Iowa Public Television

 

Republican Steve Roberts and Democrat Rob Tully

posted on October 24, 2005

Borg: CAMPAIGN CHATTER. IOWANS HEAR APPEALS FROM CANDIDATES FOR PRESIDENT, CONGRESS, GOVERNOR, AND THE LEGISLATURE. WE'LL GET PERSPECTIVE FROM TWO POLITICAL PARTY INSIDERS, REPUBLICAN STEVE ROBERTS AND DEMOCRAT ROB TULLY, 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, OCTOBER 21 EDITION OF "IOWA PRESS." HERE IS DEAN BORG.

Borg: WELL, NEXT YEAR IOWANS ELECT A NEW GOVERNOR AND DECIDE WHETHER REPUBLICANS OR DEMOCRATS CONTROL THE IOWA GENERAL ASSEMBLY AND WILL ALSO BE PICKING CANDIDATES FOR CONGRESS AND CONTINUE EARLY LOOKS AT PRESIDENTIAL HOPEFULS. THIS WEEKEND, IN FACT, REPUBLICANS FOCUS ON THEIR ANNUAL RONALD REAGAN DINNER. TWO WEEKS FROM NOW DEMOCRATS DO LIKEWISE. PARTY FUND-RAISING AND CANDIDATE SHOWCASING AT THEIR JEFFERSON-JACKSON DAY DINNER. WELL, TODAY WE'RE SEEKING SOME PERSPECTIVE, ADMITTEDLY PARTISAN, FROM TWO PARTY INSIDERS WITH LEADERSHIP EXPERIENCE. STEVE ROBERTS SERVES ON THE NATIONAL REPUBLICAN CENTRAL COMMITTEE. HE'S A PAST CHAIR OF IOWA'S REPUBLICAN PARTY. SIMILARLY, ROB TULLY IS A FORMER STATE PARTY CHAIR, THE IOWA DEMOCRATIC PARTY IN HIS CASE. AND HE KNOWS CAMPAIGNING PERSONALLY, FORMER CANDIDATE FOR CONGRESS. THAT WAS IN THE THEN-SECOND DISTRICT; WASN'T IT, ROB?

Tully: CORRECT.

Borg: YES, OVER IN EASTERN IOWA.

Tully: AGAINST JIM NUSSLE.

Borg: YES. ACROSS THE "IOWA PRESS" TABLE: "DES MOINES REGISTER" POLITICAL COLUMNIST DAVID YEPSEN AND "ASSOCIATED PRESS" SENIOR POLITICAL WRITER MIKE GLOVER.

Glover: MR. TULLY, LET'S START WITH YOU. THERE'S A QUADRENNIAL DEBATE THAT'S GOING ON RIGHT NOW ABOUT THE POLITICAL CALENDAR FOR THE 2008 NOMINATING SEASON, A CHALLENGE TO IOWA'S LEADOFF POSITION. WHERE IS THAT AND WILL IOWA REMAIN FIRST?

Tully: WELL, I THINK RIGHT NOW, AT LEAST BASED UPON THE FEEDBACK THAT WE'RE GETTING FROM THE COMMISSION THAT'S MEETING AT THIS POINT IN TIME -- AND WE'VE GOT TWO REALLY ABLE PEOPLE THAT ARE REPRESENTING IOWA'S POSITION IN THAT, JERRY CRAWFORD AND ROXANNE CONLIN -- RIGHT NOW IT APPEARS THAT BY EVERYBODY'S, AT LEAST, LOOK AT THIS THAT IOWA WILL PROBABLY REMAIN FIRST. THE QUESTION NOW THAT'S STARTING TO COME UP IS TO WHETHER THERE ARE GOING TO BE ANY CONTESTS BETWEEN IOWA AND NEW HAMPSHIRE.

Glover: AND WHAT'S THE LIKELY TURNOUT OF THAT?

Tully: WELL, I DON'T KNOW. THAT WOULD BE THE CRYSTAL-BALL TYPE ASPECT OF THIS. PERSONALLY I THINK IT WOULD BE TOUGH FOR US AFTER 2008 TO KEEP THE FIRST-IN-THE-NATION STATUS IF WE SOMEHOW FOOL WITH THE IOWA AND NEW HAMPSHIRE ONE/TWO ASPECT. BUT THAT BEING SAID, IT APPEARS THAT THERE IS STRONG MOVEMENT TO PUT A COUPLE CONTESTS BETWEEN US AND NEW HAMPSHIRE.

Glover: MR. ROBERTS, WHERE DO THE REPUBLICANS STAND?

Roberts: WELL, THE REPUBLICANS, WE HAVE A SYSTEM WHERE YOU ADOPT RULES FOR THE NEXT QUADRENNIUM BY FOUR YEARS AHEAD. SO IN 2004 WE ADOPTED THE RULES FOR 2008, SO IOWA WILL STAY FIRST IN THE NATION, AS FAR AS THE REPUBLICANS ARE CONCERNED. WE'RE NOW WORKING ON 2012. AND IN THE SUMMER OF 2006, WE'LL HAVE A WHOLE MEETING OF THE RULES COMMITTEE DEVOTED TO THE QUESTION OF WHETHER THEY WANT TO MAKE ANY CHANGES IN THE PRIMARY.

Yepsen: MR. ROBERTS, WHAT HAPPENS IF THE -- IF THE DEMOCRATS DO CHANGE THEIR PROCESS AND YOU HAVE, SAY, THE IOWA CAUCUSES AND THEN MAYBE ARKANSAS, SOUTH CAROLINA, NEW MEXICO, OR NEVADA HAVE CAUCUSES, AND THEN YOU HAVE A NEW HAMPSHIRE PRIMARY, WHICH IS WHAT THE DEMOCRATS ARE TALKING ABOUT? WOULD REPUBLICANS GO ALONG WITH THIS? WOULD THEY MOVE OTHER EVENTS AROUND UNDERNEATH, SAY, BETWEEN IOWA AND NEW HAMPSHIRE?

