IOWA. WELL, THERE'S ALSO A NEW RIVERBOAT THAT'S GOING TO OPEN UP IN SEVERAL COMMUNITIES, BUT ONE OF THEM WOULD BE IN WATERLOO WHERE IT'S OWNED BY THE SAME COMPANY AS THESE OTHERS. AND, YOU KNOW, YOU HAVE THE PRESSURE OF WATERLOO RESIDENTS WHO WANT THOSE JOBS, BUT POSSIBLY THE COMPANY WANTS TO ALSO BE ABLE TO WELCOME WORKERS THAT ARE SUDDENLY DISPLACED FROM MISSISSIPPI.

Borg: SURE. SO SOME IOWA JOBS MAY BE GOING TO NEWCOMERS BECAUSE THE COMPANY OWNING THE BOATS IN THE SOUTH ARE BRINGING THEIR PEOPLE UP HERE WHO HAVE BEEN DISPLACED.

Beck: WHICH IS STILL GOOD FOR THE ECONOMY IN THE SENSE THERE'S MORE PEOPLE AND THERE'S MORE TAXPAYERS.

Borg: JOYCE, THIS IS ALSO PROVIDING SOME GRIST FOR PARTISANSHIP TOO. AND CONGRESSMAN STEVE KING GOT INVOLVED IN SOME OF THAT.

Russell: WELL, HE WAS ONE OF THE VERY SMALL NUMBER OF PEOPLE -- OF CONGRESSMEN IN THE HOUSE WHO VOTED AGAINST A GIANT AID PACKAGE THAT WAS APPROVED IN A SPEEDY FASHION IN FLOOR DEBATE ON THE FLOOR OF THE HOUSE.

Borg: A LITTLE BIT TOO RICH FOR HIS BLOOD?

Russell: WELL, IT'S VERY EXPENSIVE. YOU KNOW, IT'S BILLIONS OF DOLLARS AND HE HAD SOME -- IT'S INTERESTING TO SEE A REPUBLICAN CONGRESSMAN REALLY -- HE WAS INDIRECTLY CRITICIZING THE FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY WHICH, OF COURSE, HAS COME IN FOR A LOT OF CRITICISM. BUT THEY ALREADY HAVE A FEW IDEAS OUT THERE FOR HOW THEY'RE GOING TO SPEND THIS MONEY, AND HE DIDN'T THINK THAT THAT WAS NECESSARILY A GOOD WAY TO SPEND THE MONEY.

Borg: DAVE -- Yepsen: WELL --

Borg: YEAH, GO AHEAD, DAVE. Yepsen: WELL, A LOT OF PEOPLE SHARE THAT VIEW THAT, YOU KNOW, YOU CAN'T TAKE THAT MUCH MONEY AND THROW IT AT A PROBLEM. THERE IS GOING TO BE WASTE, AND WITHIN THE NEXT YEAR WE'LL BE READING STORIES ABOUT THAT. SO HIS CONCERNS ARE NOT UNFOUNDED. BUT I HOPE WE DON'T HAVE ANY NATURAL DISASTERS IN IOWA, BECAUSE MEMBERS OF CONGRESS HAVE A LONG MEMORY. AND THE FACT THAT STEVE KING THUMBED HIS NOSE AT THOSE PEOPLE DOWN THERE IS GOING TO BE SOMETHING THAT'S GOING TO BE REMEMBERED BY THE CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATIONS FROM LOUISIANA AND MISSISSIPPI WHEN IT COMES IOWA'S TURN TO BE BEGGING FOR SOME HELP.

Borg: JUST TALKING ABOUT THE NATIONAL IMPLICATIONS HERE, WHAT ABOUT TOM VILSACK, JENEANE, IN HIS LEADERSHIP ROLE HERE? HOW HAVE YOU ASSESSED THAT AND IN OTHER THINGS THAT HAVE HAPPENED RECENTLY WITH TOM VILSACK?

