Iowa Public Television

 

Former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson

posted on June 29, 2007

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Borg: EYEING THE WHITE HOUSE. TOMMY THOMPSON HAS GOVERNED WISCONSIN, AND NOW HE IS SEEKING THE 2008 REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL NOMINATION. WE'LL QUESTION TOMMY THOMPSON 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 JUNE 29 EDITION OF 'IOWA 'PRESS.' HERE IS DEAN BORG.

Borg: REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES ARE GATHERING THIS WEEKEND TO DISCUSS CAMPAIGN ISSUES WITH THE IOWA CHRISTIAN ALLIANCE AND IOWANS FOR TAX RELIEF. THAT'S AN OPPORTUNITY FOR THE CONTENDERS FOR THE GOP PRESIDENTIAL NOMINATION TO FOCUS ON MATTERS IMPORTANT TO TWO OF THE PARTY'S MOST VISIBLE AND PERHAPS MOST VOCAL CONSTITUENCIES. FORMER WISCONSIN GOVERNOR TOMMY THOMPSON IS IN THAT FIELD OF CANDIDATES. AFTER SERVING 35 YEARS AT THE WISCONSIN STATEHOUSE, FIRST AS A STATE ASSEMBLYMAN AND THEN AS GOVERNOR, MR. THOMPSON WENT ON TO SERVE FOUR YEARS AS SECRETARY OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES IN THE CABINET OF PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH. GOVERNOR THOMPSON --

Thompson: DEAN, IT'S A PLEASURE TO BE HERE. THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR HAVING ME ON YOUR PROGRAM.

Borg: A NEIGHBOR FROM WISCONSIN, WELCOME TO 'IOWA PRESS.'

Thompson: WELL, THANK YOU VERY MUCH. YOU KNOW, IOWA USED TO BE PART OF THE OLD WISCONSIN TERRITORY, AND I'M TRYING TO PUT US ALL TOGETHER AGAIN. THAT'S WHY I'M SO HAPPY AND FEEL SO WELL ACCLIMATED TO IOWA.

Borg: WELL, GOOD. YOU KNOW THE TWO GENTLEMEN ACROSS THE TABLE, BUT I'M GOING TO INTRODUCE THEM TO OUR VIEWERS: 'DES MOINES REGISTER' POLITICAL COLUMNIST DAVID YEPSEN AND 'ASSOCIATED PRESS' SENIOR POLITICAL WRITER MIKE GLOVER. >>

Glover: GOVERNOR, ONE OF THE THINGS WE LIKE TO DO ON THIS SHOW IS GIVE CANDIDATES A TIME TO MAKE THEIR CASE TO ACTIVISTS IN IOWA. WHAT'S THE REASON FOR AN IOWA REPUBLICAN ACTIVIST TO CONSIDER GOVERNOR TOMMY THOMPSON?

Thompson: LET'S TAKE A LOOK AT THE RECORD. I WAS GOVERNOR FOR 14 YEARS, THE ONLY CANDIDATE ON THE REPUBLICAN SIDE THAT HAS PUT TOGETHER A BUDGET AT THE STATE LEVEL AND THE FEDERAL LEVEL. I MANAGED THE STATE OF WISCONSIN FOR 14 YEARS IN A DEMOCRAT STATE AND STILL GOT ELECTED BY OVERWHELMING MAJORITIES, THE ONLY REPUBLICAN THAT'S EVER BEEN ABLE TO DO THAT. I WAS ABLE TO REDUCE TAXES BY $16.5 BILLION. THAT'S MORE TAX DOLLARS THAT I'VE REDUCED THAN ALL OF THE REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES COMBINED AND THEN SOME. I VETOED OVER 1,900 MEASURES AT THE DEMOCRAT LEGISLATURE IN THE WISCONSIN, AND AT THE SAME TIME I WAS ABLE TO PUT TOGETHER TWO DRAMATIC PUBLIC INITIATIVES AND REALLY CHANGE THE FACE OF AMERICA, THE FIRST ONE BEING WELFARE REFORM THAT HAD STARTED IN THE STATE OF WISCONSIN AND ALSO, OF COURSE, PRIVATE SCHOOL CHOICE. I ALSO INCREASED THE ECONOMY SO WELL THAT BY THE TIME I WAS DONE, WE HAD CREATED 800,000 JOBS AND REDUCED THE UNEMPLOYMENT DOWN TO 2 PERCENT. NO CANDIDATE ON THE REPUBLICAN SIDE OR THE DEMOCRAT SIDE HAS A RECORD LIKE THAT.

Glover: LET'S GRANT THAT YOU HAVE A RESUME AND YOU HAVE A RECORD AND YOU'VE BEEN COMING TO IOWA ALL YEAR EVERY WEEK. STILL, YOU'RE IN THE SINGLE DIGITS. WHY? WHAT'S NOT WORKED? >>

Thompson: WELL, I HAVE NO MONEY AND I HAVE TO DO IT BY JUST PLAIN OLD-FASHIONED RETAIL POLITICS. I WILL BE GO ON A BUS TOUR THROUGHOUT IOWA NEXT -- STARTING NEXT FRIDAY, NIGHT, AND WE'LL HIT 100 COMMUNITIES. I'VE ALREADY BEEN TO 55 COUNTIES OUT OF THE 99. I'M HERE EVERY SINGLE WEEK, HAVE NOT MISSED A WEEK SINCE THE FIRST WEEK IN DECEMBER. AND I AM CONFIDENT THAT MY ORGANIZATION IS GROWING, EXPANDING, AND I FEEL VERY GOOD ABOUT THE CHANCES AND WHERE I'M AT RIGHT NOW. IT REMINDS ME VERY MUCH THE SAME THING HAPPENED TO ME WHEN I RAN FOR GOVERNOR THE FIRST TIME BACK IN 1986. PEOPLE SAID I COULDN'T WIN. AND I STARTED OUT IN SINGLE DIGITS FROM AN ASSEMBLY BASE, AND I WENT COUNTY BY COUNTY IN THE STATE OF WISCONSIN. AND ON ELECTION DAY I WAS SUCCESSFUL IN DEFEATING AN INCUMBENT DEMOCRAT GOVERNOR AND HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY AND THE PRIVILEGE OF BEING THE ONLY REPUBLICAN TO DO THAT IN A DEMOCRAT YEAR IN A DEMOCRAT STATE.

