Iowa Public Television

 

Reporters' Roundtable

posted on January 11, 2007

Borg: TRANSITION COMPLETE. THIS WEEK IOWA CONVENED A NEW LEGISLATURE AND INAUGURATED A NEW GOVENROR. IOWA JOURNALISTS PEEK INTO THE POLITICAL HORIZON 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, JANUARY 12 EDITION OF 'IOWA PRESS.' HERE IS DEAN BORG.

Borg: IT'S BEEN A WEEK OF CHANGE. THIS PAST TUESDAY, NOW FORMER GOVERNOR TOM VILSACK DELIVERED HIS FINAL CONDITION OF THE STATE MESSAGE BEFORE LEAVING OFFICE AFTER EIGHT YEARS. THE FOLLOWING DAY IOWA'S FIRST WOMAN CHIEF JUSTICE CONVEYED THE CONDITION OF THE JUDICIARY. AND FRIDAY MORNING DEMOCRAT CHET CULVER WAS INAUGURATED GOVERNOR AND FORMER SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE PATTY JUDGE, LT. GOVERNOR. NOW EACH OF THESE EVENTS OCCURRED BEFORE AN AUDIENCE OF IOWA'S NEWLY CONVENED LEGISLATORS, AND IN EACH CASE THERE WAS A MESSAGE FOR THOSE LEGISLATORS. TO INTERPRET WHAT WAS SAID AND HOW IT WAS RECEIVED, WE'LL ASK 'DES MOINES REGISTER' POLITICAL COLUMNIST DAVID YEPSEN, 'RADIO IOWA' NEWS DIRECTOR KAY HENDERSON, 'ASSOCIATED PRESS' SENIOR POLITICAL WRITER MIKE GLOVER, AND 'IOWA PUBLIC RADIO' STATEHOUSE CORRESPONDENT JENEANE BECK. KAY, I'LL START OUT WITH YOU. IN EACH OF THESE MESSAGES -- A LOT OF CEREMONY THIS WEEK, BUT IN EACH OF THE MESSAGES EMBEDDED SOMETHING IN A HINT OF THE FUTURE. WHAT WERE THE THEMES, FIRST OF ALL, YOU HEARD FROM CHET CULVER AS HE WAS INAUGURATED GOVERNOR FRIDAY MORNING?

Henderson: WELL, DEAN, THERE WERE THE THEMES THAT PLAYED OUT IN THE LAST CAMPAIGN FOR GOVERNOR. HE TALKED ABOUT A $100-MILLION IOWA POWER FUND. HE RETURNED TO THAT THEME IN THE SPEECH. HE TALKED VERY BRIEFLY ABOUT RAISING TEACHER PAY. HE TALKED VERY BRIEFLY ABOUT PRESCHOOL, MAKING IT UNIVERSALLY ACCESSIBLE TO ALL CHILDREN IN IOWA. AND HE TALKED BRIEFLY ABOUT HEALTH CARE AND ENSURING THAT IOWANS HAVE ACCESS TO HEALTH CARE. SO THERE WERE NO SURPRISES IN THE SPEECH. IT WAS VERY WORKMAN-LIKE. IT DIDN'T REALLY SOAR TO RHETORICAL HEIGHTS, IF YOU WILL. IT REMINDED ME A LOT ABOUT TERRY BRANSTAD, VERY WORKMAN-LIKE.

Borg: MIKE?

Glover: WELL, I THINK THE THING THAT WE TOOK FROM THE CAMPAIGN -- OR FROM THE SPEECH WAS THAT CULVER SAID, 'I WASN'T KIDDING DURING THE CAMPAIGN. THESE ARE THE THINGS I RAN ON.' AND ANOTHER THING HE MENTIONED WAS HE WANTS AN INCREASE IN THE STATE CIGARETTE TAX. THEY WANT AN OVERHAUL OF THE STATE'S HEALTH CARE SYSTEM, AND THEY'RE GOING TO DEAL WITH THAT. IT WAS A RHETORICAL, SYMBOLIC SPEECH. BUT I HAVE TO TELL YOU, DURING THE COURSE IF THIS LAST CAMPAIGN I CAME INTO IT WITH RATHER LOW EXPECTATIONS FOR CHET CULVER. I DIDN'T THINK HE WAS GOING TO BE A GREAT CANDIDATE. HE GREW INTO THAT JOB AND BY THE END OF THE DAY, HE WASN'T A BAD CANDIDATE. HE LEARNED A LOT FROM TERRY BRANSTAD: YOU BE PERSISTENT; YOU BE TOUGH; YOU BE TIRELESS; AND YOU DO ALL THAT. AND HE'S GROWING, I THINK, INTO THIS JOB AS GOVERNOR, AND I THINK IT'S GOING TO BE INTERESTING OVER THE NEXT COUPLE OF WEEKS AS HE TAKES THESE GRAND, RHETORICAL FLOURISHES AND TRANSLATES THEM INTO A BUDGET WHERE HE'S GOING TO HAVE TO MAKE TOUGH CHOICES.

Borg: DAVE, DID YOU SEE SOME LEADERSHIP THERE IN THE WAY OF BEING A CHEERLEADER?

Yepsen: WELL, SURE.

Borg: HE WAS REALLY EXHORTING.

Yepsen: YEAH, AND I THINK ANY GOVERNOR HAS TO DO THAT, AND WE EXPECT OUR GOVERNORS TO BE OPTIMISTIC AND UPBEAT. I WAS, FRANKLY, DISAPPOINTED IN THE SPEECH. I THOUGHT HE MISSED AN OPPORTUNITY HERE TO SAY SOME THINGS THAT MAYBE PEOPLE DON'T WANT TO HEAR, TO KIND OF CHART THAT NEW DIRECTION, GOAD JUST A LITTLE BIT. I MEAN HERE'S A MAN WHO'S WON THE GOVERNORSHIP BY A LARGER MARGIN THAN TOM VILSACK WON OR TERRY BRANSTAD. HE'S GOT A LEGISLATURE OF HIS OWN PARTY, SOMETHING THEY NEVER HAD. HE'S GOT A LOT -- HE'S GOT MONEY IN THE BANK. THE ECONOMY IS GOOD. AND WHAT DO WE HEAR? YOU KNOW, WE HEAR BASICALLY A REHASH OF HIS CAMPAIGN STUMP SPEECH. THAT'S FINE. IT DID GET HIM ELECTED GOVERNOR, BUT I WAS EXPECTING SOMETHING MORE.