Roberts: WE'RE SET THE WAY IT'S SET UP, SO THAT WOULD BE MORE NEW HAMPSHIRE'S PROBLEM THAN OURS BECAUSE WE'RE FIRST IN THE NATION AND THEN NEW HAMPSHIRE. AND THEY'D HAVE TO -- THEY'D HAVE TO MAKE SOME ADJUSTMENT THERE.

Yepsen: MR. ROBERTS, I WANT TO SWITCH GEARS AND TALK ABOUT YOUR PARTY AND ITS WOES. REPUBLICANS ARE PLAGUED THESE DAYS WITH CONTROVERSY OVER HARRIET MIERS' NOMINATION TO THE SUPREME COURT; HURRICANE KATRINA; THE IRAQ WAR HAS GONE BAD; THE FEDERAL BUDGET DEFICIT SKYROCKETING; AND ETHICS PROBLEMS, TOM DELAY, BILL FRIST. HOW BAD IS THE '06 ELECTION GOING TO BE FOR REPUBLICANS?

Roberts: I THINK IT'S TOO EARLY TO TELL. WE'VE BEEN THROUGH A PERIOD WHERE IF WE DIDN'T HAVE BAD NEWS, WE'D HAVE NO NEWS AT ALL. AND IT'S AMAZING THAT IT'S ALL HAPPENED SO EARLY IN PRESIDENT BUSH'S SECOND TERM. BUT ON THE OTHER HAND, I THINK IT WAS YOU OR SOMEBODY ELSE WHO SAID THAT 24 HOURS IS A LONG TIME IN POLITICS, AND 2006 IS A LONG WAY AWAY.

Yepsen: THAT'S TRUE BUT YOU'VE GOT TO HAVE A PLAN TO TURN THIS GAME AROUND. NOW, THAT'S A PRETTY BIG LOAD OF WOE. THE LAST TIME A PARTY WAS IN THIS BAD OF SHAPE WAS THE DEMOCRATS IN '94, AND THEY LOST SOMETHING LIKE 34 SEATS IN CONGRESS. SO WHAT'S THE REPUBLICAN PLAN TO DIG OUT OF THIS HOLE?

Roberts: WELL, I THINK SOME OF THE THINGS ARE JUST -- THEY HAVE TO LET NATURE TAKE ITS COURSE. I MEAN YOU CAN BUILD A SCENARIO THAT THINGS COULD GET WORSE THAN THEY ALREADY ARE FOR THE REPUBLICANS BUT, ON THE OTHER HAND, IF SOME OF THESE THINGS DON'T COME TO PASS, IF -- OBVIOUSLY THE TWO BIGGEST ISSUES ARE THE IRAQ WAR AND THE ECONOMY. AND I THINK A LOT OF INDIVIDUAL REPUBLICANS ARE FAIRLY STRONG IN THEIR INCUMBENCY POSITIONS, SO THAT'S A GOOD THING. BUT IT'S OBVIOUSLY A TIME OF CONCERN, BUT THERE'S A LOT OF TIME TO FIX IT TOO.

Glover: MR. TULLY, DAVE IS RIGHT. THE REPUBLICANS LOOK LIKE THEY'RE FACING A WHOLE SERIES OF FAIRLY SUBSTANTIAL AND SERIOUS PROBLEMS. WHAT'S THE DEMOCRATIC PLAN TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THAT? WHAT'S YOUR ALTERNATIVE?

Tully: WELL, I THINK THAT AS WE APPROACH THIS UPCOMING CYCLE, I THINK THE THING THAT STANDS OUT THE MOST I THINK IS THE PROBLEMS STARTING WITH TOM DELAY, WHO IS, YOU KNOW, A VERY POWERFUL MEMBER OF THE HOUSE. AND I THINK THAT WHAT WE'RE GOING TO SEE IS TRYING TO LINK UP AS MUCH OF THE MEMBERS OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY TO TOM DELAY FUND-RAISING. WE HAVE MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE HERE THAT HAVE RELIED QUITE A BIT ON MONEY FROM TOM DELAY, THOSE PARTICULAR ISSUES. BUT I THINK THE THING THAT'S REALLY GOING TO COME BACK TO HAUNT THE REPUBLICANS, AND I THINK WITHIN THEIR OWN PARTY, IS THIS RUNAWAY DEFICIT THAT HAS EXPLODED. I MEAN WE'VE GOT OUR FRIEND JIM NUSSLE WHO IS PLANNING ON RUNNING FOR GOVERNOR AND THE HEAD OF THE BUDGET COMMITTEE FOR THE HOUSE THAT BASICALLY HAS BEEN AN ARCHITECT OF THE LARGEST DEFICIT IN THE HISTORY OF THIS COUNTRY, AND THAT'S GOING TO COME UP TO CATCH PEOPLE. YOU CAN'T CUT TAXES AND INCREASE SPENDING AND EXPECT THAT EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE HUNKY-DORY. AND WHAT WE'RE LOOKING AT IS THEIR SOLUTION IS TO CUT 2 PERCENT OR WHATEVER IT IS OFF THE TOP OF -- ACROSS-THE-BOARD CUTS. AND AS A RESULT, A GREAT DEAL OF INDIVIDUALS IN THIS COUNTRY WHO ARE ALREADY JUST ON THE EDGE OF HANGING ON ARE GOING TO BE LITERALLY CUT OFF.

