Iowa Public Television

 

Reporters' Roundtable

posted on December 7, 2007

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Borg: CLOSING THE DEAL. AFTER MONTHS, AND IN SOME CASES YEARS, OF CAMPAIGNING FOR A PRESIDENTIAL NOMINATION, DEMOCRATIC AND REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES ARE NOW PRESSING FOR CAUCUS COMMITMENTS. WE'RE ASKING IOWA POLITICAL JOURNALISTS WHICH CANDIDATES APPEAR TO BE CLOSING THE DEAL ON THIS EDITION OF 'IOWA PRESS.'

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ON STATEWIDE, IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION, THIS IS THE FRIDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2007, EDITION OF 'IOWA PRESS.' HERE IS DEAN BORG.

Borg: WELL, THERE'S A NOTICEABLE SWITCH, AS I WAS SAYING, IN THE CAMPAIGNING BY PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES WHO HAVE MOVED PAST THE GETTING-TO-KNOW-ME STAGE INTO THE PHASE WHERE CANDIDATES AND THEIR CAMPAIGN STAFFERS AND VOLUNTEERS ARE NOW UNABASHEDLY PLEADING FOR SIGNATURES PLEDGING SUPPORT ON CAUCUS NIGHT. WITH THE TIME GROWING SHORT NOW BEFORE THOSE JANUARY 3 CAUCUSES, CANDIDATES ARE ABANDONING THEIR RETICENSCE TO CRITIQUE EACH OTHER TOO. IN MANY CASES THAT'S UNDERSTATING THE CAMPAIGN TENOR RIGHT NOW. IT'S GETTING ROUGH. TODAY WE'RE GETTING PERSPECTIVE FROM 'DES MOINES REGISTER' POLITICAL COLUMNIST DAVE YEPSEN, 'RADIO IOWA' NEWS DIRECTOR KAY HENDERSON, 'ASSOCIATED PRESS' SENIOR POLITICAL WRITER MIKE GLOVER, AND 'LEE NEWSPAPERS' STATEHOUSE REPORTER CHARLOTTE EBY. KAY, IS MY PREMISE RIGHT, THAT THE CAMPAIGN TENOR HAS CHANGED? AND IF YOU AGREE WITH THAT, WHAT'S THE MOST SIGNIFICANT CHANGE THAT YOU'VE SEEN IN THE PAST WEEKS?

Henderson: WELL, I THINK THE SIGNIFICANT CHANGE IS ON THE DEMOCRATIC SIDE IN THAT YOU HAVE HILLARY CLINTON WHO MUST HAVE SEEN SOME POLLING DATA THAT HAS TROUBLED HER IN REGARDS TO BARACK OBAMA, AND SHE HAS GONE ON THE OFFENSIVE. SHE'S ACTUALLY NAMED HIM IN HER CAMPAIGN SPEECHES, BROUGHT UP SOME RATHER INTERESTING CRITIQUES, AS YOU RECENTLY CALLED THEM, ONE OF WHICH CITED AN ESSAY THAT HE WROTE AS A KINDERGARTENER ABOUT WANTING TO BE PRESIDENT. IT'S GOTTEN, IN HIS WORDS, A LITTLE SILLY. AND THE END RESULT OF IT HAS ALLOWED BARACK OBAMA WHO HAS BEEN THE SUBJECT OF CLINTON'S BARRAGE TO ACTUALLY SOUND LIKE A FRONT RUNNER SAYING THINGS THAT YOU WOULD THOUGHT YOU MIGHT HAVE HEARD FROM HER LIPS IN THE CLOSING DAYS OF THIS CAMPAIGN. THE OTHER CHANGE IN TERMS OF TENOR ON THE DEMOCRATIC SIDE IS THE TENOR OF JOHN EDWARDS. HE'S TURNED POSITIVE. HE'S TURNED INTO THE SUNNY OPTIMIST THAT IOWANS KNEW IN THE CLOSING DAYS OF THE 2004 CAUCUS CAMPAIGN.

Glover: AND ONE OF THE LESSONS THAT WE'RE LEARNING IS THAT CANDIDATES DON'T LEARN THE LESSON OF HISTORY. IF WE LOOK BACK FOUR YEARS AGO ON THE DEMOCRATIC SIDE, AS WE HEAD INTO THE LAST MONTH OF THE CAMPAIGN, THERE WERE TWO CLEAR FRONT RUNNERS IN ALL THE POLLS, HOWARD DEAN AND RICHARD GEPHARDT. THEY GOT INTO A WAR IN THAT LAST MONTH. THEY WERE RIPPING EACH OTHER APART. IOWA ACTIVISTS DIDN'T LIKE IT. THEY ENDED UP FINISHING THIRD AND FOURTH IN THE IOWA CAUCUSES AND ALLOWED A COUPLE OF OTHER PEOPLE TO GET PAST THEM. I THINK ONE OF THE THINGS IN TALKING TO PEOPLE, I THINK IOWA ACTIVISTS ARE WILLING TO LET THEIR CANDIDATES TALK ABOUT DIFFERENCES ON ISSUES. IF HILLARY CLINTON HAS A CRITIQUE OF BARACK OBAMA'S POSITION OF HEALTH CARE, ON SOCIAL SECURITY, IOWA ACTIVISTS ARE WILLING TO LET THEM AIR THOSE CONCERNS. IF HILLARY CLINTON WANTS TO TALK ABOUT WHAT BARACK OBAMA WROTE IN KINDERGARTEN, THAT'S GOING TO TURN A LOT OF PEOPLE OFF. AND THAT REFLECTS POLLING, WHICH SHOWS HIM COMING UP.

