Iowa Public Television

 

Reporters' Roundtable

posted on September 28, 2007

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Borg: ADDRESSING AFRICAN-AMERICAN VOTERS, IOWA POLITICAL JOURNALISTS COMMENT, NOW, ON TONIGHT'S REPUBLICAN JOINT APPEARANCE ON THIS SPECIAL EDITION OF 'IOWA PRESS.'

FUNDING FOR IOWA PRESS WAS PROVIDED BY FRIENDS, THE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION FOUNDATION; AND BY THE IOWA BANKERS ASSOCIATION. FOR PERSONAL, BUSINESS, AND COMMERCIAL NEEDS, IOWA BANKS HELP IOWANS REACH THEIR FINANCIAL GOALS.

ON STATEWIDE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION, THIS IS THE THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 27 EDITION OF 'IOWA PRESS.' HERE IS DEAN BORG.

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Borg: WELL, IN POLITICAL CAMPAIGNING THREE MONTHS AGO, THURSDAY, JUNE 28, WAS LIGHT YEARS IN THE PAST, BUT THAT'S WHEN DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CONTENDERS APPEARED AT HOWARD UNIVERSITY IN THE FIRST ALL-AMERICAN PRESIDENTIAL FORUM ORGANIZED BY PBS AND HOSTED BY TAVIS SMILEY. TONIGHT YOU'VE JUST SEEN THE REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES TAKING THEIR TURN DEALING WITH ISSUES IMPORTANT TO A VERY IMPORTANT VOTER CONSTITUENCY. AND AS WE DID LAST JUNE, IOWA POLITICAL REPORTERS ARE HERE TO POST-SCRIPT THIS EVENING’S PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE FORUM. IOWA PUBLIC RADIO'S JENEANE BECK, RADIO IOWA NEWS DIRECTOR KAY HENDERSON, ASSOCIATED PRESS POLITICAL WRITER MIKE GLOVER, AND LEE NEWPAPERS POLITICAL REPORTER CHARLOTTE EBY. KAY, I'M GOING TO START WITH YOU AND JUST SAY, YOU KNOW, THERE WAS CONSIDERABLE TIME SPENT AT THE VERY OUTSET, AND THEN WE SAW THOSE EMPTY PODIUMS ALL THROUGHOUT THE PROGRAM ALL HIGHLIGHTING THE FACT THAT THERE WERE FOUR PEOPLE WHO DIDN'T SHOW UP FOR TONIGHT'S FORUM. WAS THAT MORE IMPORTANT THAN ANYTHING ELSE THAT WAS SAID, IN YOUR ESTIMATION? >>

Henderson: IT WAS FOR A COUPLE OF REASONS. ONE, ALL OF THE STORIES WHICH WILL WRITTEN FOR THIS WHICH BE CONSUMED BY AMERICANS TOMORROW WHEN THEY GET UP, THOSE WHO DIDN'T WATCH THE DEBATE TONIGHT, WILL BE ABOUT THE PEOPLE WHO WEREN'T THERE. SECONDLY, THERE'S BEEN A BIT OF A FUROR WITHIN THE GOP ABOUT THIS. PEOPLE SUCH AS NEWT GINGRICH, JC WATTS, PEOPLE HAVE BEEN UP AND IN ARMS ABOUT THE FACT THAT THESE PEOPLE DIDN'T ACCEPT THE INVITATION, AND IT JUST SORT OF PERPETUATES THAT IDEA AMONG BLACK VOTERS THAT THE REPUBLICAN PARTY DOESN'T KOWTOW TO THEM. BUT ALSO THESE PEOPLE WERE PROBABLY ON THE PHONE RAISING MONEY TONIGHT. >>

Glover: THE MORE IMPORTANT POINT – I AGREE WITH WHAT KAY IS SAING, BUT THE MORE IMPORTANT POINT IS THE FOUR CANDIDATES WHO CHOSE NOT TO BE THERE FOR THIS DEBATE TONIGHT WERE THE FOUR LEADING CANDIDATES FOR THE REPUBLICAN NOMINATION. MORE THAN LIKELY, ONE OF THOSE FOUR WILL BE THE REPUBLICAN NOMINEE FOR PRESIDENT, AND IT'S NO, I THINK, SLIGHT TO THE PEOPLE WHO APPEARED AT THIS DEBATE TO SAY YOU DIDN'T WATCH THE NEXT PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES TONIGHT. >>

Borg: CHARLOTTE, THAT BEGS THE QUESTION WAS ANYTHING ELSE REALLY IMPORTANT IN WHAT WAS SAID TONIGHT? >>

Eby: WELL, THERE WAS A POINTED QUESTION FROM ONE OF THE AUDIENCE MEMBERS ABOUT THE REPUBLICAN PARTY AND THEIR LEGACY OF WHETHER THEY DID THINGS FOR BLACK AMERICANS AND, YOU KNOW, THAT WAS A TOUGH QUESTION. >>

Borg: I THINK THE QUESTION SPECIFICALLY -- AND IT'S WORTH TALKING ABOUT; THE QUESTION WAS SINCE ABE LINCOLN WE'VE HAD MORE REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTS THAN WE HAVE DEMOCRATS, THE QUESTIONER SAID, AND SAID SOMETHING LIKE IT'S A GIVEN THAT MOST BLACK PEOPLE COULDN'T REMEMBER ANYTHING THAT THE REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTS HAD DONE FOR THE BLACK COMMUNITY. AND THEN PICK IT UP FROM THERE. >>

Eby: THAT'S WHEN MIKE HUCKABEE HIT THE HOME RUN OF THE NIGHT BY REMINDING FOLKS THAT IT WAS DWIGHT EISENHOWER THAT DESEGREGATED SCHOOLS AND LEFT THAT AS HIS LEGACY. SO I THINK HE REALLY HANDLED THAT WELL TONIGHT. >>

