Iowa Public Television

 

CAMPAIGN 2002: Candidate For Reelection To The United States Senate

posted on October 31, 2002

Yepsen: GOOD EVENING. TONIGHT WE WRAP UP OUR FOUR-PART SERIES FOCUSING ON THE TWO HIGH-PROFILE CAMPAIGNS ON THE 2002 BALLOT IN IOWA. OUR PREELECTION SPOTLIGHT IS ON THE MAJOR PARTY CANDIDATES SEEKING TO BECOME GOVERNOR AND U.S. SENATOR. THIS EVENING WE WELCOME TO OUR IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION STUDIOS DEMOCRATIC U.S. SENATOR TOM HARKIN, NOW SEEKING HIS FOURTH SIX-YEAR TERM IN THE SENATE. SENATOR HARKIN HAS BEEN A FIXTURE ON THE IOWA POLITICAL SCENE SINCE HE WON HIS FIRST OF FIVE TWO-YEAR TERMS IN THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. THAT WAS IN 1974, WHEN A 34-YEAR-OLD HARKIN DEFEATED INCUMBENT CONGRESSMAN BILL SCHERLE. IN 1984 CONGRESSMAN HARKIN BECAME SENATOR HARKIN, WINNING THE FIRST OF THREE SIX-YEAR TERMS IN STATEWIDE OFFICE BY OUSTING SENATOR ROGER JEPSEN. WHILE SENATOR HARKIN HAS REPRESENTED IOWA IN WASHINGTON, D.C., FOR TWENTY-EIGHT YEARS, IT'S BEEN JUST RECENTLY, IN THE 107TH U.S. CONGRESS, THAT HE'S BEEN AT THE PEAK OF HIS POLITICAL CAREER. WITH THE DEMOCRATS TAKING MAJORITY STATUS IN THE UNITED STATES SENATE BY ONE VOTE, SENATOR HARKIN BECAME CHAIRMAN OF THE SENATE AGRICULTURE COMMITTEE, WHERE HE SHEPHERDED THE NEW FARM BILL INTO LAW. SENATOR HARKIN, WELCOME ONCE AGAIN TO IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION.

Harkin: DAVID, IT'S GOOD TO BE BACK.

Yepsen: IT'S GOOD TO HAVE YOU WITH US. SENATOR, EDGE OF THE NEWS QUESTION HERE. YOU WERE ONE OF THE FEATURED SPEAKERS AT A MEMORIAL SERVICE FOR SENATOR PAUL WELLSTONE IN MINNESOTA THIS WEEK. CRITICS UP THERE ARE SAYING IT GOT TOO PARTISAN, IT BECAME A POLITICAL RALLY. AND DEMOCRATS UP THERE ARE APOLOGIZING FOR WHAT HAPPENED. DO YOU THINK YOU HAVE ANYTHING TO APOLOGIZE FOR?

Harkin: I DON'T KNOW IF YOU HEARD MY SPEECH, DAVID, BUT NO. IN FACT, MY SPEECH SORT OF BROUGHT EVERYTHING BACK HOME. I WAS THE LAST SPEAKER ON THE PROGRAM. THERE WAS ONLY REALLY ONE SPEAKER THAT, KIND OF, I THINK WENT TOO FAR, A YOUNG MAN THAT HAD BEEN WITH PAUL FOR A LONG TIME. AND THE CAMPAIGN MANAGER APOLOGIZED FOR THAT SPEECH, BUT THAT WAS THE ONLY ONE. THE REST OF THE SPEECHES WERE ABOUT PAUL. MY SPEECH WAS ABOUT HIM, HIS LEGACY, WHAT HE'D DONE. I CALLED HIM THE SOUL OF THE SENATE, AND THEN I TALKED ABOUT HIS VISION FOR THE FUTURE. SO I THOUGHT IT WAS A GREAT TRIBUTE TO PAUL WELLSTONE.

Yepsen: SENATOR, WHEN WE HAD GOVERNOR VILSACK ON HERE EARLIER THIS WEEK, HE SAID THAT AS A RESULT OF THIS ACCIDENT THAT SENATOR WELLSTONE HAD THAT HE AND CHRISTIE VILSACK WILL NO LONGER FLY TOGETHER IN SMALL AIRPLANES. ARE YOU GOING TO CHANGE THE WAY YOU TRAVEL? WILL YOU BE TRAVELING WITH RUTH? GOVERNOR VILSACK SAID HE JUST DIDN'T WANT TO EVER RUN THE CHANCE OF TURNING HIS CHILDREN INTO ORPHANS.

Harkin: WELL, WE'VE NEVER HAD THAT POLICY. RUTH AND I HAVE FLOWN TOGETHER MANY TIMES. IN FACT, A LOT OF TIMES OUR WHOLE FAMILY IS TOGETHER. AS YOU KNOW, DAVID, I AM A PILOT AND I'VE BEEN FLYING FOR ALL MY ADULT LIFE. SO MAYBE I HAVE A LITTLE BIT BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF AIRCRAFT AND WEATHER, SO I ALWAYS CHECK THINGS OUT BEFORE I GO. I WANT TO CHECK THE WEATHER. I WANT TO KNOW WHAT THE -- WHAT THE VISIBILITY IS. I WANT TO KNOW ABOUT THUNDERSTORMS. I WANT TO KNOW ABOUT ALL THESE THINGS BEFORE I GET ON THOSE AIRPLANES. BUT PROBABLY THE ONLY THING THAT, WELL, I'VE SORT OF CHANGED LATELY IS THAT IF IT'S REALLY BAD WEATHER, IF IT'S IFR CONDITIONS, I'M GOING TO WANT TWO PILOTS, BECAUSE A LOT OF TIMES PLANES WITH TWO ENGINES, IF MORE THAN ONE THING GOES WRONG, IF SOMETHING HAPPENS WITH AN ENGINE AND THEN YOU HAVE SOME INSTRUMENT FAILURE, IT'S TOO MUCH WORKLOAD FOR ONE PILOT. NOW, SOMETIMES THERE ARE AIRPLANES THAT I CAN FLY. SO IF I CAN SIT IN THE RIGHT SEAT, THEN I'M OKAY. IF I HAVE A PILOT IN THE LEFT SEAT AND IF I'M IN THE RIGHT SEAT, THEN IF ANYTHING WERE TO HAPPEN, THEN I COULD HELP HIM OUT WITH THE WORKLOAD.