Yepsen: GOVERNOR, WHAT ARE THE SPECIFIC THINGS YOU HAVE TO DO TO GET OFF OF THIS SINGLE-DIGIT POSITION THAT YOU'RE IN? I MEAN CLEARLY JOHN MCCAIN, MITT ROMNEY, RUDY GIULIANI, THEY'RE IN DOUBLE DIGITS. FRED THOMPSON, IF HE GETS IN THIS THING, IS ALREADY SHOWING UP BETTER THAN YOU. A SERIOUS POLITICAL QUESTION IS WHAT ARE THE KINDS OF THINGS YOU'RE GOING TO BE DOING TO MOVE SOME NUMBERS HERE?

Thompson: I'M GOING TO BE GOING ALL OVER THIS STATE TALKING TO PEOPLE. I'M THE ONLY ONE THAT'S LAID OUT A REAL PROGRAM ON THE IRAQ WAR, THE ONLY ONE THAT'S REALLY DEVELOPED A PLAN ON HEALTH CARE DIPLOMACY, ONE THAT CAN REALLY TRANSFORM HEALTH CARE. AND ALL I NEED IS THE OPPORTUNITY TO GET ON PRESS LIKE WE'RE DOING TONIGHT, HAVE THE PEOPLE OF IOWA GET A CHANCE TO SEE ME AND LIKE ME. LAST SATURDAY I WAS ABLE TO DEFEAT ALL OF THOSE CANDIDATES, AS YOU KNOW, DAVID, IN THE CEDAR RAPIDS, THE LINN COUNTY STRAW POLL, WHICH IS THE SECOND LARGEST COUNTY IN IOWA. I CAME IN FIRST AND I EXPECT TO COME IN FIRST IN THE STRAW POLL IN AMES ON AUGUST 11. I THINK IF I DO THAT, I'M GOING TO SHAKE UP A LOT OF PEOPLE, AND ESPECIALLY THE ROMNEY PEOPLE WHO ARE THE ONLY ONES LEFT IN IT. I THINK MCCAIN AND RUDY GIULIANI GOT OUT BECAUSE THEY WERE VERY FEARFUL OF NOT BEING ABLE TO COME TOGETHER AND BE SUCCESSFUL IN THIS STRAW POLL. THAT'S WHY THEY GOT OUT. AND THEY DID NOT WANT TO GET BEAT BY BOTH MITT ROMNEY AND TOMMY THOMPSON.

Borg: YOU DID SAY A MOMENT AGO, THOUGH, 'I HAVE NO MONEY.' NOW IF -- GIVEN THAT FACT, IF YOU HAVEN'T MOVED THE NUMBERS IN IOWA AND YOU SAY, 'I'M GOING TO DO WELL IN THE STRAW POLL IN AUGUST,' BUT IF YOU HAVE NO MONEY, HOW ARE YOU GOING TO DO IT ELSEWHERE?

Thompson: WELL, I'M GOING TO DO IT THE SAME WAY I'M DOING IT IN IOWA. AS SOON AS I WIN IOWA, THE STRAW POLL, I'M GOING TO BE MOVING INTO NEW HAMPSHIRE IN SEPTEMBER AND OCTOBER, BE MOVING INTO SOUTH CAROLINA IN NOVEMBER AND DECEMBER, ORGANIZING IT COUNTY BY COUNTY. WHOEVER COMES OUT OF THE STRAW POLL IN IOWA ON AUGUST 11, WHOEVER COMES OUT OF THE CAUCUS ON JANUARY 15, YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE A BUMP ACROSS THIS NATION LIKE YOU CAN'T BELIEVE, BECAUSE ALL OF THE PRIMARY STATES ARE SO COMPRESSED THAT NOBODY IS GOING TO BE ABLE TO SPEND THE MONEY. PEOPLE THINK IT'S MONEY THIS YEAR THAT'S GOING TO COUNT. I BEG TO DIFFER. I THINK IT'S ORGANIZATION, DEAN, THAT'S GOING TO BE MORE IMPORTANT: WHO'S ABLE TO REALLY TURN OUT THE VOTERS; TO GET ON A BUS AND DRIVE TO AMES, IOWA, ON AUGUST 11; WHO'S GOING TO BE ABLE TO GET OUT ON JANUARY 15 -- AND YOU KNOW ON JANUARY 15, ON A MONDAY NIGHT, IT'S GOING TO BE COLD AND PROBABLY SNOWY AND WINDY -- AND WHO IS GOING TO GET THEIR VOTERS TO THE CAUCUSES? I BELIEVE I WILL HAVE THE ORGANIZATION. I'M VERY PROUD OF THE ORGANIZATION I HAVE HERE IN IOWA.

Glover: LET'S DO AS ROSS PEROT ONCE SAID; LET'S GET UNDER THE HOOD AND TAKE A LOOK AT THINGS. YOU TALK ABOUT WINNING THE STRAW POLL, A COUPLE OF FACTORS: ONE, WITH GIULIANI AND MCCAIN NOT COMPETING IN THE STRAW POLL, IT'S NOT GOING TO GET NEARLY THE ATTENTION IT WOULD HAVE HAD THEY BEEN COMPETING -- A LOT OF NEWS ORGANIZATIONS ARE STEPPING BACK FROM THEIR COVERAGE OF IT -- AND TWO, IF YOU DON'T HAVE MONEY, HOW DO YOU COMPETE WITH A MITT ROMNEY, WHO YOU KNOW IS DEVOTING ENORMOUS RESOURCES TO TURNING OUT PEOPLE FOR THAT STRAW POLL? HOW DO YOU COMPETE WITHOUT THE RESOURCES THAT HE'S GOT?