Glover: IT WAS THE BEST ANSWER OF THE DEBATE AND, YOU'RE RIGHT, HE DID HIT A HOME RUN WITH THAT. BUT I THINK WE HAVE TO LOOK AT THE DYNAMIC THAT WENT INTO THE THINKING OF THE FOUR CANDIDATES WHO DIDN'T SHOW UP, WHO CHOSE NOT TO SHOW UP. KAY HAD A GOOD POINT; THEY PROBABLY BETTER SPENT THEIR TIME RAISING MONEY. LET'S LOOK AT THE POLITICAL REALITY OF IT. BLACK AMERICANS VOTE IN OVERWHELMING NUMBERS FOR DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATES. WHOEVER THE DEMOCRATIC NOMINEE IS IN 2008 WILL GET AN OVERWHELMING MAJORITY OF THE BLACK VOTE. THE KEY QUESTION IS HOW BIG WILL THAT TURNOUT BE, AND HOW BIG WILL THAT MARGIN BE. WHAT THIS DID TONIGHT WAS IT GAVE DEMOCRATS A REALLY NICE OPPORTUNITY TO GO TO THE BLACK COMMUNITY AND TO SAY REPUBLICANS JUST DON'T CARE ABOUT YOU. YOU NEED TO RETURN HOME. >>

Borg: IN ANY WAY -- AND I DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU'RE GOING TO SAY, BUT I'M GOING TO PREEMPT WHATEVER IT WAS, JENEANE. IN ANY WAY WILL THE BLACK COMMUNITY AND PARTICULARLY THOSE WHO CHOSE TO HIGHLIGHT THE FACT THAT THERE WERE FOUR NO-SHOWS PAY A PRICE? >>

Beck: WILL THE BLACK COMMUNITY PAY A PRICE FOR PUTTING THEM ON THE SPOT IN THAT WAY? >>

Borg: THAT'S WHAT I'M SAYING. DOES IT DRAW THE CHASM EVEN GREATER BETWEEN THE BLACK COMMUNITY AND THE REST OF THE ELECTORATE BY SAYING YOU CHOSE TO EMBARRASS, OR DID THE CANDIDATES EMBARRASS THEMSELVES? >>

Beck: YEAH, I DON'T THINK IT HURTS THE BLACK COMMUNITY IN ANY WAY. THEY WANTED TO DRAW THAT DISTINCTION AND I THINK -- I'M NOT SURE IT HURTS THE CANDIDATES IN ANY WAY EITHER. I DO THINK THAT TWO CANDIDATES HELPED THEMSELVES TONIGHT. I THINK BOTH MIKE HUCKABEE AND SAM BROWNBACK HELPED THEMSELVES. KAY IS RIGHT IN WHAT MOST PEOPLE ARE GOING TO SEE THAT DIDN’T WANT THE DEBATE IS THE COVERAGE TOMORROW MORNING, AND THE COVERAGE IN NEWSPAPER WILL BE ABOUT THE FOUR THAT DIDN'T SHOW, BUT THERE WILL BE TWO QUOTES IN THERE, DEAN. ONE FROM MIKE HUCKABEE WHO SAID HE WAS EMBARRASSED THAT HIS FELLOW REPUBLICANS DIDN’T ATTEND, AND ONE FROM SAM BROWNBACK WHO SAID IT WAS A DISGRACE THAT THEY DIDN'T ATTEND. SO THEY GUARANTEED THEMSELVES SOME COVERAGE ALONG WITH THOSE FOUR LEADERS IN THE NEWSPAPER TOMORROW. >>

Borg: SAM BROWNBACK WENT ON TO SAY, THEN, AFTER HE SAID -- DID HE SAY EMBARRASSED? >>

Beck: HE SAID IT WAS A DISGRACE AND HE APOLOGIZED FOR THEM. >>

Borg: THAT'S RIGHT. HE SAID WE NEED TO BROADEN THE BASE. THAT'S WHAT I'M ASKING YOU NOW, KAY, ABOUT BROADENING THE BASE. THERE WASN'T ANY BROADENING OF THE BASE TONIGHT BY THE REPUBLICANS, WAS THERE? >>

Henderson: ON SOME ISSUES THERE WERE. I THINK YOU SAW IN CANDIDATE MIKE HUCKABEE A CANDIDATE WHO SORT OF DISTINGUISHED HIMSELF AS, AGAIN, BEING IN SORT OF IN A MIDDLE TIER ALL BY HIMSELF. YOU HAVE THE FOUR CANDIDATES, YOU HAVE MIKE HUCKABEE, AND THEN YOU HAVE THE OTHER PEOPLE THAT WERE ON THE STAGE TONIGHT. HUCKABEE HIT ALMOST EVERY QUESTION HE WAS ASKED OUT OF THE BALLPARK. THE QUESTION IN WHICH HE TALKED ABOUT THE LITTLE ROCK NINE IN WHICH HE SAID THAT A REPUBLICAN PRESIDENT OPENED THE DOORS OF A SCHOOL IN MY HOMETOWN. HE HIT THE BALL OUT OF THE PARK WHEN HE WAS TALKING ABOUT CRIMINAL JUSTICE ISSUES AND SPOKE TO SOMETHING THAT’S REALLY IMPORTANT TO THE AFRICAN-AMERICAN CUMMUNITY, THE FACT THAT THERE ARE A DISPROPORTIONATE SHARE OF BLACK MEN AFRICAN-AMERICANS IN AMERICAN PRISONS COMPARED TO THEIR WHITE COLLEAGUES, AND TALKING ABOUT COCAINE AND CRACK AND THE DIFFERENT SENTENCES THAT ARE WIELDED AGAINST PEOPLE CONVICTED OF POSSESSING THOSE TWO DRUGS. AND SO I THINK IF YOU WENT THROUGH THAT DEBATE AND SAW EVERY ANSWER THAT MIKE HUCKABEE GAVE, YOU COULD COMPARE IT WITH THE OTHERS AND SAY HE ANSWERED IT IN A WAY THAT RELATED TO THAT AUDIENCE, PERHAPS BECAUSE HE'S A SOUTHERN STATE GOVERNOR. >>