Yepsen: WELL, SENATOR, I WANT TO TURN TO OUR BUSINESS AT HAND HERE TONIGHT. YOU'RE ASKING FOR ANOTHER TERM. LET'S MAKE THIS KIND OF A JOB REVIEW, IF YOU WILL, FOR THE VOTERS BEFORE THEY DECIDE WHETHER THEY WANT TO REHIRE YOU. WHY SHOULD YOU BE REHIRED TO REPRESENT IOWA IN THE U.S. SENATE?

Harkin: WELL, DAVID, IOWANS HAVE INVESTED A LOT IN ME BY RETURNING ME TO THE SENATE IN THREE TERMS. AS YOU POINTED OUT, I AM THE FIRST IOWAN IN A HUNDRED YEARS TO CHAIR THE AGRICULTURE ECONOMY. AGRICULTURE IS THE BASIS OF OUR ECONOMY. I ALSO CHAIR THE SECOND LARGEST APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE THAT FUNDS ALL EDUCATION, HEALTH, HUMAN SERVICES, LABOR, AND ALL MEDICAL RESEARCH. SO IT'S VERY IMPORTANT TO IOWA FOR EDUCATION; IT'S IMPORTANT FOR THE UNIVERSITY OF IOWA, A LOT OF MEDICAL RESEARCH THAT'S DONE THERE. SO NOW I WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT I CAN USE MY EXPERIENCE AND MY SENIORITY TO BENEFIT THIS STATE AND TO MAKE SURE THAT WE'RE NOT LEFT BEHIND. DAVID, WE'RE GOING TO HAVE SOME TOUGH TIMES AHEAD. WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO TIGHTEN OUR BELTS. WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO CUT DOWN. THERE'S GOING TO BE SOME CUTS IN SPENDING. WE KNOW THAT. WE WANT TO GET OUR BUDGET BACK IN BALANCE AGAIN AND GET OUT OF THIS DEFICIT SPENDING. SO THERE'S SOME TOUGH DECISIONS THAT ARE GOING TO HAVE TO BE MADE. WELL, WHEN THEY'RE TIGHTENING THE BELT IN WASHINGTON, I DON'T WANT IT JUST TIGHTENED AROUND THE STATE OF IOWA. I WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT OTHER STATES GET THEIR BELT TIGHTENED TOO, AND I WANT TO MAKE SURE I FIGHT FOR IOWA TO MAKE SURE THAT WE DON'T END UP HOLDING THE SHORT END OF THE STICK.

Yepsen: HOW IMPORTANT IS SENIORITY TO IOWA?

Harkin: WELL, I THINK IT'S VERY IMPORTANT. WE'RE A SMALL STATE. WE ONLY HAVE FIVE CONGRESSMEN. IF YOU GET CALIFORNIA AND NEW YORK AND PENNSYLVANIA AND STATES LIKE THAT, I MEAN THEY ADD UP THOSE CONGRESSMEN AND THEY CAN RUN RIGHT OVER YOU. BUT WE HAVE TWO SENATORS; SO DOES CALIFORNIA. WE HAVE TWO SENATORS; SO DOES NEW YORK. SO WHEN YOU GET SENIORITY -- I MEAN YOU MAY NOT LIKE THAT SYSTEM OF SENIORITY, IN FACT --

Yepsen: I REMEMBER WHEN YOU WENT TO CONGRESS AS ONE OF THOSE WATERGATE-ERA CONGRESSMEN. IT WAS ONE OF THE THINGS YOU WANTED TO CHANGE.

Harkin: I KNOW. BEFORE WE WENT ON THE SHOW, YOU WERE TELLING ME I MIGHT HAVE TO DRAG OUT THOSE OLD SPEECHES YOU GAVE ME AGAINST SENIORITY. [ LAUGHTER ] WELL, IT'S AMAZING HOW MUCH I'VE LEARNED SINCE I'VE BEEN THERE. BUT THAT'S THE SYSTEM. QUITE FRANKLY, IT'S LIKE ANY OTHER JOB. YOU DO YOUR JOB BETTER NOW THAN YOU DID TWENTY YEARS AGO; YOU KNOW HOW TO DO IT BETTER. I KNOW HOW TO DO MY JOB BETTER. PLUS, THE WAY THE SENIORITY SYSTEM WORKS IS THAT YOU GET THESE CHAIRMANSHIPS AND YOU CAN USE THAT, AND I INTEND TO USE THAT AS I HAVE USED IT IN THE PAST TO BENEFIT THIS STATE.

Yepsen: SENATOR, A LOT OF VOTERS -- POLLS TELL US ARE STILL A LITTLE UNDECIDED ABOUT THINGS. SITTING AROUND THE KITCHEN TABLE, TRYING TO THINK ABOUT WHO THEY'RE GOING TO VOTE FOR. TALK TO THAT UNDECIDED VOTER OUT THERE WHO IS STILL WEIGHING A CHOICE BETWEEN YOU AND GREG GANSKE. WHY SHOULD THEY VOTE FOR YOU?