Thompson: BUT WOULDN'T IT BE AMAZING, MIKE, THAT ON AUGUST 12, THAT YOU WOULD HAVE TO WRITE THAT TOMMY THOMPSON UPSET MITT ROMNEY AFTER HE SPENT $4- TO $5- TO $6 MILLION IN IOWA AND TOMMY THOMPSON AND HIS INDIVIDUALS, ORGANIZERS ACROSS THIS COUNTY WAS ABLE TO DEFEAT HIM WITH $3- TO $500- TO A MILLION DOLLARS.

Glover: I'D LIKE TO WRITE THAT ON AUGUST 11 INSTEAD OF AUGUST 12. BUT THE POINT BEING IT'S STILL THE SAME QUESTION. HE IS -- TRADITION IS IT TAKES A BOAT LOAD OF MONEY TO GET PEOPLE THERE. YOU'VE GOT TO HIRE BUSES. YOU'VE GOT TO PUT UP TENTS. YOU'VE GOT TO HAVE ENTERTAINMENT. YOU'VE GOT TO SPEND A LOT OF MONEY TO GET PEOPLE THERE. HOW DO YOU OVERCOME THAT LOGISTIC?

Thompson: I'M GOING TO DO THAT, MIKE. I'M GOING TO HAVE MY BUSES. I'M GOING TO HAVE MY PEOPLE THERE. I'M GOING TO HAVE A STREET DANCE ON AUGUST 10 IN AMES, IOWA. I'M GOING TO HAVE MOTORCYCLISTS COMING DOWN FROM STURGIS. I'M THE ONLY THAT'S GOING TO HAVE THE MOTORCYCLISTS THERE. WE'RE GOING TO HAVE THE HOT AIR BALLOONS. AND I'M GOING TO GIVE YOU A RIDE -- YOU AND DAVID AND DEAN -- ON MY MOTORCYCLE. AND WE'RE GOING TO HAVE A FUN TIME. WE'RE GOING TO DO IT THE OLD-FASHIONED WAY. WE'RE GOING TO WIN THIS ELECTION BY GOING OUT AND TALKING TO THE VOTERS IN IOWA, LOOKING THEM SQUARE IN THE EYE, TELL THEM WHAT I'VE DONE IN WISCONSIN, WHAT I INTEND TO DO FOR THE NATION, AND WHY I AM THE ONLY ONE THAT IS THE RELIABLE CONSERVATIVE IN ALL OF THE REPUBLICANS.

Yepsen: GOVERNOR, I WANT TO ASK YOU A QUESTION THAT BRIAN LAMB OFTEN ASKS HIS GUESTS ON C-SPAN, AND THAT IS WHO ARE YOU. WHO IS TOMMY THOMPSON?

Thompson: I'M AN INDIVIDUAL THAT GREW UP VERY POOR IN WISCONSIN. AND I WAS LUCKY ENOUGH TO GO TO THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN, LUCKY ENOUGH TO GET ELECTED TO THE STATE ASSEMBLY AT THE AGE OF 23, ELECTED TO GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF WISCONSIN FOUR CONSECUTIVE TIMES, THE ONLY PERSON IN BOTH POLITICAL PARTIES THAT'S EVER BEEN ABLE TO DO THAT, AND I WAS ABLE TO SUCCESSFULLY RUN THE LARGEST DEPARTMENT FINANCIALLY, THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, BIGGER THAN THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE, IN THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SUCCESSFULLY FOR FOUR YEARS. AND I'VE BEEN ABLE TO DO THIS WITHOUT HAVING ANY KIND OF REAL PROBLEMS. I'VE BEEN ABLE TO SUCCESSFULLY DO THAT. THAT'S WHERE TOMMY THOMPSON DIFFERS FROM THE OTHER CANDIDATES.

Yepsen: GOVERNOR, LET'S TALK ABOUT SOME OF THE ISSUES THAT ARE GOING TO FACE THE NEXT PRESIDENT.

Thompson: SURE.

Yepsen: THE POLLS ALL SHOW IRAQ IS A BIG PROBLEM. WHAT DO YOU DO ABOUT IRAQ?

Thompson: FIRST OFF, AS YOU KNOW, DAVID, I WOULD REQUIRE THE AL-MALIKI GOVERNMENT TO VOTE AS TO WHETHER OR NOT THEY WANT THE UNITED STATES IN THEIR COUNTRY. WE'VE BEEN THERE FOR FOUR YEARS. WE'RE GOING ON OUR FIFTH YEAR, AND NOBODY HAS EVER ASKED THAT DULY-ELECTED GOVERNMENT TO VOTE AS TO WHETHER OR NOT WE SHOULD BE THERE. IF THEY VOTE YES, THEN TELL US HOW YOU, THE IRAQI GOVERNMENT, ARE GOING TO HELP AMERICA WIN THIS WAR. AND IF YOU WANT US OUT, SAY SO, AND WE SHOULD REDEPLOY OUR FORCES OUTSIDE OF IRAQ. SECONDLY, THERE ARE 18 TERRITORIES IN IRAQ GEOGRAPHICALLY DEFINED. I WOULD ALLOW THOSE INDIVIDUALS TERRITORIES, STATES LIKE WE HAVE IN IOWA AND WISCONSIN, ELECT THEIR STATE GOVERNMENTS. AND YOU WILL FIND THAT THE SHIITES ELECT SHIITES, SUNNIS WILL ELECT SUNNIS, KURDS WILL ELECT KURDS, AND YOU GET RID OF THIS CIVIL WAR. THAT'S BEEN GOING ON FOR 1,400 YEARS BETWEEN THE SHIITES AND THE SUNNIS. AND THIRD, I WOULD SPLIT THE OIL REVENUES: ONE-THIRD TO THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT; ONE-THIRD TO THE STATE GOVERNMENTS; AND ONE-THIRD TO EVERY MAN, WOMAN, AND CHILD. IF YOU DO THAT, EVERY MAN, WOMAN, AND CHILD IS GOING TO HAVE A STAKE IN THEIR GOVERNMENT. THEY'RE GOING TO BE ABLE TO BUILD BUSINESSES AND REALLY START BUILDING THE PEACE IN IRAQ. THAT'S A PLAN THAT WILL WORK.