Beck: YOU KNOW, YOU'RE TALKING, THOUGH, ABOUT THE TEXT OF HIS SPEECH, BUT ONE THING I THOUGHT WAS INTERESTING WAS THE DELIVERY OF HIS SPEECH. AND I THOUGHT IT WAS THE BEST SPEECH I'D HEARD HIM GIVE. I THOUGHT THAT HE WAS MORE COMFORTABLE THAN HE'S EVER BEEN SPEAKING BEFORE. HE'S FIGURED OUT HOW TO GESTURE WITHOUT BEING TOO OVERBEARING, HOW NOT TO JUST STICK HIS HANDS IN HIS POCKET. I FELT LIKE HE WAS THE MOST COMFORTABLE HE'D EVER BEEN, AND SO IN HIS DELIVERY I THOUGHT IT WAS THE BEST SPEECH HE'D GIVEN SO FAR.

Glover: ONE THINGS I TOOK FROM IT -- AND I GOT THE SAME IMPRESSION YOU DID. WE'RE GOING TO TAKE NO CHANCES HERE. THIS IS A GOVERNOR WHO'S TRYING TO SETTLE IN FOR A LONG TIME, AND THIS IS A GOVERNOR WHO'S NOT JUST THINKING ABOUT A FIRST TIME, BUT A REPEAT. HE'S NOT GOING TO THROW A LONG BALL THAT'S GOING TO PUT THAT SECOND TERM IN JEOPARDY. JUST LIKE THIS LEGISLATURE, THE FIRST TIME IN 42 YEARS THAT DEMOCRATS HAVE GOT ALL THREE OF THEM. FORTY-TWO YEARS AGO THEY CAME IN AND THEY DID THE ENTIRE DEMOCRATIC AGENDA AND THEY LOST IN TWO YEARS. THIS BUNCH WANTS TO HANG AROUND FOR A WHILE.

Yepsen: YOU KNOW, THOUGH, DEAN, IT WAS A FASCINATING WEEK, IF YOU THINK ABOUT IT: I MEAN WE HAD A NEW LEGISLATURE, THE FIRST TIME IN 42 YEARS THE DEMOCRATS WERE IN CHARGE; A NEW CHIEF JUSTICE, ALSO A WOMAN, THAT'S A FIRST; WE HAD GOVERNOR VILSACK LEAVING OFFICE AS A PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE; AND THEN YOU INAUGURATED A NEW GOVERNOR IN A NEW ARENA. I MEAN AS I SAT THERE IN THE HALL, YOU COULD SORT OF SENSE A PAGE IN THE HISTORY BOOKS WAS TURNING.

Borg: I SENSE, YOU KNOW, WHEN MIKE WAS TALKING ABOUT THE COMMENTS YOU JUST MADE THERE, THERE WAS ONE THING THAT WAS DIFFERENT AND VERY APPARENT, AND THAT IS HE WASN'T ONLY OFFERING AN OLIVE BRANCH, HE PUT THE WHOLE OLIVE TREE OUT THERE, DIDN'T HE, AS FAR AS BIPARTISAN SUPPORT?

Glover: THERE ARE MORE INDEPENDENTS THAN THERE ARE REPUBLICANS OR DEMOCRATS IN THIS STATE, AND YOU CAN'T WIN AN ELECTION WITHOUT WINNING OVER INDEPENDENTS. AND I THINK VOTERS LIKE, AFTER AN ELECTION, WINNING CANDIDATES WHO TRY TO PUT THE ELECTION -- THE PARTISANSHIP, THE FERVOR, THE HEAT BEHIND THEM. VOTERS GET FAIRLY SICK OF HEATED CAMPAIGNS WITH ATTACK ADS, AND WHEN A CANDIDATE WINS, IT'S ALWAYS IN THEIR INTEREST TO SAY, 'OKAY, LET'S PUT THAT BEHIND US. LET'S GET ON WITH IT.' AND THAT, AGAIN, I THINK IS A LONG-TERM STRATEGY.

Beck: ALTHOUGH WHAT I FOUND INTERESTING THIS WEEK IN WATCHING THAT IS THAT WAS VERY EVIDENT DURING THE SPEECH. THEY GAVE HIM A STANDING OVATION FOR THAT, LAWMAKERS INCLUDED. ALTHOUGH, I HAVE WATCHED -- I FEEL THE NEW REPUBLICAN MINORITY HAS TAKEN TO THE MINORITY VERY QUICKLY. THEY WERE ALREADY OUT BY THE END OF THE WEEK DISCUSSING HOW THEY'RE BEING LEFT OUT OF THE PROCESS AND WHERE ARE THINGS AT WITH THE MINIMUM WAGE AND ARE THEY GOING TO BE TOLD WHAT'S GOING ON AND ARE THEY GOING TO HAVE COMMITTEE HEARINGS ON THIS. AND THEY'RE ALREADY DOING SOME ATTACKS HERE AND THERE. I FEEL LIKE THEY'RE SAYING ONE THING TO THE PUBLIC, WE'RE GOING TO ALL WORK TOGETHER, BUT BEHIND THE SCENES THEY'RE ALREADY STARTING TO FRACTURE.

Yepsen: I DO THINK CHET CULVER COULD BE A DEMOCRAT'S TERRY BRANSTAD, AS MIKE SAID, SETTLING IN FOR THE LONG HAUL. NOT A LOT OF BELLS AND WHISTLES BUT A GOOD, SOLID POLITICIAN HERE. I MEAN EVEN DOWN TO THE ENDEARING CHILDREN THAT WE SAW IN THE DEBATE. WHERE HAVE WE SEEN THAT PICTURE BEFORE? WELL, WHEN TERRY BRANSTAD BECAME GOVERNOR. AND LIKE THAT BRANSTAD ERA IN WHICH THE LEGISLATURE WAS SETTING MUCH OF THE AGENDA, I THINK THIS DEMOCRATIC LEGISLATURE IS GOING TO BE THE ONE THAT'S SETTING A LOT OF THE AGENDA FOR GOVERNOR CHET CULVER. WE HAVE ALL THESE DEMOCRATS WHO HAVE BEEN THERE FOR A LONG TIME WITH ALL THESE IDEAS, AND CHET CULVER IS TALKING ABOUT HEALTH CARE IN HIS SPEECH. WELL, YESTERDAY OR EARLIER IN THE WEEK, JACK HATCH AND RO FOEGE ARE OUT THERE OFFERING A PLAN. THEY'VE GOT THE DETAILS. SO I THINK WE'RE GOING TO SEE SOME OF THE AXIS OF ENERGY AND POWER SHIFT TO THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY.

