Iowa Public Television

 

Governor Tom Vilsack

posted on December 22, 2006

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Borg: RELOAD AND AIM HIGH. CLOSING EIGHT YEARS AS GOVERNOR, TOM VILSACK TARGETS THE PRESIDENCY. A CONVERSATION WITH GOVERNOR VILSACK 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 THE ASSOCIATED GENERAL CONTRACTORS OF IOWA, THE PUBLIC'S PARTNER IN BUILDING IOWA'S HIGHWAY, BRIDGE, AND MUNICIPAL UTILITY INFRASTRUCTURE.

ON STATEWIDE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION, THIS IS THE FRIDAY, DECEMBER 22 EDITION OF 'IOWA PRESS.' HERE IS DEAN BORG.

Borg: AFTER EIGHT YEARS AS GOVERNOR, IOWA'S GOVERNOR TOM VILSACK WANTS TO MOVE TO THE WHITE HOUSE. HE MADE THAT OFFICIALLY KNOWN A LITTLE OVER A MONTH AGO. IN FACT, IT WAS ON WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 8, THE DAY AFTER HIS PARTY WON MAJOR ELECTION GAINS NATIONWIDE. HE WAS THE FIRST OFFICIALLY ANNOUNCED CANDIDATE FOR THE DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL NOMINATION. AND SINCE THAT ANNOUNCEMENT IN HIS HOMETOWN OF MT. PLEASANT, GOVERNOR VILSACK IS COMBINING NATIONAL MEDIA EXPOSURE WITH VISITS TO KEY STATES. GOVERNOR, WELCOME BACK TO 'IOWA PRESS.'

Vilsack: IT'S NICE TO BE HERE.

Borg: THE TWO GENTLEMEN ACROSS THE TABLE HERE HAVE FOLLOWED YOUR CAREER I THINK SINCE YOU WERE ON THE CITY COUNCIL IN MT. PLEASANT AND MOVED TO THE IOWA SENATE AND NOW GOVERNOR. AND THEY ARE 'DES MOINES REGISTER' POLITICAL COLUMNIST DAVID YEPSEN AND 'ASSOCIATED PRESS' SENIOR POLITICAL WRITER MIKE GLOVER.

Glover: GOVERNOR, LET'S START WITH THE END OF YOUR TENURE AS GOVERNOR, WHICH WILL BE THE FOUNDATION FOR YOUR PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN. WHAT WILL YOUR LEGACY BE AFTER EIGHT YEARS AS GOVERNOR?

Vilsack: MIKE, WE CHANGED THE LANDSCAPE OF THE STATE IN TERMS OF THE ECONOMY OF THE STATE, NOW A RENEWABLE FUEL LEADER ACROSS THE COUNTRY AND RECOGNIZED AS SUCH. WE'VE CHANGED THE LANDSCAPE IN EDUCATION WITH THE TEACHER COMPENSATION PACKAGE AND THE STRONG START INITIATIVE FOR EARLY CHILDHOOD. THE LANDSCAPE WAS CHANGED IN HEALTH CARE AS WE EXPANDED ACCESS TO HEALTH CARE AND BECAME THE NUMBER TWO STATE IN THE COUNTRY IN TERMS OF COVERAGE, ONLY ONE OF TWO STATES LAST YEAR TO REDUCE THE NUMBER OF UNINSURED. AND WE BEGAN AN AGGRESSIVE ENVIRONMENTAL EFFORT TO CLEAN UP OUR WATER. CHANGING THE LANDSCAPE -- BUT WE ALSO I THINK CHANGED THE POLITICAL LANDSCAPE OF THIS STATE. WHEN I WAS GOVERNOR, FIRST ELECTED IN '98, WE HAD A REPUBLICAN LEGISLATURE. WE HAD MORE REPUBLICANS REGISTERED AS VOTERS THAN DEMOCRATS, AND WE HAD A MAJORITY OF REPUBLICAN MEMBERS OF CONGRESS. TODAY THAT'S NOT THE CASE. AND WITH GOVERNOR-ELECT CULVER'S ELECTION, WE NOW HAVE THE LONGEST PERIOD OF TIME THAT DEMOCRATS WILL BE IN CONTROL OF THE GOVERNORSHIP IN THE HISTORY OF THE STATE.

Glover: TAKE A LOOK AT SOME OF THOSE ISSUES, IN PARTICULAR ETHANOL. HOW MUCH OF THAT WOULD HAVE HAPPENED ANYWAY?

Vilsack: WELL, WE REALLY PUSHED ETHANOL. IF YOU REMEMBER THE CAMPAIGN OF '98, I KEPT TALKING ABOUT MAKING IOWA A FOOD CAPITAL, DOING MORE WITH OUR CROPS, AND THAT CLEARLY HAS BEEN DONE. IN ADDITION TO RENEWABLE FUEL, WE'VE ALSO ENCOURAGED THE WIND ENERGY INDUSTRY IN THIS STATE. WE ARE NUMBER ONE PER CAPITA IN PRODUCTION OF ELECTRICITY FROM WIND. THAT TOO IS BEING RECOGNIZED ACROSS THE COUNTRY. AND WE'RE ALSO DOING MORE WITH OUR CROPS. WE'RE MAKING IT INTO SUBSTITUTES FOR PLASTICS, INTO CLOTHES, A WHOLE VARIETY OF ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITIES WHICH RESULTS IN A RECORD NUMBER OF EMPLOYED PEOPLE. AND INCOME FOR IOWANS IS UP. WE MOVED FROM 30TH IN THE NATION IN PER CAPITA INCOME TO 20TH IN THE LAST EIGHT YEARS.

Yepsen: GOVERNOR, HAS THE LANDSCAPE REALLY CHANGED THAT MUCH? I MEAN YOU LOOK AT EACH ONE OF THOSE THINGS THAT YOU MENTIONED. PER CAPITA INCOME IS STILL NOT AT THE NATIONAL AVERAGE. WE STILL HAVE UNINSURED PEOPLE HERE. TEACHER PAY STILL ISN'T WHERE -- AT THE NATIONAL AVERAGE. WATER QUALITY -- WE'VE GOT ALL KINDS OF WATER QUALITY PROBLEMS. HAS THE LANDSCAPE REALLY CHANGED?