Yepsen: THE TENOR OF THE CAMPAIGN SAYS WHAT'S GOING ON. OBAMA HAS MOVED AHEAD AND HILLARY CLINTON HAS GOT TO SCUFF HIM UP. BUT I ACTUALLY HAD AN OBAMA PERSON INVOKE THIS HOWARD DEAN/GEPHARDT THING SAYING, 'YOU KNOW WHAT CLINTON MUST BE DOING HERE? SHE'S TRYING TO HELP JOHN EDWARDS.' I SAID, 'HOW'S THAT.' 'WELL, BECAUSE WE'RE GOING TO GET A FIGHT GOING BETWEEN OBAMA AND CLINTON AND EVERYBODY IS ANGRY AND THAT WILL HELP ELECT EDWARDS AND THEN SHE CAN BEAT HIM IN NEW HAMPSHIRE AND SOUTH CAROLINA.' I SAID, 'BOY, THAT'S PRETTY CONSPIRATORIAL.' BUT IT DOES REFLECT THE STATE OF PLAY IN THE CAMPAIGN. IT'S A VERY CLOSE RACE AND TIME IS GETTING SHORT.

Glover: AND YOU CAN SEE IT ON THE REPUBLICAN SIDE AS WELL. THEY'RE NOT HERE AS MUCH, BUT AS AS MIKE HUCKABEE HAS COME UP, YOU'RE TRYING TO SEE A LOT PEOPLE TROT OUT THE CLUB FOR GROWTH, PEOPLE LIKE THAT, CRITICAL OF HUCKABEE'S RECORD AS GOVERNOR OF ARKANSAS FOR RAISING TAXES. SO IT'S GOTTEN A LITTLE SHARP ON BOTH SIDES.

Eby: HILLARY CLINTON STARTED OFF THE WEEK SAYING THAT THERE ARE ISSUES OF CHARACTER THAT VOTERS SHOULD CONSIDER WITH BARACK OBAMA. SHE POINTED TO HIS HEALTH CARE PLAN WHICH SHE SAYS IS NOT UNIVERSAL, WOULD NOT COVER ENOUGH PEOPLE, AND THEN SHE ALSO TALKED ABOUT MONEY THAT HIS LEADERSHIP PAC HAS SPENT IN IOWA AND OTHER EARLY STATES, AND SHE SAYS THAT AT LEAST SKIRTS THE FEDERAL ELECTION LAWS.

Borg: AS YOU TALK, CHARLOTTE, DO YOU TALK WITH VOTERS TO SEE WHAT THEIR REACTION IS TO LITTLE SKIRMISHES HERE AND WHETHER OR NOT SENATOR CLINTON MIGHT BE RUNNING A RISK, AS HAS BEEN IMPLIED HERE IN BEING AGGRESSIVELY CRITIQUING?

Eby: MIKE IS RIGHT. VOTERS DON'T NECESSARILY LIKE THAT. I MEAN THEY WANT TO SEE A POSITIVE CAMPAIGN FOCUSED ON THE ISSUES. AND THAT'S THE TYPE OF THING THAT CAN GIVE SOMEONE LIKE A JOHN EDWARDS, IF HE STAYS POSITIVE THROUGH THE FINAL WEEKS, A BOOST IN THE END.

Yepsen: WHAT HAS TO HAPPEN IN A PRIMARY FIGHT IN EITHER PARTY, YOU'VE GOT TO VET THE CANDIDATES. THE ACTIVISTS IN BOTH PARTIES BETTER UNDERSTAND THE PLUSES AND MINUSES OF EACH CANDIDATE. DEMOCRATS BETTER UNDERSTAND BARACK OBAMA'S WEAKNESSES, HILLARY CLINTON'S. REPUBLICANS BETTER MITT ROMNEY'S AND MIKE HUCKABEE'S BECAUSE YOU CAN BET IN NOVEMBER THE OPPOSITION PARTY IS GOING TO BE PROBING THOSE WEAKNESSES. IF, FOR EXAMPLE, REPUBLICANS WANT TO GO FOR MIKE HUCKABEE, THEY BETTER UNDERSTAND THE WHOLE STORY ABOUT HIS PARDONING OF A GUY WHO LATER WENT ON AND RAPED AND KILLED SOMEONE BECAUSE, YOU KNOW, THAT'S A WILLY HORTON DEAL. DEMOCRATS BETTER UNDERSTAND ALL ABOUT BARACK OBAMA'S PAST AND WHAT HE SAID IN HIS POSITIONS, BECAUSE YOU CAN BET THE ATTACK ADS WILL START ON HIM.

Borg: AS YOU LOOK, KAY, AT MRS. CLINTON'S CAMPAIGN, SENATOR CLINTON, YES, HAS BEEN MORE AGGRESSIVE IN, YOU CALLED IT, CRITIQUING AND CRITICIZING, AND POINTING OUT DIFFERENCES BETWEEN HER PARTICULARLY AND SENATOR OBAMA. HAS SHE ALSO DONE THAT WITH OTHER CANDIDATES?

Henderson: ACTUALLY IT'S BEEN INTERESTING. IN ONE INSTANCE SHE ACTUALLY PRAISED SOME OF HER OTHER RIVALS FOR SHARING THE SAME POSITION THAT SHE DOES ON UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE. SO REALLY HER BARBS HAVE BEEN DIRECTED AT BARACK OBAMA.

Glover: SHE HAS A VESTED INTEREST IN KEEPING A VIABLE JOHN EDWARDS IN THIS RACE BECAUSE THERE IS, I THINK MOST PEOPLE SENSE, AN ANTI-HILLARY CLINTON FACTION WITHIN THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY. IN OTHER WORDS, THERE'S A FACTION THAT DOESN'T THINK HILLARY CLINTON CAN GET ELECTED, DOESN'T WANT TO GO BACK TO THE CLINTON YEARS, JUST DOESN'T LIKE HILLARY CLINTON. THERE'S THAT FACTION. IF THAT FACTION UNITES BEHIND A SINGLE CANDIDATE, THAT CAN BE VERY DANGEROUS FOR HER. SHE NEEDS THAT FACTION DIVIDED UP BETWEEN JOHN EDWARDS, JOE BIDEN.