Harkin: WELL, AS I SAID, "LOOK AT MY RECORD." IF THERE'S ONE THING I CAN PLEAD GUILTY TO IS THAT I FIGHT FOR IOWA AND I FIGHT DARN HARD FOR THIS STATE AND I DON'T BACK DOWN. WHEN IT COMES TO THIS STATE, I DON'T BACK DOWN. THAT'S WHY I FOUGHT SO HARD, FOR EXAMPLE, IN THE LAST FEW YEARS TO GET MONEY FOR REBUILDING AND MODERNIZING OUR SCHOOLS. I FOUGHT HARD FOR THAT MONEY. WE'RE THE ONLY STATE IN THE NATION GETTING THAT MONEY. THAT MONEY THAT I'VE GOTTEN INTO IOWA HAS REBUILT, MODERIZED SCHOOLS, MADE SCHOOLS SAFE ALL OVER THE STATE OF IOWA. AS A MATTER OF FACT, I THINK THE LATEST FIGURES I SAW SHOW THAT COULD BE ABOUT $1.5 BILLION IN CONSTRUCTION FOR THAT MONEY THEY GOT FOR IOWA SCHOOLS. SO WE'VE GOT GOOD JOBS, WE'VE GOT NEW CLASSROOMS, NEW SCHOOLS, SAFER SCHOOLS FOR OUR KIDS AND OUR TEACHERS. SO I FIGHT HARD TO GET THAT FOR THE STATE OF IOWA BECAUSE EDUCATION IS SO IMPORTANT IN THIS STATE. SO I WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT I CAN GO BACK THERE AND CONTINUE TO FIGHT TO MAKE SURE THAT WE GET OUR FAIR SHARE, THAT WE INVEST IN EDUCATION, THAT WE PROTECT SOCIAL SECURITY. I WILL NEVER VOTE TO PRIVATIZE SOCIAL SECURITY. I'M GOING TO KEEP IT SAFE AND KEEP IT SECURE. I WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT WE GET OUR MEDICARE REIMBURSEMENT RATE BACK UP HERE IN THE STATE OF IOWA AND THAT WE HAVE A PRESCRIPTION DRUG BENEFIT FOR ELDERLY UNDER MEDICARE. BUT THERE'S ONE OTHER THING, DAVID. AS I SAID, I'M CHAIRMAN OF THE AGRICULTURE COMMITTEE. I BELIEVE WE'VE GOT A REALLY GOOD FARM BILL FOR THE STATE OF IOWA. WITH NEW JOBS -- WE'RE GOING TO HAVE VALUE-ADDED JOBS. IN RURAL AREAS, WE HAVE A RURAL EQUITY FUND TO BE INVESTING IN NEW JOBS IN THIS STATE, A NEW ENERGY TITLE IN THE FARM BILL, A NEW CONSERVATION PROGRAM. I WANT TO BE THERE TO MAKE SURE THAT THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE AND THE ADMINISTRATION IMPLEMENTS THAT BILL THE WAY WE MEANT IT TO BE IMPLEMENTED SO THAT IOWA GETS ITS SHARE, THAT WE DON'T GET PENALIZED.

Yepsen: WE'LL TALK ABOUT THAT FARM BILL FOR A MOMENT. I KNOW YOU'RE QUITE PROUD OF THAT AND THERE ARE A LOT OF THINGS IN IT THAT HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH FARMING. I MEAN IT'S MORE THINGS FOR RURAL AMERICA. BUT YET, THERE ARE CRITICS OF THAT BILL, INCLUDING YOUR OPPONENT, WHO SAY THERE SHOULD HAVE BEEN LIMITS ON PACKER OWNERSHIP OF LIVESTOCK, FOR EXAMPLE. WHAT DO YOU SAY TO THE CRITICS OF THAT FARM BILL? SOME PEOPLE SAY THEY'RE SURPRISED THAT TOM HARKIN WOULD WRITE A FARM BILL THAT THE FARM BUREAU LIKES, THAT IT PROBABLY HELPS THE BIG GUYS TOO MUCH. WHAT DO YOU SAY TO THOSE CRITICS?

Harkin: THIS FARM BILL REALLY DOES HELP FAMILY FARMERS. MY OPPONENT DID VOTE FOR A FARM BILL. HE VOTED FOR THE ONE THAT PASSED THE HOUSE. IT DIDN'T HAVE A BAN ON PACKER OWNERSHIP OF LIVESTOCK, BUT HE VOTED FOR IT. IN FACT, AND WE'VE GOT TIGHTER LIMITS IN OUR BILL -- TIGHTER LIMITS ON FARM PAYMENTS THAN WHAT WAS IN THE HOUSE BILL. ACTUALLY THEY HAD BIGGER PAYMENTS TO FARMERS THAN WHAT WE HAD, BUT MY OPPONENT VOTED FOR THAT BILL BUT VOTED AGAINST THE BILL THAT WE HAD THAT CUT THOSE PAYMENT LIMITS DOWN. SO WHAT WE HAVE IN THAT BILL -- IT REALLY IS A TOOLBOX FOR RURAL AMERICA. WE'VE GOT THINGS IN THERE THAT -- FROM VALUE-ADDED JOBS, TO ENERGY, TO BROADBAND, ECONOMIC STIMULUS PACKAGES FOR RURAL AMERICA, CONSERVATION PROGRAMS THAT'S GOING TO BE GREAT FOR IOWA. I'VE WORKED DARN HARD OVER FOUR YEARS TO GET THE CONSERVATION SECURITY ACT INTO LAW. WELL, WHEN I BECAME CHAIRMAN OF THE AGRICULTURE COMMITTEE, I PUT IT IN THAT BILL AND I FOUGHT TO THE BITTER END. IT WAS THE LAST ITEM IN THAT BILL THAT WE GOT, AND I GOT IT IN THERE. AND I'M TELLING YOU IT'S GOING TO CLEAN UP OUR RIVERS, OUR STREAMS, OUR LAKES. IT IS GOING TO HELP CLEAN UP THE ENVIRONMENT IN THE STATE OF IOWA.

Yepsen: IT THERE ANYTHING SPECIAL, SENATOR, THAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO DO DIFFERENT IN ANOTHER TERM? ANOTHER PRIORITY? ANOTHER ISSUE? HAVE YOU THOUGHT ABOUT ANYTHING YOU MIGHT BE DOING DIFFERENTLY IN A FOURTH TERM?

