Iowa Public Television

 

Steve Roberts & Rob Tully

posted on October 20, 2006

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Yepsen: EIGHTEEN DAYS REMAIN UNTIL THE GENERAL ELECTION OF NOVEMBER 7, AND THE CAMPAIGN ISSUES CONTINUE TO BE FINE-TUNED. WE DISCUSS THE ELECTORAL LAY OF THE LAND WITH TWO MAJOR-PARTY INSIDERS: DEMOCRAT ROB TULLY, AND REPUBLICAN STEVE ROBERTS 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; 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, OCTOBER 20 EDITION OF 'IOWA PRESS.' HERE IS DAVID YEPSEN.

Yepsen: WELL, BELIEVE IT OR NOT, THE CAMPAIGN OF 2006 IS WINDING DOWN. CERTAINLY NOT SOON ENOUGH FOR TELEVISION WATCHERS AND RADIO LISTENERS WHO HAVE HAD TO PUT UP WITH WHAT APPEARS TO BE A RECORD NUMBER OF POLITICAL COMMERCIALS. WE'RE BRACING FOR A FAST FINISH AND A LOUD ONE AT THAT. SO TODAY WE TAKE A STEP BACK TO PREVIEW THE FINAL TWO WEEKS OF THE CURRENT CAMPAIGN CYCLE WITH TWO PARTY INSIDERS WHO HAVE SEEN THEIR SHARE OF CAMPAIGNS THROUGH THE YEARS. STEVE ROBERTS IS AN ATTORNEY, A MEMBER OF THE REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE, AND A FORMER STATE PARTY CHAIRMAN IN IOWA. AND DEMOCRAT ROB TULLY IS ALSO A LAWYER, FORMER CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE WHO HAS SERVED AS CHAIRMAN OF THE IOWA DEMOCRATIC PARTY. GENTLEMEN, WELCOME BACK. IT'S ALWAYS GOOD TO HAVE YOU ON THE SHOW.

Tully: GOOD TO BE BACK.

Roberts: ALWAYS A PLEASURE.

Yepsen: ALSO WITH US AT THE 'IOWA PRESS' TABLE ARE TWO FAMILIAR FACES: KAY HENDERSON, NEWS DIRECTOR WITH 'RADIO IOWA;' AND MIKE GLOVER, SENIOR POLITICAL AND LEGISLATIVE REPORTER WITH THE 'ASSOCIATED PRESS.'

Glover: MR. ROBERTS --

Yepsen: NOW, BEFORE -- MIKE, BEFORE WE DISCUSS THE CAMPAIGN FOR GOVERNOR AND THE CAMPAIGNS FOR U.S. CONGRESS, LET'S FOCUS JUST A BIT ON THE IOWA STATEHOUSE, WHERE CONTROL OF THE IOWA GENERAL ASSEMBLY IS IN PLAY. IN THE IOWA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, ALL 100 SEATS ARE ON THE BALLOT, AS THEY ARE EVERY TWO YEARS. IN THE LEGISLATURE THAT JUST ADJOURNED, THE GOP HELD A 51-TO-49 VOTE MARGIN OVER THE DEMOCRATS. NINE REPUBLICAN SEATS ARE OPEN THIS FALL AND TWO DEMOCRATIC ONES. IN THE IOWA SENATE, 25 OF 50 SEATS ARE ON THE BALLOT. POWER SHARING FINDS THE REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS IN A 25-TO-25 TIE. AND WITH 25 SEATS IN PLAY, 14 ARE DEMOCRATIC AND 11 ARE REPUBLICAN. IN THE IOWA GENERAL ASSEMBLY AND ELSEWHERE, SOMETHING HAS GOT TO GIVE. OKAY, MIKE.

Glover: MR. ROBERTS, LET'S START OFF WITH YOU. THE CONVENTIONAL WISDOM AND THE POLLS TELL US THIS IS GOING TO BE A PRETTY GOOD YEAR TO BE A DEMOCRAT. GIVE THE COUNTER ARGUMENT. WHY SHOULDN'T WE ASSUME THIS IS A PRETTY GOOD DEMOCRATIC YEAR?

Roberts: I WAS GOING TO START OUT BY SAYING I SHOULD HAVE WORN MY FUNERAL SUIT TODAY, GIVEN THE PROJECTIONS, BUT I SHOWED UP ANYWAY.

Glover: WELL, ARE THOSE PROJECTIONS ON TARGET?

Roberts: I THINK PARTIALLY. I THINK IT'S GOING TO BE A VERY TOUGH AND TIGHT YEAR FOR THE REPUBLICAN PARTY. I THINK A LOT OF IT WILL DEPEND ON TURNOUT AND GETTING OUR VOTERS AND OUR SUPPORTERS OUT AT ALL LEVELS. AND I THINK WHATEVER WE TALK ABOUT, IT'S GOING TO BE VERY CLOSE, IN SOME CASES MAYBE BEYOND THE REALM OF SAVING. I THINK WE SHOULD BE GRATEFUL, AS A REPUBLICAN, FOR EVERYTHING WE GET THIS CYCLE.

Glover: MR. TULLY, IS THERE A DANGER OF A DEMOCRATIC OVERCONFIDENCE HEADING INTO THIS ELECTION? ALL THE CONVENTIONAL WISDOM, ALL THE POLLS SAY IT'S GOING TO BE A PRETTY GOOD YEAR FOR DEMOCRATS. IS THE PARTY SITTING BACK AND TAKING IT EASY?

Tully: I WOULD SAY THAT THERE'S ALWAYS A DANGER OF THAT. YOU KNOW, YOU MIGHT HAVE SOME VOTERS WHO SAY, HEY, IT'S IN THE BAG SO I DON'T HAVE TO VOTE THIS TIME OR WHATEVER. BUT I'M GOING TO TELL YOU WE'RE RUNNING THIS CAMPAIGN AS IF WE'RE 15 TO 20 POINTS BEHIND, AND SO WE'RE GOING TO WORK EXTREMELY HARD TO GET IN THE ABSENTEE BALLOTS THAT ARE OUT -- AS YOU KNOW, THERE'S QUITE A FEW OUT FOR DEMOCRATS -- AND MAKE SURE THAT WE GET PEOPLE TO THE POLLS.