Yepsen: WHAT ABOUT -- LET'S TALK ABOUT THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN FOR A MOMENT, MR. TULLY, ON YOUR SIDE. TOM VILSACK IS RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT. NOW, IF HE'S IN THIS THING, HOW DO DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATES PLAY THAT? DO THEY IGNORE IOWA OR DO THEY COME IN HERE? AND WE SHOULD PROBABLY SAY YOU'VE PROBABLY GOT AN EQUITY POSITION IN JOHN EDWARDS' CAMPAIGN.

Tully: ABSOLUTELY. AND, YOU KNOW, THE GOVERNOR KNOWS THAT. BUT LET ME JUST SAY THIS, I THINK TWO THINGS HAVE TO HAPPEN. I THINK TOM VILSACK DOES HAVE TO COMPETE IN IOWA, AND I THINK THE OTHER CANDIDATES HAVE TO COMPETE. AND I THINK ONE OF THE THINGS THAT WILL BE A RESULT OF THAT IS THAT IF THE GOVERNOR IN DOING THAT DOES NOT FARE AS WELL AS, SAY, TOM HARKIN DID WHEN HE RAN BACK IN '92 --

Yepsen: AND GET 78 PERCENT.

Tully: EXACTLY. -- AND DO AS WELL, THERE MIGHT BE SOME QUESTIONS OF, YOU KNOW, HOW STRONG A CANDIDATE CAN HE BE IF HE CAN'T WIN HIS OWN STATE ON. ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THAT COIN IS IF A CANDIDATE LIKE JOHN EDWARDS, HILLARY CLINTON, OR ANYBODY ELSE THAT IS LOOKING AT THIS CAN COME IN HERE AND HAVE A STRONG SHOWING, THAT WOULD BE A HUGE BOOST FOR THEM.

Glover: WELL, THEN WHO'S PLAYING IN THE DEMOCRATIC POLITICS IN THE 2008 ELECTION? JOHN EDWARDS, YOUR GUY, HAS BEEN OUT HERE FOUR TIMES. JOHN KERRY HAS BEEN BACK HERE. HILLARY IS ALWAYS MENTIONED. WHO'S PLAYING IN YOUR PARTY?

Tully: WELL, I THINK WE'VE GOT EVAN BAYH THAT'S CONSIDERING IT. MARK WARNER, THE GOVERNOR OF VIRGINIA. YOU KNOW, THERE'S A MYRIAD OF OTHER PEOPLE. RUSS FEINGOLD FROM WISCONSIN HAS PUT OUT SOME FEELERS ON THIS, SO I THINK IT'S GOING TO BE FAIRLY WIDE OPEN. AND I THINK THAT THERE'S GOING TO -- THERE WILL PROBABLY BE MORE PEOPLE THAT WILL CONSIDER IT BECAUSE OF THE PERCEIVED WEAKNESS OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY AND WITH ALL THE -- I GUESS OF THE BAD NEWS COMING OUT -- COMES OUT OF THE WHITE HOUSE EVERY DAY IN TERMS OF EVEN THEIR OWN INTERNAL PROBLEMS WITH LEAKING OF NAMES, CIA OPERATIVES, ET CETERA, SO --

Glover: TO BE CLEAR, YOU WILL SUPPORT JOHN EDWARDS OVER YOUR OWN GOVERNOR IF HE RUNS?

Tully: HERE'S THE THING THAT I WILL TELL YOU --

Glover: AND DOES THAT MAKE THE JEFFERSON-JACKSON DAY DINNER A LITTLE TENSE?

Tully:, NO, NO, NO, NO, NOT AT ALL. THE GOVERNOR AND I ARE VERY GOOD FRIENDS, BUT I'M ALSO NOT AN INDIVIDUAL THAT BLOWS IN THE WIND. AND THE REALITY IS IF JOHN EDWARDS WAS A GOOD ENOUGH CANDIDATE TO RUN THIS LAST TIME, THERE'S NO REASON FOR ME TO BELIEVE -- AND THERE ISN'T -- THAT HE WOULDN'T BE A GOOD PRESIDENT.

Yepsen: DO YOU THINK IF TOM VILSACK IS IN THIS THING, DOES HILLARY CLINTON USE THAT AS AN EXCUSE TO BYPASS IOWA? SHE'S OBVIOUSLY THE FRONT-RUNNER IN THE POLLS. SHE DOESN'T NEED TO COME OUT HERE AND EXPOSE HERSELF TO AN ATTACK, SO WILL SHE JUST BYPASS IOWA?

Tully: YOU KNOW, I WOULD SUGGEST THAT IT WASN'T NECESSARY -- YOU KNOW, I THINK THAT, QUITE FRANKLY, BILL CLINTON, IF HE HAD RUN HERE IN '92, WOULD HAVE -- WOULD HAVE DONE VERY WELL. YOU KNOW, THE ONE THING ABOUT HILLARY CLINTON -- AND YOU KNOW, WHETHER IT BE JOHN EDWARDS, WHETHER IT BE TOM VILSACK -- IS VERY POPULAR AMONG -- AMONG DEMOCRATS. NOW, WHETHER THAT'S GOING TO, YOU KNOW, CARRY OVER TO A NOMINATION, THAT'S SOMETHING THAT WE'LL HAVE TO WAIT AND SEE. BUT I THINK THAT, QUITE FRANKLY, I THINK IT WOULD BE TIME WELL SPENT IF SHE DID COME BACK TO IOWA.