Yepsen: GOVERNOR, WHAT DOES A FORMER GOVERNOR AND A FORMER HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES SECRETARY KNOW ABOUT AMERICAN FOREIGN POLICY? ISN'T YOUR PORTFOLIO ON OTHER AREAS OF EXPERTISE AND AREN'T THE AMERICAN PEOPLE GOING TO BE LOOKING FOR SOMEONE WHO HAS SOME EXPERIENCE IN FOREIGN POLICY?

Thompson: I HAVE AS MUCH EXPERIENCE AS ANY CANDIDATE RUNNING, AND I WOULD SAY THAT AS CANDIDLY AS I POSSIBLY CAN.

Yepsen: IN FOREIGN POLICY?

Thompson: IN FOREIGN POLICY. WHEN I WAS SECRETARY OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, I WENT TO 37 COUNTRIES. I WENT TO IRAQ. I WENT TO AFGHANISTAN FOUR TIMES, MORE THAN ANY OTHER SECRETARY. I WAS ABLE TO REBUILD A HOSPITAL IN KABUL, AFGHANISTAN, JUST FOR WOMEN AND CHILDREN CALLED THE RABIA BALKHI. I SENT MY DOCTORS AND MY ADMINISTRATORS OVER THERE. I WAS THE INDIVIDUAL THAT HELPED START THE GLOBAL FUND. I WAS ONE OF THOSE INDIVIDUALS WHO CONVINCED THE PRESIDENT TO START THAT, THE GLOBAL FUND TO FIGHT AIDS, TUBERCULOSIS, AND MALARIA ALL OVER THE WORLD. WE HAVE STARTED OUT WITH NOTHING. WE HAVE GROWN THAT FUND AND I WAS CHAIRMAN OF THAT FUND AND TRAVELED ALL OVER THE WORLD TALKING ABOUT THAT. AND WE WERE ABLE TO BUILD THAT FUND FROM NOTHING TO $8 BILLION, 135 COUNTRIES, AND 300 PROGRAMS. YOU TELL ME ANOTHER CANDIDATE THAT HAS THAT KIND OF EXPERIENCE, DAVID.

Glover: LET'S BRING THE ISSUES BACK CLOSER TO HOME AND SOMETHING YOU DO HAVE SOME EXPERIENCE WITH. YOU WERE SECRETARY OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES. WHAT SHOULD THIS NATION DO ABOUT HEALTH CARE? MOST OF THE POLLS I'VE SEEN THAT DON'T SHOW IRAQ AS THEIR NUMBER ONE CONCERN SHOW HEALTH CARE AS THEIR NUMBER ONE CONCERN. WHAT DO WE ABOUT IT?

Thompson: MIKE, THANK YOU FOR ASKING BECAUSE YOU'RE ABSOLUTELY CORRECT. IT AND IRAQ ARE THE TWO BIGGEST PROBLEMS. THERE IS NOBODY OUT THERE THAT HAS GOT A PLAN TO COMPLETELY TRANSFORM HEALTH CARE EXCEPT ME. THE FIRST THING YOU HAVE TO DO IS UNDERSTAND HEALTH CARE, AND MOST OF THE CANDIDATES, ESPECIALLY MOST OF THE REPUBLICANS, DON'T. WE SPEND $2 TRILLION. THAT'S 16 PERCENT OF THE GROSS NATIONAL PRODUCT IN HEALTH CARE. NINETY PERCENT OF THAT MONEY IS SPENT TO GET YOU WELL AFTER YOU BECOME SICK. THAT'S A TERRIBLE WAY TO RUN A HEALTH CARE SYSTEM. AND ONLY 10 PERCENT IS PUT IN TO KEEP YOU WELL IN THE FIRST PLACE. LET'S PUT THE -- LET'S COMPLETELY TRANSFORM THAT AND PUT THE MONEY INTO KEEPING YOU WELL IN THE FIRST PLACE AND GO INTO PREVENTION. THE SECOND THING, YOU SPEND 75 PERCENT ON THE $2 TRILLION ON CHRONIC ILLNESSES. IF YOU REALLY WANT TO CHANGE IT, YOU'VE HAVE TO DO WHAT -- WHEN WILLIE SUTTON WAS ASKED WHY DO YOU ROB BANKS, IT'S WHERE THE MONEY IS. YOU'VE GOT TO FIX -- YOU'VE GOT TO FIX CHRONIC ILLNESSES: TOBACCO, DIABETES, CARDIOVASCULAR AND, OF COURSE, OBESITY. THE THIRD THING IS MANAGE DISEASES. TWENTY-FIVE PERCENT OF THE PEOPLE USE UP 65 PERCENT OF THE COST OF HEALTH CARE. YOU'VE GOT TO START MANAGING DISEASES, GET PEOPLE TO TAKE THEIR MEDS, BE ABLE TO CALL THAT STUFF IN. FOUR, YOU'VE GOT TO COVER THOSE INDIVIDUALS THAT ARE UNINSURED. FIFTH, YOU'VE GOT TO USE INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY, ELECTRONIC MEDICAL RECORD, AND E-PRESCRIBING. AND NUMBER SIX, YOU'VE GOT TO PUT A CAP ON PUNITIVE DAMAGES. YOU DO THIS AND YOU'RE GOING TO TRANSFORM HEALTH CARE IN AMERICA.

