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Iowa Press #2709 - Rob Tully
October 31, 1999

Borg: ANOTHER NEW DATE HAS BEEN AGREED TO FOR THE IOWA CAUCUSES OF 2000. WE'LL PREVIEW THE PROCESS AND THE PREPARATIONS FOR THE FIRST-IN-THE-NATION IOWA CAUCUSES WITH THE CHAIR OF THE IOWA DEMOCRATIC PARTY, ROB TULLY, ON THIS EDITION OF IOWA PRESS.

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

THIS IS THE SUNDAY, OCTOBER 31ST EDITION OF IOWA PRESS. HERE IS DEAN BORG.

Borg: ONCE UPON A TIME, THERE WAS AN HONORED AGREEMENT THAT IOWA WOULD HOLD THE FIRST-IN-THE-NATION PRESIDENTIAL PREFERENCE CAUCUSES AND NEW HAMPSHIRE WOULD HOLD THE FIRST-IN-THE-NATION PRIMARY, BOTH STATES KICKING OFF THE NATION'S PRESIDENTIAL SELECTION PROCESSES. WELL, IT WAS MORE THAN A GENTLEMEN'S AGREEMENT, ACTUALLY, IT IS STATE LAW IN IOWA. THE TWO MAJOR PARTY ORGANIZATIONS IN IOWA, THE DEMOCRATS AND THE REPUBLICANS, FORGED THE UNITED FRONT IN THAT AGREEMENT. UNTIL RECENTLY, IT HELD UP WITH THEIR COUNTERPARTS IN NEW HAMPSHIRE. BUT TODAY IOWA HAS A FOURTH DATE FOR THE CAUCUSES OF 2000, AND THAT RESULTS FROM NEW HAMPSHIRE'S MANEUVERING, A MOVE THAT WILL PROBABLY CAUSE THE DEMOCRATIC AND REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEES SOME HEADACHES IN THE NEXT PRESIDENTIAL NOMINATION CYCLE. NOW, IF RESCHEDULING HEADACHES WEREN'T ENOUGH, IOWA'S TWO MAJOR POLITICAL PARTIES HAVE OTHER CONSIDERATIONS,TOO, INCLUDING CONGRESSIONAL AND STATE HOUSE CAMPAIGNS FOR THAT ELECTION COMING UP IN 2000. AND ROB TULLY, WHO'S CHAIR OF THE IOWA DEMOCRATIC PARTY, IS GOING TO BE QUESTIONED ABOUT ALL OF THAT TODAY. WELCOME BACK, ROB.

Tully: THANK YOU VERY MUCH. I'M GLAD TO BE HERE.

Borg: ACROSS THE TABLE, POLITICAL REPORTERS DAVID YEPSEN OF THE DES MOINES REGISTER AND MIKE GLOVER OF THE ASSOCIATED PRESS.

Glover: MR. CHAIRMAN, REGARDLESS OF WHAT DATE THE CAUCUSES ACTUALLY OCCUR ON, YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE A RACE BETWEEN AN INCUMBENT VICE PRESIDENT AL GORE AND A FORMER NEW JERSEY SENATOR, BILL BRADLEY, THAT LOOKS PRETTY COMPETITIVE. HANDICAP THAT RACE FOR US. WHAT DO WE HAVE THERE?

Tully: WELL, YOU KNOW I HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO BE HERE WITH ALL OF YOU IN THE SPRING, AND I SAID THAT THIS IS GOING TO BE A COMPETITIVE RACE. I THOUGHT IT THEN AND I THINK I'VE BEEN -- I BELIEVE IT NOW. THE VICE PRESIDENT STILL, I THINK, HAS THE LEAD HERE IN IOWA, BUT SENATOR BRADLEY HAS DONE A GREAT JOB OF WORKING IOWA AND WORKING THE VOTERS, AND I THINK THIS IS GOING TO BE A CLOSE ONE.

Glover: WHAT CAN BRADLEY DO HERE?

Tully: WELL, I THINK, AND ONE OF THE THINGS I SAID EARLIER IS THAT IF BRADLEY GETS 40 PERCENT OR HIGHER, HE'S IN THIS RACE. THE FACT IS THAT I THINK THAT THE VICE PRESIDENT IS GOING TO NEED TO DO AT LEAST 50 PERCENT OR BETTER. IF HE ENDS UP GETTING LESS THAN 50 PERCENT, I THINK THAT SHOWS THAT HE MAY HAVE SOME PROBLEMS, DOESN'T MEAN THAT HE CAN'T OVERCOME IT.