Glover: MR. ROBERTS, LET'S FLIP OVER TO THE OTHER SIDE OF THE PARTISAN AISLE AND LOOK AT THE REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN. A REPUBLIC THAT YOU KNOW WELL, CHRIS RANTS, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE, ONCE TOLD ME THE REPUBLICANS DON'T REALLY NOMINATE CANDIDATES, THEY ANOINT CANDIDATES, THAT EVERYONE KIND OF KNOWS AT THE BEGINNING WHO THE PARTY ESTABLISHMENT HAS ANOINTED. I DON'T GET THAT SENSE ABOUT THE REPUBLICANS THIS TIME.

Roberts: ONCE JEB BUSH INDICATED HE WAS NOT GOING TO BE A CANDIDATE, THAT'S ABSOLUTELY TRUE. AND WE'VE GOT A LOT OF CANDIDATES OUT THERE, BUT IT'S A REAL QUESTION AS TO WHO CAN PUT IT TOGETHER AND --

Glover: WELL, GIVE US -- WHAT'S THE CAST OF CHARACTERS HERE?

Roberts: WELL, THE CAST OF CHARACTERS, I PROBABLY WILL MISS SOME, BUT GEORGE PATAKI, RUDY GIULIANI, MIKE HUCKABEE, SENATOR BILL FRIST, WHO IS OUR SPEAKER TOMORROW NIGHT AT THE DINNER --

Yepsen: BROWNBACK.

Roberts: SENATOR BROWNBACK FROM KANSAS.

Glover: MITT ROMNEY FROM MASSACHUSETTS.

Roberts: MITT ROMNEY WHO IS IN HERE NEXT WEEK FOR THE DALLAS COUNTY PICNIC. SO THERE'S JUST A WHOLE -- GEORGE ALLAN.

Glover: REALISTICALLY, THE BIGGEST NAMES IN THAT FIELD ARE GEORGE PATAKI, THE GOVERNOR OF NEW YORK; RUDY GIULIANI, THE FORMER MAYOR OF NEW YORK CITY, WHO PERFORMED QUITE WELL IN THE EYES OF MANY PEOPLE AFTER 9/11; AND MITT ROMNEY, THE GOVERNOR OF MASSACHUSETTS. WHAT FUTURE DOES A REPUBLICAN HAVE IN A REPUBLICAN PRIMARY IF THAT REPUBLICAN IS PRO CHOICE AND PRO GAY RIGHTS?

Roberts: I THINK THAT'S VERY CHALLENGING, FRANKLY AT LEAST IN IOWA, BECAUSE A LOT OF OUR BASE IS VERY STRONG ON PRO LIFE AND WOULD HAVE A DIFFICULT TIME. ALTHOUGH I HAVE HEARD SOME PEOPLE SAY THAT WERE PRO LIFE, THAT THEY, FOR EXAMPLE, LIKE GEORGE PATAKI. I THINK YOU ALSO ARE SEEING SOME MODIFICATION OF THOSE POSITIONS WITH ROMNEY AND PATAKI, AND I DON'T KNOW ABOUT GIULIANI.

Yepsen: MR. ROBERTS, I ASKED ROB TULLY ABOUT WHETHER HILLARY CLINTON WOULD BYPASS, IOWA. I NOTICED YOU DIDN'T MENTION JOHN MCCAIN.

Roberts: I SHOULD HAVE MENTIONED JOHN MCCAIN.

Yepsen: ALL RIGHT. WELL, DOES HE BYPASS IOWA? HE DID IT ONCE BEFORE.

Roberts: JOHN MCCAIN -- IN FACT, JOHN MCCAIN MAY BE OUR MOST WELL-KNOWN POSSIBILITY. JOHN MCCAIN MARCHES TO HIS OWN DRUMMER, AS WE ALL KNOW, AND IT'S VERY HARD TO TELL. HE HASN'T BEEN A GREAT FAN OF ETHANOL.

Yepsen: DO EITHER OF YOU EVER PASS ALONG TO YOUR PARTY'S CANDIDATES THE FACT THAT THE BYPASS IOWA STRATEGY HAS NEVER WORKED?

Roberts: WELL, IF WE GET THE CHANCE. I MEAN MCCAIN -- MCCAIN CAME IN HERE, YOU KNOW, AND MADE ONE APPEARANCE AND IT WENT VERY WELL AND THAT WAS THE LAST WE EVER SAW OF HIM.

Glover: YOU KNOW, WHAT IS IT -- I WAS AT A REPUBLICAN EVENT A COUPLE OF WEEKS AGO, AND A COUPLE OF REPUBLICANS APPROACHED A POTENTIAL CANDIDATE, SAM BROWNBACK, AND WERE ALMOST FROTHING AT THE MOUTH AT THE PROSPECT THAT JOHN MCCAIN WOULD RUN. WHAT DOES JOHN MCCAIN DO TO THE REPUBLICAN BASE TO SO ALIENATE HIMSELF FROM THEM? HE'S A FAIRLY CONSERVATIVE GUY.

Roberts: HE'S FAIRLY CONSERVATIVE, BUT HE'S JUST -- HIS POSITIONS ARE UNCERTAIN IN A NUMBER OF AREAS. AND I MEAN THEY DON'T ALWAYS -- I THINK ONE OF THE BIGGEST THINGS --

Glover: HE THINKS FOR HIMSELF AND THAT ALIENATES THE REPUBLICAN BASE?

Roberts: WELL, NO, IT'S NOT THINK FOR HIMSELF, IT'S JUST THAT HE'S NOT AS CLOSE TO THE PHILOSOPHY OF THE REPUBLICAN BASE AS MANY PEOPLE. AND PROBABLY ONE OF THE BIGGEST THINGS IS MCCAIN-FEINGOLD, THE FINANCE REFORM LAW.