Henderson: LET'S TALK ABOUT SOMETHING THAT HAPPENED IN WASHINGTON, D.C., THAT MAY BE HAVING AN EFFECT IN IOWA. A FLORIDA CONGRESSMAN RESIGNED AFTER DISCLOSURE THAT HE HAD SENT SOME PRETTY LURID INSTANT MESSAGES TO PAGES IN THE U.S. HOUSE. MR. ROBERTS, IS THAT HAVING AN EFFECT ON CONSERVATIVES IN YOUR PARTY?

Roberts: I THINK SO.

Henderson: IN IOWA TOO?

Roberts: ORIGINALLY I THOUGHT IT WASN'T HAVING AN EFFECT, BUT I THINK IT CLEARLY IS HAVING AN EFFECT. NOW, IT MAY NOT BE HAVING AN EFFECT BY THE TIME WE GET TO ELECTION DAY, BUT IT CLEARLY HAS HAD SEVERAL POINTS EFFECT IN WHAT WE'VE SEEN.

Glover: HOW DOES THAT AFFECT -- DOES IT AFFECT THE CONSERVATIVE BASE OF THE PARTY?

Roberts: YES, THE CONSERVATIVE BASE. WE DEPEND A LOT ON THAT BASE. THAT BASE, FOR EXAMPLE, IN 2000 DIDN'T VOTE AS ENTHUSIASTICALLY AS THEY DID IN 2004 FOR PRESIDENT IN THIS STATE, AND THE DIFFERENCE WAS WE LOST THE PRESIDENCY IN IOWA IN 2000, AND IN 2004 WE WON. AND I THINK IF YOU HOLD YOURSELF OUT AS THE PARTY OF MORALITY TO SOME DEGREE, YOU'D BETTER BE THERE AS FAR AS YOUR ACTIONS.

Henderson: ARE THOSE FOLKS LOST TO YOU?

Roberts: NO, I DON'T THINK THEY'RE LOST. I THINK THE HOPE IS THAT THEY WILL ON RECONSIDERATION REALIZE THAT THERE IS A CLEAR CHOICE IN THIS ELECTION, AND THE CHOICES ARE CLEAR AND IF THEY DON'T VOTE -- THEY WON'T VOTE DEMOCRATIC IN MOST CASES; THEY JUST WON'T VOTE. SO THAT'S WHY THE GET OUT THE VOTE IS SO IMPORTANT.

Henderson: I SEE ROB TULLY WANTS TO SAY SOMETHING.

Tully: WELL, I WAS JUST GOING TO SAY I DON'T THINK THEY'RE LOST; HOWEVER, I MEAN I THINK -- AND STEVE WILL PROBABLY AGREE WITH THIS -- THE PROBLEM THAT THEY HAVE IS HOW LEADERSHIP HAS DEALT WITH IT AND THE FACT THAT THE LEADERSHIP KNEW. SO YOU'VE GOT A PREVAILING CLOUD OVER NOT JUST THE ACTIONS OF A PARTICULAR CONGRESSMAN BUT OVER THE LEADERSHIP OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, WHICH HAS BEEN IN THE HANDS SINCE '94 WITH THE REPUBLICANS.

Glover: MR. ROBERTS, LET'S TURN TO THE TENOR OF THIS YEAR'S CAMPAIGN. I THINK YOU WOULD HAVE TO SAY THAT THIS IS ABOUT AS HARD HITTING A CAMPAIGN AT ALL LEVELS, CONGRESSIONAL LEVEL, GUBERNATORIAL LEVEL, LEGISLATIVE LEVEL. THIS IS A PRETTY MEAN CAMPAIGN.

Roberts: I THINK WE SAY THAT EVERY TWO YEARS. THEY GET MEANER -- THEY GET MEANER EVERY TIME WE GO FORWARD.

Glover: BUT IS THIS ONE THE NEXT STEP UP?

Roberts: OR DOWN.

Glover: OR DOWN, WHICHEVER WAY --

Roberts: DEPENDING ON YOUR POINT OF VIEW. I THINK IT'S HARD TO TELL. I THINK WE'RE IN AN ATMOSPHERE OF VERY BITTER CAMPAIGNS, AND I THINK THAT FOLLOWS OVER INTO THE ELECTION PROCESS AND IN THE GOVERNING PROCESS. AND I THINK IT'S GOING TO CONTINUE THAT WAY. IT'S JUST --

Glover: MR. TULLY, I HEARD A SOUND BITE THE OTHER DAY FROM THE SENATE RACE DOWN IN MISSOURI WHERE THE WOMAN WHO WAS RUNNING ON THE DEMOCRATIC TICKET SAID ABOUT THE TENOR OF THE CAMPAIGN, 'WHY DON'T THEY JUST CUT TO THE CHASE AND JUST ADMIT I'M SATAN'S SISTER.' [ LAUGHTER ] IS IT THAT BAD HERE?

Tully: WELL, YOU KNOW, HERE'S THE THING -- AND THIS IS WHAT WE ALL KNOW FROM POLITICS, WHETHER IT'S ON THE DEMOCRATIC SIDE OR THE REPUBLICAN SIDE -- AND IT'S THIS. IF YOU'RE BEHIND, THE ONLY WAY FOR YOU TO CATCH UP, AT LEAST BASED UPON POLITICAL SENSE, IS THAT YOU HAVE TO BRING THE OTHER SIDE DOWN. SO THE MEANER THE TENOR GETS FROM PARTICULAR CANDIDATES, YOU CAN SEE THAT THEY ARE IN TROUBLE. QUITE FRANKLY, YOU KNOW, JIM NUSSLE HAS IN HIS GUBERNATORIAL CAMPAIGN HAS BECOME VERY CRITICAL OF CHET CULVER, BUT WHAT HAS HAPPENED THOUGH IS CHET'S NUMBERS HAVE GONE UP AND NUSSLE'S HAVE GONE DOWN. I MEAN THE ONE THING ABOUT IOWA VOTERS IS THEY DO NOT LIKE THIS NEGATIVE POLITICS.