Glover: AND I THINK PART OF THE ANGST THAT YOU REFER TO, JENEANE, IS THAT I THINK REPUBLICANS ARE STARING AT THEIR NAVEL. THEY HAD A TRULY AWFUL ELECTION IN NOVEMBER, AND IF YOU TALK TO THEM, REPUBLICANS, PRIVATELY, THEY'LL TELL YOU THEY DON'T THINK THEY CAN DIG THEMSELVES OUT OF THIS HOLE IN ONE ELECTION CYCLE. '08 IS SHAPING UP TO BE A PRETTY GOOD DEMOCRATIC LOOKING YEAR. I MEAN IF GEORGE BUSH'S APPROVAL RATINGS ARE IN THE TWENTIES AND HE'S INCREASING THE NUMBER OF TROOPS IN IRAQ, WHICH OUR POLLS SHOWED 70 PERCENT OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE DON'T LIKE, IT COULD BE A STRONG DEMOCRATIC YEAR IN 2008.

Yepsen: THEY ARE IN A FUNK. AND I THINK PART OF THEIR PROBLEM, FRANKLY, DEAN -- PART OF THEIR PROBLEM IS THEY MAY NOT HAVE LOST BADLY ENOUGH. THEY DIDN'T GET DEFEATED BADLY ENOUGH THAT IT JUST CLEANSED THE PARTY OF ALL THEIR PROBLEMS. THEY LOSE NARROWLY. A FEW THOUSAND VOTES AND THEY WOULD HAVE HELD ON. AND SO THERE'S A HUGE DEBATE GOING ON INSIDE THE REPUBLICAN PARTY ABOUT WHAT ARE WE FOR, WHAT ARE WE AGAINST. AND 2008 DOES NOT LOOK GOOD. I THINK THIS LAST ELECTION IS DAUNTING ON A LOT OF REPUBLICANS AS A HARBINGER ELECTION, AND THEY MAY LOSE THE WHITE HOUSE IN 2008.

Borg: AND, KAY, ONE OF THE THINGS, AT LEAST HERE IN IOWA, THAT IS IN CHET CULVER'S FAVOR IS THAT THE IOWA ECONOMY LOOKS VERY, VERY GOOD. HE -- YOU KNOW, HE TALKED ABOUT THE IOWA EQUIVALENT OF THE SILICON VALLEY AS FAR AS BEING ENERGY INDEPENDENT AND IOWA BEING A LEADER. BUT SOME THINGS HAPPENED EVEN AS CHET CULVER WAS SPEAKING THAT THE GRAIN MARKETS WENT CRAZY ON THE SAME DAY, THAT IS CORN UPPED THE LIMIT, AND THAT'S BECAUSE OF ETHANOL DEMAND.

Henderson: RIGHT, RIGHT.

Borg: DOES THAT HAVE IMPLICATIONS? NOW, IT HAS IMPLICATIONS FOR THE PROSPERITY OF IOWA'S ECONOMY, BUT DOES IT HAVE IMPLICATIONS, DO YOU THINK, IN THE IOWA LEGISLATURE AS FAR AS SOME CHANGES?

Henderson: I DON'T THINK IT HAS IMPLICATIONS IN THE IOWA LEGISLATURE. I THINK IT WILL HAVE IMPLICATIONS AT THE FEDERAL LEVEL. OF COURSE, WE HAVE IOWA SENATOR TOM HARKIN SITTING AS CHAIRMAN OF THE SENATE AG COMMITTEE. HE'LL BE IN CHARGE OF REWRITING THE NEXT FARM BILL, AND SO THERE WILL BE A GREAT DEBATE AMONG POLICYMAKERS AT THE FEDERAL LEVEL ABOUT WHAT TO DO ABOUT COMMODITY PRICES. I THINK AT THE STATE LEVEL WHAT YOU'LL BE SEEING IS A REAL DEBATE AMONG POLICYMAKERS AND PEOPLE ON MAIN STREETS AND THE PEOPLE WHO'VE JOINED TOGETHER TO START UP THESE ETHANOL PLANTS IS WHEN DO WE CONVERT THIS TO SOMETHING ELSE SO THAT WE DON'T USE CORN BUT MAYBE WE USE SWITCH GRASS TO MAKE GASOLINE. I THINK THAT IS THE TURNING POINT IN IOWA RIGHT NOW, BECAUSE STUDIES SHOW YOU CAN'T GROW ENOUGH CORN ON THE ACREAGE THAT WE HAVE TO SUPPLY THE FUEL NEEDS OF OUR COUNTRY.

Glover: I THINK THE IMPLICATIONS IT HAS FOR THE LEGISLATURE ARE OBVIOUS AND HUGE. IT MEANS (A) THE ECONOMY IS TURNING AROUND. THEY'RE GOING TO HAVE MONEY TO SPEND AND THEY'RE GOING TO LAUNCH NEW PROGRAMS. THEY'RE GOING TO RAISE TEACHER PAY. WHY? BECAUSE THEY'RE GOING TO HAVE THE MONEY. I WAS TALKING TO A TOM VILSACK AIDE, AND HE SAID, 'TALK ABOUT BAD TIMING. WE'RE IN OFFICE FOR EIGHT YEARS. WE HAVE, FOR EIGHT YEARS, A REPUBLICAN LEGISLATURE. WE HAVE A BUDGET CRUNCH. WE'VE LAID OFF 10 PERCENT OF THE STATE'S WORK FORCE. AND NOW WE'RE LEAVING OFFICE AND THEY'RE DROWNING IN MONEY.' THAT'S THE IMPACT IT'S GOING TO HAVE. THEY'RE GOING TO HAVE A DOLLAR TO SPEND.

