Iowa Public Television

 

Congressman Leonard Boswell

posted on February 21, 2006

Borg: DIVERSE CHALLENGES, NATIONAL SECURITY, A REELECTION CAMPAIGN, AND PERSONAL HEALTH ISSUES CONFRONT IOWA'S THIRD DISTRICT CONGRESSMAN, LEONARD BOSWELL. WE'LL QUESTION HIM ON THIS EDITION OF 'IOWA PRESS.'

FUNDING FOR THIS PROGRAM WAS PROVIDED BY 'FRIENDS,' THE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION FOUNDATION; BY THE IOWA BANKERS ASSOCIATION... FOR PERSONAL, BUSINESS, AND COMMERCIAL NEEDS, IOWA BANKS HELP IOWANS REACH THEIR FINANCIAL GOALS; BY THE ASSOCIATED GENERAL CONTRACTORS OF IOWA, THE PUBLIC'S PARTNER IN BUILDING IOWA'S HIGHWAY, BRIDGE, AND MUNICIPAL UTILITY INFRASTRUCTURE; AND BY CAPITOL RESOURCES, INC., LOCATED IN BROOKLYN, IOWA; AND BY NICOLE SCHLINGER AND ERIC LANGE INDIVIDUALLY, FUND-RAISING AND COMMUNICATION SERVICES FOR MAJOR CAMPAIGNS SINCE 1996.

ON STATEWIDE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION, THIS IS THE FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 17 EDITION OF 'IOWA PRESS.' HERE IS DEAN BORG.

Borg: IOWA CONGRESSMAN LEONARD BOSWELL IS VERY FAMILIAR WITH ADVERSITY AND SURVIVAL. HE FLEW HELICOPTERS IN SOUTH VIETNAM AND LATER, UNDER A REPUBLICAN GOVERNOR IN IOWA, BOSWELL LED DEMOCRATS IN THE IOWA SENATE. NOW COMPLETING HIS FIFTH TERM IN THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, MR. BOSWELL SERVES ON THE PERMANENT SELECT COMMITTEE ON INTELLIGENCE AT A TIME WHEN THAT SUBJECT IS GENERATING CONSIDERABLE CONTROVERSY. AND DURING THE PAST YEAR, HE UNDERWENT A CHEMOTHERAPY REGIMENT JUST AS HE WAS PREPARING HIS CAMPAIGN FOR REELECTION TO A SIXTH TERM IN CONGRESS. CONGRESSMAN BOSWELL, AFTER YEARS IN THE LEGISLATURE AND NOW IN CONGRESS, YOU'RE FAMILIAR WITH THIS 'IOWA PRESS' TABLE.

Boswell: I AM. GLAD TO BE HERE.

Borg: AND YOU KNOW THE GENTLEMEN ACROSS THE TABLE: 'DES MOINES REGISTER' POLITICAL COLUMNIST DAVID YEPSEN AND 'ASSOCIATED PRESS' SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER MIKE GLOVER.

Glover: CONGRESSMAN, YOUR HEALTH HAS CREPT INTO THIS CAMPAIGN IN THIS ELECTION YEAR. TELL US WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU.

Boswell: WELL, I HAD A ONE-IN-A-MILLION MALADY CALLED A TUMOR OF THE ABDOMINAL CAVITY. AND LUCKILY MY PHYSICIANS IN DES MOINES KNEW THE WORLD-RENOWNED EXPERT ON THIS, AND THAT'S WHERE I ENDED UP GOING FOR SURGERY. IT'S BEEN SUCCESSFUL. HE SAID I HAD A 99.6 RECOVERY. I SAID, 'WELL, WHAT ABOUT THE OTHER .4?' AND THEY SAID, 'WELL, WE'D LIKE FOR YOU TO TAKE SOME CHEMO TREATMENT.' IT'S NOT CANCER. THE PATHOLOGIST NEVER SAID THAT, BUT IT MUST BE A CLOSE COUSIN BECAUSE I WENT THROUGH THE CHEMO TREATMENT. AND THE LAST REPORT, THE MARKERS THEY CALL IT, THE LAB REPORT, THE DOCTOR WAS EXHILARATED, AND SO AM I. I'M ON MY WAY TO COMPLETE RECOVERY. I'M BACK TO FULL DUTY AND ENJOYING IT.

Yepsen: CONGRESSMAN, HOW TOUGH OF A TREATMENT REGIMEN IS THAT? AS EVERYONE CAN TELL, YOU'VE LOST CONSIDERABLE WEIGHT. DOES THIS AFFECT YOUR ABILITY TO SERVE?

Boswell: I DON'T THINK SO. I FEEL THE ENERGY. I PUT IN LONG DAYS NOW. I HAVE BEEN SINCE MID DECEMBER, AND I'M BACK TO BASICALLY FULL SPEED. AND I WILL GET STRONGER BECAUSE THE TREATMENT WILL SOON BE OVER WITH TOTALLY, AND WE'RE FEELING GOOD.

Borg: WHAT'S THE LONG-TERM PROGNOSIS OF RETURNING OF THIS CONDITION?

Boswell: ACCORDING TO MY MEDICAL TEAM, I EXPECT TO LIVE OUT A FULL LIFE, WHATEVER THE GOOD LORD WAS GOING TO LET ME HAVE TO START WITH.

Glover: ONE OF THE THINGS THAT YOU HEAR IF YOU'RE AROUND POLITICS IN THE CENTRAL PART OF THE STATE, YOU'RE GOING TO HEAR IS FAIRLY OFTEN, IS A LOT OF DEMOCRATS SAY: LEONARD BOSWELL IS 72 YEARS OLD; HE'S HAD A MAJOR OPERATION; IS HE UP TO THE RIGOR OF WHAT'S GOING TO BE A TOUGH ELECTION CAMPAIGN?