Vilsack: OH, IT HAS ABSOLUTELY, DAVID. THERE'S NO QUESTION ABOUT IT. I MEAN WHEN YOU TAKE A LOOK AT THE SUBSTANTIAL INCREASE IN INCOME, WE ACTUALLY HAVE MEDIAN FAMILY INCOME ABOVE THE NATIONAL MEDIAN. THAT'S REALLY WHAT MATTERS: HOW ARE HOUSEHOLDS -- HOW ARE FAMILIES IN THE MIDDLE DOING. WE'VE IMPROVED THE CIRCUMSTANCES FOR THOSE FAMILIES. IN TERMS OF TEACHER PAY, WE ARE WELL ON OUR WAY TO MOVING UP THE LADDER, AND I BELIEVE THAT WITH GOVERNOR CULVER'S LEADERSHIP, WE'RE GOING TO SEE EVEN GREATER CHANGES THERE. BUT WE'VE CLEARLY HEADED IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION. OUR STRONG START INITIATIVE, TOGETHER WITH CLASS-SIZE REDUCTION, WE HAD EIGHT CONSECUTIVE YEARS OF DECLINING TEST SCORES AMONG OUR YOUNG LEARNERS. NOW WE'VE HAD SIX CONSECUTIVE YEARS OF IMPROVED TEST SCORES. WE'RE IMPROVING OUR GRADUATION RATES AMONG ALL CLASSES OF STUDENTS. SO THIS IS A TREMENDOUS OPPORTUNITY. AND IF YOU GO TO CITIES AND COMMUNITIES ACROSS THE STATE, VISION IOWA AND THE COMMUNITY ATTRACTIONS AND TOURISM PROGRAM, SEVERAL BILLION DOLLARS OF INVESTMENT LITERALLY CHANGING THE LANDSCAPE, THE SKYSCAPE OF CITIES AND COMMUNITIES ALL ACROSS THIS GREAT STATE.

Yepsen: GOVERNOR, I WANT TO ASK YOU A QUESTION WE ASK ALL PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES, AND THAT IS GIVE US YOUR COMMERCIAL. WHY YOU OVER YOUR OPPONENTS?

Vilsack: I CAN WIN. THE BOTTOM LINE IS THAT MY PARTY NEEDS SOMEONE WHO CAN REACH INTO STATES LIKE MISSOURI AND OHIO AND TO SMALL STATES IN RURAL AREAS TO ATTRACT MORE VOTERS TO THE DEMOCRATIC TICKET. I BELIEVE I CAN DO THAT. I BELIEVE I'VE SHOWN I CAN DO THAT. WE NEED A PROVEN WINNER. I'VE NEVER LOST AN ELECTION. I'VE NEVER BEEN EXPECTED TO WIN ELECTIONS I'VE BEEN INVOLVED IN. THE NATION NEEDS A TRUSTED LEADER. I'M HAPPY TO STACK MY RECORD UP AGAINST ANY CANDIDATE IN THIS FIELD: AND WE HAVE IMPROVED EDUCATION; WE HAVE EXPANDED ACCESS TO HEALTH CARE; WE HAVE IMPROVED THE ENVIRONMENT; WE HAVE CREATED JOBS; AND WE'VE DONE THIS WITH A GOVERNMENT IN WHICH WE'VE REDUCED THREE DEPARTMENTS OF GOVERNMENT AND WE'VE HAD TAX RELIEF EVERY YEAR I'VE BEEN GOVERNOR; WE HAVE A BALANCED BUDGET. IT IS CLEAR THAT THIS RECORD IS A STRONG RECORD OF PROVEN LEADERSHIP.

Yepsen: WHEN YOU SAY YOU CAN WIN, I MEAN YOU HAVEN'T EXACTLY BEEN PLAYING IN THE BIG LEAGUES THOUGH. I MEAN MT. PLEASANT, A STATE SENATE RACE, GOVERNOR OF IOWA, YOU'RE GOING UP AGAINST PEOPLE WHO WON IN BIGGER STATES THAN IOWA. SO WHAT DO YOU SAY TO THAT?

Vilsack: WELL, I'VE RUN IN A RED STATE, AND I'VE TURNED A RED STATE TO A TRUE BLUE STATE. THAT'S THE BOTTOM LINE. IN ORDER FOR DEMOCRATS TO WIN, WE HAVE TO DO MORE THAN JUST ENERGIZE OUR BASE. THAT'S OBVIOUSLY IMPORTANT. WE ALSO HAVE TO EXPAND THE BASE. WE HAVE TO BE ABLE TO GO INTO MY WIFE'S MOTHER'S HOME STATE OF MISSOURI AND BE ABLE TO CAMPAIGN IN SMALL COMMUNITIES ACROSS THAT STATE AND ENCOURAGE FOLKS WHO FEEL AS IF THEY HAVE BEEN LEFT OUT. I AM THE UNDERDOG IN THIS RACE. WHAT THE NATION NEEDS IS SOMEBODY WHO UNDERSTANDS WHAT IT MEANS TO BE AN UNDERDOG, BECAUSE THERE ARE MORE UNDERDOGS THAN TOPDOGS. I WANT TO BE ABLE TO TALK ABOUT THOSE FOLKS WHO ARE STRUGGLING TO TRY TO MAKE ENDS MEET. I WANT TO BE ABLE TO TALK ABOUT FOLKS WHO HAVE DREAMS AND BE ABLE TO ACCOMPLISH THOSE DREAMS. IN AMERICA TODAY, IT DISCOURAGES ME THAT A MAJORITY OF AMERICAN YOUTH DO NOT BELIEVE IN THE AMERICAN DREAM AND A MAJORITY OF AMERICAN ADULTS DO NOT BELIEVE THAT THEY'RE GOING TO BE ABLE TO GIVE AMERICA IN BETTER SHAPE THAN THE ONE THAT THEY GOT WHEN THEY RECEIVED IT. WE HAVE TO MAKE A FUNDAMENTAL CHANGE. WE HAVE TO HAVE THE COURAGE TO CREATE THE KIND OF CHANGE, THE BOLD CHANGE THIS COUNTRY NEEDS. I THINK BEING OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY ENABLES ME TO BASICALLY MAKE THAT MESSAGE WITH GREATER VALIDITY.

Glover: GIVEN YOUR ARGUMENT THAT THE DEMOCRATS NEED TO EXPAND THEIR POLITICAL BASE TO WIN A PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION, THE FIRST STEP THAT DEMOCRATS HAVE TO DO IS TO BRING THEIR POLITICAL BASE HOME. IN YOUR CASE, HOW DO YOU EXPLAIN TO YOUR POLITICAL BASE YOUR SIGNATURE ON THE BOTTOM OF A BILL DECLARING ENGLISH THE OFFICIAL LANGUAGE?