Yepsen: THE RECORD CORN PRICES ARE A GOOD DEAL IF YOU GROW CORN, BUT NOT SO GOOD IF YOU'RE TRYING TO RUN AN ETHANOL PLANT OR RAISE LIVESTOCK. BUT PSYCHOLOGICALLY IT'S IMPORTANT TO THIS STATE AND WILL HAVE A PSYCHOLOGICAL EFFECT. AGRICULTURE BY THE ECONOMIC NUMBERS, DEAN, IS NOT AS IMPORTANT AS, SAY, THE FINANCIAL SERVICES IN IOWA. ONLY TWENTY PERCENT OF OUR ECONOMY IS TIED TO AGRICULTURE. I KNOW THE FARMERS DON'T LIKE TO HEAR THAT. BUT WHAT THIS MEANS -- THEY DO SET A PSYCHOLOGICAL TONE. PEOPLE OUT THERE ON THE FARM ARE FEELING BETTER AS A RESULT OF THIS, AND WHAT THAT MEANS IS THAT CREEPS THROUGH EVERYTHING ELSE IN IOWA, PUBLIC OPINION IOWA FEELS PRETTY GOOD, POLLS SHOW THINGS ARE HEADED IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION. THAT MAKES IT DIFFICULT FOR POLITICIANS TO CHANGE ANYTHING. THE STATUS QUO SETS IN, COMPLACENCY. IT WILL BE TEMPTING FOR CHET CULVER TO JUST SORT OF PUT THINGS ON CRUISE CONTROL BECAUSE PEOPLE DON'T WANT TO CHANGE ANYTHING. WHEN TERRY BRANSTAD AND TOM VILSACK TOOK OFFICE, THINGS WERE TOUGH. PEOPLE WANTED CHANGE. NOW WE'RE IN AN ERA WHERE PEOPLE DON'T SEEM TO.

Glover: I THINK CULVER UNDERSTANDS THAT AND I THINK THAT'S WHY YOU'RE SEEING SORT OF THE INCREMENTALIST APPROACH FROM HIM. HE UNDERSTANDS THAT PEOPLE ARE NOT DEMANDING CHANGE. THEY'RE NOT RATTLING CAGES. THEY'RE NOT SAYING THE STATE IS GOING IN THE WRONG DIRECTION. THEY'RE SAYING, JUST LIKE DAVID SAID, THINGS ARE PRETTY GOOD, LET'S KEEP STEAMING ALONG. AND I THINK CHET CULVER IS A PRAGMATIC ENOUGH POLITICIAN THAT HE AIN'T GONNA ROCK THE BOAT.

Borg: JENEANE, IS IT ABSOLUTE HERESY TO THINK THAT ETHANOL NOW HAS THE ENERGY BEHIND IT -- I DON'T WANT TO MAKE A PUN THERE -- BUT THAT IT'S TIME, MAYBE, TO PHASE OUT THE SUBSIDIES AND ENCOURAGEMENT TO BURN ETHANOL, E85 AND THINGS LIKE THAT? MIGHT LEGISLATORS BE TAKING A LOOK AT THAT?

Beck: I DON'T THINK THE IOWA LEGISLATURE IS READY TO PHASE OUT SUBSIDIES ON IT. I THINK THAT THEY WANT TO BUILD THAT INDUSTRY EVEN FURTHER AND THEY WANT THE INDUSTRY TO MAKE THE CHANGES THAT I THINK KAY TALKED ABOUT. THERE ARE LAWMAKERS THAT ARE CONCERNED THAT WE'RE USING CORN TO CREATE OIL AND -- WELL, NOT OIL BUT FUEL RATHER THAN FOOD, AND THEY DO SEE A CONCERN FOR THE LIVESTOCK INDUSTRY. SO I THINK THEY'LL CONTINUE TO TRY TO PROVIDE INCENTIVES FOR THAT INDUSTRY BECAUSE THEY WANT IT TO GROW. THEY JUST WANT IT TO GET AWAY FROM CORN EVENTUALLY, BUT THEY WANT THAT INDUSTRY IN THIS STATE.

Glover: ONE OF THE THINGS -- ONE OF THE THINGS WE'RE GOING TO FIND OUT THIS MONTH IS THE CENTERPIECE OF CHET CULVER'S GUBERNATORIAL CAMPAIGN WAS A $100-MILLION IOWA POWER FUND. WELL, WE DON'T KNOW A LOT OF THE DETAILS OF WHAT HE WANTS TO DO WITH THAT IOWA POWER FUND. WHEN HE SENDS HIS BUDGET UP, HE'S GOING TO SAY: OKAY, I WANT THIS MANY MILLIONS OF DOLLARS TO INSTALL E85 TANKS AROUND THE STATE; THIS IS MY GOAL AND HOW MANY I WANT; THIS IS WHAT I WANT TO DO WITH ETHANOL SUBSIDIES. WHEN WE GET THOSE DETAILS, THEN I THINK WE'LL HAVE SOMETHING TO CHEW ON.

Borg: AND WE'RE LOOKING AT THAT BUDGET ADDRESS TOWARD THE END OF MONTH, AREN'T WE, OR MAYBE THE LAST COUPLE OF DAYS --

Glover: JANUARY 30.

Borg: YEAH, JANUARY 30.

Yepsen: I THOUGHT CHET CULVER SPENT A LOT OF TIME IN HIS INAUGURAL SPEECH TALKING ABOUT THE JOYS OF RENEWABLE FUELS. WELL, EXCUSE ME, IOWANS ARE ALREADY THERE. I MEAN THAT'S LIKE TRYING TO CONVINCE PEOPLE TO BE FOR MOTHERHOOD, APPLE PIE, AND THE FLAG. AGAIN, KIND OF A WASTED OPPORTUNITY ON THE GOVERNOR'S PART.

Borg: WHAT ARE SOME GROUPS, KAY HENDERSON, WHO MIGHT BE REALLY PROSPERING AS A RESULT OF IOWA'S PROSPERING ECONOMY? TEACHERS -- TEACHER PAY?

Henderson: RIGHT. ON THE DOCKET UP AT THE STATEHOUSE IS A REAL DEBATE ABOUT JUST HOW MUCH TO DEDICATE TO RAISING TEACHER PAY, NOT ARE WE GOING TO RAISE TEACHER PAY BUT BY HOW MUCH. THE DEBATE IS CENTERING ON CHET CULVER'S CAMPAIGN PROMISE: I'M GOING TO SPEND 20 MILLION MORE. LEGISLATORS SAY THAT IF YOU SPEND ANOTHER 55 MILLION ON TOP OF THAT 20, YOU'LL GET TO 25TH IN THE COUNTRY. SO THERE'S A DEBATE AMONG DEMOCRATS ABOUT HOW MUCH TO SPEND. THERE'S ALSO A DEBATE ABOUT HOW TO SPEND IT: DO WE LET TEACHERS GET A BONUS OR DO WE TIE IT IN SOME WAY TO PERFORMANCE? AND SO THERE'S ALREADY, PERCOLATING AMONG LEGISLATORS, A DEBATE ABOUT HOW TO FASHION A TEACHER PAY PACKAGE.