Boswell: WELL, MIKE, I'M LOOKING YOU SQUARE IN THE EYE. I AM UP. I'M READY. I'VE NEVER BEEN MORE MOTIVATED IN MY LIFE BECAUSE OF THE SERIOUSNESS OF WHAT'S GOING ON IN OUR COUNTRY. OUR COUNTRY IS IN PERIL AND I'VE NEVER BEEN MORE PREPARED TO DO WHAT I CAN DO THAN I AM RIGHT NOW, AS YOU ARE AT WHAT YOU DO. SO I'M THINKING ABOUT -- I COULD GO AND RETIRE. BUT I'VE GOT CHILDREN AND I'VE GOT GRANDCHILDREN, AND I'M CONCERNED ABOUT WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS FOR THEM. SO I HAVE THE ABILITY TO SERVE. IF THE PEOPLE ELECT ME TO SERVE, WHICH I THINK THEY WILL, I DEDICATED MYSELF TO SPEND IT OUT DOING THE BEST I CAN.

Yepsen: CONGRESSMAN, LET'S TALK ABOUT SOME OF THOSE PERILS AND ISSUES THAT FACE THE COUNTRY. WIRETAPPING. AS DEAN MENTIONED, YOU'RE A MEMBER OF THE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE. DO YOU AGREE OR DISAGREE WITH PRESIDENT BUSH'S DOMESTIC SURVEILLANCE PROGRAM?

Boswell: WELL, I DON'T THINK HE'S TAKEN A PROPER APPROACH TO IT. IF THE FISA COURT SYSTEM ALLOWS FOR WARRANTS TO BE ISSUED AND DONE QUICKLY -- IN FACT, THE FIRST 72 HOURS THEY CAN GO AHEAD AND DO IT AS THEY PROCESS THIS. IT'S VERY ADEQUATE. RARELY DO THEY EVER TURN ANYTHING DOWN. SO IT'S A CHANCE FOR THE THREE-LEGGED STOOL OF OUR DEMOCRACY TO WORK. THE JUDICIARY IS PART OF THAT, AND I DON'T THINK IT SHOULD BE SIDESTEPPED. AND THIRTY PLUS TIMES NOW THAT'S BEEN DONE AND MAYBE MORE. BUT IN THE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE, AS YOU'VE MENTIONED, WE ARE DOING OUR BEST TO GET THE CHAIR TO HOLD HEARINGS AND GET TO THE BOTTOM OF THIS. AND IF THERE'S SOMETHING WRONG THAT NEEDS TO BE FIXED, THEN LET'S FIX THE FISA RULE IF THERE'S SOMETHING WRONG. BUT I DON'T KNOW OF ANYTHING.

Glover: WHAT'S THE BALANCING ACT HERE? WHERE'S THE LINE? EVERYBODY AGREES -- OR MOST EVERYBODY AGREES THAT IN TIMES OF CONFLICT LIKE THIS, THE GOVERNMENT NEEDS TO ASSUME ADDITIONAL RESPONSIBILITIES TO PROTECT NATIONAL SECURITY. EVERYBODY AGREES THERE NEEDS TO BE CIVIL LIBERTIES AND PRIVATE SECURITIES. WHAT'S THE BRIGHT AND SHINING LINE DIVIDING THOSE TWO?

Boswell: WELL, WE'VE GOT TO PROTECT THE CONSTITUTION, AND I THINK YOU ALL AGREE TO THAT. AND YEARS AGO BEFORE I WENT TO CONGRESS, THEY DEVISED A SYSTEM WHERE THEY COULD HAVE A QUICK REFERENCE TO THE COURT SYSTEM FOR THEM TO TAKE A CHECK. AND IT HAS BEEN QUICK. THE RECORD IS THERE. BUT AGAIN, IF THERE'S SOMETHING WE NEED TO DO TO MAKE IT BETTER, THEN THEY OUGHT TO BRING IT TO US. LET'S MASSAGE IT AND LOOK AT IT AND MAKE IMPROVEMENTS ON IT.

Yepsen: CONGRESSMAN, AS I UNDERSTAND IT, SENIOR MEMBERS OF THE CONGRESS WERE BRIEFED BY THE ADMINISTRATION. YOUR LEADER, NANCY PELOSI, WAS ONE OF THEM. BUT THE MEMBERS OF THE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE WERE NOT; IS THAT CORRECT?

Boswell: WE DON'T GET THE INFORMATION THAT THEY CALL THE SELECT EIGHT DO. THAT'S THE LEADERS THAT GO OVER TO -- THAT GET IN ON THIS. BUT AS I'VE TALKED TO NANCY, JANE HARMAN, AND MR. HOEKSTRA AND OTHERS, WE GET A LOT OF THE INFORMATION. AND I CAN'T TELL YOU JUST WHERE THAT LINE IS DRAWN. I DON'T REALLY KNOW. IT'S CLASSIFIED AND I DON'T KNOW.

Yepsen: WELL, ARE YOU -- MY QUESTION IS ARE YOU NOW BEING BRIEFED ABOUT WHAT --

Boswell: WELL, WE'RE BEING BRIEFED A LOT BETTER. JUST YESTERDAY WE HAD A LONG SESSION WITH PORTER GOSS, CIA DIRECTOR, AND IT WAS THE MOST OPEN -- IN FACT, I TOLD HIM, I SAID, 'THIS IS THE MOST OPEN DIALOGUE GIVE AND TAKE THAT WE'VE HAD AND THIS IS THE WAY IT OUGHT TO BE.' AND WHEN WE WENT TO THE NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE DIRECTOR WHO HAS A CABINET LEVEL POSITION, I WAS VERY INVOLVED IN THAT BECAUSE -- AND YOU NEED TO KNOW THIS. I HAVE HAD A TOP SECRET CLEARANCE FOR YEARS. I TAUGHT AT THE COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLLEGE AND SO ON. BUT WE HAD -- THAT WAS BASED ON A NEED TO KNOW, AND IT PROBABLY STILL IS IN THE MILITARY. BUT WITH TERRORISM, THERE HAS TO BE A NEED TO SHARE. IF THEY KNOW SOMETHING SOMEWHERE ELSE THAT WE DON'T KNOW HERE IN DES MOINES AND THERE'S SOME THREAT HERE, THEN WE'VE FAILED. SO WE PUSHED VERY HARD -- I PUSHED VERY HARD FOR US TO TRY TO GET THAT POSITION ESTABLISHED AND TO CHANGE THIS MENTALITY ON NEED TO KNOW VERSUS NEED TO SHARE.