Vilsack: YOU KNOW, MIKE, WE MADE THAT BILL, WHICH WAS A BAD BILL, BETTER BY ADDING A SERIES OF EXCEPTIONS. REMEMBER, WHAT THIS BILL DOES IS BASICALLY SAYS THAT EVERYTHING THAT IS DONE BY STATE GOVERNMENT HAS TO BE IN ENGLISH, WHICH WAS ALREADY THE CASE, BUT WE'VE ALSO PROVIDED A NUMBER OF EXCEPTIONS. THAT BILL WAS ALSO TIED TO ADDITIONAL RESOURCES FOR ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERS WHICH WE WOULD NOT HAVE RECEIVED BASED ON REPRESENTATIONS FROM REPUBLICAN LEGISLATORS, $1.4 MILLION TO HELP YOUNGSTERS LEARN ENGLISH. WE'VE ALSO HAD AN EXPANDED OPPORTUNITY WITH NEW IOWAN CENTERS, MODEL COMMUNITIES. WE'VE REACHED OUT TO THE HISPANIC AND LATINO POPULATIONS IN OUR STATE IN A VERY AGGRESSIVE WAY WITH OUR CERTIFICATION PROGRAMS, LANGUAGE CERTIFICATION PROGRAMS. SO I'M HAPPY TO TALK ABOUT MY RECORD IN THAT RESPECT.

Glover: BUT ISN'T IT A PROBLEM FOR YOU?

Vilsack: IT'S NOT A PROBLEM BECAUSE WE'VE ALSO IMPROVED THE GRADUATION RATES OF YOUNGSTERS -- OF LATINO YOUNGSTERS IN THIS STATE, AND WE HAVE REACHED OUT TO MAKE SURE THAT THIS STATE IS AS WELCOMING AS IT POSSIBLY CAN BE. THAT IS CERTAINLY NOT THE CASE -- WE'VE ALSO TALKED ABOUT IMMIGRATION IN A WAY THAT I THINK MAKES SENSE FOR THIS COUNTRY IN A MORE MEANINGFUL WAY, AND WE HAD AN ADULT CONVERSATION IN THIS STATE ABOUT IMMIGRATION WITH MODEL COMMUNITIES. SO I'M HAPPY TO TALK ABOUT THAT RECORD. AND I HAVE NO -- I HAVE NO HESITATION TALKING ABOUT MY RECORD. I'M PROUD OF THAT RECORD.

Yepsen: WELL, GOVERNOR, WHAT ABOUT THE CONDITION OF AFRICAN AMERICANS IN IOWA? I MEAN IT STRIKES ME IF YOU BACK UP A BIT HERE AND LOOK AT THE BIG PICTURE: YOU'VE GOT LAWSUITS PENDING AGAINST THE STATE; BLACK CHILDREN DO NOT PERFORM AS WELL AS WHITE KIDS IN OUR SCHOOLS; OUR PRISONS HAVE A DISPROPORTIONATE NUMBER OF BLACK INMATES. WHAT DOES ALL THAT SAY ABOUT YOUR STEWARDSHIP OF THIS STATE IN THE LAST EIGHT YEARS THAT THE CONDITION OF AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THIS STATE IS SO POOR?

Vilsack: WELL, IT'S UNFORTUNATE THAT YOUR QUESTION DIDN'T INCLUDE THE FACT THAT IN ALL THREE OF THOSE AREAS WE'VE SEEN IMPROVEMENTS. WE'VE ACTUALLY SEEN IMPROVEMENTS IN THE GRADUATION RATES OF AFRICAN AMERICAN STUDENTS IN OUR SCHOOLS. AND WE'VE SEEN IMPROVEMENTS IN THEIR TEST SCORES. WE'VE ALSO SEEN A REDUCTION IN THE NUMBER OF -- THE PERCENTAGE OF AFRICAN AMERICANS IN OUR PRISON SYSTEMS. WE WORKED ON THAT. WE PUT THE SPOTLIGHT ON THAT. THE LAWSUITS ARE NOT JUST DURING THE LAST EIGHT YEARS. THEY'RE FOR ACTIVITIES THAT OCCURRED PRIOR TO MY BECOMING GOVERNOR, AND WE ARE TAKING AN AGGRESSIVE LOOK AT THAT TO MAKE SURE THAT THE HIRING PRACTICES OF OUR STATE ARE INDEED WHAT THEY NEED TO BE. I'M PROUD TO SAY THAT WE HAVE SEEN AN INCREASE IN MINORITY HIRINGS DURING MY ADMINISTRATION: PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES, HISPANICS, ASIANS, PACIFIC ISLANDERS, AND AFRICAN AMERICANS. WE NOW HAVE ROUGHLY 6 PERCENT OF OUR WORK FORCE IN THE STATE GOVERNMENT BEING MINORITY. THAT'S A SIGNIFICANT INCREASE AND IT REPRESENTS JUST ABOUT WHAT THE AVERAGE AND PERCENTAGE IS OF OUR POPULATION. SO WE HAVE MADE PROGRESS AND WE CONTINUE TO MAKE PROGRESS. DAVID, THIS IS A PROBLEM THAT NEEDS TO BE ADDRESSED NOT JUST IN THIS STATE, BUT IN THIS ENTIRE COUNTRY. AND WE HAVE MADE PROGRESS, AND I THINK AFRICAN AMERICAN LEADERS RESPECT THAT AND UNDERSTAND THAT. WE ALSO HAVE STARTED A DISCUSSION WITH AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE STATE ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF ENGAGING THEM IN BUILDING STRONGER COMMUNITIES. I'M PLEASED TO NOTE THAT WE NOW HAVE MORE AFRICAN AMERICAN MEMBERS OF OUR LEGISLATURE. WE'VE SEEN A SUBSTANTIAL INCREASE IN THAT AS WELL. SO I THINK THERE HAS BEEN PROGRESS. DOES THERE NEED TO BE MORE PROGRESS? ABSOLUTELY. EVERY YEAR THERE NEEDS TO BE PROGRESS, BUT I'M PROUD OF THE FACT THAT DURING THE LAST EIGHT YEARS WE'VE ACTUALLY SEEN PROGRESS.

Borg: A BROADER QUESTION THAT IS REALLY PERPLEXING THE NATION IS WHAT TO DO ABOUT IMMIGRATION, PARTICULARLY HISPANIC IMMIGRATION. WHAT WOULD YOU DO TO BREAK THE DEADLOCK THAT EXISTS RIGHT NOW? HOW DO YOU SELL WHATEVER YOU WANT TO DO?