Yepsen: AND IT ALSO GOES TO WHOLE QUESTION OF SECOND CHOICES. IN MANY OF THESE PRECINCTS, JOE BIDEN, CHRIS DODD, BILL RICHARDSON, THEY'RE NOT GOING TO HAVE ENOUGH SUPPORT TO WIN DELEGATES, AND SO THEIR PEOPLE ARE GOING TO HAVE TO GO TO THEIR SECOND CHOICE IN CLINTON, OBAMA. THEY DON'T -- THEY WANT TO APPEAL TO THOSE PEOPLE. YOU DON'T DO THAT BY ATTACKING A GUY'S CANDIDATE.

Henderson: AND THE PROBLEM FOR HER IS THAT IT SEEMS TO ME, AS I TALK TO PEOPLE, YOU EITHER LIKE HILLARY CLINTON OR YOU HAVE NO INTENTION OF VOTING FOR HER. SO IT APPEARS TO ME THAT SHE'S NOT GOING TO BE THE SECOND CHOICE. SO THE SECOND GO AROUND OF VOTING IN THESE CAUCUSES AMONG DEMOCRATS IS GOING TO BE PROBLEMATIC FOR HER IF PEOPLE DECIDE TO GO FOR BARACK OBAMA AS THE ALTERNATIVE OR JOHN EDWARDS AS THE ALTERNATIVE.

Glover: THE THING THAT WOULD ARGUE AGAINST THAT, HOWEVER, IS WHAT HILLARY CLINTON HAS DONE IS MADE GREAT INROADS IN THE SORT OF TRADITIONAL IOWA CAUCUS GOING DEMOCRATS, DEMOCRATS WHO HAVE BEEN TO CAUCUSES BEFORE, UNDERSTAND THE KIND OF HORSE TRADING THAT HAPPENS WHEN THE PREVIABILITY THING HAPPENS, AND ARE WILLING TO GO TO A JOE BIDEN FACTION AND SAY, OKAY, HERE'S WHAT WE'LL OFFER YOU TO COME TO US. HERE'S WHAT YOU CAN GET COMING TO US. THEY'RE VERY GOOD AT THAT AND THEY ARGUE THEIR CAUCUS GOERS ARE BETTER AT THAT THAN THE NEWER CAUCUS GOERS OF BARACK OBAMA.

Borg: CHARLOTTE, WE'VE USED THE WORD FACTION HERE IN AN ANTI-SENATOR CLINTON FACTION, MAYBE, WITHIN THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY. BUT ARE THERE SPECIFIC DEMOGRAPHIC GROUPS TO WHICH ANY OF THOSE CANDIDATES, DEMOCRATIC -- NOW, WE'RE TALKING ABOUT APPEALING DIRECTLY AND PROMINENTLY.

Eby: WELL, WE'VE ALREADY SEEN HILLARY CLINTON GO AGGRESSIVELY FOR WINNING VOTERS, WOMEN THAT HAVE NEVER BEEN TO THE CAUCUSES BEFORE. THEY DON'T KNOW IF THAT STRATEGY IS GOING TO WORK. IN AN INTERVIEW I TALKED TO HER, AND SHE SAID, 'THIS IS SO SOON AFTER THE HOLIDAYS. I DON'T KNOW IF I'LL BE ABLE TO GET THESE WOMEN OUT ON CAUCUS NIGHT.' BUT SHE REALLY NEEDS INDEPENDENT VOTERS AND WOMEN CAUCUS GOERS TO GO FOR HER.

Yepsen: IT'S INTERESTING BECAUSE THIS WOMEN STRATEGY IS NOT JUST WORKING FOR HILLARY CLINTON, IT'S ALSO WORKING FOR BARACK OBAMA. IN OUR LAST POLL, WE FOUND AMONG LIKELY WOMEN DEMOCRATIC CAUCUS GOERS, A THIRD OF THEM WERE GOING TO CLINTON AND ANOTHER THIRD -- ABOUT 32 PERCENT WERE GOING FOR BARACK OBAMA. SO IT JUST CAN'T BE A WOMEN-ONLY STRATEGY, BECAUSE OBAMA WILL PROFIT FROM THAT TOO. ANOTHER DEMOGRAPHIC GROUP, DEAN, ARE YOUNG PEOPLE, PEOPLE UNDER 25. OBAMA IS MAKING A PARTICULARLY STRONG APPEAL FOR THEIR SUPPORT. YET, HISTORICALLY THEY'RE JUST AWFUL CAUCUS GOERS. IN '04 THE ENTRANCE POLL SHOWED THAT IT WAS SOMETHING LIKE 17 PERCENT WERE UNDER AGE 30. IN OUR POLL NOW IT SHOWS, LIKE, 5 PERCENT OF THE CAUCUS GOERS ARE -- ONLY 5 PERCENT OF UNDER AGE 25.

Glover: AND THE PROBLEM THAT HILLARY CLINTON HAS GOT IS IT IS A WOMEN STRATEGY, BUT IT'S NOT A WOMEN CAUCUS GOER STRATEGY. I'VE TALKED WITH THE CLINTON PEOPLE, AND THEY SAY THEIR NUMBERS SHOW THAT HER APPEAL AMONG WOMEN WHO ARE INDEPENDENTS OR WOMEN WHO ARE RIGHTLY AFFILIATED WITH THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY IS VERY HIGH. SHE POLLS VERY WELL AMONG JUST WOMEN WHO WOULD LIKE TO SEE A WOMAN PRESIDENT, BUT THOSE ARE NOT WOMEN THAT GO TO CAUCUSES. SO THE CHALLENGE FACING HILLARY CLINTON AND SOME OF THE GROUPS THAT'S WORKING FOR HER IS TO IDENTIFY THOSE WOMEN, GET THEM OUT, AND GET THEM TO VOTE FOR HILLARY CLINTON AND NOT BARACK OBAMA.

Yepsen: SHE DOES WELL WITH BLUE COLLAR WOMEN. OBAMA IS DOING BETTER WITH PROFESSIONAL WOMEN.