Glover: AND HOW DO YOU CONVINCE REPUBLICAN ACTIVISTS TO DO THAT? DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATES CAN TALK ABOUT UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE PRETTY EASILY AMONGST THE DEMOCRATIC ELECTORATE. REPUBLICANS HAVE A LOT MORE TROUBLE CONVINCING REPUBLICANS TO MOVE ON THAT HEALTH CARE. HOW DO CONVINCE THE PUBLIC?

Thompson: THAT'S WHY THE PEOPLE IN IOWA AND REPUBLICANS SHOULD ABSOLUTELY NOMINATE ME. I AM THE INDIVIDUAL THAT KNOWS HEALTH CARE BETTER THAN ANY DEMOCRAT, BETTER THAN ANY ONE OF THOSE DEMOCRAT CANDIDATES THAT WANT TO CALL ABOUT NATIONAL HEALTH CARE. IT'S SOCIALIZED MEDICINE. I'M THE ONE THAT CAN GO TOE TO TOE WITH HILLARY CLINTON, WITH OBAMA, WITH ANY OF THE OTHER CANDIDATES ON HEALTH CARE AND BE ABLE TO COME UP AND SHOW YOU THAT WE CAN USE THE FREE ENTERPRISE SYSTEM AND NOT STIFLE INNOVATION. AND THAT IS THE BIGGEST PROBLEM WITH SOCIALIZED MEDICINE.

Glover: WELL, GO TOE TO TOE WITH THE REPUBLICAN ACTIVIST WHO TALKS ABOUT GOVERNMENT-RUN HEALTH CARE.

Thompson: I WOULD TELL THOSE INDIVIDUALS, I CAN FIX HEALTH CARE AND MAKE IT AFFORDABLE AND ACCESSIBLE WITH THE AMOUNT OF DOLLARS WE HAVE RIGHT NOW. YOU'VE GOT TO REALLY UNDERSTAND HEALTH CARE IN ORDER TO DO IT. I DON'T KNOW ANY OTHER CANDIDATE OUT THERE THAT CAN TALK AND BE ABLE TO ARTICULATE THAT VISION BETTER THAN ME. THAT'S WHY IT IS SO IMPORTANT FOR PEOPLE IN IOWA TO UNDERSTAND THIS GUY KNOWS HEALTH CARE.

Borg: BUT THEN WHERE DO YOU GET THE MONEY TO PAY FOR IT? YOU'RE GOING TO KEEP PEOPLE WELL, AND WELLNESS IS A BIG PART OF IT. IT TAKES A LONG TIME TO PAY OFF, BUT YOU'RE ALSO GOING TO INCREASE ACCESSIBILITY. WHERE DO YOU GET THE MONEY?

Thompson: YOU GET THE MONEY OUT OF THE SYSTEM RIGHT NOW. RIGHT NOW -- I'LL GIVE YOU SOME -- I'LL GIVE YOU SOME FACTS AND I'LL TELL YOU HOW I WOULD DO IT. FIRST OFF, JUST BY KEEPING PEOPLE WELL, YOU'RE GOING TO SAVE BILLIONS OF DOLLARS, THE 25 PERCENT OF THE PEOPLE THAT USE TWO-THIRDS OF THE COST. IF YOU WOULD MANAGE THOSE INDIVIDUALS, YOU COULD REDUCE THAT DOWN TO 50 PERCENT. THAT WOULD SAVE APPROXIMATELY $15- TO $20 BILLION RIGHT THERE. THIRD, GO TO A PAPERLESS SYSTEM; $191 BILLION COULD BE SAVED. THAT'S 10 PERCENT OF THE HEALTH CARE SYSTEM. USING INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY. AND I ALSO -- IN ORDER TO FUND INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY, HERE'S HOW I WOULD DO IT. I WOULD TAKE THE MONEY OUT OF FRAUD AND ABUSE. WHEN WE STARTED FRAUD AND ABUSE IN THIS COUNTRY AND STARTED COLLECTING ON IT, IT STARTED OUT VERY LITTLE. THIS PAST YEAR WE COLLECTED OVER $2 BILLION. THIS YEAR WE'RE GOING TO COLLECT $2.5 BILLION. JUST THINK OF THE OPTICS. TAKE THE MONEY OUT OF FRAUD AND ABUSE, BAD DOCTORS, AND GIVE IT TO GOOD DOCTORS, BAD HOSPITALS, GOOD HOSPITALS, AND ASK FOR A ONE-TO-ONE MATCH. THAT'S IMMEDIATELY A $5-BILLION SWING IN ORDER TO BUY THE NECESSARY EQUIPMENT TO GET ELECTRONIC MEDICAL RECORDS, E-PRESCRIBING, AND YOU WOULD START CHANGING HEALTH CARE. THE MONEY IS IN THE SYSTEM TO DO IT IF YOU'RE SMART ENOUGH TO UNDERSTAND HOW YOU WOULD DO IT.

Yepsen: GOVERNOR --

Thompson: THAT'S WHERE I DIFFER FROM ALL THE OTHER CANDIDATES, AND THAT'S HOW I WOULD DO IT.