Vilsack: WELL, FIRST OF ALL, YOU HAVE TO RECOGNIZE THESE FOLKS ARE COMING ACROSS OUR BORDER TO SEEK A BETTER OPPORTUNITY FOR THEIR FAMILY, AND IT'S PRETTY CLEAR THAT YOU CAN'T BE CRITICAL OF THAT. THAT'S WHAT MOST PEOPLE WOULD DO IN THE SAME CIRCUMSTANCE. YOU KNOW, IT'S UNFORTUNATE THAT THE COUNTRIES SOUTH OF OUR COUNTRY ARE NOT HAVING THE KINDS OF ECONOMIES THAT CREATE OPPORTUNITIES FOR THEIR PEOPLE WHERE THEY LIVE. FOR AN IMMIGRATION POLICY TO WORK, FIRST AND FOREMOST, WE HAVE TO SECURE THE BORDER. I BELIEVE THAT PRESIDENT BUSH MADE A SERIOUS MISTAKE IN NOT LISTENING TO FOLKS MANY YEARS AGO WHO SUGGESTED MORE BORDER PATROL AGENTS AND GREATER TECHNOLOGY. WE NOW SEE THAT THEY ARE COMING LATE TO THAT CONCLUSION. THAT'S WHY WE HAVE NATIONAL GUARD MEMBERS FROM OUR STATE IN CALIFORNIA PROTECTING THE BORDER. YOU'VE GOT TO CLOSE THE BORDER AND PROTECT THE BORDER IF FOR NO OTHER REASON THAN YOU'VE GOT HOMELAND SECURITY CONCERNS AS WELL. IF YOU DON'T KNOW WHO'S COMING ACROSS THE BORDER, YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT THEY'RE BRINGING ACROSS THE BORDER. BUT IF THAT'S ALL YOU DO, IT'S NOT ENOUGH. IT IS VERY CLEAR THAT THERE ARE ALREADY SOMEWHERE BETWEEN 12 AND 13 MILLION PEOPLE IN THIS COUNTRY THAT ARE HERE IN AN UNAUTHORIZED WAY. THE REALITY IS YOU CANNOT DEPORT ALL THOSE FOLKS. IT WOULD TAKE 238 YEARS BASED ON THE CURRENT STANDARD OF TIME TO DEPORT INDIVIDUALS. IN 238 YEARS IT'S NOT GOING TO GET DONE. IT'S NOT PRACTICAL. SO YOU HAVE TO BE PRACTICAL. YOU HAVE TO SET UP A PROCESS BY WHICH INDIVIDUALS CAN EARN THEIR WAY TO LEGITIMACY, EARN THEIR WAY TO CITIZENSHIP: PAYING A FINE, PAYING BACK TAXES, LEARNING THE LANGUAGE, LEARNING THE CIVICS. THAT'S NOT ENOUGH. YOU HAVE TO DO MORE. YOU HAVE TO RECOGNIZE THAT WE HAVE A BROKEN SYSTEM IN TERMS OF VISAS. WE HAVE A SYSTEM THAT'S DISCOURAGING A LOT OF BRIGHT YOUNG PEOPLE COMING TO OUR COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES. WE HAVE A SYSTEM THAT'S DISCOURAGING BUSINESS PEOPLE COMING TO THIS COUNTRY TO DO BUSINESS AND CREATE OPPORTUNITY. SO IT IS CLEARLY A SYSTEM THAT IS BROKEN, AND THERE HAS TO BE GREATER EFFICIENCY. ONE OF THE THINGS WE DID IN STATE GOVERNMENT WAS TO TAKE A LOOK AT PROGRESS. AND WE USED BUSINESS PROCESSES LIKE KIZAN AND ZOOM TO -- THESE ARE PROCESSES BY WHICH WE STREAMLINE THE DECISION MAKING PROCESS. WE NEED TO DO THAT AT THE FEDERAL LEVEL. THERE IS A LOT OF WORK TO BE DONE TO MAKE THIS FEDERAL GOVERNMENT MORE EFFICIENT, AND THE IMMIGRATION SYSTEM IS ONE PLACE WHERE YOU WOULD ABSOLUTELY START.

Glover: PERHAPS A DEFINING ISSUE IN AMERICAN POLITICS TODAY IS THE WAR IN IRAQ. AND IN THE WAR IN IRAQ, THE IMMEDIATE ISSUE IS THE SUGGESTION THAT THE PRESIDENT IS CONSIDERING A SURGE IN TROOP LEVELS IN IRAQ. IS THAT A GOOD IDEA TO TEMPORARILY INCREASE TROOP LEVELS IN IRAQ?

Vilsack: IT'S NOT A GOOD IDEA. IT'S NOT A GOOD IDEA BECAUSE, HAVING BEEN OVER THERE, HAVING WITNESSED THE SITUATION IN IRAQ, HAVING TALKED TO SOLDIERS, HAVING TALKED TO PEOPLE FROM IRAQ, IT IS MY BELIEF THAT WHAT WE HAVE DONE WITH OUR POSITION IN IRAQ IS WE'VE CREATED A DEPENDENCY ON AMERICA. WE ARE A CRUTCH. WE ARE AN EXCUSE. AT THIS POINT IN TIME THE IRAQI GOVERNMENT HAS TO MAKE A DECISION ABOUT PRECISELY WHAT THEY WANT TO DO: DO THEY WANT TO BE A NATION; DO THEY WANT TO BE A NATION -- A UNIFIED NATION; DO THEY WANT TO SACRIFICE; DO THEY WANT TO WORK; DO THEY WANT TO NECESSARILY DIE FOR THAT NATION? THEY HAVE TO MAKE THOSE DECISIONS. AS LONG AS AMERICA CONTINUES TO BE WHERE WE ARE IN THE PRESENCE THAT WE HAVE, THEY'RE DELAYED. THEY'RE DENIED. THEY'RE NOT GIVEN THAT OPPORTUNITY TO MAKE THAT DECISION. SO WE CLEARLY, IN MY VIEW, SHOULD TAKE TROOPS OUT OF HARM'S WAY IN THE SOUTHERN PART OF THAT COUNTRY AND IN THE BAGHDAD CENTRAL AREA OF THE COUNTRY. I WOULD MAINTAIN TROOPS IN THE NORTH. THIS IS A COMPLICATED QUESTION, MIKE, SO GIVE ME A CHANCE TO ANSWER IT. I WOULD MAINTAIN TROOPS IN THE NORTH BECAUSE I WOULD LIKE TO BE ABLE TO HAVE A MEANINGFUL MILITARY OPTION AS IT RELATES TO IRAN AND THEIR NUCLEAR DESIRES. I WOULD WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT WE HAD PROTECTIONS ON THE NORTHERN BORDER OF IRAQ. I WOULD WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT WE WERE IN A POSITION TO RESPOND WITH THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY IF THERE IS GREATER CHAOS, AS SOME HAVE PREDICTED. TWO OTHER STEPS HAVE TO BE TAKEN. WE HAVE TO RECONSTRUCT THE RECONSTRUCTION PLAN IN IRAQ. WE CANNOT HAVE AN AMERICAN LED RECONSTRUCTION EFFORT. I HOPE THIS DEMOCRATIC CONGRESS TAKES A MEANINGFUL LOOK AT HOW ALL THOSE RESOURCES HAVE BEEN SPENT. AND FINALLY, AS A MAYOR -- AS I GOT STARTED IN MY CAREER AS A MAYOR, LOCAL GOVERNMENTS IS IMPORTANT. IT IS VERY IMPORTANT. THE MISTAKE WE MADE WAS TO FOCUS ON A NATIONAL GOVERNMENT FIRST AND A CONSTITUTION. THEY SHOULD HAVE MAINTAINED OR THEY SHOULD HAVE REBUILT THE LOCAL GOVERNING STRUCTURE BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT PROVIDES ELECTRICITY, THAT'S WHAT PROVIDES WATER, THAT'S WHAT PROVIDES SECURITY.