Borg: THAT'S SOMETHING SIGNIFICANT, DOING BETTER WITH PROFESSIONAL WOMEN. WHY DO YOU SUPPOSE THAT IS, DAVID? IS THERE A REASON FOR THAT? DOES YOUR POLL AT ALL SHOW THAT?

Yepsen: NO. IT'S ONE OF THE GREAT STORIES OF THIS CAMPAIGN. PERHAPS WE OUGHT TO ASK OUR COLLEAGUES HERE HOW WOMEN REACT TO HILLARY CLINTON. IT'S A WHOLE CAN OF WORMS I'M NOT SURE MEN UNDERSTAND.

Borg: CHARLOTTE, BARACK OBAMA, WE WERE TALKING -- DAVE JUST MADE THE ASSERTION THAT COLLEGE STUDENTS ARE TERRIBLE CAUCUS GOERS; I THINK THAT'S THE WAY HE SAID. AND COMPLICATING THAT IS THAT THEY'RE GOING TO BE ON HOLIDAY BREAK DURING THAT TIME ON MOST CAMPUSES. BUT BARACK OBAMA THIS PAST WEEK VISITED GRINNELL. I THINK HE HAD 900 AND SOME STUDENTS THERE SIGNING IN. HE HAD 2,500 AT THE UNIVERSITY OF IOWA. CORNELL COLLEGE IN MOUNT VERNON, I WOULD ESTIMATE -- I WAS COVERING THAT AND I WOULD GUESS THERE WERE MAYBE 1,500 TO 2,000 IN THAT GYM. AND THEN ON TO UNI AND CEDAR FALLS AND THEN AT WARTBURG. IS THERE ANY INDICATION THAT THAT MIGHT WORK? PEOPLE -- SOME STUDENTS WITH WHOM I SPOKE ARE ENTHUSIASTICALLY COMING BACK FROM OUT OF STATE IN ORDER TO CAUCUS.

Eby: WELL, I THINK ONE THING THAT PEOPLE HAVEN'T TALKED ABOUT A LOT IS THAT COLLEGE STUDENTS ARE WORK HORSES ON THESE CAMPAIGNS. THEY VOLUNTEER. THEY'LL BE FREE FOR THOSE WEEKS. IF THEY ARE IN THEIR COLLEGE TOWNS, YOU KNOW, THEY'LL BE MAKING PHONE CALLS, THEY'LL BE CANVASSING, THEY'LL BE DOOR KNOCKING. SO THAT COULD BE A GOOD STRATEGY IN THAT SENSE.

Glover: ONE OF THE THINGS THAT WE HAVE TO REMEMBER, THE CHANGE OF THE CAUCUS DATE WON'T HAVE ANY EFFECT ON THAT. COLLEGE STUDENTS WERE NOT GOING TO BE HERE FOR THE CAUCUSES EVEN WHEN THEY WERE SCHEDULED FOR JANUARY 14, BECAUSE MOST OF THOSE COLLEGES DON'T COME BACK UNTIL THE 21ST. SO I THINK THERE'S A REAL QUESTION ABOUT WHETHER YOUNG PEOPLE WILL TURN UP AND, MORE TO THE POINT, WHETHER THE YOUNG PEOPLE WILL PROVE TO BE EFFECTIVE WHEN THEY START CUTTING THEIRS DEALS AND MAKING THEIR BARGAINS ON CAUCUS NIGHT. BUT CHANGING THE CAUCUS DATE DOESN'T CHANGE THAT.

Borg: LET'S TALK ABOUT THE OTHERS IN THIS RACE. YOU MIGHT CALL THEM SECOND TIER, BUT THAT'S A LABEL THEY OFTEN FALL INTO. THAT'S SENATOR DODD, BIDEN, AND GOVERNOR RICHARDSON. ARE THEY STILL SECOND TIER OR WOULD ONE OF THOSE MAYBE IN A -- IF LIGHTNING STRUCK, BREAK INTO SECOND OR THIRD PLACE?

Glover: THERE'S A STRATEGY AMONGST ALL THREE OF THEM. ALL THREE OF THEM THING ONE OF THEM CAN BEAT ONE OF THE TOP TIER. AND MOST OF THEM THINK -- THEY'LL TELL YOU THEY THINK IT'S JOHN EDWARDS THEY CAN BEAT. ONE OF THOSE THREE, IF THEY CAN BEAT ONE OF THE TOP THREE, CAN REMAIN ALIVE TO FIGHT DOWN THE ROAD. THE CAMPAIGN WILL END FOR THE REST OF THEM. SO THAT'S THE COMPETITION THERE: CAN ONE OF THEM GET INTO THE TOP THREE, AND WHICH ONE WILL IT BE?

Borg: WELL, YOU SAY AN APPEAL THIS PAST WEEK, KAY, BY SENATOR DODD IN SAYING -- CAUTIONING IOWANS, YOUR PLACE IN BEING FIRST IN THE NATION IN CAUCUSES MIGHT BE IN JEOPARDY IF YOU BECOME TOO ENAMORED WITH CELEBRITY CANDIDATES AND IGNORE THOSE OF US WHO HAVE REALLY BEEN HERE WORKING HARD.

Henderson: RIGHT. I DON'T KNOW THAT HIS MESSAGE IS RESONATING TO THE EXTENT AMONG THESE ALSO RANS OR SECOND TIERS AS MUCH AS JOE BIDEN'S IS. JOE BIDEN HAS A NUMBER OF STATE LEGISLATORS WHO'VE ENDORSED HIS CANDIDACY. IN A YEAR WHEN IT SEEMED AS IF IT WAS SHAPING UP TO BE ALL ABOUT IRAQ, HIS SOBER ASSESSMENT OF IRAQ WAS REALLY SELLING WELL WITH DEMOCRATS. I THINK THE TIDE FOR JOE BIDEN IS TURNING A BIT, BECAUSE IT SEEMS AS IF THINGS ARE SHAPING UP TO BE ALL ABOUT ELECTABILITY AND ALL ABOUT THE ECONOMY.