Beck: I THINK HE WANTED TO PLAY A LEADERSHIP ROLE. HE WAS QUICK TO SAY THAT EVACUEES WOULD BE WELCOME IN THIS STATE, THAT IOWA WOULD EMBRACE THEM WITH OPEN ARMS AND DID ASK IMMEDIATELY FOR NATIONAL GUARD TROOPS TO PREPARE TO GO TO LOUISIANA AND MISSISSIPPI. HE ASKED THAT WE BE SENDING HEALTH CARE WORKERS DOWN THERE AND THAT THEN WE PREPARE FOR THEM TO COME HERE AS WELL. AND, YOU KNOW, IN ANY CASE, BECAUSE HE HAS POLITICAL AMBITIONS, THERE ARE GOING TO BE THOSE NAYSAYERS. MOST ARE GOING TO SAY HE DID IT FOR THE RIGHT REASONS, THAT HE WANTED TO BE HELPFUL IN A TIME OF CRISIS. OTHERS WILL SAY, WELL, HE WANTS TO LOOK GOOD IN THE FACE OF AN UPCOMING PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION IN 2008. SO YOU'RE ALWAYS GOING TO -- ANYTIME YOU DO SOMETHING WHEN YOU'RE A POLITICAL FIGURE, SOMEBODY IS GOING TO SAY IT'S FOR THE WRONG REASONS.

Russell: IT WAS INTERESTING, HE HAD PLANNED A TRIP TO NEW HAMPSHIRE FOR A DEMOCRATIC POLITICAL EVENT, AN OBVIOUS STOP FOR SOMEBODY WITH PRESIDENTIAL AMBITIONS. AND HE CANCELED THAT TO STAY HERE AND TAKE CARE OF --

Henderson: WELL, THE MOST --

Russell: -- IN PREPARATIONS FOR THE HURRICANE.

Henderson: THE MOST INTERESTING THING IS HE DID GIVE THE SPEECH TO THE FOLKS IN NEW HAMPSHIRE, BUT SOMEONE IN NEW HAMPSHIRE WAS HOLDING THE TELEPHONE UP TO A MICROPHONE. SO IT WAS A VERY INAUSPICIOUS BEGINNING TO TOM VILSACK'S CAMPAIGN IN NEW HAMPSHIRE. Yepsen: WELL, HE PROBABLY GOT MORE MEDIA ATTENTION AS A RESULT OF DOING IT THAT WAY THAN IF HE'D GONE UP THERE, AN UNKNOWN GOVERNOR OF IOWA SHOWING UP IN NEW HAMPSHIRE. HE DID THE RIGHT THING IN BAILING OUT, DEAN. I THINK AT A TIME LIKE THIS, IT IS UNSEEMLY FOR POLITICIANS TO BE OUT THERE BLATANTLY CAMPAIGNING LIKE THAT. SO I THINK HE HAD A GOOD EAR FOR THAT AND SAID, WELL, WE HAVE PLENTY OF TIME TO GO BACK TO NEW HAMPSHIRE.

Borg: HE'S ALSO TAKEN A HIGH PROFILE ROLE IN THE MAYTAG SITUATION. MAYTAG PERHAPS CHANGING HANDS IN OWNERSHIP, PERHAPS EVEN POTENTIALLY CLOSING THAT PLANT, KAY, IN NEWTON.