Glover: I KEEP COMING BACK TO THE SAME POINT; I DON'T THINK IT MATTERS. I THINK MIKE HUCKABEE HAD SOME NICE ANSWERS. I THINK SAM BROWNBACK HAD A COUPLE OF NICE LINES. I THING SOME OF THE OTHERS HAD SOME NICE LINES. AT THE END OF THE DAY, IT DOESN'T REALLY MATTER BECAUSE NOTHING THAT WAS SAID ON THAT STAGE WILL HAVE ANY IMPACT ON THE REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL RACE. THE REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL RACE WILL BE SETTLED AMONG THE FOUR CANDIDATES WHO WEREN'T THERE. >>

Borg: AND THAT WAS JOHN McCAIN, MITT ROMNEY, RUDY GIULIANI, AND FRED THOMPSON. YOU DON'T THINK, MIKE, THAT THEY'RE SITTING HOME NOW TONIGHT AFTER WATCHING WHAT WAS ON THE AIR AND SAYING, OH, SHOULD HAVE, COULD HAVE, WOULD HAVE? >>NO. NO, BECAUSE THEY WERE WALKING INTO WHAT THEY KNEW WAS GOING TO BE A HOSTILE ENVIRONMENT WITH A HUGE NUMBER OF CANDIDATES WHERE THEY WOULD NOT HAVE HAD A CHANCE TO MAKE THEIR CASE. THERE WOULD HAVE BEEN SO MANY PEOPLE ON THE STAGE THAT NOBODY WOULD HAVE GOTTEN ANY TIME. I THINK IF THEY SPENT TIME TONIGHT SITTING AT HOME AND RAISING MONEY, I THINK THEY PROBABLY DID THEMSELVES EVEN MORE GOOD. >>

Beck: I WANT TO – >>

Borg: GO AHEAD. >>

Beck: I WAS JUST GOING TO SAY I AGREE AND DISAGREE WITH MIKE. IN ONE WAY, I DO AGREE THAT THEY AREN'T REGRETTING THEIR DECISION IN ANY WAY. THEY MADE THAT DECISION, AND I DON'T THINK THEY'RE GOING TO REGRET IT OR LOOK BACK AT THAT. BUT I'M NOT ENTIRELY SURE THAT IT IS SO SOLID THAT THOSE ARE THE FOUR THAT ARE GOING TO MOVE FORWARD AND THAT THE ONES THAT WERE ON THAT STAGE ARE LEFT BEHIND. I THINK IT'S CLEAR THAT MOST THAT WERE ON THAT STAGE AREN'T GOING ANYWHERE. BUT ONE THING, HAVING SPENT PART OF THE SUMMER ON MATERNITY LEAVE, THAT I DISCOVERED IS THE REST OF THE WORLD DOESN'T FOLLOW THIS THE WAY WE DO. I DISCOVERED THAT THERE'S A WHOLE BUNCH OF PEOPLE THAT WEREN'T PAYING ATTENTION TO THIS OVER THE SUMMER. SO I’M NOT SURE HOW SOLIDIFIED THIS RACE REALLY IS, AND I THINK A LOT OF THE REPUBLICANS DON'T KNOW WHO THEY WANT YET. AND FRED THOMPSON HAS NOT MADE THE SPLASH HE EXPECTED, SO I DON’T THINK IT’S A DONE DEAL. >>

Glover: I THINK IT IS A DONE DEAL. I DISAGREE WITH THAT BECAUSE I THINK IT'S GOING TO GET SETTLED BEFORE AMERICA TUNES IN. I THINK WE’RE GOING TO HAVE A NOMINEE BEFORE FEBRUARY 5 OF 2008, BEFORE -- AND MOST PEOPLE, BY THE TIME YOU GET THROUGH IOWA, NEW HAMPSHIRE, SOUTH CAROLINA, AND A COUPLE OF EARLY STATES, YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE NOMINEES IN BOTH PARTIES, AND THAT WILL BE BEFORE AMERICA BEGINS TO TUNE IN. AMERICA IS GOING TO BE PRESENTED WITH REPUBLICAN AND DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES THEY LARGELY DON'T KNOW. >>

Borg: DO THOSE FOUR, THEN, AND YOU ARE SAYING AMONG THE FOUR WHO DIDN'T SHOW UP TONIGHT, MIKE, WE ARE GOING TO HAVE A REPUBLICAN NOMINEE; ISN'T THAT WHAT YOU'RE SAYING? >>

Glover: YEAH. >>

Borg: ANY ONE OF THOSE FOUR, CHARLOTTE. AND THEN I'LL OPEN TO ANY OF YOU, MIKE TOO. CHARLOTTE, DID ANY OF THOSE FOUR PAY A HEAVIER PRICE TONIGHT, IF A PRICE AT ALL, THAN THE OTHER THREE? >>

Eby: I'M NOT SURE. I THINK THEY WERE FACING MORE POTENTIAL PITFALLS WALKING INTO THAT DEBATE THAN THEY WERE BY STAYING HOME. >>

Glover: I THINK YOU HAVE TO LOOK AT WHERE THE RACE WAS BEFORE TONIGHT. WHERE THE RACE WAS BEFORE TONIGHT, IN MY VIEW, IS THAT THERE WERE FOUR CANDIDATES, ONE OF WHOM WILL BE THE REPUBLICAN NOMINEE. AFTER THE DEBATE THERE ARE FOUR CANDIDATES, NONE OF WHOM WERE THERE, ONE WILL BE THE REPUBLICAN NOMINEE. >>

Borg: AND TO ANSWER MY QUESTION, NONE ARE PAYING A HEAVIER PRICE THAN ANY OF THE OTHER THREE? >>

Glover: NO. NO, I THINK THEY ALL ARE IN ROUGHLY THE SAME POSITION. THEY KNOW THEY'RE IN THE TOP TIER. THEY KNOW THEY’VE GOT MORE MONEY. THEY KNOW ATOP THE POLLS. THEY'VE GOT THE BETTER ORGANIZATIONS. I DON'T THINK ANY ONE OF THEM PAID A SUBSTANTIALLY DIFFERENT PRICE THAN THE OTHERS. >>