Yepsen: GOVERNOR, I --

Thompson: NOBODY KNOWS ABOUT THIS FRAUD AND ABUSE. I'VE TALKED ABOUT IT. AND YOU KNOW SOMETHING, I HAVEN'T FOUND ANYBODY, REPUBLICAN OR DEMOCRAT, THAT'S OPPOSED TO IT. THE ONLY PEOPLE THAT ARE AGAINST IT ARE OMB AND THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, WHO GETS THE MONEY NOW.

Yepsen: GOVERNOR, I HATE TO INTERRUPT YOU BUT WE'VE GOT A LOT OF OTHER ISSUES WE WANT TO TALK ABOUT TOO. SPEAKING OF DOLLARS, SOCIAL SECURITY AND MEDICARE, BOTH OF THEM ARE GOING TO BE FACING BIG DEFICITS, IN THE TRILLIONS. WHAT DO YOU DO ABOUT IT?

Thompson: WELL, FIRST OFF, SOCIAL SECURITY IS NOT AS SERIOUSLY AFFECTED AS MEDICARE. SOCIAL SECURITY DOESN'T START GOING BROKE UNTIL 2029. DOES NOT GO BROKE UNTIL 2040. YOU CAN FIX THAT WITH MAKING SOME ADJUSTMENTS. IT'S GOING TO REQUIRE SOME ATTENTION --

Yepsen: SUCH AS?

Thompson: SUCH AS MAKING A CHANGE ON THE RATE OF INFLATION, BEING ABLE TO TAKE A LOOK AT WHETHER OR NOT YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE TO REQUIRE SOME INDIVIDUALS TO INCREASE THE MONTH -- MAYBE AN EXTRA MONTH THAN WHAT IT IS RIGHT NOW. THAT SAVES BILLIONS OF DOLLARS. BUT THAT IS NOT THE PROBLEM. THE PROBLEM IS THAT MEDICARE STARTS GOING BROKE IN THE YEAR 2014. I'M THE ONLY SPEAKER IN AMERICA THAT'S TALKING ABOUT THAT. MEDICARE RIGHT NOW USES UP ABOUT 3 PERCENT OF THE GROSS NATIONAL PRODUCT. IN 75 YEARS IT GOES TO 15 PERCENT. SOCIAL SECURITY USES ABOUT 5 PERCENT OF THE GROSS NATIONAL PRODUCT, AND IN 75 YEARS IT GOES TO 7 PERCENT. AND THE UNFUNDED LIABILITIES --

Yepsen: GOVERNOR, I UNDERSTAND THAT. EXCUSE ME, I WANT TO KNOW WHAT YOU'RE GOING TO DO ABOUT THOSE PROBLEMS.

Thompson: WELL, I JUST TOLD YOU WHAT I'M GOING TO DO ON SOCIAL SECURITY. ON MEDICARE, I'M GOING TO SET UP A PROGRAM JUST LIKE WE DO ON BASE CLOSING, AND IN THE YEAR 2008 BRING IN THE BEST MINDS AND BE ABLE TO PUT TOGETHER THE NECESSARY WAYS IN WHICH WE'RE GOING TO BE ABLE TO CHANGE MEDICARE. I'LL GIVE YOU A COUPLE IDEAS. THE FIRST THING WE HAVE TO DO -- ONE-THIRD OF THE PEOPLE THAT ARE SENIORS THAT ARE GOING INTO MEDICARE THIS YEAR ARE DIABETES -- ARE DIABETICS, AND ONLY 50 PERCENT OF THOSE INDIVIDUAL SENIORS KNOW THEY'RE DIABETIC. IF YOU WOULD JUST REQUIRE THOSE INDIVIDUALS TO GET PHYSICALS AND START TREATING THOSE, CAN YOU IMAGINE THE BILLIONS OF DOLLARS YOU CAN SAVE? THE SECOND THING, 13 PERCENT OF THE SENIORS GO SEE A DOCTOR AND NEVER TAKE THEIR PRESCRIPTION TO A PHARMACIST. ANOTHER 14 PERCENT NEVER PICK UP THEIR PRESCRIPTION. AND 40 PERCENT OF THOSE INDIVIDUALS THAT GO INTO THE HOSPITAL THAT ARE SENIORS ARE THERE BECAUSE OF THE WRONG USE OF MEDICINE, THE NONUSE, OR THE MISUSE. AND IF YOU WOULD START BEING ABLE TO -- BE ABLE TO MONITOR THOSE DISEASES, DAVID, YOU COULD REALLY CHANGE THE -- THESE ARE THE KINDS OF THINGS THAT MEDICARE HAS GOT TO DO. YOU WILL NOT HEAR ANY OF THE OTHER CANDIDATES TALK ABOUT THESE THINGS EXCEPT ME.

Yepsen: ANOTHER ISSUE FACING THE COUNTRY IS IMMIGRATION.

Thompson: YES.

Yepsen: THE SENATE LAST WEEK SAID WE'RE NOT GOING TO DEAL WITH IT, SO IT'S THE NEXT PRESIDENT WHO IS GOING TO HAVE TO DEAL WITH IT. WHAT WOULD YOU DO ABOUT THE IMMIGRATION ISSUES FACING THIS COUNTRY?

Thompson: THE FIRST THING YOU HAVE TO DO ON IMMIGRATION, DAVID, IS YOU REALLY HAVE GOT TO CONTROL THE BORDER. EVERYBODY HAS BEEN ASKING FOR THAT. IN 1986 WHEN THE LAST IMMIGRATION LAW WAS PASSED, PEOPLE SAID WE'RE GOING TO CONTROL THE BORDER. WE PASSED A LAW LAST YEAR IN WHICH THERE WAS GOING TO BE A BARRIER BUILT. THE BARRIER STILL HASN'T BEEN BUILT. YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE TO CONTROL THE ACCESS OF THAT BORDER, AND THAT'S THE FIRST THING. THE SECOND THING YOU'VE GOT TO DO IS MAKE SURE THAT YOU HAVE A TAMPER-PROOF ID CARD. THOSE INDIVIDUALS COMING INTO THIS COUNTRY LEGALLY HAVE GOT TO BE ISSUED THAT TAMPER-PROOF ID CARD. WHEN AN EMPLOYER HIRES SOMEBODY THAT DOESN'T HAVE THAT TAMPER-PROOF ID CARD, THEY'VE GOT TO BE PENALIZED. THE THIRD THING, YOU'RE GOING TO COME IN AND YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE TO MAKE SURE --

Glover: GOVERNOR, I'M GOING TO HAVE TO START CUTTING YOU OFF HERE BECAUSE WE'RE RUNNING OUT OF TIME.