Glover: AS A GENERAL RULE, BEYOND THIS WHOLE WIRETAP ISSUE AND WHAT CONGRESS WAS TOLD THERE, DO YOU THINK CONGRESS HAS BEEN INVOLVED AS MUCH AS IT SHOULD BE IN MAKING THESE DECISIONS, OR IS THE ADMINISTRATION ACTING ON ITS OWN?

Boswell: I THINK THE ADMINISTRATION HAS WENT BEYOND THE MARK.

Glover: IN WHAT WAY?

Boswell: WELL, JUST WHAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT. THERE IS A PROVISION THERE WHERE IT DIDN'T HAVE TO DO THAT AND COULD HAVE WENT AND USED -- GOT THE WARRANT FROM THE COURT SYSTEM AND LET THE CONSTITUTION WORK.

Yepsen: WELL, CONGRESSMAN, WHAT DO YOU SAY TO THE ADMINISTRATION'S ARGUMENT THAT WE ARE IN A WAR AND THAT YOU CAN'T RUN A WAR WITH A COMMITTEE IN CONGRESS, THAT THAT'S WHAT THE PRESIDENT IS SUPPOSED TO DO?

Boswell: WELL, IT'S NOT. THE PRESIDENT, HE IS THE COMMANDER AND CHIEF, BUT THE CONGRESS HAS TO GIVE HIM THE AUTHORITY TO ACT. AND YEARS AGO THEY PROVIDED THIS SYSTEM TO GET THE CHECK AND BALANCE TO PROTECT OUR CONSTITUTION SO THEY COULD GO THERE AND GET THE AUTHORITY TO ISSUE THE WARRANT AND DO WHAT THEY NEED TO DO.

Yepsen: ANOTHER ISSUE ON THE MINDS OF A LOT OF IOWANS, CONGRESSMAN, IS THAT WAR, IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN. BASED ON WHAT YOU KNOW, HOW MUCH LONGER ARE AMERICAN TROOPS GOING TO HAVE TO BE IN TWO --

Boswell: I THINK FOR QUITE A WHILE, BUT THERE'S A LOT OF IFS INVOLVED HERE, DAVID. I WAS IN A LITTLE GROUP AT THE WHITE HOUSE MID DECEMBER. I DON'T KNOW HOW I GOT INVITED. I MAY NOT GET INVITED BACK BECAUSE I SHARE THIS LITTLE BIT WITH YOU, BUT I'LL GIVE YOU THE SHORT VERSION OF IT BECAUSE THERE'S A TIME LIMIT. BUT THE PRESIDENT WAS THERE, THE VICE PRESIDENT ACROSS, RUMSFELD, THE SECRETARY OF STATE, AND GENERAL PACE, THE CHAIRMAN JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF. THERE WERE ABOUT 10 OR 12 FOLKS, I DON'T KNOW. AND FINALLY THE PRESIDENT LOOKED AT ME, AND SO I SAID, 'MR. PRESIDENT,' AND I GOT INVOLVED IN THE DIALOGUE. AND I SAID, 'THERE'S A LOT OF CONCERN ABOUT JUST WHAT YOU'VE SAID,' AND I SAID, 'YOU NEED TO BE MORE FORTHRIGHT. TELL US WHAT YOUR PLAN IS, YOU KNOW, WHAT YOUR EXPECTATIONS ARE.' AND IN THE PROCESS, WHY, GENERAL PACE SPOKE UP AND RUMSFELD SPOKE UP AND SAID, 'WELL, WE'RE READY TO -- WE'RE MOVING FORWARD AND TURNING OVER TO THE IRAQI FORCES. THEY'VE GOT 90 PLUS BATTALIONS, 20 SOME BRIGADES, 4 OR 5 DIVISIONS.' I SAID, 'WELL, BASED ON MY EXPERIENCE, THAT'S ABOUT 200,000 TROOPS. THEY'RE TRAINED AND THEY'RE ARMED AND THEY'RE IN THE FIELD?' AND THEY SAID, 'YES.' I SAID, 'WELL, WE HAVE SOME CONFLICT ON THAT INFORMATION. BUT IF THAT IS TRUE, THEN WHY DON'T WE START A DRAWDOWN? WHY DON'T WE START A PLANNED DRAWDOWN?' AND YOU KNOW WHAT, FOUR OR FIVE DAYS LATER, THEY ANNOUNCED THAT THEY WERE GOING TO NOT SEND THE TWO BRIGADES THAT WERE GOING TO GO OVER. SO IT KIND OF STARTED --

Yepsen: THAT WAS IN DECEMBER.

Boswell: YES.

Yepsen: WHAT ABOUT NOW? BASED ON WHAT YOU KNOW AND SEE NOW, HOW MUCH LONGER IS THIS GOING TO HAVE TO GO ON?

Boswell: NOBODY KNOWS. WE DON'T KNOW BUT A LOT DEPENDS ON THE SUCCESS OF THIS NEW GOVERNMENT, WHICH THEY HAD A GREAT TURNOUT FOR ELECTION, CAN THEY GET THEIR GOVERNMENT ESTABLISHED, YOU KNOW. I ASKED THE SECRETARY OF STATE -- I ASKED CONDOLEEZZA, I SAID, YOU KNOW, DO YOU -- 'DO THEY HAVE DEPARTMENTS? DO THEY HAVE AGRICULTURE? DO THEY HAVE ENERGY? DO THEY HAVE JUSTICE? DO THEY HAVE THESE THINGS SET UP.' AND I DIDN'T GET AN ANSWER. BUT SINCE THEN I LEARNED THAT THEY ARE WORKING HARD ON THAT. SO THEY'VE GOT TO BE SUCCESSFUL, OTHERWISE THEY'RE GOING TO HAVE A CIVIL WAR, MAYBE, AND WE CAN'T PARTICIPATE IN THAT.

Glover: CONGRESSMAN, YOU SAY YOU DON'T KNOW HOW MUCH LONGER WE'LL BE THERE, BUT YOU THINK IT'S GOING TO BE QUITE A WHILE.

Boswell: YEP.

Glover: HOW LONG WILL THE AMERICAN PEOPLE TOLERATE A WAR WITHOUT END?