Borg: I’M GOING TO ASK YOU THEN, JENEANE, WHAT'S THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THIS NATIONALLY-TELEVISED DEBATE TO THE ENTIRE SPECTRUM OF THE ELECTORATE? >>

Beck: WELL, WE WERE JUST DISCUSSING BEFORE WE WENT ON THE AIR OF WHAT OTHER SHOWS THAT THIS WAS UP AGAINST, AND FRANKLY – APPARENTLY, YOU KNOW, THURSDAY IS A PRETTY POPULAR LINEUP ON THE NETWORK TELEVISION. SO THE REAL ISSUE IS HOW MANY PEOPLE SAW IT, HOW MANY PEOPLE THAT ARE GOING TO VOTE AS A REPUBLICAN SAW IT. THOSE THAT MIGHT HAVE DECIDED TO WATCH IT MIGHT HAVE BEEN LARGELY AFRICAN-AMERICANS WHO ARE DEMOCRATS IN MANY CASES. OR IF REPUBLICANS WATCHED IT, WERE THEY JUST WATCHING IT OUT OF INTEREST BUT NOT OUT OF CHOOSING? IF THEY DON'T THINK ANY OF THOSE PEOPLE CAN WIN THE WHITE HOUSE, THEN THEY'RE JUST WATCHING IT TO WATCH IT, BUT THEY DON’T – THEY’RE NOT TO SELECT THEIR NEXT CANDIDATE. SO I'M NOT SURE HOW MUCH IMPACT IT HAD. >>

Borg: KAY, I THINK IT WAS ALAN KEYES WHO SAID, “WELL, AT LEAST I WAS INVITED TO THIS DEBATE. I’VE BEEN INVITED TO ONE OTHER ONE, AND NOW I’M INVITED TO THIS ONE.” SO HE WAS REALLY SAYING, “IT GIVES ME SOME EXPOSURE.” >>

Henderson: MM-HMM. YEAH, HE JUST JUMPED IN THE RACE. THERE ARE A LOT OF THINGS THAT HAVE HAPPENED TODAY IN THE POLITICAL WORLD, ONE OF WHICH 'THE WASHINGTON POST' IS REPORTING THAT JOHN EDWARDS IS GOING TO CHOOSE TO TAKE FEDERAL FUNDING FOR HIS CAMPAIGN. SO, I MEAN, IF WE LOOK BACK 18 MONTHS FROM NOW AFTER THE ELECTION IS OVER AND WE LOOK AT THIS DATE ON THE CALENDAR, THERE ARE, PERHAPS, OTHER EVENTS THAT OCCURRED ON THIS DATE IN SEPTEMBER THAT WERE MORE A DETERMINING FACTOR IN THE OUTCOME OF THE NOMINATIONS FOR EITHER THE REPUBLICANS OR DEMOCRATS. >>

Borg: MIKE, I'LL ALLOW YOU TO MAKE A CASE FOR A COMMENT YOU MADE A WEEK AGO ON 'IOWA PRESS,' AND I THINK IT WAS IN THE REPORTERS ROUNDTABLE – >>

Glover: I CAN’T EVEN REMEMBER -- [ LAUGHTER ] >>

Borg: -- ABOUT OBAMA PASSING UP A DEBATE. AND YOU SAID HE MADE A MISTAKE. >>

Glover: YES. >>

Borg: BUT YOU'RE NOT SAYING THE FOUR REPUBLICANS MADE A MISTAKE. >>

Glover: IT A COMPLETELY – >>

Borg: WHAT’S THE DISTINCTION? >>

Glover: IT'S A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT DYNAMIC. IF YOU LOOK AT THE DEBATE THAT BARACK OBAMA SKIPPED, IT INCLUDED EVERY ONE OF THE MAJOR DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATES AND IT GOT A TON OF ATTENTION AND HE DIDN'T GET TO BE A PART OF THAT SPLASH. THIS WAS A DEBATE THAT FEATURED THE DOWN-THE-BALLOT CANDIDATES. A) IT WON'T GET THAT MUCH ATTENTION. IT’S NOT GOING TO BE ON THE FRONT PAGES OF A LOT OF NEWSPAPERS. IT'S NOT GOING TO LEAD MANY NEWSCASTS. IT'S A SECOND-TIER DEBATE. THE DEMOCRATIC DEBATE THAT OBAMA SKIPPED WAS A FIRST-TIER DEBATE WHERE HE HAD AN OPPORTUNITY TO STAND ON THE STAGE WITH SOMEONE WHO'S LIKELY TO BE THE DEMOCRATIC NOMINEE. SO IT’S A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT DYNAMIC. HE SKIPPED A DEBATE THAT WAS A BIG-TIME, BIG-LEAGUE DEBATE. >>

Henderson: THAT AARP DEBATE ALSO OCCURRED IN IOWA, ONE OF THE EARLY STATES WHERE HE COULD REACH VOTERS. AND WHILE JENEANE NOTICED THAT PEOPLE WEREN'T PAYING ATTENTION IN GENERAL, THERE ARE A SOLID GROUP OF CAUCUS GOERS WHO ARE PAYING ATTENTION, PARTICULARLY MEMBERS OF THE AARP, AND IN IOWA. AND SO THERE WAS AN AUDIENCE THERE THAT HE MISSED SPEAKING DIRECTLY TO. AND THEN THE NEXT DAY, AGAIN, YOU TURN ON YOUR RADIO, YOU TURN ON YOUR TELEVISION, YOU PICK UP YOUR NEWSPAPER, AND THERE'S A STORY IN IOWA MEDIA ABOUT THAT DEBATE. AND SO HE MISSED THAT OPPORTUNITY. >>

Glover: I DID A LITTLE CHECKING. IN 2000, 63 PERCENT OF THE DEMOCRATS WHO SHOWED UP AT THE IOWA CAUCUSES WERE OVER THE AGE OF FIFTY. IN 2004, 64 PERCENT OF THE PEOPLE WHO SHOWED UP FOR THE IOWA CAUCUSES WERE OVER THE AGE OF FIFTER, THE AGE AT WHICH YOU CAN BELONG TO AARP. THAT IS POSSIBLY THE MOST IMPORTANT CONSTITUENCY IN BOTH DEMOCRATIC AND REPUBLICAN CAUCUSES POLITICS, AND FOR A CANDIDATE TO SKIP THAT IS ILL ADVISED AT BEST. >>