Henderson: THIS PAST LABOR DAY, TOM VILSACK SPENT IT IN NEWTON VISITING WITH ABOUT 300 PEOPLE IN THE, IRONICALLY NAMED, MAYTAG PARK IN NEWTON TO TALK ABOUT THEIR FUTURE, WHAT THE STATE MAY BE PREPARED TO OFFER TO WHIRLPOOL IF AND WHEN THE SALE DOES GO THROUGH. CONGRESSMAN LEONARD BOSWELL WAS AT THAT EVENT. HE WAS MUCH MORE FORTHRIGHT THAN GOVERNOR VILSACK. GOVERNOR VILSACK ALWAYS SAYS HE'S SORT OF SKEPTICAL AS TO WHETHER THIS WHIRLPOOL/MAYTAG MERGER, WHICH WOULD CREATE THIS SORT OF MONOLITHIC APPLIANCE GIANT IN AMERICA, WOULD PASS ANTITRUST OR MONOPOLY LAWS THAT ARE ENFORCED AT THE FEDERAL LEVEL. BUT CONGRESSMAN BOSWELL SAID IT'S A MONOPOLY AS FAR AS HE CAN SEE, AND HE'S AGAINST IT. SO VILSACK IS TOWING KIND OF A VERY TIGHT LINE BECAUSE HE'S TRYING TO SIGNAL TO THE WORKERS THAT HE FEELS THEIR PLIGHT, BUT HE'S ALSO PREPARING TO DEAL WITH WHIRLPOOL IF AND WHEN THEY BECOME THE OWNERS OF THE PLANT TO TRY TO GET THEM TO KEEP THAT NEWTON PLANT OPEN. Yepsen: MAYTAG WAS IN TROUBLE BEFORE THE WHIRLPOOL BUSINESS, AND IT RATTLES US ALL, OBVIOUSLY THE PEOPLE WHO ARE INVOLVED. BUT AS IOWANS, THIS IS ONE OF OUR ICON COMPANIES. THIS IS ONE OF THE ORIGINALS. AND TO SEE IT IN TROUBLE I THINK SCARES EVERYONE BECAUSE IT UNDERSCORES THE TRANSFORMATION THAT'S GOING ON IN OUR ECONOMY, THE GLOBALIZATION. MAYTAG IS NOT COMPETITIVE AND THE REASON THEY'RE NOT IS BECAUSE IT'S CHEAPER IN MEXICO AND OVERSEAS TO MAKE MANUFACTURED GOODS. THIS ISN'T THE FIRST TIME THIS HAPPENED IN THIS COUNTRY. WE'RE GOING TO SEE A LOT MORE OF IT. AND I THINK WHILE YOU CAN TAKE STEPS TO EASE THE PAIN TO THE WORKERS INVOLVED, THE LARGER QUESTIONS IT RAISES ABOUT HOW WE -- WHAT DO WE DO AS INDIVIDUALS AND AS GOVERNMENTS TO POSITION OUR ECONOMY FOR THE FUTURE? THAT'S THE QUESTION. WE KNOW, FOR EXAMPLE, DOING SOMETHING ABOUT EDUCATION IS GOING TO BE IMPORTANT. SO I THINK THAT'S GOING TO BE ONE OF THE EFFECTS OF THIS WHOLE DEBATE ON MAYTAG, DEAN, IS WE'RE GOING TO BE LOOKING AT WHAT DO WE DO DIFFERENTLY IN IOWA TO PROTECT OURSELVES AND OUR STATE ECONOMY.

Henderson: YOU KNOW, AND WHAT'S FASCINATING ABOUT THAT MEETING IN NEWTON, ONE OF THE JUST FIRED WORKERS -- SHE GOT HER PINK SLIP ON FRIDAY -- WENT TO THE MIC AND ASKED VILSACK, "WHY ARE WE FOCUSING ON THESE BIG COMPANIES WITH THE VALUES FUND? WHY AREN'T WE FOCUSING ON SMALL BUSINESSES, MAIN STREET BUSINESSES, THAT WILL EMPLOY 10 AND 12 PEOPLE? WHY AREN'T WE FOCUSING ON THAT?" SO EVEN THE FOLKS WHO ARE, YOU KNOW, LAMENTING THE FATE OF THEIR MAYTAG JOBS ARE THINKING THAT, YOU KNOW, IOWA'S ECONOMY IS FUELED BY SMALL BUSINESSES. PERHAPS THE STATE'S ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT DOLLAR SHOULD BE MORE FOCUSED IN THAT AREA.

Beck: AND I THINK VILSACK WILL TRY TO USE MAYTAG. IT WILL BE HIS TEXTILE INDUSTRY -- WHAT THE TEXTILE INDUSTRY IN NORTH CAROLINA WAS TO JOHN EDWARDS, AS HE USES IT AS A TALKING POINT TO SAY THIS IS A NATIONAL PROBLEM AS MANUFACTURING JOBS ARE SHIPPED OVERSEAS. AND I THINK HE CAN USE THAT AS A NATIONAL DIALOGUE.