Harkin: ONE OF THE THINGS I WANT TO DO IS TO FINISH SOME WORK. I STARTED TRYING TO GET A BILL THROUGH -- I WASN'T ABLE TO GET IT THIS YEAR, BUT I'M GOING TO GET IT DONE. I DON'T GIVE UP. WE'RE LOSING TEACHERS AND WE'RE LOSING NURSES BIG TIME, AND WE'VE GOT TO ADDRESS THAT ISSUE. OUR KIDS WHO ARE GOING TO COLLEGE RIGHT NOW, DAVID, HAVE A MOUNTAIN OF DEBT PILED ON THEIR HEAD. TUITIONS ARE GOING UP. SO I HAVE A BILL IN THAT WOULD PROVIDE THAT IF YOU WERE A TEACHER OR A NURSE, AND YOU AGREED TO SERVE IN AN UNDERSERVED AREA FOR UP TO FIVE YEARS, WHICH WOULD BE BASICALLY THE STATE OF IOWA, THAT YOU COULD GET UP TO $17,500 OF YOUR TUITION FORGIVEN. TO ME, WE HAVE TO GET THAT. WE'RE GOING TO HAVE THIS HUGE SHORTAGE OF NURSES AND TEACHERS. I WANT TO GET THAT ENACTED. WE'VE GOT TO STOP THIS OUTFLOW OF NURSES AND TEACHERS IN THE STATE OF IOWA. THAT'S ONE THING I WANT TO WORK ON. THE SECOND THING THAT I WANT TO WORK ON IS TO MAKE SURE -- I SAID THIS BEFORE BUT I'LL SAY IT AGAIN -- THAT WE GET THAT FARM BILL IMPLEMENTED IN A WAY THAT WORKS FOR IOWA AND TO MAKE SURE THAT IT BENEFITS THE STATE OF IOWA. THAT'S ANOTHER REASON WHY I WANT TO BE BACK THERE.

Yepsen: SENATOR, ONE OF THE THINGS I'M TRYING TO DO WITH THESE INTERVIEWS IS TO GIVE CANDIDATES A CHANCE TO RESPOND TO SOME OF THE ATTACKS THAT GET LEVELED AT THEM IN EVERY CAMPAIGN. WE HEAR THE GANSKE PEOPLE AND THE REPUBLICANS ACCUSING YOU OF BEING TOO LIBERAL, TOO OUT OF TOUCH, DOESN'T LIVE IN IOWA, HAS A PLACE IN THE BAHAMAS. WHAT DO YOU SAY TO THOSE CHARGES, SENATOR?

Harkin: I'VE BEEN HEARING THEM SINCE 1974, DAVID. IT JUST SORT OF COMES -- AS THE AUTUMN COMES, SO DO THESE CHARGES COME. LOOK, I'VE JUST BEEN ENDORSED BY THE IOWA FARM BUREAU. I'M THE FIRST DEMOCRATIC SENATOR TO BE EVER ENDORSED BY THE IOWA FARM BUREAU. I'VE BEEN ENDORSED BY THE IOWA FARMERS UNION. I'VE BEEN ENDORSED BY THE IOWA HOSPITAL ASSOCIATION. MY GOODNESS, MY OPPONENT IS A DOCTOR, YET THE IOWA HOSPITAL ASSOCIATION ENDORSES ME. THE IOWA NURSES ASSOCIATION, THE VETERANS OF FOREIGN WARS PAC, THE JOHN DEERE PAC ALL SUPPORT ME. ARE THEY TOO EXTREME? IS MY OPPONENT SAYING THESE ARE ALL EXTREME? NO. THESE ALL REPRESENT MAINSTREAM IOWA, AND I'VE STOOD WITH THEM AND I STAND WITH THEM AND THEY STAND WITH ME. SO ALL THESE THINGS ARE JUST -- WHAT THEY'RE SAYING ABOUT ME BEING EXTREMIST IS NONSENSE. THAT'S JUST POLITICAL NONSENSE AND IOWANS SEE THROUGH THAT, DAVID. THEY SEE THROUGH THAT.

Yepsen: SENATOR, YOUR JOB APPROVAL RATINGS ARE CONSISTENTLY ABOUT TEN POINTS BEHIND SENATOR GRASSLEY'S. IS THERE SOMETHING THAT WE'RE MISSING IN TOM HARKIN? IS THERE SOME WAY THAT MAYBE THOSE OF US IN THE MEDIA HAVE NOT ACCURATELY COVERED YOU OR THAT YOU'RE MISUNDERSTOOD IN THIS CAMPAIGN?

Harkin: NO, I THINK IOWANS UNDERSTAND ME. I THINK IOWANS UNDERSTAND AT LEAST, NUMBER ONE, I'M A FIGHTER, THAT I FIGHT HARD FOR THIS STATE. I FIGHT HARD FOR WHAT I BELIEVE IN. I BELIEVE IN MAKING SURE THAT EVERY CHILD IN AMERICA, NO MATTER THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THAT CHILD'S BIRTH, THAT EVERY CHILD IS ABLE TO REACH HIS OR HER FULL POTENTIAL. THAT'S SORT OF MY GUIDING STAR. PEOPLE KNOW THAT I FIGHT HARD FOR THAT. THEY KNOW THAT I FIGHT HARD FOR IOWA.

Yepsen: SO IS IT JUST THAT STYLE, SENATOR, THAT PEOPLE MAY NOT LIKE, THAT THAT MAY BE TOO COMBATIVE? COULD THAT BE THE PROBLEM?

Harkin: I DON'T THINK SO. I MEAN I DON'T KNOW. YOU'RE SAYING THAT I'M BEING MISUNDERSTOOD. I THINK MY OPPONENT MISUNDERSTANDS ME; THERE'S NOT DOUBT ABOUT THAT. BUT I THINK IOWANS UNDERSTAND THAT I STICK UP FOR THEM. YOU KNOW, I'LL TELL YOU THIS, DAVID, ONE TIME SENATOR BYRD SAID THIS IN THE SENATE. HE SAID, "YOU KNOW, IF I WAS EVER IN A FOXHOLE AND I WAS SURROUNDED BY THE ENEMY AND THERE WAS ALL THIS INCOMING FIRE," HE SAID, "THERE WOULD BE ONE PERSON I WANT IN THAT FOXHOLE WITH ME, AND THAT WOULD BE TOM HARKIN OF IOWA."