Glover: WELL, WILL HE?

Tully: I DON'T KNOW. I THINK RIGHT NOW AS I -- AND YOU'RE ASKING ME TO HANDICAP IT... I THINK THAT THE VICE PRESIDENT, PROBABLY, IS ABOVE 50 NOW. BUT AGAIN, SENATOR BRADLEY IS TAKING IT TO HIM, SO I THINK THIS IS GOING TO BE A GOOD, CLOSE RACE.

Yepsen: MR. CHAIRMAN, WHAT'S WRONG WITH GORE? WHAT HAS HAPPENED? HIS POLL NUMBERS HAVE DROPPED. HE'S HAD TO REORGANIZE HIS CAMPAIGN AT LEAST ONCE OR A COUPLE OF TIMES THAT WE KNOW OF, PEOPLE COMING AND GOING. GIVE US YOUR ASSESSMENT OF WHAT'S WRONG WITH THAT CAMPAIGN.

Tully: YOU KNOW, I DON'T THINK IT'S ANYTHING PARTICULAR IN TERMS OF AL GORE AS AN INDIVIDUAL. I THINK AL GORE SUFFERS FROM WHAT ALL VICE PRESIDENTS FOR LONG-SERVING PRESIDENTS END UP HAVING. I MEAN IT WAS NO DIFFERENT WITH GEORGE W. BUSH SERVING WITH RONALD REAGAN FOR EIGHT YEARS, HUBERT HUMPHREY HAD THE SAME PROBLEM WITH LYNDON JOHNSON, AND RICHARD NIXON HAD THE SAME PROBLEM WITH DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER. THE FACT IS, IS THAT WHEN YOU'RE NUMBER TWO FOR EIGHT YEARS, A LOT OF TIMES PEOPLE HAVE A HARD TIME OVERCOMING THAT. AND THE EXTENSION -- YOU KNOW, YOU LOOK BACK IN '68, IF THE ELECTION HAD BEEN HELD BY MOST PUNDITS ANOTHER THREE WEEKS LATER, HUBERT HUMPHREY WOULD HAVE WON. SO IT'S JUST A MATTER OF THAT HE'S GOT TO GET HIS FEET ON THE GROUND AND --

Yepsen: HAVING SAID GORE HAS PROBLEMS, HAS HE FIXED THEM? I MEAN, THERE'S SOME EVIDENCE TO SAY THAT THIS HAS KIND OF BOTTOMED OUT. YOU KNOW, HE CAME OUT THE J.J., FORCEFUL SPEECH THERE ATTACKING BRADLEY. DO YOU THINK THAT THE VICE PRESIDENT HAS STOPPED THE POLITICAL BLEEDING?

Tully: I THINK SO. I MEAN THE REALITY IS, I THINK, WHAT I'M STARTING TO HEAR FROM PEOPLE IS THEY'RE LISTENING TO AL GORE ON THE STUMP IS THAT THIS IS A DIFFERENT PERSON THAT THEY PERCEIVED AND, YOU KNOW, IT'S THE EARLY PART OF PERCEPTION IN ANY TYPE OF RACE THAT PEOPLE START MAKING EARLY PREDICTIONS. BUT I THINK THAT HE'S DONE A GOOD JOB OF KIND OF BRINGING HIMSELF BACK TO THE GROUND. AND HE HAS A VISION FOR THE FUTURE THAT I THINK IS CONNECTING WITH SOME PEOPLE.

Borg: MR. TULLY, ONE FACTOR YOU DIDN'T MENTION THERE IN WHAT'S WRONG WITH THE SLUGGISH GORE CAMPAIGN THUS FAR IS WHAT HAS BEEN TERMED "CLINTON FATIGUE" OR EMBARRASSMENT. THINK THAT'S A FACTOR?

Tully: WELL, YOU KNOW, EVERYBODY TALKS ABOUT IT. I REALLY DON'T BELIEVE IT'S AS MUCH "CLINTON FATIGUE" AS IT IS THE FACT THAT HE'S BEEN THE NUMBER TWO MAN FOR EIGHT YEARS, AND THAT IS SOMETIMES A HURDLE FOR PEOPLE TO HAVE TO GET OVER. I DON'T THINK THERE'S ANY DOUBT THAT, I THINK, THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WANT TO TURN THE PAGE ON THIS CHAPTER. BUT I THINK IT'S MORE TOWARD THE FACT THAT HE'S VICE PRESIDENT AS OPPOSED TO THAT HE'S VICE PRESIDENT TO BILL CLINTON.