Eby: AND THAT'S ONE OF SEVERAL EVENTS IN IOWA THAT HE SKIPPED. HIS CAMPAIGN MADE A STRATEGIC DECISION NOT TO GO TO SOME OF THESE MULTICANDIDATE CATTLE CALLS THAT WE CALL THEM, AND I THINK IT'S REALLY HURT HIM. I MEAN, IF HILLARY CLINTON AND JOHN EDWARDS CAN MANAGE TO SHOW UP FOR ALL OF THESE THINGS, YOU KNOW, PEOPLE ARE GOING TO WONDER WHY HE'S NOT THERE. >>

Beck: AND I WAS STRUCK BY JUST THE CONTRAST WHEN HE WAS ON THE CAMPUS OF IOWA STATE THE NEXT DAY SPEAKING TO A BUNCH OF STUDENTS, AND IT WAS ONE OF THE BEST EVENTS I'D SEEN HIM BE IN. A LOT OF TIMES HE'S GOT SUCH A LARGE CROWD THAT YOU EXPECT THAT HE'LL BE VERY ENERGETIC. HE A LITTLE BIT LOW KEY, AND SO SOMETIMES IT DOESN’T PLAY WELL. BUT HE REALLY MATCHED THIS CROWD ENTHUSIASMWISE. BUT THESE ARE PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT GOING TO SHOW UP ON A COLD JANUARY NIGHT TO CAUCUS FOR YOU. THEY WERE EXCITED FOR HIM, AND THEY HAD A GOOD TIME AT THAT EVENT ON A SUNNY AFTERNOON ON CAMPUS. BUT THAT IS MUCH DIFFERENT THAN A JANUARY NIGHT WHEN, ONE, YOU'RE LUCKY IF THEY'RE IN TOWN. THEY MIGHT STILL BE ON BREAK, AND IF THEY ARE BACK, THAT IS NOT GOING TO BE THEIR PRIORITY. >>

Glover: THEY WILL STILL BE ON BREAK NO MATTER WHAT TIME THE IOWA CAUCUSE ARE HELD. >>

Beck: IT COULD BE DECEMBER, RIGHT? [ LAUGHTER ] >>

Glover: THEY'RE GOING TO BE GONE BECAUSE THE IOWA CAUCUSES ARE CURRENTLY SCHEDULED FOR JANUARY 14. NONE OF THE IOWA COLLEGES START COMING BACK FROM CHRISTMAS BREAK UNTIL AROUND THE 20TH OF JANUARY, SO ALL THOSE STUDENTS WILL BE BACK HOME. >>

Borg: WOULD YOU SAY THAT, GENERALLY SPEAKING, THE REPUBLICAN PARTY NATIONALLY WOULD RATHER THAT THIS NATIONALLY-TELEVISED EVENT TONIGHT WOULDN'T HAVE OCCURRED? >>

Glover: YES. I THINK THAT THE REPUBLICAN PARTY, IF YOU LOOK AT -- AND ONE OF THE THINGS WE'VE TALKED ABOUT TONIGHT IS WHAT'S IN THE INTEREST OF THIS GROUP OF CANDIDATES. AND THAT MAY BE DIFFERENT THAN WHAT'S IN THE INTEREST OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY. ONE OF THE POINTS THAT WAS MADE TONIGHT I THOUGHT WAS INTERESTING FROM THE POINT OF VIEW OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY, WHICH IS YOU DON'T GROW A PARTY BY CUTTING OUT GROUPS BY SAYING I DON'T WANT THAT GROUP, I DON’T WANT THIS GROUP, I DON'T WANT THAT GROUP. THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY -- MAYBE I'M THE ONLY ONE HERE OLD ENOUGH TO REMEMBER -- WENT THROUGH THAT WHOLE THING IN THE 1960s WHEN THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY STARTED SAYING: WE DON'T WANT FEMINISTS; WE DON'T WANT PEOPLE WHO DON'T LIKE ABORTION; WE DON’T WANT PEOPLE THAT -- THEY STARTED CUTTING OUT GROUPS. WE DON’T WANT THIS GROUP IN THE PARTY, WE DON’T WANT THAT GROUP IN THE PARTY, OR TO HECK WITH THEM, LET 'EM LEAD, WE DON'T CARE. WELL, LOOK WHAT HAPPENED TO THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY BECAUSE OF THAT. THE GRAND ROOSEVELT COALITION FELL APART. AND I THINK THAT'S ONE OF THE DANGERS THAT THE REPUBLICAN PARTY IS FACING, IS THAT THEY ARE FACING THE PROSPECT OF TAKING GROUPS LIKE MODERATE REPUBLICANS, PRO-CHOICE REPUBLICANS, LOG CABIN REPUBLICANS, GAY REPUBLICANS, SYSTEMATICALLY SQUEEZING THEM OUT OF THE PARTY, AND SHRINKING THE COALITION THAT MAKES UP THE REPUBLICAN PARTY. THAT'S A RECIPE FOR NATIONAL POLITICAL DISASTER. >>

Borg: CERTAINLY, THOUGH, THESE CANDIDATES, THE FOUR WE'RE TALKING ABOUT TONIGHT, WEIGHED THIS VERY HEAVILY. AND MAYBE ONCE ONE SAID, “I'M NOT COMING,” THEN THAT STARTED THE AVALANCHE AND THE OTHER THREE JOINED. BUT WHAT REASON WOULD THEY NOT HAVE APPEARED TONIGHT? JENEANE? >>