Boswell: WELL, I THINK THEY'RE STARTING TO GET WEARY OF IT NOW, AS I AM TOO. BUT STILL, WE'VE GOT AMERICAN MEN AND WOMEN OVER THERE IN HARM'S WAY. WE'VE GOT TO SUPPORT THEM AND WE'VE GOT TO DO THIS CAREFULLY AND WE'VE GOT TO HAVE A PLAN. WE CAN'T JUST DISTRACT IMMEDIATELY. IF WE DO THAT, WHY, THE LAST BRIGADE OUT WOULD BE PROBABLY ANNIHILATED, AND WE CAN'T DO THAT. I'VE HAD SOME EXPERIENCE IN INSERTING AND ALSO TAKING THEM OUT, AND IT'S GOT TO BE PLANNED AND CAREFULLY. IT CAN'T JUST BE DONE LIKE THAT.

Glover: A SYMBOL OF THIS WHOLE WAR ON TERROR IS THE PRISON IN GUANTANAMO BAY. THE UNITED NATIONS HAS SAID IT OUGHT TO BE SHUT DOWN, IT'S BASICALLY A TORTURE CELL.

Boswell: YEAH.

Glover: A LOT OF NATIONS THAT ARE OUR ALLIES HAVE SAID THE SAME THING. HOW MUCH DAMAGE ARE WE DOING TO OUR FOREIGN POLICY BY CONTINUING TO OPERATE THAT PRISON?

Boswell: WE'VE DONE A LOT OF DAMAGE, THAT AND OTHER WAYS AS WELL, A LOT OF DAMAGE, BECAUSE IN MY EXPERIENCE, MY NINE YEARS OF LIVING OUTSIDE THE COUNTRY AND LIVING IN EUROPE AND ASIA AND SO ON, I'M ALWAYS WELCOME. ALWAYS WELCOME. IF I WANTED TO COME AND TALK TO YOU AND HAVE A COFFEE WITH YOU AND EAT TOGETHER, WHATEVER, THEY WANT TO KNOW ABOUT US. AND I HAVE CONTACTS AND I TALKED TO THOSE PEOPLE FROM TIME TO TIME THAT I USED TO KNOW AND I STILL CORRESPOND WITH, AND THEY'RE AFRAID OF US, THEY'RE SUSPICIOUS OF US. AND THAT'S GOT TO CHANGE. WE ARE IN FACT A WORLD COMMUNITY. SOME PEOPLE MAY NOT WANT TO ACCEPT IT, BUT WE ARE. AND WE HAVE TO THINK OF THEM AS NEIGHBORS AND TRY TO WORK OUT SOME NEIGHBORLY APPROACH TO WHERE WE CARE FOR EACH OTHER, JUST WHATEVER IT MIGHT BE.

Glover: THERE ARE SOME WHO CHARACTERIZE THE FOREIGN POLICY THAT WE'RE FOLLOWING RIGHT NOW AS ARROGANT.

Boswell: AS WHAT?

Glover: ARROGANT.

Boswell: WELL, I THINK -- I THINK I HAVE TO AGREE THERE'S BEEN SOME ARROGANCE GOING ON THERE. BUT I FEEL THAT MAYBE THAT'S STARTING TO EASE UP A LITTLE BIT BECAUSE OF THE EFFORTS BEING MADE, BUT THERE HAS BEEN SOME ARROGANCE.

Borg: I HAVE A COUPLE OF QUESTIONS. YOU JUST SAID A MOMENT AGO 'WE HAVE MEN AND WOMEN IN IRAQ. WE'VE GOT TO SUPPORT THEM.' THAT LEADS ME TO BELIEVE THAT THE ADMINISTRATION'S REQUEST NOW FOR MORE MILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN A SUPPLEMENTAL APPROPRIATION, YOU'RE GOING TO VOTE FOR THAT.

Boswell: WELL, I WILL BECAUSE I'LL NEVER NOT SUPPORT OUR MEN AND WOMEN IN UNIFORM. WE HAVE TO DO THAT. WE ALSO OUGHT TO BE DEVELOPING A PLAN, DEAN. WE OUGHT TO BE BUILDING A PLAN. IF THEY IN FACT HAVE GOT 200,000 PLUS, WHICH I UNDERSTAND THERE'S MORE NOW THAN WHAT WE REPORTED IN DECEMBER, THEN WE OUGHT TO START THIS DRAWDOWN CAREFULLY BUT WITH SOME PLAN TO WHERE WE CAN BRING OUR TROOPS HOME AND BRING THAT PART TO A CLOSE.

Borg: SO IN THE APPROPRIATIONS IS NOT A PLACE TO MAKE A STATEMENT ABOUT THE WAR?

Boswell: WELL, I DON'T THINK SO BECAUSE THEY'VE GOT TO HAVE THE BEANS AND BULLETS AND THEY'VE GOT TO HAVE THE THINGS THEY NEED WHETHER IT'S THE PROTECTED VESTS OR THE ARMORED HUMVEES OR WHATEVER. THEY'VE GOT TO HAVE THAT.

Borg: THE OTHER QUESTION I HAVE IS AS WE BEGAN THIS PROGRAM, YOU SAID OUR COUNTRY'S IN PERIL. I'D LIKE TO HAVE YOU EXPAND ON THAT. DO YOU MEAN BECAUSE OF TERRORISM THREAT? DO YOU MEAN OF BUDGET DEFICITS, NATIONAL DEBT? WHAT DO YOU MEAN?

Boswell: YOU'RE GETTING VERY CLOSE, DEAN, TO WHAT I MEAN. THE DEBT, I KNOW -- IN THE NEXT FEW WEEKS, MONTHS, IT'S GOING TO BE EQUAL TO TEN DIFFERENT DEPARTMENTS -- AG, EDUCATION, JUDICIARY -- AND UP TO TEN, OUR INTEREST ON THE DEBT IS GOING TO AMOUNT TO THAT MUCH. YOU KNOW, WE'RE TALKING ABOUT -- WE'RE PUSHED UP TOWARDS 300 BILLION. AND YOU KNOW, YOU AND I AREN'T GOING TO PAY THIS, DEAN, BUT OUR KIDS AND OUR GRANDKIDS PROBABLY WILL. AND SO THAT'S A CONCERN OF MINE. AND ALSO THIS ATTITUDE ABOUT -- AROUND THE WORLD ABOUT BEING FEARFUL OF US AND SUSPICIOUS OF US, THAT'S GOT TO CHANGE. AND WE'VE GOT TO UNDERSTAND THAT, YOU KNOW -- MAYBE THAT THIS IS A LITTLE BIT TOO ELEMENTARY -- BUT WE'VE GOT TO BE NEIGHBORS. WE'RE A WORLD COMMUNITY. AND THERE'S A NUMBER OF THINGS GOING ON BUT -- YES, DAVID?