Yepsen: SENATOR, LET'S TURN OUR ATTENTION TO SOME OF THE ISSUES IN THIS CAMPAIGN AND FACING SOCIETY HERE IN IOWA. WHAT'S THE MOST IMPORTANT PROBLEM FACING IOWA, AND WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO ABOUT IT?

Harkin: WELL, DAVID, I'D HAVE TO SAY RIGHT NOW EDUCATION. WE'VE GOT TO GET BACK UP. WE'VE GOT TO MAKE EDUCATION NUMBER ONE AND A PRIORITY IN THIS STATE BECAUSE IT IS OUR FUTURE. AND THAT'S WHY I WORK SO HARD ON THINGS LIKE REDUCING CLASS SIZES; TEACHER TRAINING; AS I MENTIONED EARLIER, REBUILDING AND MODERNIZING OUR SCHOOLS ALL ACROSS THE STATE OF IOWA; AND MAKING SURE THAT WE HELP YOUNG PEOPLE GET THROUGH COLLEGE WITHOUT HAVING A MOUNTAIN OF DEBT PILED ON THEIR HEAD. SO EDUCATION, THAT'S BEEN OUR BULL WORK IN THIS STATE, AND WE HAVE TO ADDRESS THAT. SECONDLY, I WOULD SAY JOBS, MAKING SURE WE HAVE GOOD PAYING JOBS. WE NEED BETTER JOBS IN THIS STATE, DAVID. AND THAT'S WHY I WORK SO HARD ON THE FARM BILL, NOT JUST FOR FARM INCOME SUPPORT BUT FOR ALL THESE OTHER THINGS THAT I MENTIONED. WHOEVER HEARD OF EXTENDING BROADBAND SERVICES BEING IN A FARM BILL? BUT I GOT IT IN THERE BECAUSE I KNOW IT'S GOING TO HELP CREATE BETTER JOBS ALL OVER THIS STATE. WHOEVER HEARD OF AN ENERGY TITLE IN A FARM BILL? I GOT IT IN THERE BECAUSE NOW IT'S GOING TO HELP PROVIDE NEW ENERGY SOURCES, EVERYTHING FROM BIOMASS, TO WIND, TO SOLAR, TO ETHANOL, TO SOY DIESEL. I ALSO GOT ONE OTHER PROVISION IN THAT FARM BILL THAT NOT TOO MANY PEOPLE TALK ABOUT AND NOT TOO MANY PEOPLE KNOW ABOUT. IT'S A SIMPLE PROVISION THAT SAYS THAT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, ALL DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT NOW HAVE TO GIVE A PREFERENCE TO BIOBASED PRODUCTS IF THEY'RE EQUIVOLANT IN PRICE, PERFORMANCE, AND AVAILABILITY. NOW, THAT IS GOING TO MEAN MORE JOBS ALL OVER RURAL AMERICA, BUT ESPECIALLY HERE IN IOWA.

Yepsen: HOW SOON WILL WE START TO SEE THOSE JOBS, SENATOR?

Harkin: WELL, I JUST FOUND OUT OVER THE WEEKEND THAT THERE WAS A SOY DIESEL PLANT IN DICKINSON COUNTY THAT JUST GOT A $500,000 GRANT TO HELP ESTABLISH THEMSELVES. SO IT'S NOW STARTING. WE HAVE A SOY LUBRICANT COMPANY UP NEAR UNI NEAR -- RIGHT OUTSIDE OF UNI, CALLED ABIL, AG BASED INDUSTRIAL LUBRICANTS. NOW, I BELIEVE THAT THEY'RE GOING TO START BEING ABLE TO SELL THAT SOY GREASE TO THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, ESPECIALLY LIKE THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE. ONE THING I WANT TO DO NEXT YEAR, DAVID, IS I WANT TO BE THE FIRST CHAIRMAN OF THE AGRICULTURE COMMITTEE TO HAVE THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE COME DOWN AND TESTIFY BEFORE THE AG COMMITTEE, AND I'M GOING TO DO IT BECAUSE -- I'M GOING TO ASK HIM. I'M GOING TO SAY, "MR. SECRETARY, HOW MANY TRUCKS DO YOU HAVE IN THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE?" AND I'M GOING TO SAY, "NOW, WHERE DO YOU BUY YOUR GREASE?" I'M GOING TO SAY, MR SECRETARY, "HERE'S THE LAW THAT SAYS ALL DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES MUST BUY BIOBASED PRODUCTS." NOW, IF THE NORFOLK SOUTHERN RAILROAD CAN BUY IT AND TRUCKING COMPANIES CAN BUY IT, WHY ISN'T THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE BUYING SOY GREASE. SO I'M GOING TO DO THIS WITH ALL THE FEDERAL DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES. THAT WHAT I MEAN. JOBS IN IOWA, BETTER PAYING JOBS, VALUE-ADDED JOBS, THAT'S WHAT I'M TRYING TO GET HERE. THAT'S WHY I'M WORKING SO HARD, DAVID, TO GET MONEY FOR THE NATIONAL ANIMAL DISEASE LAB UP IN AMES, TO MAKE SURE WE GET THAT. THAT'S GOING TO COME IN AT ABOUT A HALF BILLION DOLLARS. I CAN TELL YOU THERE ARE THREE STATES THAT WANT PART OF IT. WELL, I'M NOT GOING TO LET THEM HAVE IT. THIS SHOULD BE IN IOWA AND I'M GOING TO FIGHT TO GET THAT TOTAL NATIONAL ANIMAL DISEASE LAB HERE IN IOWA.