Borg: IS THERE ANY INDICATION, HOWEVER, AS YOU SPEAK ABOUT GOVERNOR VILSACK'S ROLE IN WHAT HE'S DOING THERE, THAT HE AND CONGRESSMAN BOSWELL CAN DO ANYTHING MORE THAN JUST SHOW EMPATHY? Yepsen: THAT'S ABOUT RIGHT, DEAN. I MEAN A POLITICIAN'S OPTIONS IN THIS ARE VERY LIMITED. THEY CAN TRY TO BLOCK A SALE TO WHIRLPOOL ON ANTITRUST GROUNDS, AND IT MAY WORK. BUT MORE THAN LIKELY, ECONOMIC FORCES ARE FAR GREATER THAN ANY TWO POLITICIANS CAN CHANGE.

Borg: YOU KNOW, THE OTHER THING THAT'S HAPPENING HERE TOO IS GOVERNOR VILSACK HAS ALREADY SAID "I'M NOT RUNNING AGAIN," SO THE FIELD IS FORMING TO REPLACE HIM IN THE NEXT ELECTION. BUT HE IS EFFECTIVELY, IT SEEMS, PRETTY WELL TRANSITIONING, NOT BEING A LAME DUCK, BUT TAKING MORE OF A NATIONAL PLATFORM AND NOT LETTING THE LAME DUCKNESS SET IN. Yepsen: YEAH, I THINK HE'S MOVING ON. I MEAN I THINK HIS HEAD IS CLEARLY IN WHATEVER HE'S GOING TO BE DOING AFTERWARDS. YOU KNOW, IT'S LIKE ANYBODY CHANGES A JOB; THE MINUTE YOU TURN IN YOUR RESIGNATION, YOU START THINKING ABOUT THE FUTURE. HE'S GOT ANOTHER YEAR YET BUT, YOU KNOW, HE'S GOT HIS PROGRAM THAT HE'S YET TO OUTLINE MANY DETAILS ON FOR THE LEGISLATIVE SESSION NEXT YEAR, WHICH COULD BE VERY POLITICAL, A VERY TOUGH SESSION. SO I THINK IN A LOT OF WAYS THE GOVERNOR DOES HAVE HIS EYES ELSEWHERE.

Borg: JOYCE, AS WE THINK ABOUT THEM, THE FIELD THAT'S ASSEMBLING HOPING TO TAKE THE GOVERNOR'S OFFICE, WHAT'S HAPPENING THERE? NOW, THE LATEST THING IS THAT SENATOR GRONSTAL SAID, "WELL, I'M NOT GOING TO RUN."

Russell: SENATOR GRONSTAL, THE DEMOCRATIC LEADER IN THE IOWA SENATE, WITH THE -- THE SENATE IS EVENLY SPLIT BETWEEN DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS. HE SEES A VERY GOOD CHANCE TO BECOME MAJORITY LEADER AND FOR THE DEMOCRATS TO TAKE CONTROL. HE WAS IN CHARGE AS MAJORITY LEADER WHEN THE DEMOCRATS CAME AS FAR AS THEY HAVE. HE THINKS HE CAN TAKE THAT NEXT STEP, HAVE A VERY SUCCESSFUL FALL ELECTION, AND COME BACK AND LEAD THE IOWA SENATE IN A DEMOCRATIC MAJORITY. AND THIS WAS NOT UNEXPECTED.

Henderson: AND THERE ARE 14 REPUBLICAN SENATORS WHO ARE UP FOR REELECTION AND 11 DEMOCRATS. AND THREE OF THOSE REPUBLICAN SENATORS HAVE ANNOUNCED PLANS TO NOT SEEK REELECTION. SO IF YOU LOOK AT IT FROM THAT STATISTIC, IT DOES LOOK PROMISING FOR DEMOCRATS TO AT LEAST GAIN A FEW --

Beck: RETIREMENTS ARE IN TOUGH DISTRICTS FOR REPUBLICANS TO HOLD ONTO. Yepsen: YET THE ODDS FAVOR THE DEMOCRATS TAKING CONTROL RIGHT NOW, AND REPUBLICANS ARE SCARED ABOUT WHAT'S COMING. AND THAT HAS A WAY OF FEEDING ON ITSELF. IF YOU'RE A REPUBLICAN SENATOR FROM A MARGINAL DISTRICT AND YOU'VE NOT DECIDED WHETHER YOU'RE GOING TO RUN AGAIN, YOU'RE GOING TO THINK, WELL, MAYBE IT'S TIME TO BAIL OUT BECAUSE I DON'T WANT TO BE IN THE MINORITY.