Beck: WELL, THERE'S A COUPLE OF REASONS AND WE’VE MENTIONED SOME OF THEM. ONE OF THEM IS WE'RE BUMPING UP INTO A TIME IN WHICH THEY HAVE TO TELL US HOW MUCH MONEY THEY'VE RAISED. AND WHEN THEY HAVE TO GO PUBLIC WITH THAT, THEY WANT THAT NUMBER TO BE PRETTY BIG. AND SO THEY’RE SPENDING -- YOU'VE EVEN SEEN IT IN IOWA THE LAST COUPLE OF WEEKS, IT'S SLOWED DOWN CANDIDATEWISE. THIS WAS A SLOW WEEK. THEY HAVEN'T BEEN HERE BECAUSE THEY'RE ALL ON THE PHONE SHAKING THE MONEY TREE. SO MANY OF THEM FELT THAT THEY MIGHT SPEND A COUPLE OF HOURS -- YOU KNOW, IT'S MORE THAN JUST THE HOUR AND A HALF THAT THE DEBATE LASTED. THERE'S THE PREP TIME, THE FLYING-IN TIME. SO THEY'RE THINKING, I'M GOING TO LOSE TWO DAYS ON A DEBATE IN WHICH MANY OF CONSTITUENTS ARE NOT GOING TO SEE OR I CAN BE CALLING SOME BIG DONORS AND GETTING SOME MONEY. AND SO THAT WAS PART OF IT RIGHT THERE. >>

Henderson: THE OTHER THING IS, YOU KNOW, THIS WAS AN EPISODE IN WHICH SOMEBODY COULD HAVE MADE A MAJOR GAFFE. ANY TIME YOU STAND BEHIND A LIVE MICROPHONE, THERE'S A POTENTIAL YOU'RE GOING TO SAY SOMETHING STUPID, MYSELF INCLUDED. >>

Borg: AND A HOTSTILE AUDIENCE. >>

Henderson: AND A HOSTILE AUDIENCE. I MEAN ON THE DEMOCRATIC SIDE, YOU SAW A DEBATE A FEW MONTHS AGO -- A FEW WEEKS AGO IN WHICH GAY ACTIVISTS HAD A DEBATE AND BILL RICHARDSON STUMBLED IN A QUESTION AND HE WAS CASTIGATED FOR THAT. SO I THINK, YOU KNOW, THAT IS INSTRUCTIVE TO PEOPLE WHEN THEY SAY, HEY, I DON'T WANT TO MAKE A HUGE MISTAKE, ESPECIALLY IN A WEEK WHEN I CAN BETTER SPEND MY TIME RAISING MONEY. >>

Glover: AND WE TEND TO FORGET THE SHEER NUMBER OF THESE FORUMS. I MEAN, TO ME IT SEEMS LIKE THERE'S A FORUM EVERY WEEK BEFORE SOME GROUP. SO IF I'M A REPUBLICAN OR DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE AND I'M LOOKING AROUND AND I THINK, OKAY, I'VE GOT MSNBC SPONSORING A DEBATE, I'VE GOT AARP SPONSORING A DEBATE, I'VE GOT C-SPAN SPONSORING A DEBATE, I’VE GOT CNN SPONSORING A DEBATE, AND I'M A REPUBLICAN AND I'VE GOT A BLACK GROUP SPONSORING A DEBATE. NOW, WHICH FOUR OF THOSE FIVE AM I GOING TO PICK TO GO TO, AND WHICH ONE OF THOSE FIVE AM I GOING TO SAY I’M GOING TO TAKE THE WEEK OFF? IT’S NOT A TOUGH CALL. >>

Henderson: THEY ALSO DIDN'T GO TO – >>

Glover: AND THEY DIDN'T GO TO THE TRADITIONAL VALUES DEBATE DOWN IN FLORIDA. >>

Beck: BUT THERE IS A CONTRAST HERE THAT WAS INTERESTING. YOU KNOW, REMEMBER WHEN JOHN EDWARDS SAID, “I'M SKIPPING THE FOX DEBATE, I'M NOT DOING IT?” YOU KNOW, HE WAS HERALDED BY DEMOCRATS IN THE STATE. YOU KNOWM, YOU COVERED AN EVENT WHERE THEY CHEERED HIM FOR THAT. WHEREAS HERE, I DO THINK THAT IT IS SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT. YEAH, MAYBE THEY COULD MAKE A LOT OF MONEY BY MAKING SOME PHONE CALLS, BUT THERE IS A PERCEPTION THERE THAT THEY ARE GOING TO FACE NOW, THAT THESE REPUBLICANS DIDN'T CARE ABOUT THE AFRICAN-AMERICAN COMMUNITY ENOUGH TO SHOW UP, AND THAT IS AN ISSUE. >>

Glover: AND YOU'VE GOT TO REMEMBER, THE CANDIDATES TEND TO RUN IN THE ELECTION THAT THEY'RE FIGHTING NEXT, AND THIS GROUP OF CANDIDATES IS RUNNING IN A REPUBLICAN PRIMARY. THAT'S THE NEXT ELECTION. NOW, SURE, THEY'VE GOT TO WORRY ABOUT A GENERAL ELECTION AND WINNING THE WHITE HOUSE, BUT FOR RIGHT NOW THIS GROUP OF CANDIDATES IS WORRIED ABOUT THE REPUBLICAN PRIMARY. AND LET'S BE FRANK, IT'S NOT RACIST TO SUGGEST THAT BLACK VOTERS ARE NOT AN OVERWHELMINGLY SIGNIFICANT FORCE IN REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL POLITICS. >>

Borg: I THINK THAT'S A SIGNIFICANT THING THAT YOU JUST SAID IS THAT THIS IS NOT THE GENERAL ELECTION COMING UP RIGHT NOW; IT'S THE REPUBLICAN CAUCUS AND PRIMARY. >>

Glover: RIGHT. AND BLACK ACTIVISTS ARE NOT A MAJOR FORCE IN IOWA CAUCUS -- REPUBLICAN CAUCUS POLITICS. >>

Eby: CHARLOTTE, IN IOWA'S CAUCUSES NOW AS YOU'RE COVERING THE CANDIDATES AND LOOKING AT THE POLLS, WHO'S RUNNING STRONG IN IOWA? AND WHAT SIGNIFICANCE IS THAT NATIONALLY, THAT WHOEVER YOU'RE GOING TO NAME OR THE TOP THREE OR SO ON, IS THE IOWA STANDING ALSO REFLECTED NATIONALLY? >>