Yepsen: SENATOR, WHAT DO YOU SAY TO CRITICS OF THIS SORT OF THING WHO WILL SAY THAT'S JUST PORK BARRELL STUFF, THAT'S THE REASON WE HAVE FEDERAL SPENDING PROBLEMS IS THAT PEOPLE ARE DOING THESE LITTLE PORK BARREL THINGS LIKE YOU'RE DOING.

Harkin: NO, THAT'S NOT TRUE. I MEAN THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IS GOING TO SPEND MONEY, UNLESS YOU THINK THAT -- IF YOU THINK THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IS GOING TO SHUT DOWN TOMORROW AND NOT DOING ANYTHING, WELL, THEN MAYBE YOU MIGHT WANT TO VOTE FOR MY OPPONENT. BUT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IS GOING TO BE INVOLVED IN THESE THINGS. WE ARE GOING TO HAVE A NATIONAL ANIMAL DISEASE LAB. THEY'RE GOING TO DO THAT WORK. THEY'RE EITHER GOING TO DO IT ALL HERE, OR THEY'RE GOING TO DO PART OF IT HERE AND PART OF IT IN MICHIGAN, PART OF IT IN NEW YORK, PART OF IT IN MISSISSIPPI THAT WANT PARTS OF IT, OR THEY'RE ALL GOING TO DO IT HERE. THAT' WHY I WANT TO FIGHT TO GET IT HERE. OR EVEN IN EDUCATION... THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IS GOING TO BE A PARTNER IN EDUCATION. I'VE ALWAYS SAID, DAVID, THE GENIUS OF THE AMERICAN EDUCATION SYSTEM IS ITS DIVERSITY, LOCAL CONTROL, BECAUSE YOU GET EXPERIMENTATION. YOU DON'T GET THIS TOP DOWN TELLING PEOPLE HOW TO TEACH AND WHAT TO TEACH AND HOW TO THINK. THAT'S BEEN THE GENIUS FOR OUR SYSTEM. THE FAILURE OF OUR SYSTEM IS HOW WE PAY FOR IT. WELL, I'VE OFTEN ASKED WHERE IS IT WRITTEN IN THE CONSTITUTION THAT EDUCATION MUST BE PAID FOR JUST BY PROPERTY TAXPAYERS. NOWHERE! SO I THINK THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT COULD BE A PARTNER IN HELPING. AND ONE OF THE BEST WAYS TO HELP IS TO REBUILD AND MODERNIZE OUR SCHOOLS. THAT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH LOCAL CONTROL. IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH WHAT YOU TEACH OR HOW YOU TEACH, BUT IT SURE DOES PROVIDE BETTER CLASSROOMS. NOW, I JUST WANT TO ADD THIS. MY OPPONENT HAS SAID THAT'S WRONG. HE THINKS THAT IS INAPPROPRIATE. WELL, GO OUT AND ASK THOSE 195 SCHOOL DISTRICTS IN THE STATE OF IOWA, GO OUT AND ASK THEIR SCHOOL BOARDS, GO OUT AND ASK THE PROPERTY TAXPAYERS IN THOSE DISTRICTS IF THEY THINK IT'S INAPPROPRIATE FOR US TO GET THAT MONEY OUT THERE TO REBUILD THEIR SCHOOLS, AND I THINK YOU'LL GET A DIFFERENT STORY.

Yepsen: SENATOR, I WANT TO TURN TO OUR ATTENTION TO FOREIGN POLICY. YOU VOTED FOR THE RESOLUTION THAT WILL PERHAPS LEAD TO A WAR WITH IRAQ, YET IN 1991 YOU OPPOSED THE PERSIAN GULF WAR. THAT SEEMS TO BE INCONSISTENT. WHY THE CHANGE IN HEART? WHY DID YOU VOTE FOR ONE AND NOT THE OTHER?

Harkin: I ALSO BELIEVE THAT WAR SHOULD BE THE LAST RESORT AND NOT THE FIRST RESPONSE, AND THAT'S WHAT IOWANS HAVE BEEN TELLING ME. IN 1991 I DID NOT BELIEVE THAT ALL AVENUES HAD BEEN EXHAUSTED IN TERMS OF GETTING THE U.N. IN TO TRY TO GET SADDAM TO REMOVE HIMSELF FROM KUWAIT. THAT'S WHY WE HAD THAT GREAT DEBATE IN THE SENATE AT THAT TIME. HOWEVER, THIS IS TEN YEARS, ELEVEN, TWELVE YEARS LATER. AND SO SADDAM HAS BEEN GIVEN A LOT OF OPPORTUNITIES TO COMPLY. HE HAS NOT COMPLIED WITH U.N. RESOLUTIONS, SO THIS IS A MUCH DIFFERENT KIND OF A SETTING AT THIS TIME THAN IT WAS TWELVE YEARS AGO. SECONDLY, WHEN PRESIDENT BUSH SENT DOWN HIS FIRST REQUEST FOR A RESOLUTION, I LOOKED AT IT AND I READ IT AND I SAID, "I CAN'T VOTE FOR THIS. I CANNOT SUPPORT THIS. THIS IS A BLANK CHECK FOR THE PRESIDENT." WE WOULD BE GIVING UP OUR CONSTITUTIONAL OBLIGATION IF WE GAVE THE PRESIDENT THAT MUCH POWER. SO WE WORKED AND WE GOT A STRONG BIPARTISAN-TYPE RESOLUTION THAT I COULD SUPPORT. IT BASICALLY SAYS THE PRESIDENT IS GOING TO GO TO THE UNITED NATIONS AND WORK WITH THE SECURITY COUNCIL TO TRY TO GET THE STRONGEST POSSIBLE RESOLUTION. BUT IT GIVES THE PRESIDENT THIS HAMMER TO TELL THE SECURITY COUNCIL, "IF YOU DON'T DO IT, WE CAN DO IT OURSELVES." SO THAT'S WHY I VOTED FOR IT, BECAUSE I THINK WE NEEDED THAT HAMMER BUT WE NEEDED TO DO EVERYTHING WE COULD TO WORK WITH THE UNITED NATIONS.