Yepsen: MR. ROBERTS, HOW BAD IS THE REPUBLICAN BASE RIGHT NOW? HOW BAD OF SHAPE IS IT IN? I MEAN AFTER PRESIDENT BUSH NOMINATED HARRIET MIERS, CHUCK HURLEY, A BIG SOCIAL CONSERVATIVE IN YOUR PARTY, SAID A LOT OF SOCIAL CONSERVATIVES, EVANGELICALS IN THE REPUBLICAN PARTY ARE ANGRY, THEY'RE FURIOUS, THEY'RE GOING TO SIT ON THEIR HANDS. AND YET I TALK TO SOME OTHERS WHO ARE ANGRY AND FURIOUS, AND THEY'RE NOT GOING TO SIT ON THEIR HANDS. SO WHAT'S -- HOW IS ALL OF THAT GOING TO PLAY IN THE '08 CAUCUSES? ARE SOCIAL CONSERVATIVES LESS ACTIVE, ARE THEY GOING HOME, OR ARE THEY MADDER THAN HECK AND WANTING --

Roberts: I THINK IT'S WAY TOO EARLY TO TELL. FOR EXAMPLE, IF HARRIET MIERS IS CONFIRMED AND SHE TURNS OUT TO BE FAIRLY CONSERVATIVE, THEN THEY WOULD, I THINK, FEEL GOOD ABOUT THAT AND FEEL LIKE IT WOULD BE CONTINUALLY GOOD TO TRY TO WORK IN THE PARTY AND MAKE THINGS HAPPEN. IF THINGS GO THE OTHER WAY, THEN THEY MAY BE --

Borg: BUT THAT WON'T BE KNOWN UNTIL SHE STARTS SOME OPINIONS ON THE COURT. AND YOU HAVE AN ELECTION TO FACE BEFORE THEN.

Roberts: WELL, WE HAVE THE 2006 ELECTION, BUT SHE'LL HAVE BEEN IN OFFICE, IF SHE'S CONFIRMED, ABOUT A YEAR. SHE'LL HAVE -- MOST OF THE CONTROVERSIAL CASES WILL STILL BE PENDING AND WILL BE DECIDED BEFORE JUNE 30 OF 2006.

Yepsen: REAL QUICK, LAST PRESIDENTIAL QUESTION. IS IOWA A TOSS-UP STATE AGAIN IN '08?

Tully: ABSOLUTELY.

Yepsen: IS THAT YOU'RE READING OF THAT TOO?

Roberts: ABSOLUTELY. IT'S A TOSS-UP STATE IN EVERYTHING NOW, DAVE.

Glover: MR. ROBERTS, LET'S TURN OUR EYES TO WHAT A LOT OF US THINK IS THE MOST IMPORTANT ELECTION THAT HAPPENS IN THE STATE EVERY YEAR, AND THAT'S THE RUN FOR GOVERNOR. HANDICAP THE REPUBLICAN GUBERNATORIAL FIELD. A LOT OF INSIDERS THINK IT'S JIM NUSSLE IN A WALK.

Roberts: WELL, I THINK THE DANGER THE REPUBLICANS -- OR THAT JIM NUSSLE'S PEOPLE NEED TO KEEP IN MIND IS THAT THAT IS OVERCONFIDENCE, BUT I DON'T THINK HE'LL LET THAT HAPPEN. BUT BOB VANDER PLAATS HAS A LOT OF ENTHUSIASTIC SUPPORTERS OUT THERE. HE'S RUN BEFORE FOR GOVERNOR. HE'S HERE IN THE STATE WHILE NUSSLE HAS TO BE BACK DOING HIS DUTIES IN CONGRESS. AND I THINK WHILE NUSSLE HAS A LARGE FINANCIAL ADVANTAGE AND COMES FROM THE PART OF THE STATE THAT'S MOST POPULOUS THAT HE HAS TO BE CAREFUL THAT HE'S NOT OVERCONFIDENT.

Glover: THE RECORD OF MEMBERS OF CONGRESS COMING BACK TO THE STATE TO RUN FOR HIGHER OFFICE IS NOT THAT GREAT.

Roberts: THAT'S TRUE. WE HAVE NOT HAD A GOOD RECORD.

Glover: WE CAN LOOK AT SENATOR GANSKE. WE CAN LOOK AT SENATOR AND GOVERNOR -- LIGHTFOOT AND ALL THAT KIND OF STUFF. HOW DOES HE OVERCOME THAT? IOWANS LIKE TO HAVE THEIR CANDIDATES BACK HERE.

Roberts: WELL, I THINK HE OVERCOMES IT BY REALLY HARD WORK IN TAKING ADVANTAGE OF EVERY MOMENT THAT HE CAN TO BE BACK HERE, AND I THINK HE'S DOING THAT NOW. I MEAN HE'S GOT PHENOMENAL ENERGY AND HE'S ALL OVER THE STATE. I THINK HE MAY NEED TO -- THERE'S ALWAYS A TEMPTATION TO -- YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO CONTINUE TO DO YOUR DUTIES IN CONGRESS. YOU MAY HAVE TO CUT BACK SOME ON BEING IN CONGRESS IN ORDER TO MAKE SURE THAT HE IS IN IOWA AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE.

Yepsen: BUT, STEVE, HOW DOES THE NUSSLE CAMPAIGN DEAL WITH WHAT MR. TULLY HAS JUST BROUGHT UP A MOMENT AGO, AND THAT'S THIS FEDERAL BUDGET DEFICIT? MR. TULLY IS ON HIS TALKING POINTS TODAY. THE DEMOCRATS ARE HANGING THIS FEDERAL DEFICIT AROUND JIM NUSSLE'S NECK. HOW DOES HE DEAL WITH THAT?