Eby: WELL, A NEW POLL CAME OUT TODAY THAT SHOWED ROMNEY IS STILL SOLIDLY ON TOP. THERE WAS ANOTHER POLL THAT CAME OUT THAT SHOWED HIM SLIPPING IN NEW HAMPSHIRE, ESSENTIALLY SHOWING HIS LEAD THERE HAD EVAPORATED. BUT HE'S STILL DOING WELL IN IOWA ACCORDING TO THIS LATEST POLL. GIULIANI IS ABOUT 13 POINTS BEHIND HIM, FOLLOWED BY FRED THOMPSON AND MIKE HUCKABEE. SO THAT'S WHERE THE RACE SITS RIGHT HERE IN IOWA NOW. McCAIN IS STILL WAY DOWN. ALTHOUGH SOME NATIONAL PUNDITS LIKE TO TALK ABOUT THIS McCAIN COMEBACK, WE'RE NOT QUITE SEEING IT HERE IN THE IOWA POLLS YET . >>

Henderson: PARTLY BECAUSE HE HASN'T COME BACK. HE HASN'T BEEN CAMPAIGNING HERE, SO THAT'S ONE REASON WHY HE'S NOT DOING SO WELL. IF YOU DO GO OUT ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL, MITT ROMNEY IS THE ONE WHO HAS SPENT THE MOST TIME HERE AMONG THOSE CANDIDATES THAT CHARLOTTE MENTIONED. FRED THOMPSON WILL BE IN THE STATE OVER THE WEEKEND AND THE FIRST PART OF NEXT WEEK. AND SO ROMNEY, YOU KNOW, MAYBE HAS ALMOST A THIRD OF REPUBLICANS, BUT I DON'T THINK IF YOU ASKED A LOT OF REPUBLICANS, THEY'VE REALLY NAILED DOWN THIS IS THE GUY THAT I'M GOING TO VOTE FOR. >>

Glover: AND I THINK THAT'S A GOOD POINT BECAUSE I HAVE SEEN SOME POLLS THAT SUGGEST THAT AS HIGH AS 80 PERCENT OF ACTIVISTS IN BOTH PARTIES, EVEN THOSE WHO SAY THEY'VE PICKED A CANDIDATE, ARE WILLING TO TAKE A LOOK AT ANOTHER CANDIDATE. IN OTHER WORDS, I THINK THAT THIS IS AN ELECTION THAT'S GOING TO BREAK LATE IN PART BECAUSE -- AND THIS IS OFTEN OVERLOOKED, WHEN PEOPLE LOOK AT REPUBLICAN/DEMOCRATIC CAUCUS ACTIVISTS, IS ONE OF THE FUNDAMENTAL DECISIONS THAT GOES INTO THE PROCESS OF DECIDING WHO TO SUPPORT IS CAN THIS GUY WIN. IF YOU RECALL 2004 IN THE DEMOCRATIC CAMPAIGN, HOWARD DEAN, HOWARD DEAN, HE WAS AHEAD IN THE POLLS, HE WAS AHEAD IN THE MONEY TWO WEEKS OUT. IN THE LAST TWO WEEKS, DEMOCRATS LOOKED AT HOWARD DEAN AND COULDN'T SEE HIM ON STAGE WITH GEORGE BUSH, AND HE EVAPORATED BECAUSE THEY MADE THEIR DECISION BASED ON WHAT THEY PERCEIVE AS ELECTABILITY. THAT MAY OR MAY NOT HAVE BEEN A GOOD DECISION, BUT THAT'S WHY THEY MADE IT. THIS TIME I THINK IT WILL BREAK LATE AS BOTH REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS LOOK AT THIS FIELD OF CANDIDATES AND SAY WHO CAN WIN. >>

Beck: AND THERE’S SOMETHING INTERESTING WHEN YOU INTERVIEW SOME OF THE PEOPLE WHO SHOW UP AT THESE EVENTS, SPECTATORS, WHEN YOU GO TO A DEMOCRATIC EVENT AND ASK IF THEY'VE PICKED A CANDIDATE, THEY SAY NO, NO, BECAUSE I REALLY WANT TO SEE THIS PERSON, I’M VERY EXCITED ABOUT THIS PERSON TOO, OR LAST TIME I SUPPORTED THIS PERSON AND I JUST CAN'T CHOOSE. WHEN YOU GO TO A REPUBLICAN EVENT AND YOU SAY HAVE YOU DECIDED WHO YOU'RE GOING TO SELECT, THEY QUICKLY POINT OUT, WELL, I'M NOT SURE ABOUT THIS PERSON BECAUSE THEY HAVE THIS FLAW, AND I DON'T KNOW ABOUT THIS PERSON BECAUSE THEY HAVE THIS WEAKNESS. IT'S A DIFFERENT SCENARIO. DEMOCRATS ARE GIDDY OVER THEIR CHOICES AND REPUBLICANS ARE SORT OF FRUSTRATED OVER THEIR CHOICES AND THEY HAVEN'T COME TO A CONCLUSION. >>

Glover: THE BEST COMPARISON I CAN THINK OF THAT, JENEANE, IS THOSE WHO WENT TO THE REPUBLICAN STRAW POLL IN AMES, PROBABLY THE SIGNATURE REPUBLICAN EVENT OF THIS YEAR SO FAR, HOW MANY PEOPLE SHOWED UP? >>

Henderson: 14,000. >>

Glover: WELL, THAT'S -- [LAUGHTER] >>

Glover: ABOUT 5,000 VOTED. TOM HARKIN'S STEAK FRY DOWN IN INDIANOLA. HOW MANY PEOPLE SHOWED UP FOR THAT? ANYWHERE FROM 12- TO 15,000. NOT ONLY THAT, BUT IF YOU FELT THE ROOM – IF YOU’VE BEEN AROUND POLITICS FOR A WHILE, YOU CAN FEEL A ROOM. YOU CAN FEEL THE ENERGY, THE TENSION IN A ROOM. IN THAT HALL IN AMES, THERE WAS NO ENERGY, NO EMOTION, NO FIRE, NO NOTHING. DOWN THE HILLS AROUND INDIANOLA, THEY WERE ON FIRE. >>