Borg: WELL, SENATOR GRONSTAL IS A SMART POLITICIAN, SO APPARENTLY HE'S SAYING, "THE CHANCES OF ME BEING MAJORITY LEADER ARE PROBABLY GREATER THAN ME GETTING THE NOMINATION AND THEN BEING ELECTED GOVERNOR."

Beck: WELL, IT'S A BIG PRIMARY RIGHT NOW BETWEEN DEMOCRATS, AND THAT'S A LARGE FIELD. AND MAYBE HE THINKS, YOU KNOW, ONE, HE'S GOT TO GET THROUGH THAT AND THEN, TWO, YOU'RE RIGHT, HE'D HAVE TO BEAT THE REPUBLICANS. SO, YEAH, HE JUST SEES THIS AS A BETTER OPPORTUNITY RIGHT NOW. Yepsen: WELL, SENATOR GRONSTAL, I MEAN HE'S MID FIFTIES. THE GOVERNORSHIP IS OPEN. IF HE'S EVER GOING TO RUN, THIS WOULD HAVE BEEN HIS YEAR TO DO THAT. AND I THINK HE SERIOUSLY HAD TO THINK ABOUT IT. BUT PART OF WHAT'S GOING ON IN THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY, DEAN, IS THEY HAVEN'T SETTLED ON A SUCCESSOR TO VILSACK. EVERYBODY WHO'S OUT THERE HAS GOT A PROBLEM. MIKE BLOUIN IS PRO-LIFE. CHET CULVER IS NOW FOR THE DEATH PENALTY, AND HE WASN'T DOING VERY WELL IN HIS PUBLIC APPEARANCES. PATTY JUDGE ISN'T STRONG ENOUGH ON THE ENVIRONMENT FOR MANY DEMOCRATIC ENVIRONMENTALISTS. ED FALLON IS TOO FLAKY. SO THERE'S NOBODY HERE WHO'S PUTTING TOGETHER A PACKAGE THAT REALLY EXCITES DEMOCRATS, AND THEY'RE HAVING TROUBLE AND STRUGGLING. THAT'S A CONTRAST TO THE REPUBLICAN RACE WHERE YOU'VE GOT JIM NUSSLE AND BOB VANDER PLAATS, WHO ARE BOTH RUNNING HARD, A VERY VIGOROUS CAMPAIGN. AND JIM NUSSLE DOESN'T SLOW DOWN WHEN HE GETS TO IOWA. SO THE REPUBLICAN RACE IS, I THINK, MUCH MORE SETTLED THAN THE DEMOCRATIC ONE.

Henderson: AND BY THE SAME MANNER THAT YOU'VE SEEN PEOPLE CRITICIZING PRESIDENT BUSH AND VICE PRESIDENT CHENEY, BECAUSE THERE'S NO HEIR APPARENT SINCE CHENEY IS NOT RUNNING, PEOPLE ARE STARTING TO CRITICIZE GOVERNOR VILSACK FOR NOT SORT OF PICKING A DOG THAT WOULD SUCCEED HIM. AND HE IS SORT OF QUIETLY BACKING ONE OF THEM -- Yepsen: DO YOU WANT TO CHANGE THAT DOG PHRASE? [ LAUGHTER ] Yepsen: NO, HE CAN'T WIN ON THAT. I MEAN IF HE TRIES TO PICK SOMEBODY, HE'S GOING TO GET ACCUSED OF POLITICAL BOSSES. AND AS IT IS, THERE'S ALREADY ACCUSATIONS FLOATING AROUND THE PARTY THAT HE'S LEANING TOWARD MIKE BLOUIN IN THIS THING. THE FACT OF THE MATTER IS, ONE OF THE REASONS FOR ALL THIS DEMOCRATIC ANGST IS THAT TOM VILSACK IS A TOUGH ACT TO FOLLOW. I MEAN HE'S SMART. HE'S ARTICULATE. AND SO THESE DEMOCRATS SITTING OUT THERE LOOKING AT THE FIELD, THEY AUTOMATICALLY -- THEY KIND OF MAKE A SUBTLE COMPARISON WITH VILSACK: NO, HE'S NOT AS GOOD AS VILSACK; NO, HE'S NOT AS GOOD AS VILSACK; WHERE ARE WE? I HAD THAT CONVERSATION AT THE STATE FEDERATION OF LABOR WITH MARK SMITH, AND HE SAID, "THAT'S OKAY, TOM VILSACK WASN'T WORTH MUCH AT THIS STAGE IN THE 97-98 CAMPAIGN EITHER." [ LAUGHTER ]