Glover: THE PROBLEM JOE BIDEN HAS, TO CAUTION THAT, IS HE HAS NO INFRASTRUCTURE UNDER HIM. DODD HAS AN INFRASTRUCTURE UNDER HIM TO TURN OUT PEOPLE. BIDEN IS KIND OF A LOOSE CANNON RUNNING AROUND OUT THERE WITHOUT THE STRENGTH UNDER HIM.

Yepsen: DEAN, ALL CANDIDATES ARE WORKING HARD. THE DEMOCRATS ARE HAVING A HARD TIME DECIDING WHO TO SUPPORT BECAUSE THEY LIKE ALL OF THESE CANDIDATES. THE UNFORTUNATE THING FOR THE SECOND-TIER CANDIDATES IS THAT THE FIRST-TIER CANDIDATES ARE ALL PRETTY GOOD, THEY WORK HARD, THEY HAVE A LOT OF APPEAL. AND I THINK THAT HAS -- HAS AN IMPACT. I'D LIKE TO TREAD ON YOUR PREROGATIVE AS THE MODERATOR TO GO BACK TO THE QUESTION YOU ASKED EARLIER ABOUT WHY WOMEN AREN'T SUPPORTING HILLARY CLINTON, AND I'D LIKE TO ASK MY COLLEAGUES TO WEIGH IN ON THE FACT OF WHAT'S HILLARY CLINTON'S PROBLEM WITH WOMEN DEMOCRATS?

Henderson: I THINK HER PROBLEM IS, (A) THERE'S CLINTON FATIGUE. I REMEMBER SPEAKING WITH A WOMAN, A YOUNG MOTHER, AND ASKING HER WHY ARE YOU SUPPORTING BARACK OBAMA AND NOT HILLARY CLINTON. AND SHE SAID, 'I WAS NOT A FAN OF BILL CLINTON.' THERE IS A HANGOVER, A HEADACHE THAT PEOPLE SUFFERED AT THE END OF THE CLINTON YEARS. I DON'T NEED TO MENTION WHAT IT WAS ABOUT. BUT THERE ARE WOMEN WHO SINCERELY WANT TO PUT THAT CHAPTER BEHIND. THEY'RE TIRED OF TALKING ABOUT IT AND THEY WANT TO MOVE ON.

Yepsen: CHARLOTTE, IS THAT ANY DIFFERENT THAN MEN?

Eby: I DON'T KNOW. I THINK WOMEN DEMOCRATS HAVE SOME OF THE SAME ISSUES THAT MALE DEMOCRATS DO, JUST THE FACT THAT SHE CAN'T SEEM TO FIND A POSITION TO COME DOWN ON. SHE SEEMS TO BE ON BOTH SIDES OF IT. SO IT'S NOT NECESSARILY A GENDER ISSUE THERE. I THINK THERE IS A VISCERAL RESPONSE FROM WOMEN WHEN SHE TALKS ABOUT, YOU KNOW, THE 90-YEAR-OLD WOMAN THAT COMES TO HER EVENT THAT SAYS, 'I WATCHED WHEN WOMEN EARNED THE RIGHT TO VOTE AND I WANT TO SEE THE FIRST WOMEN PRESIDENT.' I THINK WOMEN, YOU KNOW, ARE TOUCHED BY THAT. BUT THEN THEY'RE PRACTICAL AND THEY WANT SOMEBODY THAT THEY THINK MATCHES THEM ON ISSUES.

Glover: I THINK ONE OF THE REASONS THAT THIS THING -- I THINK IT BROKE VERY LATE FOUR YEARS AGO, AND I THINK IT WILL BREAK VERY LATE THIS TIME. I THINK AT THE END OF THE DAY -- AND YOU TOUCHED ON IT, DAVE -- I THINK MOST DEMOCRATS HAVE COME TO THE CONCLUSION THEY CAN LIVE WITH ABOUT ANYBODY IN THIS FIELD. IT'S GOING TO COME DOWN TO A VERY COLD, HARD DECISION WHICH AMONG THESE FIELD CAN WIN THE GENERAL ELECTION IN NOVEMBER OF 2008. THEY'RE GOING TO WAIT UNTIL THE VERY LAST MINUTE AND MAKE THAT DECISION.

Yepsen: I'M SORRY I HIGHJACKED HERE.

Borg: NO, NO.

Yepsen: BACK TO YOU.

Borg: WELL, THANK YOU. IN FACT, I WAS GOING TO PICK UP ON THAT SUGGESTION, AND THEN I THOUGHT MAYBE I OUGHT NOT TO PUT THESE WOMEN HERE ON OUR SET ON THE SPOT. DAVE, I'LL COME BACK TO YOU, THOUGH. IS THERE -- I MEAN WE FLUCTUATED ON ISSUES HERE: IMMIGRATION; IRAQ STARTED OUT AT REALLY HOT. IRAQ SEEMS TO HAVE COOLED A BIT. THEY STILL MENTION IT. TRADE IS ANOTHER ONE. WHAT DO YOU SEE AS AN EMERGING ISSUE?

Yepsen: THE ECONOMY HAS STARTED TO EMERGE OVER IRAQ. WE TALKED A LOT ABOUT IRAQ IN THAT CAMPAIGN. BUT FACT IS THE SURGE HAS WORKED, AND DEMOCRATS DON'T LIKE TO ADMIT THAT OR TALK TO THAT. I MEAN THINGS HAVE SETTLED DOWN IN IRAQ. AT THE SAME TIME GAS PRICES ARE GOING UP, THE MORTGAGE CRISIS IS EXPANDING, THE STOCK MARKET IS JITTERY, PEOPLE ARE WORRIED ABOUT LOSING THEIR HEALTH CARE. THOSE ECONOMIC ISSUES WHICH, YOU KNOW, ARE ALWAYS A FACTOR IN A PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION ARE STARTING TO COME BACK TO THE FOREFRONT.