Glover: YOU'D NEVER TELL BY THE TENOR OF THIS CAMPAIGN.

Tully: THE DANGER -- [ LAUGHTER ] WELL, BUT THE DANGER OF THAT IS, AS WE'VE SEEN IN PAST ELECTIONS, LIKE WE SAW IN THE VILSACK/LIGHTFOOT RACE AND EVERYTHING, YOU GET TOO NEGATIVE, IT ACTUALLY HURTS THE CANDIDATE THAT'S DOING THE NEGATIVE ADVERTISING. AND I THINK THAT'S WHAT'S HAPPENING WITH NUSSLE.

Roberts: EXCEPT HISTORICALLY THE NEGATIVE ADS, WE ALL SAY WE DON'T LIKE THE NEGATIVE ADS, THE VOTERS DON'T LIKE THEM, ET CETERA, BUT IT HAS HELPED NUMEROUS OF OUR CANDIDATES. AND WE CAN GO BACK IN THE LAST TWENTY YEARS AND POINT THEM OUT, DEFINING YOUR OPPONENT AND THEN ANSWERING THE ATTACK.

Glover: IT'S OFTEN SAID THAT WHEN A CANDIDATE RUNS AND DOESN'T DO IT AND WINS, IT WILL STOP.

Roberts: THAT'S RIGHT.

Henderson: SENATOR MCCAIN WAS HERE THIS WEEK, AND HE SAID THE PENDULUM IS SWINGING AND THAT VOTERS ARE GROWING DISSATISFIED WITH THIS. DO YOU AGREE OR DO YOU THINK HE'S JUST WHISTLING PAST --

Roberts: I THINK YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE TO HAVE, AS MIKE SAYS, A SITUATION WHERE SOMEBODY WINS WITHOUT DOING MUCH NEGATIVE CAMPAIGNING, AND WE HAVEN'T SEEN THAT IN A LONG TIME. I GUESS I TAKE THAT BACK, PROBABLY CHUCK GRASSLEY.

Henderson: DO YOU SEE A PENDULUM SWINGING IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION?

Tully: I DON'T AT THIS POINT IN TIME. I MEAN PART OF THE THING IS IS WHERE YOU DRAW THE LINE IS WHAT'S NEGATIVE ADVERTISING BASED UPON YOU'RE REALLY ATTACKING A PERSON'S CHARACTER VERSUS WE'RE TALKING ABOUT YOUR RECORD. I MEAN WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT JIM NUSSLE'S RECORD OF DEFICIT SPENDING AND EVERYTHING ELSE AND HAVING THE LARGEST DEFICIT IN THE HISTORY OF THE COUNTRY AND YOU WERE IN CHARGE OF THE BUDGET, YOU KNOW, SOME PEOPLE MIGHT CALL THAT NEGATIVE ADVERTISING, EXCEPT WE'RE TALKING JUST ABOUT YOUR RECORD, SIR.

Yepsen: WHAT ABOUT TURNOUT, THOUGH? IS THE NEGATIVITY GOING TO DISCOURAGE PEOPLE FROM VOTING?

Tully: I THINK -- I THINK THERE IS A POSSIBILITY OF THAT BECAUSE, QUITE FRANKLY, I MEAN I -- STEVE AND I HAVE FRIENDS ON BOTH SIDES OF THE AISLE. YOU KNOW, I ACTUALLY HAVE REPUBLICAN FRIENDS.

Roberts: I HAVE A FEW ON THE DEMOCRATIC SIDE. [ LAUGHTER ]

Tully: RIGHT. AND WHEN WE SIT DOWN AND TALK, I MEAN IT REALLY IS, IT'S A TURNOFF. BUT I THINK MOST PEOPLE WILL -- THAT ARE DYED IN THE WOOL WILL GO TO IT. I THINK THE DANGER WE HAVE IS TURNING OFF THE INDEPENDENTS AND THE NO PARTIES.

Yepsen: WHAT ABOUT -- MR. ROBERTS, WHAT ABOUT -- DO YOU AGREE WITH THAT, THE DANGER OF THE FALLOFF IN TURNOUT?

Roberts: NO, I THINK THE PEOPLE ARE GOING TO COME OUT, I MEAN IN PART BECAUSE SOMETIMES THE NEGATIVE CAUSES PEOPLE TO SAY, OH, MY GOODNESS, THIS CANDIDATE --

Glover: WELL, LET'S DO A TURNOUT GAME THEN. IT WAS A MILLION AND A HALF IN 2004. THAT WAS A PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION YEAR. ADMITTEDLY WE WON'T GET TO A MILLION AND A HALF. WHAT WILL WE HAVE FOR A TURNOUT?

Roberts: I, FRANKLY, DON'T HAVE ANY IDEA. I --

Glover: MR. TULLY?

Tully: WELL, IN AN OFF-YEAR ELECTION, YOU HAVE A NATURAL -- REGARDLESS OF THIS ELECTION, YOU HAVE A NATURAL DOWNTURN. TO BE HONEST WITH YOU, I'M LIKE STEVE, I REALLY DON'T KNOW BECAUSE THERE'S SUCH FERVOR AND ANGER OVER THE NATIONAL POLITICS, GEORGE W. BUSH, THE IRAQI WAR, AND A NUMBER OF ISSUES THAT ARE FUELING DEMOCRATS THAT ARE JUST TIRED OF REPUBLICAN CONTROL. AND SO I THINK THAT'S GOING TO HELP IN ALL OF THESE CONGRESSIONAL RACES.