Yepsen: WELL, I UNDERSTAND YOUR CRITICISM OF WHAT'S BEEN HAPPENING IN IRAQ AND THE BUDGET DEFICIT AND ALL THIS. WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO? WHAT DO DEMOCRATS WANT TO DO? TAKE IRAQ, FOR EXAMPLE, CONGRESSMAN. WHAT SPECIFICALLY DO YOU HAVE IN MIND FOR WHAT WE OUGHT TO DO TO GET OUT OF THERE?

Boswell: I'D LIKE TO SEE IT FROM THE BEGINNING, A VERY INCREASED EFFORT. IF WE'RE WORRIED ABOUT WHAT SADDAM HUSSEIN WOULD HAVE DONE -- AND HE WAS A DESPICABLE PERSON, NO QUESTION ABOUT IT. BUT WHY AREN'T THE COUNTRIES AROUND THERE MORE INVOLVED? AND I THINK THAT OUGHT TO BE A MAJOR EFFORT OF US TO GET THEM INVOLVED BECAUSE THEY'RE CLOSER TO IT THAN WE ARE AND, YOU KNOW, THE EUROPEAN COUNTRIES AS WELL AS THOSE IN THAT PARTICULAR AREA. AND I SAID THAT TO THE PRESIDENT BACK BEFORE WE EVEN STARTED THIS. YOU KNOW, THE AMERICAN PEOPLE EXPECT US -- IF YOU'VE GOT HARD FACTS THAT SAYS THERE'S A MASS DESTRUCTION WEAPON THERE THAT'S GOING TO BE USED AGAINST AMERICANS, THEN YOU'VE GOT TO DO SOMETHING. BUT, YOU KNOW, IF IT'S A WORRY OF OURS, IT'S GOT TO BE A WORRY OF THEIRS. AND WE OUGHT TO HAVE BEEN MAKING THE DIPLOMATIC EFFORT TO GET THEM INVOLVED.

Glover: WELL, WHAT DO YOU SAY TO THE NEOCONSERVATIVE ARGUMENT THAT WHAT WE'RE DOING IN IRAQ IS ESTABLISHING A PERMANENT MILITARY PRESENCE IN THE MIDDLE EAST TO ENSURE A CONSTANT SUPPLY OF OIL?

Boswell: I THINK WE OUGHT TO TELL THEM ABOUT THE ALTERNATIVES THAT WE CAN PRODUCE RIGHT HERE IN IOWA WHEN IT COMES TO ENERGY. AND WE ARE ACTUALLY -- WE'VE TURNED THE CORNER. WE'RE ON OUR WAY. AND MAYBE YOU WANT TO TALK ABOUT THAT, BUT I DON'T THINK -- I THINK WE OUGHT TO BE PRESSING HARD TO GET OURSELVES OUT OF BONDAGE TO OPEC. WHEN I WAS IN PORTUGAL IN THE '70S AND WE HAD THAT FIRST BIG SHORTAGE, I REALIZED WE'RE IN BONDAGE TO OPEC AND WHAT CAN WE DO. AND I'VE BEEN WORKING EVER SINCE THEN TO COME UP WITH ALTERNATIVES, AND I CAN SAY WE'VE TURNED THE CORNER. WE CAN DO ETHANOL. WE CAN DO BIODIESEL. WE CAN DO MORE WIND. WE CAN DO MORE WATER ENERGY. AND WE'VE GOT TO MOVE TOWARDS -- AND I'M GLAD TO TALK ABOUT THAT AT GREAT LENGTH BECAUSE I KNOW A LOT ABOUT IT. BUT WE'VE GOT THE CHANCE TO GET OUT OF BONDAGE TO SOME DEGREE.

Yepsen: CONGRESSMAN, ONE OTHER QUESTION ON IRAQ AND THE MILITARY SITUATION. DO WE NEED TO INCREASE THE SIZE OF THE REGULAR MILITARY?

Boswell: WELL, IF THE SITUATION, YOU KNOW -- THE CHAIRMAN OF -- THE CHIEF OF STAFF OF THE ARMY GOT RELIEVED BECAUSE THEY SAID THERE WASN'T ENOUGH BOOTS ON THE GROUND TO DO THE JOB, AND I THINK HE'S BEEN PROVEN RIGHT. AND THE PLANNING WAS NOT AS GOOD AS IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN. AND I'VE BEEN INVOLVED IN SOME OF THAT IN MY YEARS PAST, AND THE PLAN WAS GOOD. THEY DIDN'T HAVE ANY RESPONSE READY TO SEE HOW THE PEOPLE WERE GOING TO REACT. AND THEY NEEDED MORE TROOPS AT THAT TIME. I THINK NOW, IF WHAT I'VE JUST SAID A FEW MINUTES AGO, IF THEY'VE GOT THIS MANY IRAQIS TRAINED AND EQUIPPED AND IN THE FIELD, THEN WE OUGHT TO BE DRAWING DOWN.

Yepsen: WHAT ABOUT OUR STANDING ARMY, THOUGH? DO WE NOT NEED TO MAKE THAT LARGER SO THAT WE DON'T HAVE TO DRAW DOWN ON NATIONAL GUARD AND RESERVE TROOPS EVERY TIME --

Boswell: I THINK THAT -- I APPRECIATE THAT COMMENT, DAVID. I THINK THE EMPHASIS ON -- THE NATIONAL GUARD HAVE PERFORMED MAGNIFICENTLY. THEY HAVE BEEN GREAT. IOWA HAS BEEN RIGHT UP THERE AT THE TOP. BUT WHEN THEY HAVE TWO AND THROUGH TOURS IN SUCH A SHORT TIME, THEN IT STANDS TO REASON TO ME THAT THE STANDING ARMY IS TOO SMALL.