Roberts: I THINK HE MAKES THE BEST OF A BAD SITUATION, THAT HE HAS WORKED HARD TO TRY TO GET THE BUDGET DOWN, THAT THERE'S A LOT OF FACTORS THAT HAVE BEEN IN THE BUDGET THAT ARE KIND OF BEYOND ANYBODY'S CONTROL, MOST NOTABLY IRAQ AND HURRICANE KATRINA. AND SO THOSE ARE ALL THINGS THAT HE TRIES TO WORK THROUGH.

Glover: WALK US THROUGH A SCENARIO THAT WE'VE BEEN THROUGH BEFORE. WE HAVE A FORMER MEMBER OF CONGRESS RUNNING AGAINST A LITTLE-KNOWN DEMOCRAT THAT NOBODY GIVES MUCH OF A CHANCE TO. JIM LIGHTFOOT AND TOM VILSACK: EVERYBODY KNOWS JIM LIGHTFOOT IS GOING TO BE OUR NEXT GOVERNOR AND WE'RE JUST WAITING FOR THE ELECTION TO CONFIRM IT AND, SURPRISE, TOM VILSACK WINS. WHY DOESN'T THAT SCENARIO REPEAT IT ITSELF?

Roberts: BECAUSE YOU HAVE THAT SCENARIO. IN OTHER WORDS, THE REPUBLICANS ARE VERY MUCH AWARE AND LOOKING BACK AT THAT RACE WHERE JIM ROSS LIGHTFOOT LED EVERYBODY IN THE PRIMARY AND IN THE GENERAL ELECTION UNTIL ABOUT A MONTH OUT, AND THEN HE LOST. AND THAT'S A REAL FEAR THE REPUBLICANS HAVE.

Yepsen: MR. TULLY, LET'S TALK ABOUT THE DEMOCRATIC RACE FOR A MOMENT. DO YOU HAVE AN EQUITY POSITION WITH ANY OF THE CANDIDATES HERE?

Tully: NO, NO. AND THAT'S THE GREAT THING ABOUT BEING VICE CHAIR, I DON'T HAVE TO TAKE A POSITION.

Yepsen: OKAY. YOU'VE GOT MIKE BLOUIN, CHET CULVER, PATTY JUDGE, AND ED FALLON ARE THE FOUR LEADING CANDIDATES. WHO'S AHEAD?

Tully: WELL, YOU KNOW, THERE'S A LOT OF DIFFERENT CATEGORIES YOU CAN LOOK AT. FUND-RAISING, CHET CULVER IS WAY AHEAD. IF YOU LOOK AT ENDORSEMENTS, YOU KNOW, CHET CULVER CERTAINLY HAS HIS FAIR AMOUNT. YOU KNOW, MIKE BLOUIN HAS -- HAS CAPTURED A MAJORITY OF THE SENATE AND THE HOUSE MEMBERS. YOU KNOW, PATTY JUDGE I THINK WILL HAVE CERTAINLY, BECAUSE OF BEING THE ONLY WOMAN IN THE RACE, IS GOING TO BE ABLE TO, ONE, RAISE SOME MONEY FROM VARIOUS GROUPS THAT ARE DEDICATED TO FEMALE CANDIDATES. AND ED FALLON HAS GOT A GOOD, SOLID BASE OF, YOU KNOW, PROBABLY, YOU KNOW, 10, 15 PERCENT THAT HE'S GOING TO BE ABLE TO RELY UPON AND HOPEFULLY BUILD UPON.

Yepsen: BUT WHAT'S THE ANSWER TO MY QUESTION? WHO'S AHEAD?

Tully: WELL, YOU KNOW, I THINK THAT'S HARD TO SAY, BUT YOU'D HAVE TO PROBABLY SAY CHET CULVER ONLY BECAUSE OF THE FACT THAT, ONE, HE'S GOT BETTER NAME RECOGNITION THAN MIKE BLOUIN DOES. AND MAYBE SIMILAR -- I'M NOT SURE -- AT LEAST AS TO MONEY AND NAME RECOGNITION, HE PROBABLY EVEN HAS IT OVER PATTY JUDGE.

Glover: WHO IS YOUR STRONGEST GENERAL ELECTION CANDIDATE?

Tully: WELL, YOU KNOW WHAT, WHOEVER THE NOMINEE IS GOING TO BE, BECAUSE WHOEVER THE NOMINEE IS OUT OF THAT PARTICULAR GROUP OF PEOPLE, THAT'S A STRONG CANDIDATE.

Yepsen: HOW WORRIED ARE YOU? WHY ARE WE -- WHY DO WE HAVE ALL THESE CANDIDATES? EACH OF THESE CANDIDATES, IT SEEMS TO ME, HAVE A PROBLEM WITH THE DEMOCRATIC ELECTORATE, THAT IT KEEPS THEM FROM BREAKING OUT. I MEAN MIKE BLOUIN, PRO-LIFE; THAT'S TOUGH IN THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY. CHET CULVER IS FOR THE DEATH PENALTY; THAT'S TOUGH IN THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY. PATTY JUDGE, A LOT OF ENVIRONMENTALISTS ARE CONCERNED SHE'S NOT STRONG ON THE ENVIRONMENT. AND ED FALLON IS STILL LIBERAL. SO HOW DOES SOMEBODY BREAK OUT OF THE PACK HERE?