Yepsen: SENATOR, WHAT'S OUR ROLE -- WHAT'S THE U.S. ROLE IN THE WORLD IN THE FUTURE GOING TO BE? WE'RE IN SORT OF THE POST COLD WAR ERA NOW. WE'RE IN THE ERA OF TERRORISM. ARE WE THE WORLD'S COP? DO WE HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY TO PUT BRUSH FIRES OUT AROUND THE WORLD SO IT DOESN'T RESULT IN TERRORISM? THE SENATE HAS TO ADVISE AND CONSENT TO THE FOREIGN POLICY OF THE UNITED STATES. WHAT'S YOUR VIEW OF WHAT IT OUGHT TO BE?

Harkin: YOU KNOW, THE FIRST AMENDMENT I EVER GOT PASSED IN CONGRESS WHEN I WAS A FRESHMAN CONGRESSMAN IN 1975, IT'S NOW CALLED SECTION 116D OF THE FOREIGN SERVICE ACT. IT'S THE HUMAN RIGHTS AMENDMENT. AND I'M VERY PROUD OF THAT BECAUSE IT'S THE FIRST TIME EVER IN THE HISTORY OF THIS COUNTRY THAT WE HAD TO PAY ATTENTION TO HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES IN OTHER COUNTRIES IN TERMS OF FOREIGN AID. THAT WAS MY AMENDMENT AND IT'S STILL THERE AS PART OF THE LAW. I FELT THEN AND I FEEL NOW THAT THE UNITED STATES MUST BE MORE THAN JUST THE MILITARY POWER OF THE WORLD. THAT'S SORT OF ONE OF MY FEARS RIGHT NOW IS THAT BECAUSE WE'RE SO STRONG MILITARILY -- YOU KNOW, THE SOVIET -- THERE'S NO SOVIET UNION. RUSSIA CAN'T TOUCH US. NO ONE IS EVEN NEAR US MILITARILY. I'M CONCERNED THAT THAT MIGHT BECOME THE DEFINING PART OF WHO WE ARE IS MILITARY MIGHT. I DON'T WANT THAT TO HAPPEN. I WANT AMERICA DEFINED FOR WHAT WE ARE: WHO WE ARE AS A PEOPLE; TO SHOW THE WORLD THAT WE CAN BE A GOOD NEIGHBOR; THAT WE'RE GOING TO PROMOTE HUMAN RIGHTS AND RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS; THAT WE'RE GOING TO SHOW THE PEOPLE OF THIS WORLD THAT AMERICA, ALL RACES, ALL COLORS, ALL CREEDS, ALL ETHNIC BACKGROUNDS, WE CAN LIVE TOGETHER IN PEACE AND HARMONY AND HAVE A FUNCTIONING SOCIETY. TO ME THAT IS THE STRONGEST THING WE CAN SHOW THE WORLD.

Yepsen: BUT HAVE WE NOT ENTERED A PERIOD, SENATOR, WHERE U.S. MILITARY POWER IS GOING TO HAVE TO BE USED AROUND THE WORLD IN BEHALF OF THOSE GOALS: PRESIDENT CLINTON IN KOSOVO; NOW PRESIDENT BUSH IN IRAQ; THERE'S SOME THINKING WE SHOULD HAVE GONE INTO AFRICA TO TRY TO HELP PREVENT THE GENECIDE THERE. WHERE DO WE USE THE U.S. MILITARY?

Harkin: I THINK THERE ARE -- THAT'S GOING TO DEPEND UPON THE TIMES AND CIRCUMSTANCES. OBVIOUSLY THERE ARE GOING TO BE TIMES WHEN WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO USE OUR MILITARY MIGHT, BUT ALWAYS AS THE BACKDROP. NEVER THE FIRST RESPONSE. FIRST WE'VE GOT TO GET OUT -- WE'VE GOT TO DO MORE IN THIS WORLD, DAVID, IN EDUCATION. I CAN TELL YOU STORIES ABOUT THIRD WORLD COUNTRIES I'VE BEEN TO. THEY BEGGED ME, "PLEASE, HELP US WITH EDUCATION." THEY WANT -- WELL, ONE THING WE HAVE STARTED DOING THAT I FEEL GOOD ABOUT IS THE DOLE-MCGOVERN BILL THAT WE GOT PASSED IN OUR AGRICULTURE COMMITTEE -- AND WE'RE NOW STARTING TO FUND IT -- AND THAT IS TO START A SCHOOL LUNCH PROGRAM IN THIRD WORLD COUNTRIES. WHY NOT TAKE SOME OF THE GREAT BOUNTY THAT WE HAVE IN FOOD, RATHER THAN IN DOLLARS -- A LOT OF THAT MONEY JUST GOES TO DICTATORS ANYWAY -- TAKE THAT FOOD, GET IT TO THEM FOR SCHOOL LUNCH PROGRAMS. HERE'S WHAT IT DOES. FIRST OF ALL IT GETS KIDS GOOD NUTRITION. BUT SECONDLY, IT GETS THEM OUT OF THOSE SWEATSHOPS, BECAUSE PEOPLE -- THE FAMILIES MAY HAVE THEM WORKING THERE TO GET ADDITIONAL FAMILY INCOME. WELL, IF YOU CAN GIVE THEM A FREE MEAL EVERY DAY, MAN, THAT TAKES A GREAT BURDEN OFF THE FAMILY, AND SO YOU GET THE KIDS EDUCATED AND YOU GET THEM OUT OF THE SWEATSHOPS. THESE ARE THE THINGS I THINK AMERICA HAS GOT TO DO TO SHOW THE KIND OF FACE OF JUST WHO WE ARE.

Yepsen: SENATOR, I WANT YOU TO TALK TO THE PEOPLE OF IOWA ABOUT WHAT YOU WANT US TO DO DIFFERENTLY. YOU TRAVEL AROUND THE STATE, YOU THINK ABOUT OUR PROBLEMS, YOU LOOK AT THIS STATE. WE ALWAYS ARE ASKING YOU WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO. WHAT DO YOU WANT US TO DO? WHAT SHOULD WE BE DOING DIFFERENTLY AS A PEOPLE THAT WE'RE NOT DOING?