Glover: AND ANY QUESTION ABOUT THE SIZE OF THE STANDING ARMY AUTOMATICALLY RAISES THE QUESTION OF THE DRAFT. WILL THERE BE A POINT WHEN THE DRAFT WILL HAVE TO BE REINSTITUTED?

Boswell: IT COULD HAPPEN. I DON'T THINK SO. I THINK THE ALL-VOLUNTEER CONCEPT HAS WORKED PRETTY GOOD. SO I DON'T SEE THAT HAPPENING RIGHT AWAY BUT, YOU KNOW, WHO KNOWS? I DON'T KNOW THAT. I KNOW WE HAVE SOME MEMBERS FROM NEW YORK THAT HAVE OFFERED A BILL TO REINSTATE THE DRAFT. AND RIGHT NOW, I DON'T KNOW WHAT THE TERMINOLOGY IS, BUT THERE'S THAT ELEMENT OUT THERE OF PEOPLE THAT ARE PREPARED TO DO THAT IF CALLED UPON. BUT I DON'T SEE THE NEED FOR IT AT THIS TIME.

Yepsen: CONGRESSMAN, I WANT TO BRING OUR DISCUSSION CLOSER TO HOME.

Boswell: SURE.

Yepsen: MAYTAG. MAYTAG HAS BEEN BOUGHT BY WHIRLPOOL. THE OFFER IS THERE TO BUY IT. YOU HAVE BEEN CRITICAL -- OR YOU HAVE ASKED FOR THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT TO REVIEW THAT PURCHASE FOR POSSIBLE ANTITRUST VIOLATIONS. YET I HEAR PEOPLE IN NEWTON SAY THAT WHIRLPOOL BUYING MAYTAG IS GOING TO BE THE BEST GAME IN TOWN, IT'S THE BEST DEAL FOR THIS COMMUNITY, FOR OUR UNION WORKERS. AND EVEN YOUR OPPONENT, JEFF LAMBERTI, HAS BEEN CRITICAL OF YOU FOR GETTING INVOLVED IN THIS, SAYING YOU'RE MESSING UP THE BEST GAME IN TOWN. HOW DO YOU RESPOND TO THAT?

Boswell: WELL, I'M HAPPY TO RESPOND TO IT, AND THANK YOU FOR BRINGING UP THE QUESTION. I HAVE MET WITH THE EXECUTIVES. I'VE MET WITH HACHEY. I MET HIS PREDECESSORS. THIS IS SOMETHING I'VE BEEN INVOLVED IN A LOT TIME. I'VE BEEN VERY CONCERNED. THIS WAS A VERY PREMIERE COMPANY THAT WAS BORN AND RAISED RIGHT HERE IN IOWA AND AT ONE TIME HAD 2,500 EMPLOYEES AND WAS NATIONALLY RECOGNIZED. AND, YOU KNOW, THE MAYTAG REPAIRMAN NEVER HAD NOTHING TO DO AND SO ON. WELL, THIS BUNCH, THE ADMINISTRATION OF THE COMPANY IN THE LAST SHORT TIME, ABOUT DESTROYED THE COMPANY WITH BAD INVESTMENTS, AND THEY DON'T ADVERTISE, AND THEY DON'T DO ANY RESEARCH AND SO ON. AND SO THIS HAS HAPPENED. AN OFFER WAS MADE TO BUY THAT WOULD KEEP WITH THE COMMITMENT THAT WOULD KEEP THE PLANT OPEN AND KEEPING SOMETHING GOING ON THERE, FROM RIPPLEWOOD I GUESS IT WAS, OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT. WHIRLPOOL HAS NEVER EVER SAID WHAT THEY'RE GOING TO DO IN NEWTON. THEY'VE NEVER -- THEY'VE BEEN TOTALLY SILENT ON IT, AND THEY HAVEN'T TOLD THE -- THE EMPLOYEES ARE DOWN NOW. THERE ARE PEOPLE THAT HAVE GOT OVER TWENTY YEARS EXPERIENCE THERE AND THAT'S BEEN THEIR LIFE AND THEY'RE RETIREES. AND THEY'VE NEVER SAID ONE WORD. NOW, THEY'VE GOT THEIR OWN HEADQUARTERS AND THERE'S REASON TO BELIEVE THAT THEY'RE GOING TO MOVE -- THEY'RE JUST GOING TO CLOSE IT DOWN. AND SO WHAT SENATOR HARKIN AND I WERE TRYING TO DO IN THIS JUDICIARY SITUATION -- FIRST OFF, THEY WERE ALREADY INVESTIGATING IT. I TRUST YOU KNOW THAT. AND WE JUST SAID, YOU KNOW, WE OUGHT TO DO SOMETHING TO GET SOME RESPONSE OUT OF WHIRLPOOL. NOW, WHAT ARE THEY GOING TO DO? IF THEY'RE GOING TO CLOSE IT DOWN, THEY OUGHT TO TELL THE PEOPLE TO GIVE THEM A CHANCE TO KNOW. IF THEY'RE GOING TO KEEP JOBS, THEY OUGHT TO TELL THEM THEY'RE GOING TO DO THAT. AND THEY OFFERED NOTHING. AND I THINK IT'S DEPLORABLE. I THINK THE STRESS ON THE COMMUNITY, THE STRESS ON THE EMPLOYEES -- AND WE'RE TRYING TO GET SOME RESPONSE OUT OF THEM. SO FAR I HAVEN'T HEARD A WORD.

Glover: IT'S A PART OF A LARGER DISCUSSION -- IT'S NOT DIRECTLY INVOLVED IN THIS -- BUT THERE'S A LARGER DISCUSSION ABOUT TRADE, JOBS GOING OVERSEAS, MANUFACTURING JOBS GOING OVERSEAS, QUESTIONS ABOUT THE FUTURE OF MANUFACTURING JOBS IN THE UNITED STATES. IS IT REALISTIC FOR A MEMBER OF CONGRESS TO TELL A CONSTITUENT THERE'S SOMETHING I CAN DO FOR YOU TO HELP YOU OUT IN THIS WHOLE TRADE THING, OR IS THAT JUST AN ISSUE THAT'S BEYOND YOUR CONTROL?