Borg: I HEARD THAT COMMENT. AND IF YOU THINK BACK, THAT'S PROBABLY RIGHT TOO. Yepsen: THAT'S TRUE. SO THAT MEANS THERE'S PLENTY OF TIME FOR ANY OF THESE CANDIDATES TO GROW INTO THE ROLE.

Russell: AND THIS HAS SLOWED DOWN A LITTLE BIT IN RECENT WEEKS, BUT FOR A WHILE THERE GOVERNOR VILSACK WAS GIVING MIKE BLOUIN A CHANCE TO TOUT ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT JUST ABOUT EVERY OTHER DAY WITH THE NEWS CONFERENCES.

Borg: DO YOU THINK, JOYCE, THAT JIM NUSSLE IS GOING TO BE TOO TIED UP IN CONGRESS TO MAKE AN EFFECTIVE CAMPAIGN HERE EARLY, OR DOESN'T HE HAVE TO?

Russell: WELL, I THINK HE HAS TO. I THINK HE HAS A GOOD CHALLENGER, AND I THINK HE'LL DO WHAT IT TAKES. I THINK HE'LL SPEND PLENTY OF TIME HERE. I DON'T THINK CONGRESS WILL SLOW HIM DOWN.

Henderson: YOU KNOW, EARLIER THIS YEAR I ASKED CONGRESSMAN NUSSLE THAT QUESTION. I SAID WILL RESIGN AS HOUSE BUDGET COMMITTEE CHAIR TO BETTER DEDICATE YOURSELF, AND HE GAVE A NONANSWER. SO I THINK THAT IS SOMETHING THAT HE MAY BE THINKING OF. I THINK WE ALL SAW BOB DOLE IN HIS 1996 CAMPAIGN IN IOWA SUFFER BECAUSE HE WAS NOT HERE ON THE GROUND IN IOWA RUNNING IN THAT CAUCUS, BECAUSE HE WAS IN WASHINGTON, D.C., DEALING WITH THE GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN. Yepsen: BUT I'M WONDERING --

Borg: GO AHEAD, DAVE. Yepsen: I DON'T THINK THAT THAT'S LIKELY AT THIS POINT. THE EARLY POLLING INSIDE OF THAT RACE SHOWS NUSSLE AHEAD OF VANDER PLAATS. AND AS LONG AS THAT'S THE CASE, I THINK HE'LL STAY IN WASHINGTON BECAUSE IT'S A BETTER PLACE TO RAISE MONEY.

Borg: WHAT I'M THINKING OF -- AND IT'S THE ROLE AS HEAD OF THE HOUSE BUDGET COMMITTEE -- ARE THERE SOME BUDGET ISSUES PARTICULARLY WITH THE DEFICIT AND THE EXPENSES NOW -- CONGRESSMAN KING VOTING AGAINST THE APPROPRIATION ON THURSDAY. ARE THERE SOME THINGS THAT HE HAS TO BE CAREFUL OF IN HIS LEADERSHIP THERE THAT WILL COME BACK TO BITE HIM IN HIS GUBERNATORIAL CAMPAIGN? Yepsen: YES, HE CAN'T WIN. I MEAN HE'S -- THE DEMOCRATS ARE GOING TO WRAP THIS BUDGET DEFICIT AROUND HIS NECK. THEY ALREADY HAVE. AND YET ANYTIME HE WOULD TRY TO CUT SOMETHING OUT OF THE BUDGET, THERE WILL BE THIS GREAT HUE AND CRY ABOUT HE'S INSENSITIVE OR DOESN'T CARE ABOUT WHATEVER INTEREST GROUP IS INVOLVED. SO HE CAN'T WIN.