Glover: AND, DEAN, IF YOU PHRASE IT THIS WAY -- ONE SIDE SAYS I WANT TO RAISE TEACHER PAY TO 25TH IN THE NATION IN FIVE YEARS, AND THE BARGAINING POINT IS, OH NO, I WANT TO RAISE IT TO 25TH IN TWO YEARS -- SO KAY IS EXACTLY RIGHT; THERE'S NOT GOING TO BE A DEBATE. THE OTHER SLEEPER THAT'S GOING TO HANG IN THIS IS HOW THEY SHAPE A PRESCHOOL PROGRAM. EVERYBODY IS TALKING ABOUT UNIVERSAL PRESCHOOL, PRESCHOOL AVAILABLE IN EVERY SCHOOL DISTRICT IN THE STATE, BUT THERE'S A LOT OF WAYS YOU CAN DO THAT. YOU CAN SUBSIDIZE EXISTING PRESCHOOL FACILITIES, MANY OF WHOM ARE PRIVATE. SOME ARE EVEN FAITH BASED. OR SOME PEOPLE WANT TO DO JUST A PUBLIC PRESCHOOL PROGRAM. THAT'S GOING TO BE A BIG DEBATE.

Yepsen: DEAN, THIS GREAT ECONOMY AND ALL THIS PROSPERITY IS ACTUALLY CAUSING PROBLEMS FOR DEMOCRATS. THEY'VE BEEN OUT OF POWER FOR 42 YEARS. HERE THEY COME TO DES MOINES AND THEY'VE GOT ALL THESE PARTY CONSTITUENCY GROUPS THAT WANT MONEY. AND GUESS WHAT, THEY'VE GOT SOME MONEY. AND YET THERE'S NO WAY THAT BUDGET IS GOING TO BALANCE IF THEY START SAYING YES TO EVERY DEMOCRATIC CONSTITUENCY GROUP. TEACHERS, ENVIRONMENTALISTS, I MEAN THERE'S A LONG LIST OF PRIORITIES THAT DEMOCRATS HAVE. AND SO THEY'RE HAVING A DIFFICULT PROBLEM SAYING YES TO SOME AND NO TO OTHERS AND MAYBE NOT SO MUCH FOR SOME OTHERS.

Beck: AND THEY'RE STARTING OUT WITH A GROUP THAT HAS BEEN, IN THEIR OPINION, UNDERSERVED, THE GROUP THAT DOESN'T MAYBE VOTE, DOESN'T GET OUT THAT MUCH, BUT THE GROUP THAT'S MAKING MINIMUM WAGE, THE GROUP THAT DOESN'T HAVE HEALTH INSURANCE. THOSE ARE THE PEOPLE THEY WANT TO TAKE CARE OF FIRST. THEY'RE GOING TO TAKE CARE OF THEIR CORE GROUPS LIKE TEACHERS, BUT THEY'RE TRYING TO, WHILE THEY STILL HAVE SOME MOMENTUM AT THE BEGINNING OF THE SESSION, TO TALK ABOUT GROUPS THAT THEY FEEL ARE UNDERSERVED, THAT AREN'T DOING WELL IN THIS SURPLUS ECONOMY THAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT.

Yepsen: IT ALSO CAUSES HEARTBURN FOR THE GOVERNOR IN HIS EFFORT TO GET THE CIGARETTE TAX INCREASE, BECAUSE THERE ARE A LOT OF LEGISLATORS, PARTICULARLY REPUBLICANS, BUT EVEN SOME DEMOCRATS WHO ARE SAYING, WAIT A MINUTE, IF WE HAVE ALL THIS MONEY POURING INTO THE STATE TREASURY, 8-PERCENT GROWTH IN REVENUES, WHAT ARE WE DOING RAISING THE CIGARETTE TAX, WHICH IS A TAX PAID HEAVILY BY A LOT OF OUR PEOPLE, DEMOCRATS? IT'S GOING TO CAUSE THE GOVERNOR SOME PROBLEMS.

Borg: AS WE'VE ONLY HAD THE LEGISLATURE IN SESSION NOW FOR A WEEK BUT, MIKE, HAVE THERE BEEN ANY HINTS AS TO HOW THE NEW LEADERSHIP IS SETTLING IN? NOW, AS THE DEMOCRATIC FACTIONS THAT YOU'VE ALREADY MENTIONED SHOW THEMSELVES, THAT LEADERSHIP HAS TO BRING PEOPLE TOGETHER.

Glover: IT DOES. AND AT THE VERY TOP OF THE LEADERSHIP CHAIN IN BOTH THE HOUSE AND THE SENATE, THE LEADERSHIP IS FINE. I MEAN THESE ARE VETERAN LEGISLATORS, HOUSE SPEAKER PAT MURPHY, SENATE MAJORITY LEADER MIKE GRONSTAL. THESE ARE PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN AROUND THE LEGISLATURE FOR A GOOD LONG TIME, WHO UNDERSTAND HOW IT WORKS. ARGUABLY, OVER THE LAST TWO YEARS, MIKE GRONSTAL WAS MAJORITY LEADER IN THE SENATE ANYWAY, EVEN THOUGH IT WAS TIED. BUT WHAT I FIND INTERESTING IS DOWN AT THE COMMITTEE LEVEL AND, MORE TO THE POINT, THE BUDGET COMMITTEE LEVEL, YOU'VE GOT PEOPLE, DEMOCRATS NOW, WHO HAVE NEVER CHAIRED A COMMITTEE, WHO DON'T UNDERSTAND HOW YOU DO IT, WHO DON'T UNDERSTAND MAYBE A BUDGET FOR AN AGENCY IN THE STATE GOVERNMENT THEY'RE OVERSEEING. MURPHY WAS TELLING US THAT HE HAS EIGHT FRESHMEN WHO ARE GOING TO BE ON KEY BUDGET COMMITTEES WHO DON'T HAVE A CLUE ABOUT THE BUDGETS THEY'RE GOING TO BE OVERSEEING, SO THERE'S A REAL STEEP LEARNING CURVE DOWN AT THAT LOWER LEADERSHIP LEVEL.

Yepsen: A LOT OF THEM HAVE NEVER EVEN SERVED IN THE MAJORITY --

Glover: OR IN THE HOUSE.