Yepsen: MR. ROBERTS, I WANT -- ROB MENTIONED IRAQ. I WANT TO ASK YOU ABOUT IRAQ. YOU TALK ABOUT FOLEY AND THE EFFECT THAT HAS ON THE REPUBLICAN PARTY. WHAT ABOUT IRAQ? DOES IRAQ HAVE A DEPRESSING EFFECT ON THE REPUBLICAN PARTY? I'M THINKING PRESIDENT BUSH RAN: I'M NOT GOING TO BE A NATION BUILDER; YOU ALSO HAVE A QUESTION OF THE FEDERAL BUDGET DEFICIT I COULD ADD TO THIS MIX. ARE THERE OTHER ISSUES BESIDES FOLEY, LIKE IRAQ, THAT WORK TO DEPRESS REPUBLICAN ENTHUSIAM?

Roberts: WELL, I THINK REPUBLICANS HERE IN IOWA ARE ENTHUSIASTIC AND WANT TO WIN. I MEAN THAT'S THE BIG THING. THE FEAR OF LOSING EVERYTHING IS ENOUGH OF AN INCENTIVE, BUT CLEARLY IRAQ IS ONE OF THE BIGGEST ISSUES. I THINK THAT'S BIGGER THAN FOLEY. OBVIOUSLY IT DEPENDS ON HOW YOU PHRASE IT. IF YOU TALK ABOUT THE WAR ON TERRORISM, THAT'S ANOTHER THING. BUT IF YOU TALK STRICTLY ABOUT IRAQ, IT'S A --

Yepsen: SO HOW DOES IT CUT?

Roberts: WELL, IT CUTS THAT IT'S -- IT'S CLEARLY NOT A PLUS. I THINK THERE'S A LOT OF PEOPLE THAT SAY WE'RE THERE AND WE'VE GOT TO STAY THE COURSE AND WHAT HAPPENS IF WE LEAVE. WE HAVEN'T HAD A VERY GOOD TRACK RECORD AROUND THE WORLD. AND HOW DO YOU REACT IN A TERRORIST WORLD? I MEAN MAYBE -- IN FACT, IF WE DIDN'T HAVE IRAQ, THE TERRORISTS WOULD BE ATTACKING MORE IN THIS COUNTRY. I MEAN THAT'S --

Yepsen: AND, MR. TULLY, WHAT ABOUT THE ARGUMENT REPUBLICANS USE THAT AS BAD AS THINGS ARE IN IRAQ, YOUR PARTY REALLY ISN'T OFFERING ANY SOLUTIONS, AND ONE OF THE REASONS THESE ELECTIONS ARE SO CLOSE IS PEOPLE DON'T HAVE A SENSE THAT DEMOCRATS WOULD DO ANY BETTER?

Tully: WELL, YOU KNOW, IT'S REALLY TOUGH AS THIS POINT IN TIME TO TALK ABOUT, WELL, WHAT SHOULD WE DO AND WHAT WE SHOULDN'T DO. YOU KNOW, I THINK WHAT'S HAPPENED TO THE VOTERS RIGHT NOW IS IT'S COMING DOWN TO FINALLY THEY'RE SAYING, YOU KNOW, BLIND FAITH AND BAD LEADERSHIP IS NOT PATRIOTISM.

Yepsen: BUT AT SOME POINT, DON'T DEMOCRATS HAVE TO COME UP WITH AN ANSWER?

Tully: WELL, I DON'T THINK THERE'S ANY DOUBT OF THAT, AND YOU'VE HEARD DEMOCRATS RESPONDING TO THIS. WHAT'S WORKING IN IRAQ RIGHT NOW IS NOT WORKING, AND WE HAVE TO START THINKING ABOUT PULLING OUT OUR TROOPS BECAUSE SENDING TROOP AFTER TROOP AFTER TROOP INTO A SITUATION THAT HAS NOW TURNED INTO A CIVIL WAR IN A COUNTRY AND WE'RE LOSING LIVES EVERY DAY, THE ANSWER IS NOT STAY THE COURSE BECAUSE WE ARE NOT GOING FORWARD IN IRAQ. WE ARE GOING BACKWARDS AND WE'RE LOSING MORE AND MORE AMERICANS. THAT'S NOT GOOD GOVERNMENT.

Yepsen: YEAH, I KNOW. SO THE DEMOCRATIC ANSWER IS WE'RE OUT, THEY'RE IN, VOTE FOR US. THAT'S THE DEMOCRATIC ALTERNATIVE.

Tully: NO, NO, NO, I DISAGREE.

Yepsen: WELL, WHAT IS THE DEMOCRATIC ALTERNATIVE? I DON'T HEAR ONE.

Tully: THE DEMOCRATIC ALTERNATIVE HAS ALREADY SAID WE HAVE GOT TO START WITHDRAWING TROOPS OUT OF THIS AREA OF THE WORLD, AND WE'VE GOT TO DO IT SAFELY. AND WE'VE GOT TO TURN -- AT SOME POINT IN TIME WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO TURN THIS COUNTRY BACK OVER TO THE IRAQIS.

Roberts: BUT YOU'VE GOT TO HAVE --

Glover: MR. ROBERTS, I CHECKED THE ABSENTEE BALLOT REQUESTS THIS WEEK. THERE ARE ABOUT 140,000 ABSENTEE BALLOT REQUESTS OUT THERE: 70,000 OF THEM ARE DEMOCRATIC; 40,000 OF THEM ARE REPUBLICAN. HAVE YOU LOST THE ABSENTEE BALLOT WAR, AND IS THAT IMPORTANT?