Tully: WELL, I THINK THAT WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO SEE, YOU KNOW. AND THERE ARE GOING TO BE ISSUES THAT ARE GOING TO BE DEVELOPING IN THE CAMPAIGN, AND I THINK IT'S GOING TO BE WHOEVER HAS THE STRONGEST VOICE AS IT RELATES TO -- AND I THINK THE NOMINEE IS GOING TO BE JIM NUSSLE. HE'S GOING TO -- YOU KNOW, HE COMES FROM THE MOST POPULOUS PART OF THE STATE, AND HE'S GOT MORE MONEY THAN GOD. SO I MEAN THAT'S WHAT'S GOING TO -- THAT'S WHO THE NOMINEE IS GOING TO BE.

Yepsen: ARE YOU WORRIED THAT THE DEMOCRATS DO THE CIRCULAR FIRING SQUAD? I MEAN IF YOU'VE GOT FOUR, MAYBE SIX CANDIDATES IN THIS THING ALL SPENDING MONEY, ALL ATTACKING EACH OTHER, YOU WAKE UP WITH A NOMINEE WITH NO DOUGH AND A LOT OF SCARS THE DAY AFTER THE PRIMARY.

Tully: NO, AND I'LL TELL YOU WHY BECAUSE, YOU KNOW, OUR -- THE FIRST RACE THAT GOVERNOR VILSACK RAN IN AGAINST MARK MCCORMICK, BOTH GREAT CANDIDATES, BOTH WONDERFUL PEOPLE -- MARK IS MY NEIGHBOR -- BUT I'VE GOT TO TELL YOU THAT WAS A VERY CONTENTIOUS, VERY TOUGH PRIMARY, AND WE CAME OUT OF IT JUST FINE.

Glover: MR. ROBERTS, LET'S TURN TO CONGRESS FOR A SECOND. OF THE PROBABLY DOZEN CONGRESSIONAL RACES IN AMERICA THAT ARE TRULY COMPETITIVE, WE HAVE A COUPLE HERE IN IOWA, INCLUDING THE FIRST DISTRICT. WHO'S GOING TO WIN THE REPUBLICAN PRIMARY IN THE FIRST DISTRICT?

Roberts: AND HOW DO YOU HOLD ONTO A DISTRICT WITH ABOUT 15,000 MORE REGISTERED DEMOCRATS THAN REPUBLICANS?

Roberts: WE HAVE THREE VERY GOOD CANDIDATES RUNNING THERE, AND IT'S REALLY TOO EARLY TO SAY. YOU HAVE THE POSSIBILITY THAT MIKE WHALEN AND BRIAN KENNEDY COULD SPLIT THE DAVENPORT OR THAT PART OF THE STATE'S VOTE, AND BILL DIX GET IN THERE -- AND THEY'RE ALL WORKING HARD, AND THEY'RE ALL RAISING PRETTY SIGNIFICANT AMOUNTS OF MONEY.

Glover: IS THAT THE BEST PROBABILITY?

Roberts: I -- AT THIS POINT I REALLY COULDN'T TELL YOU FOR SURE. IT'S TOO EARLY.

Glover: ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE, MR. TULLY, THERE'S A PRETTY GOOD DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY GOING ON OUT THERE. WHO WINS THAT?

Tully: THERE IS. WELL, YOU KNOW, THE TWO STRONGEST CANDIDATES, EVEN THOUGH BILL GLUBA RAN THE LAST TIME, IT'S TOUGH FOR A CANDIDATE TO SAY THAT HE'S READY TO WIN THIS TIME WHEN HE DOESN'T WIN HIS OWN COUNTY IN THE GENERAL ELECTION. I THINK IT'S GOING TO BE A REALLY NECK-AND-NECK RACE, QUITE FRANKLY, BETWEEN RICK DICKINSON AND BRUCE BRALEY.

Glover: AND DO YOU HAVE AN EQUITY POSITION IN THAT ONE?

Tully: WELL, I'VE GOT TO TELL YOU, BRUCE IS A VERY CLOSE AND DEAR FRIEND OF MINE, SO I'D HAVE TO GIVE THE EDGE TO BRUCE.

Roberts: YOU NEVER ASK ME IF I HAVE AN EQUITY POSITION.

Glover: BUT YOU'LL NEVER TELL US. [ LAUGHTER ]

Yepsen: MR. ROBERTS, LET'S LOOK AT THE THIRD DISTRICT. LEONARD BOSWELL, THE DEMOCRATIC INCUMBENT, IS SICK. NOW, WE DON'T KNOW HOW BAD HIS HEALTH IS. WE'RE HEARING CONFLICTING REPORTS. DOES THAT GIVE THE REPUBLICANS AN OPPORTUNITY TO KNOCK HIM OFF?

Roberts: I THINK IT DEPENDS, FRANKLY, ON WHAT HE FINDS OUT ABOUT HIS HEALTH. AND WE ALL WISH HIM THE BEST IN RECOVERY BECAUSE HE'S -- HE'S A NICE GUY AND SO ON. BUT --

Yepsen: THAT GOES WITHOUT SAYING BUT THE POLITICAL REALITY IS THAT IF THE MAN CAN'T DO HIS JOB --

Roberts: WELL, IF HE'S INCAPACITATED FOR A LONG PERIOD OF TIME -- AND THIS IS THE OFF YEAR AND SO ON -- THEN IT MAY -- IT MAY GIVE US AN ADVANTAGE. BUT I WOULD SAY THAT, FROM WHAT I UNDERSTAND, HE IS RECOVERING AND HE PROBABLY WILL RUN AGAIN.

Yepsen: MR. TULLY, ARE YOU WORRIED ABOUT HOLDING ONTO THE BOSWELL SEAT?

Tully: NO, NOT AT ALL. I THINK EVEN LEONARD -- IF IT TURNS OUT THAT IT'S ANYTHING MORE SERIOUS THAN IT IS -- AND I DON'T THINK IT IS -- HE'LL COME THROUGH THIS JUST FINE. HE'S THAT MUCH STRONGER OVER JEFF LAMBERTI.