Yepsen: -- AND A LOT OF REPUBLICANS HAVE NEVER SERVED IN THE MINORITY, SO THEY'RE GOING TO HAVE A LITTLE TROUBLE DEALING WITH THAT TOO.

Glover: I THINK -- I THINK YOU'RE GOING TO SEE A BIG OUTPOURING OF REPUBLICANS IN BOTH THE HOUSE AND THE SENATE LARGELY BECAUSE -- DAVE IS RIGHT.

Yepsen: OUTPOURING.

Glover: LEAVING --

Henderson: RETIRING.

Glover: -- BECAUSE A LOT OF THOSE REPUBLICANS HAVE ONLY BEEN IN THE MAJORITY, AND THEY DON'T KNOW WHAT HAPPENS TO YOU WHEN YOU'RE IN THE MINORITY. AND WHEN THEY LEARN WHAT HAPPENS TO YOU IN THE MINORITY, THOSE OTHER FOLKS WHO MAKE THE DECISIONS DON'T EVEN CALL US.

Yepsen: AND THAT'S ESPECIALLY TRUE, MIKE, I THINK ONCE THEY REALIZE THAT IN 2008 THEY COULD TAKE ANOTHER BATH.

Glover: THAT'S RIGHT.

Yepsen: WHY GET BEAT? MIGHT AS WELL JUST NOT TO RUN.

Glover: THAT'S RIGHT. AND YOU'VE GOT A LOT OF PEOPLE IN THAT REPUBLICAN LEADERSHIP WHO ARE RELATIVELY YOUNG MEN AND WOMEN WITH YOUNG KIDS, AND MAYBE IT'S TIME TO GO OUT AND MAKE A BUCK NOW.

Borg: KAY, IF MIKE -- IF WHAT MIKE SAYS IS RIGHT, THAT DEMOCRATS ARE NOT EXPERIENCED IN LEADERSHIP RIGHT NOW AT THE COMMITTEE LEVEL, DO YOU SEE THAT REPUBLICANS WHO HAVE THAT EXPERIENCE MIGHT BE TAKING ADVANTAGE OF IT AS RANKING MEMBERS AND SO ON OR NOT?

Henderson: I THINK IT'S ALL A NEW BALL GAME UP THERE. I THINK WE'LL SEE SOMETHING PLAY OUT IN THE COMING COUPLE OF WEEKS OVER THE MINIMUM WAGE ISSUE. DEMOCRATS PROMISED VOTERS THAT THEY WOULD RAISE THE MINIMUM WAGE, BUT WHEN YOU GET INTO THE DETAILS, SHOULD IT BE INDEXED? IN OTHER WORDS, SHOULD IT RAISE -- SHOULD IT GO UP EVERY YEAR BASED ON SOME INFLATION FACTOR AND SHOULD THAT ALWAYS BE THE LAW OF THE LAND, DESPITE WHAT ECONOMIC TIMES MAY BE IN IOWA. SHOULD WE KEEP THE TRAINING WAGE? IN IOWA EMPLOYERS GET TO PAY A LITTLE BIT LESS IF THEY EMPLOY FOLKS FOR A SHORT DURATION. IT'S CALLED A TRAINING WAGE. SO WHEN THEY GET INTO THE NITTY-GRITTY OF THAT, THEY'RE HAVING SOME PROBLEMS.

Yepsen: I THINK THEY'LL HAVE SOME PROBLEMS WITH TAX QUESTIONS, DEAN. I MENTIONED THE CIGARETTE TAX. ANOTHER ONE IS THE GAS TAX. THE ROAD LOBBY HAS COME OUT ALL OF A SUDDEN AND SAID WE NEED A GAS TAX. FUNNY HOW THAT WASN'T TALKED ABOUT IN THE CAMPAIGN, BUT IT CAME UP RIGHT AFTER THE ELECTION. AND ANOTHER ONE THAT THE GOVERNOR HAS SAID HE WANTS TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT, COMMERCIAL PROPERTY TAXES, TAXES PAID BY BUSINESS. THEY'RE GOING TO COME OUT WITH A REPORT ON THAT IN A FEW DAYS. SO ALL OF A SUDDEN DEMOCRATS HAVE GOT THREE RATHER SIGNIFICANT TAX ISSUES ON THEIR PLATE.

Glover: AND WHAT I HEAR PARTICULARLY FROM PAT MURPHY, WHO'S A -- AND ONE OF THE THINGS YOU HAVE TO UNDERSTAND ABOUT THIS NEW DEMOCRATIC LEADERSHIP, THESE ARE NOT WHACKED-OUT LIBERALS. THESES ARE PRETTY MAINSTREAM, MID LEVEL, EVEN SOME CONSERVATIVE DEMOCRATS. KEVIN MCCARTHY, I'M THINKING OF, THE NEW HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER. THE FIRST NEWS CONFERENCE THEY HAD AFTER ALL THIS TAX STUFF POPPED UP WAS KEVIN MCCARTHY: 'I DIDN'T CAMPAIGN ON RAISING ANY TAXES.' AND THERE ARE A LOT OF -- A SIGNIFICANT NUMBER OF DEMOCRATS UP THERE WHO WANT TO BE ABLE TO END THIS SESSION AND SAY YOU CAN TRUST DEMOCRATS, WE DIDN'T SAY WE WERE GOING TO RAISE TAXES, AND WE DIDN'T.

Borg: INCLUDING THE CIGARETTE TAX.

Glover: INCLUDING THE CIGARETTE TAX. I'M NOT CONVINCED -- I KNOW EVERYBODY IS SAYING IT'S JUST A QUESTION OF HOW BIG IT'S GOING TO BE. I'M NOT SURE. THERE'S A PRETTY STRONG STRAIN RUNNING THROUGH SOME DEMOCRATS WHO DON'T WANT TO BE TAGGED WITH THE TAX --

Yepsen: I THINK ONE OF THE PROBLEMS DEMOCRATIC LEADERS ARE GOING TO HAVE WILL COME FROM THE PARTY LEFT. ONE OF THE THINGS THAT HAS BEEN SAID SINCE THE ELECTION WAS, WELL, MAYBE DEMOCRATS AREN'T GOING TO DO LOCAL CONTROL. WELL, THERE'S A LOT OF LIBERALS IN THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY WHO THOUGHT THAT WAS WHAT THEY WERE FIGHTING THEIR HEARTS OUT FOR, TO ELECT DEMOCRATIC LEGISLATORS. AND IT WAS INTERESTING THAT THE IOWA CITIZENS FOR COMMUNITY IMPROVEMENT THAT'S BEEN AN ACTIVIST GROUP FOR YEARS UP THERE WAS UP AT THE CAPITOL IN THE OPENING WEEK, AND MANY OF THOSE PEOPLE WERE ANGRY TO HEAR THE FACT THAT WE'RE NOT GOING TO GET ANYTHING DONE ON LOCAL CONTROL. SO I THINK THE DEMOCRATIC LEADERS WILL HAVE A PROBLEM BALANCING THE DEMOCRATIC LEFT WITH WHAT THEY WANT TO DO.