Thompson: YES.

Glover: THIS WEEKEND IS THE DEADLINE FOR THE SECOND-QUARTER FUND-RAISING. WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO REPORT FOR MONEY IN THE SECOND QUARTER, AND HOW DO YOU STAY COMPETITIVE WITH PEOPLE WHO ARE PROBABLY GOING TO REPORT A LOT MORE?

Thompson: I'M GOING TO STAY COMPETITIVE JUST BY TALKING ABOUT MY IDEAS. I'M GOING TO TRY TO STAY COMPETITIVE BY BEING ON A BUS TRIP THROUGHOUT IOWA --

Glover: BUT HOW MUCH MONEY ARE YOU GOING TO REPORT?

Thompson: -- ALL THE MONTH OF JULY. I'M GOING TO HAVE CLOSE TO A MILLION DOLLARS THAT I'VE RAISED SINCE THE FIRST OF THE YEAR.

Yepsen: GOVERNOR, WHAT DO YOU THINK THE PROSPECTS ARE FOR REPUBLICANS IN 2008? HAD A BAD YEAR IN 2006. I DON'T NEED TO TELL YOU THERE ARE A LOT OF PEOPLE IN YOUR PARTY -- WELL, YOU'RE SEEING THEM. I MEAN THEY'RE KINDA DOWN ABOUT THINGS. WHAT DO YOU SEE THE PROSPECTS? WHAT DO YOU DO TO PUMP UP REPUBLICANS?

Thompson: THE REPUBLICANS HAVE GOT TO GET BACK AND EARN THE TRUST OF THE VOTER AGAIN. WE LOST OUR WAY WHEN WE WENT TO WASHINGTON. WE DIDN'T COME UP WITH NEW IDEAS. NOBODY IS COMING UP WITH IDEAS LIKE HEALTH CARE LIKE I'M TALKING ABOUT. NOBODY IS COMING UP WITH MEDICAL DIPLOMACY. NOBODY IS COMING UP WITH AN IDEA ON HOW YOU REALLY WIN THE PEACE IN IRAQ EXCEPT ME. YOU'VE GOT TO BE A REPUBLICAN THAT'S GOING TO COME UP AND ARTICULATE A VISION, A VISION OF THAT SHINY HILL THAT RONALD REAGAN TALKED ABOUT. BE ABLE TO MAKE SURE THAT YOU'RE GOING TO BE ABLE TO SHOW THE VOTERS THAT YOU HAVE THE IDEAS AND THE WAYS TO DO THAT. YOU'VE GOT TO BE ABLE TO CONTROL SPENDING, AND THAT IS SO IMPORTANT FOR THE REPUBLICAN BASE. AND YOU HAVE TO BE ABLE TO CARRY IOWA, MINNESOTA, AND WISCONSIN. AND I AM THE STRONGEST CANDIDATE TO CARRY THAT, BECAUSE I DON'T BELIEVE WE'RE GOING TO CARRY OHIO. AND I ONLY BELIEVE THAT THE REPUBLICANS CAN WIN THE PRESIDENCY NEXT YEAR BY CARRYING THE UPPER MIDWEST, AND THOSE THREE STATES ARE SO KEY TO THAT VICTORY.

Glover: DEAN MENTIONED EARLIER THAT THIS WEEKEND IS A PRETTY BIG WEEKEND FOR REPUBLICANS IN IOWA. A COUPLE OF PRETTY BIG INTEREST GROUPS ARE HAVING A FORUM THAT YOU'RE GOING TO BE SPEAKING AT. TWO BIG RIVALS, MR. GIULIANI AND MR. MCCAIN, HAVE DECIDED TO SKIP THAT. CAN THEY ARGUE WITH A STRAIGHT FACE THAT THEY'RE COMPETING IN IOWA WHEN THEY'RE NOT ONLY SKIPPING THE STRAW POLL BUT THEY'RE SKIPPING THIS FORUM THIS WEEKEND?

Thompson: I THINK THAT THAT -- I THINK THAT THAT IS A CONCLUSION THAT YOU'VE DRAWN. I THINK MOST IOWANS HAVE DRAWN THAT CONCLUSION. I THINK THEY DROPPED OUT OF IOWA JUST BECAUSE THEY DIDN'T THINK THEY COULD WIN THE STRAW POLL, AND I THINK THEY WERE VERY FEARFUL ABOUT LOSING.

Yepsen: GOVERNOR, WHAT --

Thompson: I THINK I DROPPED MY --

Yepsen: OH, YOU DROPPED YOUR --

Thompson: KEEP GOING. I WANT TO KEEP ANSWERING YOUR QUESTIONS.

Borg: LET ME GET THIS FOR YOU HERE.

Yepsen: MY QUESTION --

Thompson: I GET SOMEWHAT EXCITED ABOUT MY POSITIONS.

Yepsen: WE'LL GET -- WE'LL GET THIS FIXED.

Thompson: THANK YOU, DEAN.

Yepsen: GOVERNOR, WHAT ABOUT --

Thompson: WAS THIS A DEMOCRAT MICROPHONE? IS THIS WHY -- YOU WANT TO MAKE SURE YOU WANT TO EMBARRASS ME? IS THIS --

Yepsen: I WANT TO ASK ABOUT CONSERVATIVES SPLITTING UP THE VOTE IN YOUR PARTY.