Harkin: ONE OF THE THINGS I LOVED ABOUT WHERE I GREW UP IN CUMMING WAS THE SENSE OF COMMUNITY, THAT WE WERE TOGETHER AS A COMMUNITY, AND WE KIND OF WATCHED OUT FOR ONE ANOTHER. I ALSO SAY I GREW UP IN A TOWN AND WE DIDN'T HAVE ANY LAW ENFORCEMENT. WELL, YEAH, BECAUSE YOUR NEIGHBORS ENFORCED IT. THEY ALWAYS KNEW WHAT YOU WERE DOING. SO THAT SENSE OF COMMUNITY, WE'VE GOT TO REBUILD THAT IN THE STATE OF IOWA, THE SENSE THAT WE'RE IN THIS THING TOGETHER. AND WE'VE GOT TO RELY ON ONE ANOTHER. I DON'T LIKE THIS IDEA THAT SOMEHOW THERE'S THIS URBAN-RURAL SPLIT IN IOWA. THAT'S ALWAYS BOTHERED ME. WE'RE IN THIS THING TOGETHER. SECONDLY, I MAY SOUND LIKE A BROKEN RECORD ON THIS, I KNOW. BUT JUST BECAUSE WE WERE THE NATION'S LEADERS IN EDUCATION AT ONE TIME AND WE HAD THE BEST EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM DOES NOT MEAN THAT WE'RE ALWAYS GOING TO BE THAT WAY IF WE DON'T DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. AND I'M AFRAID RIGHT NOW, DAVID, THAT WE MIGHT BE IN A MIND-SET OF ACCEPTING EVER LOWER AND LOWER STANDARDS OF WHAT IS THE BEST. I DON'T WANT TO DO THAT. I WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT WE GET BACK TO WHERE WE'VE BEEN IN EDUCATION WITH THE BEST TEACHERS, THE BEST-PAID TEACHERS, THE BEST SCHOOLS, THE BEST STUDENTS, THE HIGHEST STANDARDS. THAT'S WHAT WE'VE GOT TO DO DIFFERENTLY.

Yepsen: SENATOR, WE'VE GOT ABOUT THIRTY SECONDS LEFT, AND I'LL GIVE IT TO YOU. WHAT DO YOU WANT IOWANS TO REMEMBER ABOUT YOU AS THEY HEAD TO THE VOTING BOOTH ON TUESDAY?

Harkin: WELL, I WANT IOWANS TO REMEMBER THAT EVERYTHING I DO IS FOR THIS STATE. I LOVE THIS STATE. I'M A FOURTH-GENERATION IOWAN, AND I FIGHT HARD FOR IOWA. AND I USE MY POSITION IN THE SENATE TO MAKE SURE THAT I REPRESENT THE VALUES OF IOWA, THAT I FIGHT FOR THE PEOPLE OF THIS STATE, THAT I DO EVERYTHING I CAN TO MAKE IOWA NUMBER ONE. I'VE DONE THAT IN THE PAST, AND I'M GOING TO DO THAT IN THE FUTURE TOO.

Yepsen: THANK YOU, SENATOR. WE APPRECIATE YOUR TIME. TONIGHT'S DISCUSSION WITH SENATOR HARKIN IS THE LAST OF FOUR PRESENTATIONS WITH THE MAJOR PARTY CANDIDATES FOR THE U.S. SENATE AND FOR GOVERNOR OF IOWA. WE'D LIKE TO THANK THE CANDIDATES WHO JOINED US THIS WEEK: CONGRESSMAN GREG GANSKE, REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE FOR THE U.S. SENATE; GOVERNOR TOM VILSACK, DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE FOR REELECTION AS GOVERNOR OF IOWA; REPUBLICAN GUBERNATORIAL CONTENDER DOUG GROSS; AND TONIGHT'S GUEST, DEMOCRATIC SENATOR TOM HARKIN. WE LEAVE YOU THIS EVENING WITH A COUPLE PROGRAM REMINDERS. ON "IOWA PRESS" THIS WEEKEND, OUR TEAM OF POLITICAL AND LEGISLATIVE REPORTERS WILL GATHER HERE TO DISCUSS THE CAMPAIGNS OF 2002. THAT'S FRIDAY AT 6:30 IN THE EVENING, WITH A REBROADCAST SCHEDULED FOR SUNDAY AT NOON. NOW, A SPECIAL EDITION OF "IOWA PRESS" IS COMING YOUR WAY THIS WEEKEND, SUNDAY AT 12:30 IN THE AFTERNOON, IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING OUR REGULAR "IOWA PRESS," WITH A REBROADCAST SCHEDULED FOR MONDAY EVENING AT 6:30. IT'S AN "IOWA PRESS" SPECIAL WITH HOST AND MODERATOR LORENZO SANDOVAL, WHO'LL DISCUSS THE ELECTION OF 2002 WITH THREE LATINO JOURNALISTS. THE PROGRAM IS IN SPANISH AND IT'S CAPTIONED IN ENGLISH AND IS AVAILABLE IN ENGLISH ON SAP, THE SECOND AUDIO PROGRAM CHANNEL. THIS WRAPS UP "THE CANDIDATES WITH DAVID YEPSEN." THANK YOU FOR JOINING US FOR OUR PREELECTION SPECIALS HERE ON STATEWIDE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION. I HOPE THEY'VE BEEN USEFUL AS YOU PREPARE TO VOTE ON TUESDAY. I'M DAVID YEPSEN OF "THE DES MOINES REGISTER."

FUNDING FOR THIS PROGRAM WAS PROVIDED BY "FRIENDS," THE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION FOUNDATION... GENERATIONS OF FAMILIES AND FRIENDS WHO FEEL PASSIONATELY ABOUT THE PROGRAMS THEY WATCH ON IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION.


Tags: agriculture campaign 2002 Congress Democrats elections Iowa