Roberts: I DON'T THINK WE'VE LOST THE ABSENTEE BALLOT WAR. I WILL SAY THE DEMOCRATS HAVE TENDED TO EMPHASIZE ABSENTEE BALLOTS MORE THAN THE REPUBLICANS, BECAUSE WE PUT OUR EMPHASIS ON GETTING OUT THE VOTE. A LOT OF THOSE ABSENTEE BALLOTS ARE PEOPLE THAT WOULD OTHERWISE VOTE ON ELECTION DAY, NUMBER ONE. AND NUMBER TWO, WE'RE SEEING LESS RETURN RATE THAN IN 2004. ADMITTEDLY THAT WAS A PRESIDENTIAL YEAR, BUT WE THINK OUR 72-HOUR VOTER TURNOUT EFFORT IS AS GOOD OR BETTER THAN THE DEMOCRATS AND OFFSETS THAT, AND THAT'S WHAT HAPPENED IN 2004.

Glover: MR. TULLY, HAVE YOU WON THE ABSENTEE BALLOT WAR, AND IS THAT OF SIGNIFICANCE?

Tully: WELL, I DON'T KNOW HOW YOU SAY WHETHER YOU WON OR NOT, BUT THE FACT IS THAT WE ACTUALLY DO THAT PROGRAM BETTER THAN THE REPUBLICANS. AND THE FACT IS WE WILL GET THOSE VOTES IN BEFOR ELECTION DAY. I THINK THE OTHER THING THAT WE NEED TO LOOK AT IS THAT, YOU KNOW, 2004 WAS A PRESIDENTIAL YEAR. I THINK THINGS ARE GOING TO BE A LITTLE BIT DIFFERENT. WE'RE, YOU KNOW -- THE DEMOCRATS WERE CAUGHT SLEEPING AT THE WHEEL IN 2004 IN THE PRESIDENTIAL IN IOWA, AND WE'RE JUST NOT GOING TO LET THAT HAPPEN.

Roberts: I DON'T KNOW HOW. YOU FOLKS PUT OUT A MAJOR EFFORT IN 2004. I DIDN'T THINK YOU WERE ASLEEP, THE WAY WE THOUGHT OF IT ANYWAY.

Glover: IF MR. ROBERTS' POINT IS ACCURATE, IN FACT DEMOCRATS HAD A PRETTY GOOD ABSENTEE BALLOT EDGE IN 2004, THEIR ELECTION DAY EFFORT WAS BETTER THAN YOURS.

Tully: IT WAS AND THAT'S WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT, WHERE WE WERE SLEEPING AT THE WHEEL IN TERMS OF IT. BUT THEY ACTUALLY GENERATED A NUMBER OF VOTES THROUGH WHAT WE WOULD PROBABLY CALL THE MORE CONSERVATIVE PORTION OF THEIR PARTY AND THE CHRISTIAN COALITION. AND I HAVE TO TELL YOU, THEY DID A BETTER JOB OF GET OUT THE VOTE IN 2004. HOWEVER, BECAUSE OF CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE WAY THE POLITICS LOOKS NOW WITH THE FOLEY ISSUES, THE LEADERSHIP ISSUES WITH HASTERT, I THINK THAT'S JUST NOT GOING TO BE THE CASE THIS TIME.

Henderson: GENTLEMEN, THE MARQUEE RACE IN IOWA THIS YEAR IS THE RACE FOR GOVERNOR. I'VE TRAVELED WITH BOTH OF THESE CANDIDATES FOR A FULL DAY AND TALKED TO THE PEOPLE WHO ARE SUPPORTING HIM, AND ONE OF THE THINGS I'M STRUCK BY IS THAT THOSE WHO ARE NUSSLE BACKERS SAY THEY'RE VOTING FOR HIM BECAUSE THEY'RE A REPUBLICAN AND THOSE WHO ARE CULVER BACKERS SAY, 'I'M VOTING FOR HIM BECAUSE I'M A DEMOCRAT.' WHAT DOES THAT SAY ABOUT THIS RACE, MR. ROBERTS, THAT THERE SEEM TO BE SUCH GALVANIZED PEOPLE ON BOTH SIDES OF THE AISLE?

Roberts: WELL, I THINK THAT'S SYMBOLIC OF WHAT WE SEE IN THE COUNTRY. WE'RE SEEING TIGHT RACES ALL OVER. EVER SINCE 2000 PRESIDENTIAL ON DOWN HAS GOTTEN TIGHTER, IT'S GOTTEN MORE PARTISAN. AND, FRANKLY, THE MIDDLE GROUND IT'S VERY DIFFICULT TO SUSTAIN IN EITHER PARTY.

Henderson: MR. ROBERTS -- I MEAN DO YOU SEE ANYTHING, MR. TULLY, IN THAT OBSERVATION?

Tully: NO. AND I THINK THAT WAS REFLECTED IN THE FIRST 'DES MOINES REGISTER' POLL, WHERE THEY LOOKED AT IT, IT WAS 44/44, AND I THINK WHAT THAT REFLECTS IS YOU'VE GOT YOUR BASE. AND OF COURSE, THE MOVEMENT NOW IS TO TAKE CARE OF THE INDEPENDENTS AND NO PARTIES. AND AS WE SAW AGAIN IN THE LATEST POLL, THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT'S HAPPENING IS THAT -- IS THAT CHET IS MOVING AHEAD WITH -- AND YOU COULD SEE IT IN THE NUMBERS -- THE BREAKDOWN POLL WITH INDEPENDENTS. AND I'VE GOT TO TELL YOU, YOU KNOW, THE ONE THING THAT YOU'VE GOT TO LOOK AT THAT PARTICULAR RACE IS THAT JIM NUSSLE SPENT OVER A MILLION DOLLARS PUTTING NEGATIVE ADS ON TRYING TO BEAT UP CHET CULVER, AND THEY DIDN'T WORK. HIS NUMBERS WENT DOWN; CHET'S WENT UP. YOU KNOW, NOW WE'VE GOT NUSSLE SAYING THAT AT THE BEGINNING OF THIS CAMPAIGN HE WAS AGAINST THE IOWA VALUES FUND, THIS WAS TERRIBLE. NOW HE'S SAYING, GEE, IT'S A PRETTY GOOD IDEA BECAUSE HE KNOWS THAT HIS CRITICISM ISN'T WORKING.