Glover: THAT'S ONE OF THE COSTS THAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU GET MAJORITY STATUS. SUDDENLY YOU'VE GOT TO MAKE DECISIONS. IF YOU'RE IN THE MINORITY, YOU CAN JUST SHOUT AND SCREAM, OH YEAH, LOCAL CONTROL, IT'S GREAT. WELL, NOW YOU'RE IN THE MAJORITY AND YOU'VE GOT TO DEAL WITH REALISTS OUT IN THE ROTUNDA.

Borg: JENEANE, ON WEDNESDAY, I THINK IT WAS, THE DAY AFTER TOM VILSACK GAVE THE CONDITION OF THE STATE, MARCIA TERNUS, THE FIRST FEMALE CHIEF JUSTICE IN IOWA'S HISTORY, CAME BACK WITH A CONDITION OF THE JUDICIARY BRANCH. WHAT WERE THE THEMES THERE?

Beck: CHILDREN. SHE SAYS THE COURT SYSTEM NEEDS TO BETTER SERVE CHILDREN, ESPECIALLY CHILDREN THAT ARE WITHOUT PARENTS OR WHO ARE IN THE FOSTER CARE SYSTEM OR THAT ARE SOMEHOW UNDER STATE PURVIEW. SHE WANTS THERE TO BE A JUDGE ADVOCATE FOR EACH ONE. SO DOES THAT MEAN CIVIL CASES SUDDENLY GET HUNG UP IN COURT A LITTLE LONGER? YES. BUT SHE THINKS IT'S IMPORTANT. NOW, WHAT WAS INTERESTING IS THE IMMEDIATE REPUBLICAN REACTION FROM A CHAIR OF THE JUSTICE -- NO LONGER A CHAIR BUT A RANKING MEMBER OF THE JUSTICE BUDGET SUBCOMMITTEE WAS, WELL, BUT WE HAVE TO BALANCE THAT WITH MONEY FOR POSSIBLE CHANGES IN THE CORRECTION SYSTEM BECAUSE OUR PRISON GUARDS ARE OVERWORKED AND UNDERSTAFFED. WELL, HER POINT IS IF YOU KEEP THEM OUT OF PRISON IN THE FIRST PLACE BECAUSE YOU GET THEM THROUGH THE COURT SYSTEM AND GET THEM INTO, YOU KNOW, HOMES QUICKER, THAT MAYBE PRISONS IN THE LONG RUN DON'T NEED IT. SO YOU'RE ALWAYS FACED WITH THAT YING AND YANG OF BUT THE PRISON NEEDS HELP RIGHT NOW, SO THEN WE DON'T DO THE LONG-TERM SOLVE.

Yepsen: IT WAS A VERY INTERESTING SPEECH THAT SHE GAVE, DEAN. I MEAN WE DID INAUGURATE A NEW HEAD OF THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH OF GOVERNMENT. WE HAVE A NEW HEAD OF THE JUDICIAL BRANCH OF GOVERNMENT, AND SHE'S REALLY TAKING THINGS -- WANTS TO TAKE THINGS IN A DIFFERENT DIRECTION, TALKING ABOUT CHILDREN AND CHILDREN IN TROUBLE AND FOSTER CARE. THAT'S STUFF WE HAVEN'T HEARD FROM PREVIOUS CHIEF JUSTICES.

Borg: WELL, WHAT WE HAVE HEARD IN THE PAST ARE THINGS THAT COST MONEY FROM CHIEF JUSTICES, AND THAT IS THE COURT SYSTEM IS OVERLOADED. DID SHE TALK ABOUT --

Yepsen: WELL, SHE MENTIONED -- BUT ACTUALLY THE JUDICIAL PENSIONS, PAY, THOSE SORTS OF THINGS, THEY'VE DEALT WITH SOME OF THOSE PROBLEMS. SO RATHER THAN SIT THERE RATTLING HER TIN CUP FOR A PAY RAISE, SHE'S SITTING THERE SAYING TO THESE LEGISLATORS, DO SOMETHING ABOUT TROUBLED KIDS IN IOWA.

Glover: AND THE PROBLEM SHE'S GOING TO HAVE IS LEGISLATURES BY THEIR VERY NATURE ARE NOT LONG-TERM THINKERS. I MEAN LONG TERM IN THE LEGISLATURE IS NEXT WEEK. AND THE APPROACH SHE'S TAKING IS, HEY, LET'S STEP BACK AND TAKE A DIFFERENT LOOK AT OUR JUDICIAL SYSTEM AND TAKE A DIFFERENT DIRECTION. YOU'RE RIGHT, LET'S TURN LEFT AND GO OFF OVER HERE. AND THE LEGISLATURE IS MUCH MORE GEARED TO DOING SOMETHING IMMEDIATE LIKE BUILD A PRISON. OKAY, WE'VE GOT A PROBLEM IN OUR JUDICIAL SYSTEM; LET'S BUILD A PRISON AND THAT SOLVES IT.

Yepsen: BUT SHE HAS HIGHLIGHTED THIS ISSUE OF TROUBLED CHILDREN IN A WAY THAT NO POLITICIAN HAS DONE BEFORE. AND I THINK BECAUSE SHE GAVE THAT SPEECH, I THINK WE'RE GOING TO SEE MORE ATTENTION PAID TO THE ISSUES OF FOSTER KIDS AND TROUBLED KIDS THAN WE EVER HAVE BEFORE.

Borg: WELL, THAT HAS IMPLICATIONS IN THE DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES THEN.

Yepsen: WELL, SURE, BUT HER CONTEXT OF THIS IS IF THE COURTS HAVE TO DEAL WITH THESE TROUBLED KIDS, YOU FOLKS IN THE LEGISLATURE AND THE GOVERNOR BETTER START HELPING THEM NOW BECAUSE THE COST OF THIS IS GOING TO BANKRUPT YOU ALL.