Glover: HOW LONG CAN THE NATIONAL GUARD STRUCTURE WITHSTAND THE PRESSURE?

Vilsack: WELL, THAT'S THE OTHER PROBLEM WITH THE WHOLE NOTION OF A SURGE, AND HOW LONG DOES IT LAST. I MEAN THE REALITY IS THE GUARD TROOPS HAVE BEEN DEPLOYED MULTIPLE TIMES. IT'S PLACED A GREAT STRAIN ON EVERY NATIONAL GUARD IN THIS COUNTRY. IN ADDITION, THE EQUIPMENT THAT'S BEEN USED AND NO LONGER REPLACED MAKES A VERY DIFFICULT SITUATION FOR OUR GUARD IN TERMS OF FUTURE GENERATIONS OF TRAINING. IN ADDITION, THE FULL-TIME MILITARY HAVE RESERVATIONS ABOUT THIS. WHY? BECAUSE THEY'RE SEEING STRESS AND STRAIN. WE DO NOT HAVE THE MILITARY STRUCTURED THE WAY IT NEEDS TO BE STRUCTURED IN ORDER TO MEET THE DEMANDS THAT THIS ADMINISTRATION IT TRYING TO PLACE ON IT. WE SHOULD HAVE HAD A LARGER MILITARY. THERE'S NO QUESTION ABOUT THAT, MORE BOOTS ON THE GROUND IN TERMS OF THE FULL-TIME MILITARY. WE'VE CHANGED THE NATURE OF OUR NATIONAL GUARD FROM A STRATEGIC RESERVE TO AN OPERATIONAL RESERVE. AND THAT HAS SERIOUS CONSEQUENCES IN TERMS OF RECRUITMENT AND THE ABILITY TO MAINTAIN ADEQUATE MILITARY.

Glover: SO YOU AGREE WITH THE PRESIDENT THE MILITARY NEEDS TO BE EXPANDED. CAN YOU DO THAT WITHOUT A DRAFT?

Vilsack: YOU CAN DO THAT WITHOUT A DRAFT, ABSOLUTELY. BUT YOU'D HAVE TO RECOGNIZE THAT YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE TO BE AGGRESSIVE IN TERMS OF RECRUITING AND YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE TO MAKE SURE THAT PEOPLE UNDERSTAND THAT THIS IS A GOOD DEAL FOR THEM. WE HAVE DONE THIS IN IOWA. WE'VE CREATED A FIRST-TIME HOME BUYER ASSISTANCE PROGRAM FOR OUR VETERANS. WE'VE CREATED AN INJURED VETERANS PROGRAM TO COMPENSATE THEIR FAMILIES. WE'VE -- FULL TUITION. AT THE STATE LEVEL, WE'VE MADE SURE THAT THEIR PAY DOESN'T GET CUT IF THEY'RE DEPLOYED AND A STATE EMPLOYEE. WE'VE TAKEN STEPS TO SHOW HOW YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO DO THIS. AND AS A RESULT, IOWA HAS CONTINUALLY RANKED EITHER FIRST OR SECOND IN RECRUITMENT AND RETENTION. YOU CAN DO THIS BUT YOU HAVE TO MAKE THE DECISION TO DO IT. AND UNFORTUNATELY, I THINK BOTH THE PRESIDENT AND SENATOR MCCAIN ARE MAKING A SERIOUS MISTAKE SUGGESTING MORE TROOPS. AND I THINK THERE'S RESERVATION AMONG THE JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF ABOUT THIS. I THINK THERE'S RESERVATIONS AMONG MANY OF THE MILITARY FOLKS THAT ARE ACTUALLY IN IRAQ.

Yepsen: GOVERNOR, POLLS SHOW THAT TWO OF THE MOST IMPORTANT ISSUES AMERICANS ARE CONCERNED ABOUT IS THE WAR IN IRAQ AND TERRORISM. YOU'VE BEEN MAYOR OF MT. PLEASANT. YOU'VE BEEN A STATE SENATOR AND YOU'VE BEEN GOVERNOR OF IOWA. WHAT'S IN YOUR PORTFOLIO TO INDICATE TO AN AMERICAN VOTER THAT YOU KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT FOREIGN POLICY OR NATIONAL SECURITY?