Roberts: FIRST OF ALL, OUR POLLS HAVE BEEN BACK AND FORTH: THE LAST 'REGISTER' POLLS SHOWED SEVEN POINTS UP; THE ZOGBY POLL FIVE POINTS UP FOR CULVER. FOR ALL WE KNOW, IT WILL GO OTHER THE OTHER WAY MAYBE MORE THAN ONCE. I MEAN WE ALL REMEMBER, BEING ON THE REPUBLICAN SIDE, REMEMBER JIM ROSS LIGHTFOOT HOW WELL HE WAS DOING UP TO THE END, AND HE DIDN'T BECOME GOVERNOR.

Yepsen: AND WE DO HAVE TO STIPULATE IN ALL THESE POLLS, WE'RE TALKING ABOUT THINGS THAT ARE DEALING WITH A MARGIN OF ERROR.

Glover: YEAH. LET'S TURN TO THE FIRST DISTRICT, MR. TULLY. NORTHEAST IOWA, IT'S A DISTRICT WITH MORE REGISTERED DEMOCRATS THAN REPUBLICANS, BUT IT'S A DISTRICT THAT'S BEEN IN REPUBLICAN HANDS SINCE THE 1970S. HANDICAP THAT FOR ME.

Tully: WELL, I THINK RIGHT NOW AND, OF COURSE, WE HAVE TO SAY, OBVIOUSLY, YOU KNOW -- I BELIEVE AND I THINK THE NUMBERS ARE BEARING OUT THE FACT THAT BRUCE BRALEY IS GOING TO WIN THAT RACE. THE NUMBERS HAVE COME BACK VERY GOOD. THAT ONE POLL THAT CAME IN THAT SAID WHALEN WAS AHEAD, I THINK EVEN THIS PROGRAM INDICATED THAT WAS AN ABERRATION AND IT WAS. IT TURNED OUT TO BE. AND OUR INTERNAL POLLING UP THERE SHOWS THAT THE PREVIOUS NUMBERS THAT WE HAD ARE STILL GOOD. AND WHALEN IS RUNNING OUT OF TIME IN TERMS OF DOING ANY MORE NEGATIVE ADS.

Yepsen: MR. ROBERTS --

Roberts: MIKE WHALEN HAS BEEN A SURPRISE CANDIDATE STARTING WITH THE PRIMARY. EVERYBODY THOUGHT THE CONVENTIONAL WISDOM THAT HE WAS RUNNING IN DAVENPORT AND ANOTHER DAVENPORT CANDIDATE WAS IN THE RACE AND BILL DIX WOULD WIN THE PRIMARY. MIKE WHALEN WON THE PRIMARY RATHER HANDILY. AND I THINK EVEN THOUGH THERE'S A TREMENDOUS DEMOCRATIC REGISTRATION ADVANTAGE, THERE'S A REAL GOOD POSSIBILITY THAT MIKE WILL WIN THAT.

Glover: WHAT'S DRIVING THAT RACE? IS IT ISSUES? IS IT PERSONALITIES?

Roberts: I THINK IT'S PERSONALITIES, YEAH, ON BOTH SIDES, AND OBVIOUSLY TO SOME EXTENT WHERE THE PEOPLE COME FROM. THEY'RE BOTH INTERESTING CANDIDATES. THEY BOTH HAVE PRETTY GOOD EGOS AND THEY DON'T LIKE TO LOSE AND THAT'S WHAT'S MAKING IT A VERY GOOD RACE. IT'S NOT THAT ANYBODY LIKES TO LOSE.

Glover: MR. TULLY, WHAT DO YOU THINK IS DRIVING THAT RACE?

Tully: YOU KNOW, QUITE FRANKLY, PART OF IT FOR THE DEMOCRATS IS THEY WANT THAT SEAT BACK. JUST AS DAVID'S POINTED OUT, IT'S BEEN IN REPUBLICAN HANDS FOR AN AWFUL LONG TIME. I THINK AS WE GET CLOSER DOWN TO THIS ELECTION, I THINK IT MIGHT TIGHTEN UP. BUT I STILL THINK THAT BRUCE IS GOING TO PULL IT OUT, AND I'M GOING TO PREDICT THAT BRUCE IS GOING TO WIN SCOTT COUNTY, WHICH WHALEN CANNOT WIN THAT DISTRICT WITHOUT WINNING SCOTT COUNTY.

Henderson: YOU GENTLEMEN WILL BOTH BE VOTING IN THE THIRD CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT, AND I THINK WE CAN ALL PREDICT HOW YOU WILL VOTE. WHAT ARE THE FACTORS IN THAT ELECTION, MR. ROBERTS?

Roberts: I THINK THE FACTORS THERE ARE A LITTLE DIFFERENT, OBVIOUSLY THAN THE FIRST DISTRICT. THE FACT OF THE QUESTION IS DO YOU WANT CHANGE IN THE DISTRICT. THE ISSUES INVOLVE THE CONTRAST BETWEEN THE TWO CANDIDATES: JEFF LAMBERTI, YOUNGER, ENERGETIC; AND LEONARD BOSWELL, A DISTINGUISHED CAREER BUT OLDER. AND I THINK IT --

Yepsen: BUT, MR ROBERTS, LEONARD BOSWELL'S HEALTH HAS COME BACK. HE LOOKS MUCH BETTER. HE'S AN INCUMBENT. IT'S CLEARLY A DEMOCRATIC YEAR. ISN'T THAT AN IMPOSSIBLE TASK FOR JEFF LAMBERTI?