Borg: JOYCE, THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN I SAID HAS BEEN KIND OF CROWDED OFF THE FRONT PAGES. WE STILL HAVE SOME CANDIDATES COMING INTO IOWA LOOKING OVER THE STATE IN VIEW OF THE CAUCUSES. WHAT DO YOU SEE HAPPENING THERE? IS IT KIND OF IN SUSPENSE RIGHT NOW?

Russell: WELL, THERE ARE A NUMBER OF PEOPLE THAT ARE MAKING THE PILGRIMAGE HERE AND TESTING THE WATERS. EVAN BAYH HAS BEEN HERE FROM INDIANA. JOHN EDWARDS HAS MADE A NUMBER OF VISITS HERE. MIKE HUCKABEE -- ON THE REPUBLICAN SIDE, MIKE HUCKABEE FROM ARKANSAS HAS BEEN HERE A TIME OR TWO. CONSERVATIVE CANDIDATE SAM BROWNBACK FROM KANSAS HAS ALSO BEEN IN THE STATE A COUPLE OF TIMES. Yepsen: AND WESLEY CLARK.

Russell: AND WESLEY CLARK JUST RECENTLY.

Borg: WHAT DO YOU SEE ABOUT THE RECEPTIONS THAT ANY OF THEM ARE GETTING, JENEANE? IS IT TOO EARLY OR IS IT JUST THE WATER IS TOO TEPID?

Beck: WELL, I THINK IT IS EARLY, AND I THINK THEY'RE GETTING A WELCOME RECEPTION AS EVERYONE WANTS TO SEE WHAT EACH ONE OF THEM HAS TO SAY AND LET THEM ALL IN THE DOOR. BUT ONE THING THAT I FOUND INTERESTING IS WATCHING CHRISTIAN CONSERVATIVES REALLY TRYING TO MAKE SURE THEY'RE GOING TO HAVE A VOICE IN THIS ELECTION NEXT TIME. AND THEY'RE ALREADY PRESSING CANDIDATES AS THEY COME IN AND SENDING LETTERS OUT BEFORE THEY EVEN ARRIVE, SAYING, WELL, HERE ARE THE THINGS WE'RE GOING TO, YOU KNOW, WANT FROM YOU. ONE, THEY'RE VERY GEARED UP ABOUT JOHN ROBERTS' NOMINATION TO THE SUPREME COURT. THEY'RE GEARED UP ABOUT STEM CELL RESEARCH, AND THEY DID NOT WANT THEM TO VOTE FOR ANY EXPANDED STEM CELL RESEARCH. AND ALSO, MOST RECENTLY ANTIGAMBLING ACTIVISTS IN IOWA THAT ARE CONSERVATIVES -- I MEAN NOT ALL ANTIGAMBLING ACTIVISTS ARE CHRISTIAN CONSERVATIVES, BUT SOME ARE. AND THEY'VE TOLD MASSACHUSETTS GOVERNOR MITT ROMNEY, "IF YOU EXPAND GAMBLING IN YOUR STATE, THEN DON'T BOTHER COMING TO OURS TO CAMPAIGN BECAUSE WE WON'T SUPPORT YOU." SO THEY'RE EVEN TRYING TO HAVE SOME PULL OUTSIDE OF IOWA.