Borg: CHARLOTTE, I WANT TO GET TO THE REPUBLICANS HERE NOW. IS THERE WITHIN THE REPUBLICAN PARTY -- BEFORE WE GET TO THE INDIVIDUAL CANDIDATES -- IS THERE GOING TO BE A SIGNIFICANT EFFECT IN THIS CAUCUS, FROM WHAT YOU HAVE DOWN AND COVERING THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL NOW, AMONG THE EVANGELICAL CHRISTIANS? THEY HAVE BEEN INFLUENTIAL IN THE PAST. WILL THAT BE AS INFLUENTIAL THIS TIME FOR ANY ONE CANDIDATE?

Eby: THEY'VE US ALWAYS BEEN, YOU KNOW, A CORE PART OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY IN IOWA. THEY'VE YET TO PICK A CANDIDATE THAT THEY'RE COALESCING AROUND. BUT IT APPEARS THAT A LOT OF THEM FEEL COMFORTABLE NOW WITH MIKE HUCKABEE. AFTER HE GOT SOME EXPOSURE, THEY WERE ABLE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT HIM. SO THEY COULD END UP GIVING HIM A WIN HERE IN IOWA.

Borg: DOES THAT EXPLAIN, MIKE, WHY HE HAS BECOME NOT AN ASTERISK BUT A TARGET?

Glover: SURE, SURE. ABOUT FOUR OUT OF TEN REPUBLICAN CAUCUS GOERS IN IOWA DESCRIBE THEMSELVES AS EVANGELICAL CHRISTIANS. THAT'S A BIG BLOCK IN REPUBLICAN POLITICS. UP UNTIL NOW, THEY'VE KIND OF BEEN SCATTERED AMONGST A SERIES OF CANDIDATES. WHEN SAM BROWNBACK WAS IN THE RACE, HE APPEALED TO THEM. MITT ROMNEY HAS DONE HIS BEST TO APPEAL TO CONSERVATIVE CHRISTIANS. MIKE HUCKABEE IS A CONSERVATIVE CHRISTIAN MAKING THE POINT: I'M A BAPTIST MINISTER; I DON'T HAVE TO THINK ABOUT WHERE I COME FROM; I'M NOT COMING TO YOU; I'M COMING FROM YOU. AND THAT, I THINK, HAS HAD SOME APPEAL TO THEM, AND I THINK WHAT YOU'RE SEEING HIS MOVEMENT IN THE POLLS REFLECT IS EVANGELICAL CHRISTIANS FEELING COMFORTABLE WITH HUCKABEE. HE'S GOT AN APPEALING PERSONALITY, AND HE COMES FROM THEM.

Yepsen: IT ISN'T JUST EVANGELICALS, DEAN. SENATOR GRASSLEY WAS ON THIS SHOW A COUPLE WEEKS AGO AND SAID SOMETHING I THINK IS VERY IMPORTANT. AND THAT IS THAT -- OF ALL THE REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES, MIKE HUCKABEE IS MOST LIKE THE PEOPLE OF IOWA. IF YOU THINK ABOUT IT, IN MOST ELECTIONS VOTERS MAKE UP DECISIONS NOT ON THE BASIS OF SOME ISSUE CHECKLIST BUT ON A GUT LEVEL FEELING ABOUT HOW YOU FEEL ABOUT SOMEONE AND WHETHER YOU LIKE THEM OR NOT. AND I THINK IOWA REPUBLICANS HAVE STARTED TO BECOME VERY COMFORTABLE WITH A GUY FROM RURAL ARKANSAS AND HIS VALUES BEING AN AWFUL LOT LIKE --

Glover: THE MORE I'M AROUND POLITICS, THE MORE I THINK IT ALL COMES DOWN TO RUNNING FOR CLASS PRESIDENT. IT'S WHO YOU LIKE AND WHO YOU DON'T LIKE. AT THE END OF THE DAY, I THINK THAT'S INCREASINGLY WHERE VOTERS MAKE THEIR DECISIONS. THEY TAKE THINK MEASURE OF THE CANDIDATES AND WHO IS IT THAT I LIKE AND WHO IS THAT I DONT LIKE. I THINK YOU'RE RIGHT, I THINK MIKE HUCKABEE IS -- HE'S MADE HIMSELF COMFORTABLE WITH EVANGELICALS ON THE ISSUES. THEY FEEL LIKE HE'S THERE WITH THEM. BUT BEYOND THE COMFORT ON THE ISSUES, HE'S COME ACROSS AS A CHARACTER THAT YOU CAN LIKE.

Yepsen: AND HE'S GOT A GOOD SENSE OF HUMOR ABOUT HIMSELF AND ISSUES. HE'S NOT A HARD EDGED CONSERVATIVES. CONSERVATIVES DON'T LIKE TO THINK OF THEMSELVES AS MEAN AND OFTENTIMES THEY COME OFF THAT WAY. MIKE HUCKABEE IS MUCH MORE COMPASSIONATE AND SENSITIVE, TALKS ABOUT CHILD CARE, TALKS ABOUT ARTS AND MUSIC AND EDUCATION. THESE ARE NOT NORMAL CONSERVATIVE THINGS.

Borg: KAY, MIGHT THAT HAVE FORCED -- THE PLACE OF HUCKABEE IN THE POLLS RIGHT NOW IN IOWA, MIGHT THAT HAVE FORCED THE ROMNEY SPEECH THIS PAST WEEK ON MORMONISM?

Henderson: WELL, IT WAS NOT A SPEECH ABOUT MORMONIST.

Borg: IT WASN'T ON MORMONISM.