Roberts: I DON'T THINK IT'S AN IMPOSSIBLE TASK. I THINK EVERY REPUBLICAN THIS YEAR HAS GOT A VERY DIFFICULT TASK. I THINK IT COULD BE AN UPSET. IT'S A VERY CLOSE RACE. I DON'T THINK THE PRESIDENT WOULD BE COMING IN HERE -- IN FACT IT'S ONE OF THE THREE RACES THAT THE REPUBLICANS ARE PUTTING MONEY IN AGAINST A DEMOCRATIC INCUMBENT IN THE ENTIRE COUNTRY.

Glover: MR. TULLY, ARE YOU GLAD TO HAVE A PRESIDENT WHO'S IN THE THIRTIES COMING IN TO CAMPAIGN FOR JEFF LAMBERTI?

Tully: ABSOLUTELY. YOU CAN'T ASK FOR ANYTHING MORE. I MEAN THE PROBLEM THAT LAMBERTI HAS GOT IS THIS -- I MEAN, YOU KNOW -- LIKE THE OLD ADAGE MY FATHER SAID, I WAS BORN AT NIGHT BUT I WASN'T BORN LAST NIGHT. HIM TO SAY THAT HIS WHOLE MAIN CAMPAIGN IS THAT WE'VE GOT TO CHANGE THE WAY THINGS ARE DONE IN WASHINGTON, D.C., HE'S RUNNING AGAINST HIS OWN PARTY. HIS OWN PARTY IS THE ONE THAT'S THE PARTY OF THE LARGE DEFICITS. YOU KNOW, RUNNING AN AD SAYING THAT LEONARD BOSWELL IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE BRIDGE THAT GOES TO NOWHERE, THAT WAS TED STEVENS, A REPUBLICAN SENATOR, SAID HE'D QUIT THE SENATE IF THEY DIDN'T BUILD THIS BRIDGE FOR HIM.

Glover:MR. ROBERTS, HOW DO YOU COUNTER THE ARGUMENT THAT MR. TULLY MAKES THAT JEFF LAMBERTI IS RUNNING TO CHANGE CONGRESS AND THE REPUBLICANS CONTROL BOTH CONGRESS AND THE WHITE HOUSE?

Roberts: WELL, I THINK HE'S --

Glover: IN OTHER WORDS, REPUBLICANS CONTROL CONGRESS, SO IF YOU WANT TO CHANGE THINGS, SEND ANOTHER REPUBLIC.

Roberts: WELL, HE'S SAYING THAT HE'D BE A DIFFERENT KIND OF REPUBLICAN FROM THIS AREA, THAT HE AT LEAST WOULD BE -- WHEN HE STARTED OUT RUNNING, HE'D BE IN THE MAJORITY. WE DON'T KNOW WHETHER HE'S GOING TO BE IN THE MAJORITY OR NOT EVEN IF HE WINS, BUT I THINK THE IDEA WAS -- THE THOUGHT IS THAT THE REPUBLICANS IN SOME CASES HAVE GOTTEN OFF THE TRACK, NOTABLY ON DEFICITS AND SOME OTHER AREAS, AND HE WOULD BE A DIFFERENT KIND OF REPUBLICAN. THAT'S WHAT HE'S RUNNING ON.

Glover: MR. TULLY, LET'S TURN TO THE STATEHOUSE, AND WE'LL START WITH THE STATE SENATE WHERE THINGS ARE TIED 25 TO 25. THE CONVENTIONAL WISDOM AROUND THE ROTUNDA AT THE STATEHOUSE IS THAT DEMOCRATS ARE IN A VERY STRONG POSITION AND LIKELY TO TAKE CONTROL OF THE SENATE. IS THERE ANOTHER OVERCONFIDENCE DANGER THERE?

Tully: I DON'T THINK SO. I MEAN WE ARE BEING VERY CAREFUL ABOUT THESE PARTICULAR RACES, AND WE'RE POLLING ALL THE WAY UP TO RIGHT BEFORE THE ELECTION TO MAKE SURE THAT WE DON'T LET ANYTHING GET UNDERNEATH THE RADAR. MIKE GRONSTAL HAS DONE A GREAT JOB, AND WE I THINK ARE POISED NOT ONLY TO BE IN THE MAJORITY BY A SEAT OR TWO, WE MIGHT BE IN THE MAJORITY BY AS MANY AS FIVE.

Glover: WHAT SEATS ARE YOUR BEST OPPORTUNITIES?

Tully: WELL, I THINK THAT, YOU KNOW, YOU'RE LOOKING AT SOME SEATS THAT PEOPLE CONVENTIONALLY THOUGHT THAT WERE GOING TO BE IN REPUBLICAN HANDS REGARDLESS. BUT STACI APPEL HAS DONE A GREAT JOB. WE'VE GOT SOME OTHER RACES AROUND THE STATE THAT I THINK THAT, QUITE FRANKLY, WE WEREN'T SURE OF BUT WE'RE GOING TO DO WELL IN.

Yepsen: WE'RE RUNNING OUT OF TIME. MR. ROBERTS, YOUR PERSPECTIVE ON THE REPUBLICANS IN THE SENATE.

Roberts: I THINK IN THE SENATE WE HAVE A VERY DIFFICULT TIME, AND WE'RE NOT DENYING THAT. I THINK IF WE CAN STAY AT 25/25, WE'D BE -- I THINK WE'D BE VERY GRATEFUL, BUT I THINK AT THE MOMENT, IN SPITE OF HAVING SOME GOOD CANDIDATES AND SOME REAL POSSIBLE UPSETS, WE'RE GOING TO HAVE CHALLENGES THERE.

Henderson: WELL, LET'S SWITCH ACROSS THE ROTUNDA TO THE HOUSE. MR. TULLY, WHAT DO YOU THINK IS GOING TO HAPPEN THERE?

Tully: I'M GOING TO TELL YOU IT'S STILL SPIRITED RACES IN THAT. AND I THINK THAT DEPENDING ON HOW THINGS GO, I THINK WE'VE GOT A GOOD SHOT AT WINNING. BUT WE'RE NOT OUT OF THE WOODS YET ON THE HOUSE. BUT, AGAIN, PAT MURPHY HAS DONE A GREAT JOB, AND I THINK WE'VE GOT SOME CANDIDATES TO MAKE IT GO.