Vilsack: YOU KNOW, FIRST OF ALL, THE GOVERNORS HAVE FRONT-LINE RESPONSIBILITY FOR HOMELAND SECURITY. AND MAKE NO MISTAKE THAT WE TAKE THAT JOB VERY SERIOUSLY AFTER 9/11. AND WE'VE SPENT A LOT OF TIME AND A LOT OF EFFORT DEVELOPING PLANS AND MATRIXES AND DECISION PROCESSES FOR MAKING SURE THAT WE ARE IN A POSITION TO RESPOND TO ANYTHING THAT MIGHT HAPPEN IN OUR STATE. YOU KNOW, IT IS NOT NECESSARILY ABOUT EXPERIENCE, DAVID. THE REALITY IS WE HAD ALL THE EXPERIENCE IN THE WORLD IN THE ROOM WHEN THEY MADE THE DECISION TO PULL OUT OF AFGHANISTAN, A PLACE WHERE WE ACTUALLY HAD LEGITIMACY, A PLACE WHERE WE WERE WANTED AND DESIRED, A PLACE WHERE THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY WAS SUPPORTIVE OF OUR EFFORTS. EVEN IRAN WAS SUPPORTIVE OF OUR EFFORTS. ALL THE EXPERIENCE IN THE WORLD MADE THE DECISION TO BASICALLY DOWNGRADE AMERICAN PRESENCE IN AFGHANISTAN WHEN THE JOB WAS NOT COMPLETED AND TO REFOCUS OUR ATTENTION ON IRAQ, AND MADE A SERIES OF HORRIBLE MISTAKES BOTH IN TERMS OF GOING INTO IRAQ INITIALLY AND HOW WE WENT ABOUT GOING INTO IRAQ AND WHAT WE'RE DOING TODAY IN IRAQ. IT'S NOT ABOUT EXPERIENCE; IT'S ABOUT JUDGMENT. YOU KNOW, I HAD A WONDERFUL CONVERSATION WITH TED SORENSEN ABOUT THE CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS AND HOW PRESIDENT KENNEDY APPROACHED THE DECISION MAKING AND BEING ABLE TO MAKE A JUDGMENT BY PUTTING PEOPLE IN THE ROOM THAT HAD DIFFERENT POLITICAL PERSUASIONS, DIFFERENT PHILOSOPHIES, DIFFERENT LIFE EXPERIENCES, ASKING THEM TO BE CREATIVE AND PROVIDE A CREATIVE OPTION TO WAR IN THE CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS. KENNEDY WAS ABLE TO EXERCISE GOOD JUDGMENT BECAUSE HE HAD PEOPLE WHO CHALLENGED CONVENTIONAL THINKING. PRESIDENT BUSH BASICALLY HAD THE SAME FOLKS IN THE ROOM WITH THE SAME IDEOLOGY, UNABLE TO PUT THE NATIONAL INTEREST ABOVE PARTISANSHIP OR THE PAROCHIAL INTERESTS THAT THEY WERE TRYING TO ADVANCE. IT IS ABOUT JUDGMENT. GOVERNORS ARE INVOLVED IN MAKING JUDGMENTS EVERY SINGLE DAY. THAT'S WHAT WE DO. WE CREATE A VISION AND WE WORK TO IMPLEMENT THAT VISION. WE MAKE JUDGMENTS EVERY DAY.

Glover: ON A LARGER QUESTION AND NOT LOOKING AT ANY SPECIFIC FOREIGN POLICY AREA, HOW WOULD YOU GO ABOUT REPAIRING WHAT ALMOST EVERYONE SAYS IS A DAMAGED RELATIONSHIP AMERICA HAS WITH THE REST OF THE WORLD? HOW DO GO ABOUT PUTTING BACK THOSE ALLIANCES TOGETHER?

Vilsack: TWO THINGS WE HAVE TO DO: WE HAVE TO BE VERY DETERMINED IN OUR DIPLOMACY; WE HAVE TO REGAIN MORAL LEADERSHIP. ONE OF THE THINGS THAT THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA DID IS TO WALK AWAY FROM INTERNATIONAL TREATIES AND DISCUSSIONS, WHICH THE REST OF THE WORLD THOUGHT WAS IMPORTANT. LET'S START WITH CLIMATE CHANGE, GLOBAL WARMING, CLIMATE SECURITY. THIS IS SOMETHING THAT AMERICA SHOULD TAKE A MORAL LEADERSHIP POSITION ON. IT'S SOMETHING THAT THIS COUNTRY SHOULD BE GALVANIZED. IT'S SOMETHING IN WHICH WE SHOULD INSPIRE AND CHALLENGE EVERY SINGLE AMERICAN TO PARTICIPATE. IT IS THE ONE ISSUE, ENERGY SECURITY, THAT INTERSECTS OUR ECONOMY, HEALTH CARE, MORAL LEADERSHIP, THE ABILITY TO BE MORE SECURE FROM A NATIONAL SECURITY STANDPOINT. WE'RE CURRENTLY PROVIDING OUR HARD EARNED DOLLARS TO COUNTRIES THAT DO NOT LIKE US AND WHICH TO DESTROY US. IT MAKES NO SENSE AT ALL WHEN WE CAN CREATE OUR OWN FUEL AND OUR OWN ENERGY AND OUR OWN ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY HERE. WE CAN REVOLUTIONIZE THE ECONOMY OF THIS COUNTRY, AND WE CAN REENERGIZE THE MIDDLE CLASS OF THIS COUNTRY. ENERGY SECURITY, GOING BACK TO THE TABLE AND SAYING TO THE WORLD, WE WANT TO BE A LEADER IN THIS EFFORT TO COMBAT GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE AND GLOBAL WARMING. WE WANT TO BE CLIMATE SECURE. THE SECOND THING WE NEED TO DO IS WE NEED TO BE DETERMINED IN OUR DIPLOMACY. WE CAN'T WALK AWAY FROM TOUGH CHALLENGES. WE CAN'T IGNORE THE MIDDLE EAST, FOR EXAMPLE. WE WALKED AWAY FROM ISRAEL AND THE PALESTINIAN ISSUE. WE DIDN'T ENGAGE SYRIA. WE DIDN'T ENGAGE IRAN. AND NOW WE HAVE A MUCH MORE SERIOUS CIRCUMSTANCE AND SITUATION. WE DIDN'T ENGAGE NORTH KOREA AS WE SHOULD. BECAUSE OF OUR DEPENDENCE ON OIL, WE ARE IN A POSITION -- A DIFFICULT POSITION TO PUT PRESSURE ON CHINA. AND BECAUSE WE HAVE NOT CONTROLLED OUR BUDGET, WE ARE ALSO IN A POSITION WHERE WE'RE BORROWING MONEY FROM CHINA, AND THAT MAKES IT MORE DIFFICULT FOR US TO DO WHAT'S RIGHT AROUND THE WORLD.

Borg: DAVID MENTIONED THE MIDDLE EAST. WHAT SHOULD BE OUR POLICY TOWARD ISRAEL?