Boswell: WELL, THEY OUGHT TO -- I USE THIS POLICY: I PROMISE TO WORK ON IT, BUT I CAN'T PROMISE YOU RESULTS. AND I THINK MORE PEOPLE OUGHT TO SAY THAT REALLY BECAUSE, YOU KNOW, THIS WORLD ECONOMY IS WORKING RIGHT NOW. AND I AM CONCERNED, AS PROBABLY YOU ARE. AS OUR MANUFACTURING JOBS GET AWAY FROM US AND WE GET TO A NATIONAL EMERGENCY, I'VE HEARD SOME PEOPLE SAY THEY'D GO AHEAD AND SEND OUT THE PRODUCTION OF OUR AMMUNITION. NOW, COME ON! WE'RE GOING TO RELY ON SOMEPLACE FAR, FAR AWAY TO PROVIDE US THE BEANS AND BULLETS FOR OUR TROOPS? YOU CAN'T DO THAT. SO I'M VERY CONCERNED ABOUT IT, BUT THIS EROSION IS CONTINUING ON. AND IT SEEMS TO ME LIKE WE OUGHT TO BE DOING A LOT MORE EFFORT TO RAISE UP THEIR ECONOMY VERSUS PULL OUR WORKERS DOWN AND THEIR LIVING STANDARDS.

Glover: IF I'M A WORKER IN THE MANUFACTURING SECTOR OF OUR ECONOMY, I OUGHT TO JUST UNDERSTAND THAT MY JOB IS ON THE ENDANGERED SPECIES LIST?

Boswell: MM-HMM, IT IS. LOOK AT MAYTAG. LOOK AT OTHER ENTITIES AROUND HERE THAT HAVE MOVED TO MEXICO AND THEN THEY MOVE ON TO CHINA AND SO ON.

Borg: BUT WHAT CAN YOU DO OTHER THAN SYMPATHIZE?

Boswell: WELL, I THINK THAT WE OUGHT TO HAVE MORE EFFORT IN THIS FREE TRADE, BUT IT OUGHT TO BE FAIR TRADE. AND THAT POINT DOESN'T SEEM TO BE BEING MADE VERY WELL. WE NEED FAIRNESS IN THIS. WE WANT TO BE A PART OF THE WORLD COMMUNITY. OF COURSE WE DO. BIT WE NEED SOME FAIRNESS. AND THEY HAVE A DIFFERENT STANDARD. JUST LIKE WE'RE GETTING READY TO GO INTO THE AG BILL; HOW CAN WE GO IN THE AG BILL IF WE DON'T KNOW WHAT THE WTO IS GOING TO DO IN THIS NEXT -- THE DISCUSSIONS GOING ON. AND SO SOME OF US WERE SAYING WE BETTER EXTEND THAT, WHAT WE'VE GOT NOW, FOR A YEAR OR A PERIOD OF TIME UNTIL WE GET THE RESULTS OF THE WTO BECAUSE THAT WILL SURELY HAVE AN IMPACT ON WHAT WE CAN DO OR WHAT WE CANNOT DO.

Yepsen: CONGRESSMAN --

Boswell: YEAH.

Yepsen: CONGRESSMAN, ONE OF THE ISSUES THAT'S COME UP HERE TODAY IS THE NATIONAL DEBT. WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO, RAISE TAXES OR CUT SPENDING? WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT --

Boswell: WELL, I THINK IT'S A COMBINATION. THERE HAS BEEN SO MUCH WASTE. THE NO-BID CONTRACTS IN THIS IRAQ SITUATION IS UNBELIEVABLE. THE REPORTS WE HEAR, YOU KNOW, AND WE CAN'T GET THE CURRENT ADMINISTRATION AND THE MAJORITY TO GO AFTER THAT AND LOOK AT IT. I THINK THAT THE FIGURE THERE WOULD BE ASTOUNDING, AND WE OUGHT TO BE DOING THAT. AND IF I HAD MY WAY, WE WOULD BE CHECKING THAT OUT. WE WOULDN'T HAVE NO-BID CONTRACTS. SO THERE'S JUST BEEN A LOT OF, I DON'T KNOW, A LOT OF FAILURE TO DO IT THE RIGHT WAY, IT SEEMS TO ME.

Glover: CONGRESSMAN, I'D LIKE TO TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT POLITICS. YOU KNOW SOMETHING ABOUT POLITICS. YOU'VE BEEN AROUND ELECTORAL POLITICS FOR QUITE A WHILE, AND YOU'VE HAD SOME SUCCESS. WE'RE BEGINNING TO SEE POTENTIAL PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES SHOW UP IN IOWA, BEGIN TO MAKE TIES HERE IN IOWA, BEGIN THE 2008 CAMPAIGN. BEYOND WHO'S RUNNING, WHO YOU'RE GOING TO SIDE WITH, WHAT DO DEMOCRATS HAVE TO DO TO WIN BACK THE WHITE HOUSE?

Boswell: WELL, WE HAVE TO HAVE A VERY QUALIFIED PERSON, AND I THINK THERE'S GOING TO BE SEVERAL IN THE FIELD. AND I'M GOING TO CONTINUE TO DO WHAT I'VE DONE IN THE PAST. I'M NOT GOING TO CHOOSE. OF COURSE, I'M VERY BIG ON GOVERNOR VILSACK, AS WE PROBABLY ALL ARE. BUT, YOU KNOW, I'LL TELL THEM ALL, YOU WANT TO COME HERE AND IF LEONARD BOSWELL CAN HELP YOU MEET PEOPLE AND SEE WHAT WE'RE LIKE HERE IN IOWA --

Glover: BUT BEYOND THAT, WHAT DOES THE PARTY HAVE TO DO? WHAT MESSAGE DO THEY HAVE TO HAVE --

Boswell: THE MESSAGE HAS TO BE THAT WE'RE GOING TO REFORM THING THAT ARE NOT BEING DONE RIGHT. WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO ADDRESS THIS ECONOMY. WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO ADDRESS THESE MALADIES IN OUR NO-BID CONTRACTS AND THINGS OF THAT NATURE THAT HAVE BEEN GOING ON. WE'VE GOT TO TAKE A LOOK AT RESTORING FEMA TO WHAT IT WAS BACK WHEN WE HAD OUR CRISIS IN THE '90S. AND THERE'S JUST A NUMBER OF THINGS WE CAN DO AND WE WILL DO.