Henderson: MR. ROBERTS?

Roberts: I WOULD -- I WOULD JUST ADD THAT ON BOTH THE SENATE AND THE HOUSE, OUR PEOPLE ARE DOING A GREAT JOB. IT'S JUST TOUGHER IN THE SENATE. I THINK WE'LL HOLD THE HOUSE. IT MIGHT BE AS HIGH AS 52-48, BUT THE RACES --

Henderson: AS HIGH! THAT ISN'T VERY HIGH! [ LAUGHTER ]

Roberts: WELL, IN THIS ELECTION IT'S VERY HIGH. IT'S HIGHER THAN WE'VE GOT RIGHT NOW, AND THAT'S THE PROGRESS. BUT MR. TULLY IS RIGHT, THE RACES ARE VERY CLOSE AND IT COULD COME DOWN TO SOME HUNDRED-VOTE DIFFERENCES ACROSS THE STATE.

Glover: THERE ARE A COUPLE OF STATEWIDE ELECTIONS OUT THERE: SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE IS CONTESTED; SECRETARY OF STATE IS CONTESTED. HOW DO YOU DO THERE, MR. TULLY? SECRETARY OF STATE TENDS TO BE THE MORE IMPORTANT OFFICE.

Tully: ABSOLUTELY. IN SECRETARY OF STATE, I THINK THAT WE'RE GOING TO DO WELL. MIKE MAURO IS EXTREMELY WELL LIKED AND RESPECTED, NOT JUST BY DEMOCRATIC AUDITORS ACROSS THE STATE BUT ALSO REPUBLICAN AUDITORS.

Yepsen: HOW BAD IS THE CIETC SCANDAL GOING TO HURT HIM?

Tully: I DON'T THINK IT HURTS HIM AT ALL.

Glover: MR. ROBERTS?

Roberts: I THINK THE FACT THAT MARY ANN HANUSA IS WITHIN 7 POINTS, A LOT OF UNDECIDED SHOWS THERE'S SOME PROBLEMS THERE IN CIETC. AND THERE ARE PROBLEMS THAT MIKE MAURO CAN'T DO ANYTHING ABOUT. I MEAN IT'S RELATED TO HIS FAMILY AND THE CIETC SITUATION, SO I THINK THAT RACE COULD BE A SURPRISE.

Yepsen: AND AG SECRETARY --

Roberts: AG SECRETARY.

Yepsen: DENISE O'BRIEN AND BILL NORTHEY.

Roberts: WE'RE SURPRISED THAT MRS. O'BRIEN IS RUNNING AS WELL AS SHE IS.

Glover: SURPRISED AND DISMAYED?

Roberts: SOME OF THAT TOO, YES.

Henderson: WE HAVE LESS THAN HALF A MINUTE LEFT. GIVE US ONE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE THAT'S DOING EVERYTHING RIGHT AT THIS MOMENT, MR. TULLY.

Tully: WELL, I'D BE REMISS --

Henderson: NAME HIM.

Tully: JOHN EDWARDS.

Yepsen: WELL, YOU SUPPORT -- [ LAUGHTER ]

Tully: YOU ASKED ME FOR ONE AND I GAVE IT TO YOU.

Roberts: WE HAVE SEVERAL THAT ARE DOING THINGS RIGHT, SO I CAN'T REALLY SAY JUST ONE.

Henderson: ANY SURPRISES?

Roberts: I THINK ONE OF THE SURPRISES IS ROMNEY HAS COME ON SO STRONG AND LINED UP A LOT OF SUPPORT.

Yepsen: GENTLEMEN, WE'RE OUT OF TIME. WE'RE GOING TO HAVE YOU BACK TO CONTINUE THE PRESIDENTIAL CONVERSATION SOME OTHER TIME. THANKS FOR COMING IN.

Roberts & Tully: OUR PLEASURE.

Yepsen: NOW, ON OUR NEXT EDITION OF 'IOWA PRESS,' WE'RE BACK OUT ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL, AND WE FOCUS ON THE RACE TO REPRESENT EASTERN AND SOUTHEASTERN IOWA'S SECOND CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT. REPUBLICAN CONGRESSMAN JIM LEACH OF IOWA CITY, NOW IN HIS THIRTIETH YEAR IN THE U.S. HOUSE, IS CHALLENGED BY DEMOCRAT DAVE LOEBSACK OF MOUNT VERNON. WE'LL RETURN AT OUR REGULAR 'IOWA PRESS' AIRTIMES NEXT WEEKEND: FRIDAY AT 7:30 AND SUNDAY AT 11:30 A.M. NOW, WE CLOSE WITH A PROGRAM REMINDER. THE TWO MAJOR-PARTY CANDIDATES FOR GOVERNOR WILL MEET IN THEIR FOURTH AND FINAL DEBATE THIS WEEKEND. REPUBLICAN CONTENDER JIM NUSSLE AND DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE CHET CULVER WILL SQUARE OFF IN 'THE DES MOINES REGISTER'S' 2006 GUBERNATORIAL DEBATE. IPTV AIRS THE EVENT LIVE AT 1 P.M. ON SATURDAY, WITH A REBROADCAST SUNDAY EVENING AT 6:00. SATURDAY'S LIVE BROADCAST WILL ALSO BE CARRIED BY WOI PUBLIC RADIO AND CAN BE HEARD AS WELL ON THREE OTHER RADIO OUTLETS: KWOI IN CARROLL; KTPR IN FORT DODGE; AND KOWI IN LAMONI. WE HAVE A BUSY CAMPAIGN WEEKEND AHEAD OF US. I'M DAVID YEPSEN OF 'THE DES MOINES REGISTER.' THANKS FOR JOINING US HERE ON STATEWIDE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION.

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; 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.


Tags: Iowa