Beck: DOES SHE DEAL WITH THEM ONCE WHEN THEY COME THROUGH THE COURT SYSTEM AS A CHILD, OR DOES SHE END UP DEALING WITH THEM TWICE WHEN THEY COME BACK THROUGH THE COURT SYSTEM AS A CRIMINAL; AND THAT'S WHAT SHE'S TALKING ABOUT.

Yepsen: SHE'S GOING TO BE CHIEF JUSTICE FOR PROBABLY ABOUT SEVENTEEN YEARS, SO I THINK WE'RE GOING TO HEAR MORE ABOUT THIS.

Glover: BUT TO GIVE HER CREDIT, WHAT SHE DID DO -- AND I THINK YOU'RE RIGHT, DAVID. WHAT SHE DID DO IS SHE STARTED A DEBATE, AND SHE STARTED A DEBATE THAT I DON'T THINK A POLITICIAN COULD HAVE STARTED. ONE OF THE THINGS I ONCE DESCRIBED ABOUT A PREVIOUS CHIEF JUSTICE IS THEY'RE JUDGES NOT POLITICIANS, BUT TO BE A SUCCESSFUL JUDGE, YOU'VE GOT TO BE A PRETTY GOOD POLITICIAN.

Yepsen: I THOUGHT IT WAS INTERESTING, I OVERHEARD A COUPLE WOMEN LAWMAKERS TALKING ABOUT HER SPEECH AND HOW PROUD THEY WERE OF IT AND SAID, 'IT'S ABOUT TIME. THESE ARE THE KINDS OF THINGS YOU GET WHEN WOMEN TAKE CHARGE.' IT WAS ABOUT TIME.

Borg: I'VE TRIED TO BE FORWARD LOOKING IN OUR CONVERSATION HERE, AND THAT'S WHY I'VE SAVED TOM VILSACK TILL LAST BECAUSE TOM VILSACK LOOKED BACKWARD IN HIS CONDITION OF THE STATE ADDRESS, BUT ALSO YOU HAVE TO SAY THERE WERE SOME HINTS THERE OF WHERE HE HOPES TO GO IN THE FUTURE.

Beck: WELL, IT WAS INTERESTING WHEN HE WAS SPEAKING WITH KAY AND I IN A LITTLE EXIT INTERVIEW, SO TO SPEAK, HE TALKED ABOUT WANTING TO BE LIKE THE LONE RANGER AND DO GOOD WORK AND THEN RIDE OFF INTO THE SUNSET AND EXIT THE STAGE. WELL, HE ONLY WANTS TO EXIT ONE STAGE AND STEP ONTO ANOTHER. YOU KNOW, THE MAN ISN'T GOING ANYWHERE. HE WANTS TO BE ON THE NATIONAL STAGE NOW. SO, YEAH, HE'S DEFINITELY LOOKING TO HIS FUTURE. HE ALREADY USED HIS SPEECH AS SORT OF A LAUNCHING PLATFORM TO TRY TO GET SOME MORE NATIONAL ATTENTION ABOUT IRAQ.

Glover: HE'S RUNNING FOR THE DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL NOMINATION, AND THE CORE OF HIS APPEAL THAT HE'S SEEKING TO MAKE TO DEMOCRATIC VOTERS IS I WAS A MODERATE, MIDWESTERN GOVERNOR DURING REALLY TOUGH ECONOMIC TIMES, AND I MANAGED TO BALANCE THE BUDGET WITHOUT RAISING TAXES. SO THAT MIGHT BE HIS CONDITION OF THE STATE SPEECH. IT WAS ACTUALLY NOT A CONDITION OF THE STATE SPEECH SO MUCH AS IT WAS A CONDITION OF TOM VILSACK.

Borg: WE ALL WERE IN THAT SESSION THAT HE HAD FOR JOURNALISTS BEFORE HE GAVE THE EXIT SPEECH, PERCHED ON THE EDGE OF A TABLE, TALKED VERY INFORMALLY, BUT -- YOU MIGHT SAY THAT VERY MELLOW EVEN SOMEWHAT MELANCHOLY AS HE TALKED ABOUT THE PAST AND HIS RECORD, BUT THEN ALSO VERY, VERY FOCUSED, AS YOU'VE SAID, MIKE, ON WHERE I INTEND TO GO.

Henderson: WELL, PART OF THE DILEMMA HE FACES IS THAT HE REALLY DIDN'T USE THE BULLY PULPIT OF BEING GOVERNOR TO INTRODUCE HIMSELF TO EVERY SINGLE IOWAN. SO NOW HE HAS TO GO OUT AND INTRODUCE HIMSELF TO EVERY SINGLE IOWAN AND EXPLAIN TO THEM WHAT HE'S BEEN DOING FOR THE LAST EIGHT YEARS, AND THAT RECORD, WHICH HE ENUNCIATED FOR US, IS SOMEONE WHO HAS BALANCED A BUDGET IN TOUGH TIMES AGAINST WHAT HE DESCRIBED AS STEEP ODDS. AND SO NOW HE NEEDS TO GO OUT AND REINTRODUCE HIMSELF TO IOWANS AS A PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE.

Yepsen: HE DID LOOK BACK. HE BRAGGED ABOUT THE PAST. HE TRIED TO PUT A GOOD VARNISH ON HIS TENURE, BUT HE ALSO TALKED ABOUT SOME OF THE PROBLEMS THAT IOWA HAS GOT TO DEAL WITH, HEALTH CARE, MINIMUM WAGE. HE DID LIST SOME CHALLENGES, BUT I THINK IT WAS A PRETTY GOOD PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN SPEECH. WHEN HE BROUGHT UP IRAQ AND STARTED BASHING THE PRESIDENT OVER THAT, THAT WAS GOOD DEMOCRATIC RED MEAT. THAT WILL GET HIM SOME CAUCUS VOTES.

Borg: THANKS FOR YOUR INSIGHTS. WE'LL HAVE ANOTHER 'IOWA PRESS' EDITION NEXT WEEK, OF COURSE. SAME TIMES: 7:30 FRIDAY NIGHT; SUNDAY MORNING AT 11:30. AS YOU'VE JUST HEARD, THERE'S A LOT TO FOLLOW RIGHT NOW IN IOWA POLITICS, AND I HOPE THAT YOU'LL BE WATCHING. I'M DEAN BORG. THANKS FOR JOINING US TODAY.

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Tags: Democrats governors Iowa