Yepsen: CONGRESSMAN, WRITE SOME PRESCRIPTIONS FOR THE DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE. YOU'RE A DEMOCRAT WHO HAS WON ELECTIONS IN A RED STATE, IN A VERY RED CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT. NOW, WHAT DO DEMOCRATS -- WHAT DOES THE DEMOCRATIC NOMINEE FOR PRESIDENT HAVE TO DO TO WIN THOSE KIND OF VOTES?

Boswell: WELL, HE'S GOT TO UNDERSTAND THAT THERE'S A VERY BIG CONCERN OUT THERE ABOUT MEDICARE. CONVOLUTED THINGS PASSED THAT WERE SUPPOSED TO BE REFORM; IT'S BEEN ANYTHING BUT REFORM. AND WE'VE GOT TO BE WILLING TO ADDRESS THAT AND GO IN AND MAKE SOME FIXES ON IT AND NOT LET THE PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES WRITE THIS AS THEY DID. SO THERE'S BIG SAVINGS THERE. AND ALSO, IT'S SUCH AN IMPACT ON THE SENIORS. THEY'VE GOT A MAY 15 DEADLINE. AND EVEN SOME OF THE PEOPLE THAT ARE TRYING TO ADVISE THEM ARE NOT SURE WHAT TO THEY WILL THEM, AND THAT OUGHT TO BE EXTENDED. THEY SHOULDN'T HAVE THAT CONCERN ABOUT MAY 15. WE OUGHT TO EXTEND IT OUT TO THE END OF THE YEAR OR LONGER TO SEE IF WE CAN'T DO SOME REPAIRS TO THAT BECAUSE -- I DIDN'T SUPPORT IT BUT I DON'T THINK IT'S -- BECAUSE THE CITIZENS OUT THERE AREN'T SO MUCH CONCERNED ABOUT THAT AS WHAT ARE THEY GOING TO DO. YOU KNOW, IT'S VERY HARD TO COUNSEL THEM ON WHAT TO DO BECAUSE IT'S SO CONVOLUTED.

Glover: IS IT AN ISSUE OF COMPETENCE, RUNNING THE GOVERNMENT BETTER, OR IS IT AN ISSUE OF IDEOLOGY? DO YOU NEED TO MOVE TO THE CENTER, TO THE LEFT, TO THE RIGHT? WHICH IS IT?

Boswell: WELL, IT'S PROBABLY A COMBINATION. BUT I'VE ALWAYS HAD THE IDEA YOU CAN'T HAVE IT ALL OVER HERE, YOU CAN'T HAVE IT ALL OVER THERE, YOU'VE GOT TO COME OVER HERE IN THE MIDDLE IF YOU WANT TO GO FORWARD. THAT'S ALWAYS BEEN MY POLICY AND HOW I'VE TRIED TO WORK, AND I'VE CONTINUED TO DO THAT. AND YOU CAN SUCCEED IF YOU DO THAT. BUT IF YOU JUST HANG OUT HERE AND YOU'VE GOT TO HAVE IT THIS WAY OR THAT WAY AND GET NOTHING DONE, AND YEARS GO BY AND YOU'RE STILL HANGING OUT THERE DOING THAT. BUT IF YOU WANT TO GET IT DONE, WHY, YOU'VE GOT TO REACH ACROSS THE AISLE AND WORK TOGETHER AND GET SOME THINGS DONE. THAT'S WHAT I'VE ALWAYS TRIED TO PRACTICE.

Borg: ARE YOU GOING TO ENDORSE A POLITICAL PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE?

Boswell: NOT DURING THIS SO-CALLED PRIMARY PERIOD, NO. I NEVER HAVE AND I WON'T DO THAT. BUT I CAN TELL YOU I'M VERY BIG ON VILSACK, OF COURSE. I'VE WORKED WITH HIM IN THE SENATE AND I KNOW HIM WELL PERSONALLY AND HE'S A VERY CAPABLE PERSON. BUT WE'VE GOT A LOT OF CAPABLE PEOPLE OUT THERE THAT ARE GOING TO BE COMING HERE TO TALK TO US, AND WE OUGHT TO BE LISTENING TO THEM.

Borg: THANKS FOR BEING WITH US TODAY.

Boswell: MY PLEASURE.

Borg: ON OUR NEXT EDITION OF 'IOWA PRESS,' WE MOVE TO THE SENATE SIDE OF IOWA'S CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION AND CHANGE PARTIES TOO. REPUBLICAN CHARLES GRASSLEY WILL BE HERE. HE'S THE DELEGATION'S SENIOR MEMBER, CHAIRS THE SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE, AND IS AMONG THE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE'S REPUBLICAN MAJORITY. REGULAR AIRTIMES: 'IOWA PRESS' NEXT WEEK, 7:30 FRIDAY NIGHT; SUNDAY MORNING AT 11:30. I'M DEAN BORG. THANKS FOR JOINING US TODAY.

FUNDING FOR THIS PROGRAM WAS PROVIDED BY 'FRIENDS,' THE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION FOUNDATION; BY THE IOWA BANKERS ASSOCIATION... FOR PERSONAL, BUSINESS, AND COMMERCIAL NEEDS, IOWA BANKS HELP IOWANS REACH THEIR FINANCIAL GOALS; BY THE ASSOCIATED GENERAL CONTRACTORS OF IOWA, THE PUBLIC'S PARTNER IN BUILDING IOWA'S HIGHWAY, BRIDGE, AND MUNICIPAL UTILITY INFRASTRUCTURE; AND BY CAPITOL RESOURCES, INC., LOCATED IN BROOKLYN, IOWA; AND BY NICOLE SCHLINGER AND ERIC LANGE INDIVIDUALLY, FUND-RAISING AND COMMUNICATION SERVICES FOR MAJOR CAMPAIGNS SINCE 1996.

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