Glover: MR. TULLY, HE'S A 71-YEAR-OLD MAN WHO JUST UNDERWENT MAJOR SURGERY. WHEN YOU'RE 71, THERE'S NO SUCH THING AS MINOR SURGERY. ARE YOU WORRIED ABOUT THAT FROM A PURELY PRAGMATIC STANDPOINT? GOING WITH THAT SAID THAT EVERYBODY WISHES, FROM A HUMAN STANDPOINT, THE GUY MAKES A RECOVERY; BUT FROM A POLITICAL STANDPOINT, ISN'T THAT A PROBLEM WITH A CONTRAST OF A 71-YEAR-OLD MAN WHO'S JUST UNDERWENT MAJOR SURGERY AND A WEALTHY YOUNG REPUBLICAN RUNNING AGAINST HIM? ISN'T THAT A BAD CONTRAST?

Tully: WELL, IF YOU PUT IT IN THAT CONTEXT, THAT'S A BAD CONTRAST, EXCEPT THAT I DON'T THINK THAT'S GOING TO BE THE CONTRAST. I MEAN THE REALITY IS THAT LEONARD, BY ALL REPORTS WE GET BACK, IS GETTING STRONGER EVERY DAY. AND I THINK THAT -- AND HE IS DETERMINED AND YOU KNOW LEONARD BOSWELL AS AN OLD FIGHTER PILOT, HE'LL BE IN THIS ONE TO WIN.

Borg: HELICOPTER PILOT.

Tully: RIGHT.

Borg: LET'S GO OVER TO THE STATEHOUSE, MR. TULLY. MIKE GRONSTAL, AMONG THE REASONS FOR NOT RUNNING FOR GOVERNOR, SAID HE THINKS THEY CAN TAKE -- THE DEMOCRATS CAN TAKE THE SENATE AND THAT HE WOULD BE MAJORITY LEADER. WITH MORE DEMOCRATIC SEATS UP FOR ELECTION THIS TIME THAN REPUBLICANS, WHAT'S THE RATIONALE FOR THAT KIND OF THINKING?

Tully: WELL, I THINK THE RATIONALE IS THAT ONE IS ALWAYS -- IT'S ALWAYS DIFFICULT TO THROW OUT AN INCUMBENT. AND WE'VE LEARNED THAT OVER THE YEARS IN ANY -- WHETHER YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT THE STATEHOUSE OR YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT CONGRESS. AND QUITE FRANKLY, WE HAVE REALLY STRONG CANDIDATES IN ALL OF THOSE PARTICULAR RACES. PART OF THAT IS DUE TO THE FACT THAT THE REPUBLICANS I DON'T THINK HAVE REALLY DONE THEMSELVES ANY FAVORS IN TERMS OF SOME OF THE POSITIONS THEY'VE TAKEN IN THE LEGISLATURE AND THEY'VE BEEN MORE ROADBLOCK INDIVIDUALS THAN THEY ARE ABOUT MOVING THE STATE FORWARD.

Glover: MR. ROBERTS, THE SENATE IS DEADLOCKED AT 25/25. THREE INCUMBENT REPUBLICANS ARE NOT RUNNING FOR REELECTION. ALL OF 25 DEMOCRATS ARE RUNNING FOR REELECTION. IS IT A GIVEN THAT THE SENATE ROLLS WITH THE DEMOCRATS?

Roberts: I DON'T THINK IT'S A GIVEN, BUT I THINK IT'S A VERY SERIOUS PROBLEM FOR THE REPUBLICANS. I MEAN WE'RE NOT SUGAR COATING IT AT ALL. IT'S GOING TO TAKE A MAJOR EFFORT, POSSIBLY SOME GOOD LUCK AS WELL. IT IS A REAL PROBLEM.

Glover: AND DO YOU HOLD THE HOUSE?

Roberts: YES, YES. WE'RE VERY -- WE'RE QUITE CONFIDENT ABOUT THE HOUSE. IN FACT, THAT'S OUR STOPPER.

Glover: MR. TULLY, DO YOU HOLD THE HOUSE? DO YOU GET THE HOUSE?

Tully: WELL, YOU KNOW, THAT'S OUR GOAL AND THAT'S WHAT WE'RE GOING TO MOVE TOWARD. STEVE MAY BE RIGHT. BUT I'VE GOT TO TELL YOU, WHEN YOU GET INTO THOSE RACES AND AS WE'RE GOING TO GET INTO IT AND AS THIS GUBERNATORIAL RACE STARTS HEATING UP, A LOT OF THINGS CAN HAPPEN DEPENDING ON WHO IS PERCEIVED BY THE ELECTORATE IS GOING TO BE THE GOVERNOR, BECAUSE WE HAVE A TENDENCY TO LIKE TO --

Borg: WELL, WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO GET AN UPDATE ON THAT LATER BECAUSE WE'RE OUT OF TIME. THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR BEING OUR GUESTS TODAY. ON OUR NEXT EDITION OF "IOWA PRESS," WE'LL CONTINUE OUR VISITS WITH THE CANDIDATES FOR GOVERNOR. MIKE BLOUIN IS AMONG SIX CANDIDATES SEEKING THE DEMOCRATIC NOMINATION. BLOUIN ONCE REPRESENTED IOWA'S THEN-SECOND DISTRICT IN CONGRESS AND MOST RECENTLY DIRECTED IOWA'S DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT. MR. BLOUIN IS NEXT WEEKEND: 7:30 FRIDAY; SUNDAY AT NOON. 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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