Thompson: YES.

Yepsen: THERE ARE A NUMBER OF YOU CANDIDATES WHO ARE FAIRLY CONSERVATIVE. WOULD THAT ENABLE A MODERATE LIKE GIULIANI TO STILL DO WELL IN THE IOWA CAUCUSES?

Thompson: THAT'S --

Yepsen: WELL, IT HAPPENED IN 1980 WHEN GEORGE BUSH -- THE FIRST GEORGE BUSH BEAT RONALD REAGAN AND OTHER CONSERVATIVES THAT YEAR. THEY SPLIT UP THE VOTE. AND MY QUESTION IS AS A GOOD CONSERVATIVE, ARE YOU CONCERNED AT ALL THAT YOU AND FRED THOMPSON AND MITT ROMNEY ARE SPLITTING UP THAT CONSERVATIVE END OF THE PARTY, THAT RUDY GIULIANI CAN STILL WIN IN IOWA.

Thompson: IT'S ENTIRELY POSSIBLE, DAVID, BUT I REALLY SINCERELY BELIEVE THAT THE AMERICAN VOTERS, AND ESPECIALLY THE REPUBLICAN BASE, WANTS A CONSERVATIVE, SOMEBODY FOLLOWING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF RONALD REAGAN, SOMEBODY THAT'S GOING TO ARTICULATE A VISION THAT'S CORRECTING THE PROBLEMS IN AMERICA, SOLVING THE PROBLEMS. YOU KNOW, I HEAR IT ALL OVER: GET SOMETHING DONE; FIND A SOLUTION AND WORK IT OUT. I HAVE BEEN ABLE TO WORK WITH THE DEMOCRATS. I WAS ABLE TO REACH ACROSS THE AISLE AND GET WELFARE REFORM PASSED IN A LEGISLATURE THAT WAS CONTROLLED BY BOTH HOUSES BY DEMOCRATS, AND I THINK THOSE ARE THE KIND OF RESULTS THAT THE VOTER IN IOWA WANTS. I REALLY SINCERELY BELIEVE THAT THE CONSERVATIVE BASE IS LOOKING FOR SOMEBODY THAT CAN SHOW RESULTS AND HAS IDEAS AND WILL BE A CONSERVATIVE ON FISCAL MATTERS.

Yepsen: A LOT OF REPUBLICANS I TALK TO ARE LOOKING FOR SOMEBODY WHO IS ELECTABLE, WHO CAN WIN. WHY ARE YOU THE REPUBLICAN WHO IS MOST ABLE TO WIN THE WHITE HOUSE IN 2008?

Thompson: WHO IS ABLE TO WIN IN A DEMOCRAT STATE? MITT ROMNEY AND THOMPSON. WHO WAS ABLE TO CONTINUE TO WIN? MYSELF, FOUR CONSECUTIVE TIMES AS GOVERNOR IN THE STATE OF WISCONSIN. WHO IS GOING TO BE ABLE TO WIN IOWA, MINNESOTA, AND WISCONSIN AGAINST A DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE NAMED HILLARY CLINTON? I BELIEVE I CAN. WHO IS GOING TO BE ABLE TO COME UP AND ARTICULATE A WAY TO TRANSFORM HEALTH CARE? I AM. WHO CAN COME UP WITH A PLAN TO REALLY WIN THE PEACE IN IRAQ? I AM. AND I THINK THAT SEPARATES ME FROM THE OTHER CANDIDATES. IT'S GOING TO GIVE ME, YOU KNOW, THE CHANCE TO REALLY ARTICULATE A VISION FOR AMERICA.

Glover: YOU KNOW SOMETHING ABOUT REPUBLICAN POLITICS.

Thompson: YES, I DO.

Glover: DOES THE REPUBLICAN PARTY AS IT'S CURRENTLY CONSTITUTED, CAN IT NOMINATE A PRO-CHOICE CANDIDATE?

Thompson: I DON'T THINK SO.

Glover: SO THAT MEANS THAT RUDY GIULIANI CAN'T WIN --

Thompson: I THINK IT WOULD BE VERY DIFFICULT. I'M NOT SAYING CAN'T. I SHOULDN'T SAY CAN'T. I THINK -- I THINK IT WOULD BE DIFFICULT FOR A PRO-CHOICE CANDIDATE AS A REPUBLICAN TO GET THE NOMINATION AT THE NATIONAL CONVENTION. IT DOESN'T MEAN THAT IT'S ABSOLUTELY IMPOSSIBLE, BUT I THINK IT'S DOUBTFUL.

Borg: WE'RE OUT OF TIME, GOVERNOR.

Thompson: ALREADY! I'M SORRY. THIS HAS BEEN GREAT.

Borg: THANKS SO MUCH FOR COMING TO IOWA AND TO 'IOWA PRESS.'

Thompson: THANK YOU VERY MUCH, DEAN. IT'S BEEN A PLEASURE. >>

Borg: ON OUR NEXT EDITION OF 'IOWA PRESS,' WE'LL BE TALKING WITH IOWA'S FIFTH DISTRICT REPUBLICAN CONGRESSMAN, STEVE KING. REPRESENTATIVE KING WAS OUT FRONT CRITICIZING THE IMMIGRATION REFORM COMPROMISE LEGISLATION THAT FELL APART THIS PAST WEEK IN THE SENATE. REGULAR 'IOWA PRESS' AIRTIMES: 7:30 FRIDAY NIGHT; 11:30 SUNDAY MORNING. I'M DEAN BORG. FOR EVERYONE AROUND THIS TABLE, 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: campaign 2008 governors Iowa politics presidential candidates Republicans