Henderson: AND I THINK WHAT'S GNAWING AT REPUBLICANS IS, YOU KNOW, IN '96 THEY NOMINATED BOB DOLE BECAUSE IT WAS HIS TURN. AND THEY BOUGHT INTO IT BUT, YOU KNOW, IT KIND OF STUCK IN THEIR CRAW. IN 2000 THEY WERE REALLY HUNGRY TO FIND A WINNER, AND THAT'S WHY GEORGE W. BUSH CATAPULTED ABOVE ALL THOSE OTHER CANDIDATES, MANY OF WHOM WERE VERY CREDIBLE, HAD ABILITY TO RAISE MONEY, THEY HAD RESUMES, BUT BECAUSE THEY SAW IN HIM SOMEONE THEY COULD POUR ALL THEIR HOPES, AND THIS IS THE GUY WHO'S GOING TO CARRY THE BANNER AND CARRY US TO VICTORY. NOW REPUBLICANS LOOK AT THIS GROUP, AND THEY HAVEN'T YET FOUND THEIR GEORGE BUSH THAT THEY FOUND IN 2000. >>

Glover: I THINK IT'S A MATTER OF HUNGER. IF YOU LOOK AT THE DYNAMIC, I THINK THE SAME THING THAT WAS GOING ON IN 2000 WITH REPUBLICANS IS GOING ON RIGHT NOW WITH DEMOCRATS. IN 2000 REPUBLICANS HAD BEEN LOOKING AT EIGHT YEARS OF BILL CLINTON, A FIGURE WHO IS IN REPUBLICAN EYES HE ANTI-CHRIST, AND THEY WERE DESPERATE. THEY DIDN'T CARE WHO THEY PICKED AS LONG AS THE PERSON THEY PICKED WON. AND NOW YOU'VE GOT DEMOCRATS WHO ARE LOOKING AT EIGHT YEARS OF GEORGE W. BUSH WHO, IN THEIR EYES, IS THE ANTI-CHRIST JUST AS CLINTON IS TO REPUBLICANS, AND THEY'RE LOOKING FOR A CANDIDATE WHO CAN WIN. HILLARY CLINTON, THE BIGGEST PROBLEM SHE FACES AMONG DEMOCRATIC ACTIVISTS ARE THOSE NEGATIVES THAT SHE’S GOT THAT SHOW HERE UP NEAR 50 PERCENT OF PEOPLE HAVE A NEGATIVE IMPRESSION ABOUT HER. DEMOCRATS ARE WORRIED ABOUT HER ELECTABILITY. IF SHE COULD ANSWER THAT PROBLEM, I THINK SHE'D BE WELL ON HER WAY TO BEING THE NOMINEE. >>

Borg: CHARLOTTE, IT WAS MENTIONED HERE BY JENEANE THAT MITT ROMNEY IS LEADING IN IOWA AND HAS SPENT A LOT OF TIME IN IOWA, ALSO SPENDING A LOT OF MONEY IN HIS CURRENT TELEVISION ADVERTISING. IS A BREAK WITH PRESIDENT BUSH IN SOME WAY IN SAYING: YOU WANT A CHANGE? THE REPUBLICAN PARTY HAS TO CHANGE – >>

Eby: RIGHT. >>

Borg: AND THAT'S REALLY A REPUDIATION OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY AND THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION, BACKHANDED AS IT MAY BE. HOW IS THAT PLAYING? >>

Eby: YOU KNOW, I HAVEN'T – I HAVEN’T ASKED VOTERS ABOUT THAT BUT, I MEAN, YOU GET A SENSE TALKING TO REPUBLICANS THAT THEY KNOW THERE ARE SOME PROBLEMS WITHIN THEIR PARTY. I MEAN, THEY JUST HAVE TO LOOK AT THE LAST ELECTION AND KNOW THAT VOTERS DIDN'T LIKE WHAT THEY'RE SEEING FROM WASHINGTON. >>

Glover: THE PROBLEM HE'S GOING TO HAVE IS THAT IOWANS, AS A GENERAL RULE, MAY NOT SUPPORT GEORGE BUSH. IOWA REPUBLICAN ACTIVIST CAUCUS GOERS ARE STILL GEORGE BUSH FANS, AND YOU AIN'T GONNA MAKE ANY PROGRESS WITH THEM BEATING UP A SITTING REPUBLICAN PRESIDENT. >>

Borg: THANKS, MIKE. THAT'S THE FINAL WORD. THANKS FOR ALL OF YOUR INSIGHTS. WELL, OUR NEXT EDITION OF 'IOWA PRESS' IS TOMORROW NIGHT, AND WE'LL BE CONTINUING OUR QUESTIONING OF PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES WITH CONNECTICUT SENATOR CHRISTOPHER DODD. AT THIS STAGE IN HIS 33-YEAR CONGRESSIONAL CAREER, HE'S CHAIRING THE SENATE’S BANKING COMMITTEE WHICH, FROM THE RECENT NEWS ON THE SUBPRIME MORTGAGE MARKET, HAS HIS HANDS FULL RIGHT NOW. WE'LL DISCUSS HIS PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN AT 7:30 TOMORROW NIGHT. IT WILL BE REBROADCAST 11:30 SUNDAY MORNING. I'M DEAN BORG, THANKS FOR JOINING US FOR TONIGHT'S SPECIAL EDITION OF 'IOWA PRESS.'

FUNDING FOR 'IOWA PRESS' WAS PROVIDED BY FRIENDS, THE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION FOUNDATION; AND BY THE IOWA BANKERS ASSOCIATION. FOR PERSONAL, BUSINESS, AND COMMERCIAL NEEDS, IOWA BANKS HELP IOWANS REACH THEIR FINANCIAL GOALS.


Tags: campaign 2008 Iowa politics