Vilsack: ISRAEL IS OUR STRONGEST AND BEST ALLY IN THE REGION, AND WE NEED TO DO EVERYTHING WE POSSIBLY CAN TO MAKE SURE THAT THEY ARE PROTECTED AND SECURE. WE ALSO I THINK NEED TO ENGAGE INDIVIDUALS AND COUNTRIES AROUND ISRAEL TO BEGIN THE PROCESS OF REPAIRING AND CREATING THE FOUNDATION AND STRUCTURE FOR THERE TO BE MEANINGFUL CONVERSATIONS AND DISCUSSIONS ABOUT PEACE. ISRAEL -- I TRAVELED TO ISRAEL IN MAY, SPENT A SUBSTANTIAL AMOUNT OF TIME TALKING TO THE FOREIGN MINISTER AND THE PRIME MINISTER OF ISRAEL. THEY ARE INTERESTED IN PEACE BUT THEY HAVE TO HAVE A PARTNER AS INTERESTED IN PEACE AS THEY ARE. AND I THINK IT'S UP TO AMERICA TO CREATE THE CIRCUMSTANCE -- TO HELP CREATE THE CIRCUMSTANCES AND SITUATION IN WHICH THAT PARTNERSHIP FOR PEACE CAN BE CREATED.

Yepsen: GOVERNOR, I WANT TO GO BACK TO SOMETHING YOU MENTIONED JUST A MOMENT AGO, AND THAT WAS THE NATION'S BUDGET DEFICIT. THE NEXT PRESIDENT IS GOING TO HAVE TO DEAL WITH THAT. TWO-PART QUESTION: HOW WOULD YOU DEAL WITH RISING BUDGET DEFICITS AND NATIONAL DEBT; AND SECONDLY, WOULD YOU RAISE TAXES?

Vilsack: DAVID, LET'S -- YOU KNOW, BEFORE YOU DISCUSS THE ISSUE OF TAXES, I THINK YOU HAVE TO LOOK AT THE BUDGET STRUCTURE AND THE WAY IN WHICH BUDGET DECISIONS ARE MADE AT THE NATIONAL LEVEL. GOVERNORS KNOW HOW TO BALANCE BUDGETS. WE'RE FORCED AND COMPELLED TO BALANCE BUDGETS. WE HAVE TO MAKE TOUGH CHOICES. THERE ARE SEVERAL THINGS THAT HAVE TO BE DONE. FIRST AND FOREMOST, YOU HAVE TO TAKE A LOOK AT THE CURRENT BUDGETING PROCESS. AND I THINK YOU WOULD USE WHAT WE HAVE DONE IN IOWA, WHICH IS TO CREATE A BUDGETING FOR RESULTS RESULTS SYSTEM IN WHICH YOU TIE SPECIFIC INVESTMENTS THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT MAKES TO SPECIFIC RESULTS THAT YOU WANT. THIS WOULD RESULT IN A SUBSTANTIAL REDUCTION AND MAYBE AN ELIMINATION OF THOSE EARMARKS THAT ARE SPECIAL PROJECTS, PET PROJECTS THAT YOU GET BECAUSE YOU HAPPEN TO BE THE CHAIRMAN OF A COMMITTEE. THAT'S WRONG. THAT'S GOT TO GO. IF WE RAISE -- IF WE CUT TAXES OR IF WE RAISE SPENDING IN ANOTHER AREA, WE HAVE TO FIGURE OUT PRECISELY WHAT OTHER AREA OF GOVERNMENT IS GOING TO HAVE TO GIVE. SECONDLY, WE HAVE TO TAKE ON THE WHOLE NOTION OF ENTITLEMENTS. WE HAVE TO HAVE A CONVERSATION WITH THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ABOUT ENTITLEMENTS. LET ME GIVE YOU AN EXAMPLE. IN THE MEDICARE PROGRAM TODAY, WE ARE CURRENTLY PAYING FOR SERVICES. WE'RE ENCOURAGING MORE AND MORE SERVICE TO BE PROVIDED. WE NEED TO GET TO A POINT WHERE WE'RE ACTUALLY PAYING FOR RESULTS. I'VE BEEN TOLD THAT THERE'S A COMMUNITY IN IOWA WHERE YOU HAVE AN EIGHT TIMES GREATER LIKELIHOOD OF BEING OPERATED ON FOR BACK SURGERY THAN ANY PLACE IN AMERICA. WELL, IF WE HAD A UNIFORM SYSTEM FOR MAINTAINING MEDICAL DATA, WE COULD RESEARCH PRECISELY WHAT SYSTEMS WORK UNDER WHAT CIRCUMSTANCES SO THAT WE WOULD REWARD EFFICIENCY AS OPPOSED TO SERVICES. I MEAN THERE'S A WHOLE SERIES OF THINGS THAT HAVE TO BE DONE, BUT WE'VE GOT TO HAVE THE COURAGE TO CREATE THAT KIND OF CHANGE. HERE'S THE PROBLEM. PEOPLE TALK ABOUT THE DEATH TAX AND THE ESTATE TAX IN WASHINGTON, D.C., ALL THE TIME. HARDLY ANYBODY PAYS THAT. WE SHOULD BE TALKING ABOUT ELIMINATING THE BIRTH TAX. THAT'S WHAT THE DEBT -- THAT'S WHAT THE DEFICIT IS.

Yepsen: I DIDN'T -- DO YOU WANT TO CUT ENTITLEMENTS, AND DO YOU WANT TO RAISE TAXES?

Vilsack: YOU HAVE TO TAKE ENTITLEMENTS ON, AND YOU HAVE TO LOOK AT WAYS IN WHICH WE CAN BE MUCH MORE EFFICIENT WITH THE WAY IN WHICH WE PROVIDE SERVICES. I THINK WE COULD BE MUCH MORE EFFICIENT IN A NUMBER OF GOVERNMENT PROGRAMS THAN WE HAVE BEEN. IN TERMS OF TAX SITUATION, YOU MAY WANT TO REVISIT SOME OF THE BUSH TAX CUTS AS TO WHETHER OR NOT THEY ARE THE MOST APPROPRIATE WAY OF STIMULATING THE ECONOMY. YOU MAY WANT TO REVERSE ONE OF THOSE TAX CUTS AND MAYBE CUT TAXES IN ANOTHER AREA. FOR EXAMPLE, YOU MAY WANT TO CREATE A FAMILY TAX CREDIT THAT WOULD MAKE IT EASIER FOR FAMILIES TO AFFORD A COLLEGE EDUCATION. THE AMERICAN DREAM INITIATIVE THAT THE DLC, SENATOR CLINTON AND I WORKED ON IS SUGGESTING JUST THAT TYPE OF THING. SO YOU MAY WANT TO CHANGE THE MIX OF TAX REDUCTIONS, BUT BEFORE YOU CAN GO TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE AND SAY TAXES HAVE TO BE INCREASED, YOU HAVE TO ASSURE THEM THAT YOU'VE DONE EVERYTHING YOU POSSIBLY CAN TO REDUCE THE BURDEN IN TERMS OF GOVERNMENT SPENDING AND GOVERNMENT PRIORITIES. WE HAVE NOT DONE THAT. THIS IS A FISCAL MESS AND IT HAS PUT US IN VERY SERIOUS SHAPE BECAUSE WE BORROW MONEY FROM A COMMUNIST COUNTRY TO FINANCE OUR BUDGET. NOW LISTEN TO THIS; THIS IS IMPORTANT. WE CAN'T PUT PRESSURE ON CHINA AND NORTH KOREA, WE CAN'T PUT PRESSURE ON CHINA AND DARFUR IN LARGE PART BECAUSE OF WHAT WE'RE DOING HERE DOMESTICALLY. YOU'VE GOT TO SOLVE THOSE PROBLEMS TO BE ABLE TO SOLVE MANY OF THE FOREIGN PROBLEMS.