Henderson: HE MENTIONED THE WORD 'MORMON' ONCE. HE MENTIONED 'MY CHURCH' ABOUT FIVE TIMES. IT WAS ABOUT RELIGION. I THINK THAT ROMNEY SPEECH WAS ALMOST AS MUCH ABOUT TALKING TO EVANGELICAL CHRISTIANS AS IT WAS ABOUT RE-PRESENTING MITT ROMNEY AS A PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE. HE LOOKED PRESIDENTIAL. HE SOUNDED PRESIDENTIAL. I TALKED WITH CONSERVATIVES AFTER THE SPEECH. IT REALLY DIDN'T CHANGE ANY MINDS. BUT I THINK THE MOST INTERESTING THING ABOUT IT WAS WHEN I TALKED WITH THREE DIFFERENT WOMEN, THEY WERE STRUCK BY THE BEAUTY OF THE SPEECH. I THINK WE ALL, AS YOU SAID, LOOK FOR THIS CLASS PRESIDENT. IN SOME RESPECTS I THINK WE DO EXPECT TO HAVE A PASTOR AND CHIEF: BILL CLINTON AFTER THE OKLAHOMA CITY BOMBING; RONALD REAGAN, 'THEY TOUCH THE FACE OF GOD' IN REGARDS TO THE CHALLENGER ASTRONAUTS. ROMNEY EXPRESSED HIMSELF IN A VERY REAGANESQUE WAY, AND I THINK THAT REASSURED HIS SUPPORTERS, WHICH I THINK WAS JUST AS IMPORTANT TO SPEAKING TO EVANGELICAL VOTERS.

Glover: I THINK IT WAS A HUGE MISTAKE. I THINK IT WAS A MISTAKE TO GIVE THE SPEECH. I'VE TALKED TO ANY NUMBER OF EVANGELICALS IN IOWA. FIRST OF ALL, IF I'M AN EVANGELICAL IN IOWA INTERESTED IN SUPPORTING MITT ROMNEY, I'VE PROBABLY HAD A CHANCE TO ASK HIM ABOUT HIS MORMON FAITH ONE ON ONE AND GET AN EXPLANATION. I'VE TALKED TO AT LEAST HALF A DOZEN PEOPLE WHO WERE EVANGELICALS WHO HAD A PROBLEM WITH HIS MORMON FAITH AND WENT TO HIM AND ASKED HIM ABOUT IT AND HAD IT EXPLAINED. AND I THINK TO RAISE THE QUESTION OF HIS RELIGION, I DON'T THINK HE'S GOING TO BE ABLE TO ANSWER ALL THE QUESTIONS ABOUT HIS RELIGION.

Yepsen: I DISAGREE WITH MIKE. I THINK ROMNEY IS IN SINGLE DIGITS NATIONALLY. HE GOT HUGE NATIONAL TELEVISION EXPOSURE. IT WAS A WELL EXECUTED SPEECH. SO ANY TIME A CANDIDATE LIKE THAT CAN GET THAT KIND OF EXPOSURE, IT'S GOT TO BE A NET PLUS TO HIM. ALTHOUGH I DO AGREE WITH MIKE. IOWA EVANGELICALS HAVE PLENTY OF OPPORTUNITY GET TO THESE CANDIDATES. I WAS STRUCK TOO BY HIS DECISION TO GIVE THAT SPEECH DOWN IN HOUSTON, TEXAS, BECAUSE IT JUST FORCES THE COMPARISON WITH JOHN KENNEDY'S SPEECH, AND NO POLITICIAN WINS IN COMPARISON WITH JOHN F. KENNEDY IN OUR SOCIETY.

Borg: LET'S TALK ABOUT RUDY GIULIANI AND JOHN MCCAIN. ANY CHANCE THAT ANY ONE OF THOSE IS GOING TO GET THE THIRD PLACE TICKET OUT OF HERE?

Henderson: THERE'S A CHANCE RUDY GIULIANI MIGHT. I DON'T THINK THERE'S A CHANCE FOR JOHN MCCAIN. THE MOST INTERESTING THING ABOUT THOSE TWO GENTLEMEN IS THAT THEY'VE BOTH CHOSEN THAT THE FIGHT IS IN NEW HAMPSHIRE. IT IS NOT IN IOWA. BOTH OF THEM ARE FOCUSING ON COMPETING FOR SUPPORT IN THE PRIMARY. FRED THOMPSON, FOR THAT MATTER, SEEMS TO SORT OF BE ON A SCATTER SHOT MISSION. HE'S SPENDING TIME IN SOUTH CAROLINA AND NEW HAMPSHIRE, IOWA. AND THIS WEEK IN A CONVERSATION WITH ME, HE INDICATED THAT HE'S GOING TO SPEND A LITTLE BIT OF TIME HERE IN IOWA AND HOPE TO PULL OFF A THIRD PLACE.

Yepsen: RUDY GIULIANI AND JOHN MCCAIN HAVE BACKED OUT OF IOWA IN AN EFFORT TO CLEAR THE FIELD FOR MIKE HUCKABEE TO KNOCK OFF MITT ROMNEY. IF MITT ROMNEY IS WOUNDED HERE, HE'S BLEEDING ALL OVER NEW HAMPSHIRE AND THAT GIVES MCCAIN AND GIULIANI A SHOT AT HIM THERE.

Borg: CHARLOTTE, THE DATE, JANUARY 3, IOWANS NOW ARE SHOPPING -- CHRISTMAS SHOPPING AS WELL AS CANDIDATE SHOPPING. DO WE KNOW HOW THAT JANUARY 3 DATE IS GOING TO AFFECT THE CAUCUS THIS TIME, THE OUTCOME, THE CAMPAIGNING, AND THE EFFECT ON FOUR YEARS, EIGHT YEARS FROM NOW WITH IOWA BEING FIRST IN THE NATION?

Eby: WELL, LIKE I SAID, I KNOW THE CLINTON CAMPAIGN IS CONCERNED THAT THERE WILL BE A LOT OF WOMEN STILL ON VACATION OR KIND OF DEALING WITH THE HOLIDAYS -- AFTERMATH OF THE HOLIDAYS, AND THEY WORRY THAT THAT'S GOING TO HURT THE TURNOUT FOR WOMEN VOTERS. WE DON'T NECESSARILY KNOW WHAT IT WILL MEAN FOR A TURNOUT THIS TIME AROUND, EXCEPT THERE'S JUST BEEN SUCH A HUGE FOCUS ON THE DEMOCRATIC RACE HERE THAT WE COULD SEE A RECORD TURNOUT.