Borg: DOES THAT SHOW THAT IOWANS AND ACTIVISTS HERE ARE BECOMING MORE SOPHISTICATED IN THE ROLE THAT THEY'RE PLAYING NATIONALLY AND THEY'RE APPLYING A LITMUS TEST AND SAYING DON'T COME HERE AND EXPECT OUR SUPPORT IF YOU DON'T DO "X," "Y," AND "Z," DAVID? Yepsen: SURE. AND THERE'S A RISK THERE THAT THEY OVERPLAY THEIR HAND. EVEN ON THE STEM CELL ISSUE, FOR EXAMPLE, RANK AND FILE REPUBLICANS GENERALLY AGREE WITH BILL FRIST. IT'S USUALLY THE MOST CENTRIST CANDIDATE IN EITHER PARTY WHO WILL DO WELL IN THE CAUCUSES. SO WHILE PEOPLE AT THE EXTREMES CAN MAKE A LOT OF NOISE AND WE PAY A LOT OF ATTENTION TO THEM, COME CAUCUS NIGHT IT'S OFTENTIMES SOMEBODY IN THE MIDDLE. DEMOCRATS ARE INTERESTING, DEAN, I WAS UP WITH CLARK IN MASON CITY, AND IT WASN'T THE USUAL FESTIVE MEETING OF A CANDIDATE. THIS IRAQ SITUATION, WHICH HAS BEEN -- AS YOU MENTIONED IN THE INTRO, IT'S BEEN CROWDED OFF THE FRONT PAGE. BUT IT'S STILL THERE AND THERE'S A REAL ANGST AND CONCERN ABOUT WHAT'S GOING ON THERE, HOW DO WE GET OUT OF THERE. NO CLEAR CONSENSUS AND CLEARLY NOT HAPPY. MANY PEOPLE IN THE AUDIENCE WERE NOT HAPPY WITH GENERAL CLARK'S ANSWERS THAT, YOU KNOW, WE HAVE DIPLOMATIC EFFORTS AND ALL THAT. MANY PEOPLE JUST WANT TO COME HOME NOW.

Henderson: AND THERE ARE A COUPLE OF OTHER FACTORS IN THIS PRESIDENTIAL RACE IN IOWA.

Borg: YOU'LL HAVE TO MAKE IT QUICK.

Henderson: THE DEMOCRATS ARE WORRIED TO COME IN HERE AND SORT OF STIFF ARM TOM VILSACK, AND IT'S ALSO UNSEEMLY IN A TIME OF NATIONAL CRISIS TO BE SEEN TRYING TO ADVANCE YOUR OWN PRESIDENTIAL ASPIRATIONS.

Borg: THANKS FOR THAT FINAL WORD, KAY. THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR INSIGHTS. ON OUR NEXT EDITION OF "IOWA PRESS," WE'LL BE TALKING WITH ARKANSAS GOVERNOR MIKE HUCKABEE. HE'S THE NEW CHAIR OF THE NATIONAL GOVERNOR'S ASSOCIATION, AND HE'S BEEN MENTIONED AS A POTENTIAL CONTENDER FOR THE 2008 REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL NOMINATION. NEXT WEEKEND, REGULAR AIRTIMES: 7:30 FRIDAY; SUNDAY AT NOON. ANOTHER PROGRAM REMINDER TOO. TONIGHT AT 8:00, A REBROADCAST SUNDAY NIGHT AT 7:00, WE'RE GOING TO BE FOCUSING ON IOWA'S PART IN THE HURRICANE EFFORT UNDERWAY IN LOUISIANA, ALABAMA, AND MISSISSIPPI. JOINING HOST TODD MUNDT IS DIRECTOR OF IOWA EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT DAVID MILLER, IOWA DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH DIRECTOR MARY HANSEN, AMBASSADOR KEN QUINN OF THE WORLD FOOD PRIZE FOUNDATION. HE ORCHESTRATED, YOU'LL REMEMBER, SOUTHEAST ASIAN REFUGEE RESETTLEMENT IN IOWA. AND ALSO ON THE PROGRAM, BETTY ANDREWS OF "I'LL MAKE ME A WORLD IN IOWA." THAT ORGANIZATION PROVIDES WAYS TO HAVE NEWCOMERS ACCLIMATE TO IOWA. I HOPE YOU PLAN TO WATCH THAT SPECIAL REPORT ON IOWA'S PART IN THE HURRICANE RELIEF EFFORT. THAT'S THIS WEEKENED'S EDITION FOR "IOWA PRESS." I'M DEAN BORG. THANKS FOR JOINING US TODAY. FUNDING FOR "IOWA PRESS" WAS PROVIDED BY "FRIENDS," THE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION FOUNDATION; AND BY THE IOWA BANKERS ASSOCIATION... FOR PERSONAL, BUSINESS, AND COMMERCIAL NEEDS, IOWA BANKS HELP IOWANS REACH THEIR FINANCIAL GOALS.

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