Glover: LET'S TALK ABOUT SOME MUCH MORE PRAGMATIC AND MAYBE INSIDE BASEBALL PROBLEMS THAT YOU FACE, AND YOU MENTIONED ONE OF THEM IN SENATOR CLINTON. ONE OF THE PROBLEMS YOU FACE IS YOU'VE GOT TO COME UP WITH ABOUT $20 MILLION TO BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY AS A CANDIDATE. CAN YOU DO THAT AND WHERE DO YOU GET IT?

Vilsack: YES, I CAN DO THAT AND YOU GET IT FROM FOLKS WHO BELIEVE, AS I BELIEVE, THAT I'M THE BEST QUALIFIED PERSON AT THIS POINT IN TIME TO HAVE THIS JOB. YOU DO IT BY WORKING HARD. YOU DO IT BY TRAVELING AROUND THE COUNTRY AND CONVINCING PEOPLE THAT YOU HAVE A RECORD AND A MESSAGE AND THE CAPACITY TO GET THE JOB DONE, AS I'VE DONE EVERY SINGLE TIME. PEOPLE HAVE ALWAYS UNDERESTIMATED MY ABILITY TO RAISE MONEY, AND I HAVE ALWAYS RAISED SUFFICIENT RESOURCES TO BE COMPETITIVE. AND I FULLY EXPECT TO BE ABLE TO DO SO IN THIS ELECTION.

Yepsen: GOVERNOR, WHAT ABOUT THE EXPECTATIONS GAME? IF YOU -- YOU'RE EXPECTED -- BECAUSE YOU'RE THE GOVERNOR OF IOWA, YOU'RE EXPECTED BY THE POLITICAL COMMUNITY TO WIN THIS STATE, GET MORE VOTES THAN THE OTHER CANDIDATES. AND YET IF YOU DO, THE POLITICAL COMMUNITY SHRUGS ITS SHOULDERS AND SAYS, 'WHAT DO YOU EXPECT. HE'S THE GOVERNOR OF IOWA. HE'S THE HOMETOWN FAVORITE. HE'S GOING TO WIN.' SO AREN'T YOU IN REALLY A NO-WIN SITUATION IN THE IOWA CAUCUSES?

Vilsack: NOT AT ALL. A WIN IS A WIN IN THIS PROCESS. I WIN MEANS DELEGATE VOTES. A WIN IS A WIN AND YOU TAKE CREDIT FOR THE WIN AND YOU MOVE ON TO THE NEXT STATE. WE EXPECT TO BE VERY COMPETITIVE IN EVERY STATE THAT STARTS THIS PROCESS, AND I EXPECT TO DO WELL IN THOSE STATES. WE HAVE A MESSAGE. I AM A PROVEN WINNER AND I'M A TRUSTED LEADER. I'M A GOVERNOR. WHEN WE LOOK AT THE HISTORY OF ALL OF THIS, IF YOU LOOK AT RECENT POLLS IN SHOWING MATCH-UPS HERE IN THIS STATE, I DO BETTER AGAINST SENATOR MCCAIN AND MAYOR GIULIANI THAN ANYBODY ELSE IN THIS FIELD. IT'S ABOUT WINNING. YOU'VE GOTTA WIN.

Yepsen: WOULDN'T YOU BE BETTER OFF IF THIS CAMPAIGN STARTED IN NEVADA OR NEW HAMPSHIRE? WOULDN'T THAT BE A BETTER TEST OF YOUR POLITICAL SKILL?

Vilsack: I'M NOT GOING TO GET INTO THE PUNDITRY. I'M JUST GOING TO TELL YOU I'M GOING TO TAKE THEM ONE CAUCUS AND PRIMARY AT A TIME, AND I'M GOING TO DO MY VERY BEST. I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN UNDERESTIMATED IN THIS BUSINESS. I HAVE NEVER BEEN EXPECTED TO WIN ELECTIONS AND I HAVE NEVER LOST AND I DON'T INTEND TO START NOW.

Borg: WITH THAT STATEMENT, I THINK THAT'S PRETTY STRONG. WE BETTER END RIGHT THERE. WE ARE OUT OF TIME. THANK YOU, GOVERNOR --

Vilsack: THANK YOU.

Borg: -- FOR BEING OUR GUEST TODAY. NEXT WEEK ON 'IOWA PRESS,' THAT'S OUR FINAL EDITION OF THE 2006 CALENDAR YEAR, WE'LL BE REVIEWING THE YEAR'S TOP NEWS AT OUR YEAR-ENDING REPORTERS ROUNDTABLE WITH DAVE YEPSEN OF THE REGISTER, MIKE GLOVER OF THE A.P., RADIO IOWA'S KAY HENDERSON, AND IOWA PUBLIC RADIO'S JENEANE BECK. YOU'LL HEAR THEIR INSIGHTS AT OUR USUAL 'IOWA PRESS' TIMES: 7:30 FRIDAY NIGHT AND 11:30 SUNDAY MORNING. AND BEST WISHES FOR A VERY HAPPY TIME DURING THIS SPECIAL TIME OF THE YEAR FROM ALL OF US HERE AT IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION. 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; AND BY THE ASSOCIATED GENERAL CONTRACTORS OF IOWA, THE PUBLIC'S PARTNER IN BUILDING IOWA'S HIGHWAY, BRIDGE, AND MUNICIPAL UTILITY INFRASTRUCTURE.


Tags: governors Iowa politics Tom Vilsack