Glover: YEAH, I THINK CHARLOTTE TOUCHED ON THE POINT ACCURATELY. I DON'T THINK WE KNOW WHAT THE EFFECT OF IT IS. TRADITIONALLY THESE CAUCUSES BREAK LATE. TRADITIONALLY THEY BREAK IN THE WEEK TO TEN DAYS BEFORE THE CAUCUSES, THE WEEK TO TEN DAYS BEFORE THE CAUCUSES IS GOING TO BE THE WEEK BETWEEN CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR'S. AND WHAT EFFECT IS THAT GOING TO HAVE ON (A) TURNOUT? HOW MANY PEOPLE HAVE SCHEDULED HOLIDAY VACATIONS SOMEWHERE. WE DON'T KNOW. WE DON'T KNOW THE EFFECT OF PEOPLE BEING DISTRACTED BY FAMILY ISSUES, CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY ISSUES, PAYING ATTENTION TO THOSE KINDS OF THINGS. WE SIMPLY DON'T KNOW --

Borg: WHAT ABOUT THE EFFECT DOWN THE WAY?

Glover: WELL, I THINK -- THE ONE THING THAT I THINK WE KNOW ABOUT THIS CYCLE A COUPLE OF STATES, MICHIGAN AND FLORIDA, WERE SUCCESSFUL IN DEFYING THEIR NATIONAL PARTIES, MOVING UP, AND GETTING SOME ATTENTION. NOW, THAT'S GOING TO ENCOURAGE OTHER STATES I THINK TO TRY TO DO THE SAME IN THE NEXT ELECTION CYCLE. SO I THINK IT'S GOING TO ENSURE -- JUST LIKE EVERY FOUR YEARS WE'RE GOING TO HAVE A FIGHT, BUT WE'LL HAVE A PRESIDENT WHO GOT ELECTED IN THIS PROCESS.

Borg: LAST WORD, KAY.

Henderson: GOOD-BYE. [ LAUGHTER ]

Yepsen: THE HOLIDAY'S GATHERINGS I THINK ARE GOING TO BE A FACTOR BECAUSE YOU GET TOGETHER WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS OVER CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR'S, AND ONE OF THE CONVERSATIONS IS GOING TO BE ABOUT POLITICS. SO I THINK JUST THE ACT OF THE HOLIDAYS IS GOING TO PROMPT A LOT OF THIS FIRMING UP TO OCCUR THEN. IT DOES MAKE IT DIFFICULT, THOUGH, TO UNLOAD AN ATTACK AD. HOW ARE YOU GOING TO BEATS UP SOMEBODY WITH 'SILENT NIGHT' PLAYING IN THE BACKGROUND?

Borg: AND THE INCESSANT DEBATES TOO. THANKS FOR YOUR INSIGHTS. I'M SURE WE'LL BE BACK TO REVISIT THIS VERY TIME SOON. GOVERNOR CHET CULVER JOINS US NEXT WEEK OF OUR 'IOWA PRESS' EDITION. WITH THE NEW LEGISLATIVE SESSION CONVENING IN ABOUT A MONTH NOW, GOVERNOR CULVER IS SENDING EARLY SIGNALS TO LAWMAKERS ON HIS PRIORITIES. YOU'LL SEE OUR CONVERSATION WITH THE GOVERNOR AT OUR USUAL 'IOWA PRESS' AIRTIMES: 7:30 FRIDAY NIGHT AND 11:30 SUNDAY MORNING. ANOTHER PROGRAM REMINDER TOO. THIS NEXT WEEK, SPEAKING OF DEBATES, IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION'S MAYTAG AUDITORIUM IN THE SITE OF TWO PRESIDENTIAL DEBATES SPONSORED BY 'THE DES MOINES REGISTER,' DAVE'S PAPER. YOU WILL SEE THE REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES LIVE IN A BROADCAST AT 1:00 ON WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 12, AND THE REPUBLICAN DEBATE REBROADCAST AT 7:00 THAT NIGHT. AND THEN THE VERY NEXT DAY, THURSDAY, THAT'S DECEMBER 13, SIX CANDIDATES WILL BE DEBATING. AND THAT'S AT 1:00 IN THE AFTERNOON. THE DEMOCRATS, THAT'S THEIR DEBATE ON THE 13TH, WILL BE REBROADCAST THAT NIGHT AT 7:00. AND IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING THAT DEBATE ON THURSDAY NIGHT -- AND THAT'S THE REBROADCAST -- THE IOWA JOURNAL PRESENTS A REPORTERS ROUNDTABLE WITH NATIONAL POLITICAL JOURNALISTS REVIEWING THE REPUBLICAN AND THE DEMOCRATIC DEBATES BOTH. THAT ROUNDTABLE AIRS THURSDAY NIGHT AT 8:30. A BUSY WEEK HERE AT IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION. I HOPE YOU'LL WATCH. I'M DEAN BORG. THANKS FOR JOINING US TODAY.

FUNDING FOR 'IOWA PRESS' WAS PROVIDED BY 'FRIENDS,' THE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION FOUNDATION; THE ASSOCIATION OF AMERICAN RAILROADS, DEDICATED TO A CLEAN ENVIRONMENT BY SHIPPING EACH TON OF FREIGHT OVER 400 MILES ON ONE GALLON OF FUEL. AMERICA'S FREIGHT RAILROADS, ON THE WEB AT FREIGHTRAILWORKS.ORG; THE IOWA BANKERS ASSOCIATION... FOR PERSONAL, BUSINESS, AND COMMERCIAL NEEDS, IOWA BANKS HELP IOWANS REACH THEIR FINANCIAL GOALS; BY POLICY WORKS, A PUBLIC AND GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS FIRM OFFERING LOBBYING, GRASS-ROOTS, AND ADVOCACY SERVICES TO HELP YOU MEET YOUR STRATEGIC PUBLIC POLICY NEEDS. INFORMATION IS AVAILABLE ON THE WEB AT WWW.POLICYWORKSLLC.COM.


Tags: campaign 2008 Iowa politics