Borg: BUT IS THAT ALSO TRANSLATING, PERHAPS, INTO SOME SLUGGISHNESS EVEN IN THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY IN IOWA WITH TRADITIONAL IOWA VALUES HERE AND A LITTLE EMBARRASSMENT ABOUT WHAT'S TAKEN PLACE AT THE TOP?

Tully: OH, AGAIN, I REALLY DON'T BELIEVE THAT THE SURGENCE OF BILL BRADLEY IS BASED UPON AS MUCH OF A "CLINTON FATIGUE" AS IT IS ABOUT THAT BILL BRADLEY IS A VERY LIKABLE INDIVIDUAL WHO PEOPLE THAT ARE SUPPORTING HIM WANT HIM TO BE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.

Glover: WE'VE TALKED ABOUT SOME OF THE PROBLEMS THAT HAVE BEEN EXPERIENCED BY THE GORE CAMPAIGN. BRADLEY HAS COME ON A LITTLE BIT. YOU SAID HE'S KIND OF A LIKABLE GUY. WHAT'S HE DOING RIGHT? WHAT IS A FORMER SENATOR WITH A NOT TERRIBLY DESCRIPT RECORD, WHO HAS HAD A FAIRLY SLUGGISH CAMPAIGN STYLE, SUDDENLY CHALLENGING SITTING VICE PRESIDENT... HOW'S THAT HAPPENING?

Tully: WELL, I THINK PART OF IT -- AND WE'VE TALKED ABOUT THIS, AGAIN, BEFORE IS THAT, YOU KNOW, BILL BRADLEY'S GOT A STAR QUALITY. IT'S WHETHER THE FACT THAT HE WAS A FORMER NBA PLAYER, BUT BILL BRADLEY IS THE ALL-AMERICAN BOY. I MEAN, HE IS SOMEBODY WHO WAS A RHODES SCHOLAR, WHO WAS A -- ON THE OLYMPIC TEAM, AN NBA STAR, A DISTINGUISHED U.S. SENATOR, AND SO THE FACT IS IS THAT HE'S GOT ALL THE BOOK QUALITIES TO BE THERE. AND I THINK THAT WHAT HE'S BEEN TELLING PEOPLE, IN TERMS OF HIS VISION, IS CONNECTING WITH PEOPLE. HE'S A VERY THOUGHTFUL PERSON.

Glover: HAS HE PEAKED TOO EARLY? THERE IS SOME INDICATION HE CAME ON VERY STRONG THIS FALL. SHOULD THAT CHARGE HAVE COME IN JANUARY INSTEAD?

Tully: WELL, IT WILL BE INTERESTING, BUT IT ALL COMES DOWN TO THIS, I MEAN, THE FACT IS IS THAT BILL BRADLEY, I THINK, IS DOING WELL. FOR IOWA AND IOWA CAUCUSES THAT WE ALWAYS REMIND OURSELVES IS THAT IT'S HOW HIS CAMPAIGN ORGANIZES IN GETTING THOSE PEOPLE TO THE CAUCUSES. THAT'S THE IMPORTANT PART. AND SO I KNOW THAT THEY'VE GOT A GOOD CAMPAIGN STAFF, AND THEY'RE WORKING TOWARD THAT GOAL OF MAKING SURE THAT THEY GET THOSE PEOPLE TO THE CAUCUSES.

Yepsen: MR. CHAIRMAN, IS IT POSSIBLE BRADLEY COULD ACTUALLY BEAT GORE IN IOWA? YOU LOOK AT SOME OF THESE POLLS NOW, HE'S WITHIN A FEW POINTS OF GORE. CALLING AROUND TO SOME OF YOUR COUNTY CHAIRS LAST WEEK, A NUMBER OF THEM SAID, YOU KNOW, IT'S POSSIBLE, IT'S TOO CLOSE TO CALL, IT'S TIGHT. WHAT'S YOUR GUT TELL YOU? COULD WE HAVE A SCENARIO HERE WHERE BILL BRADLEY ACTUALLY BEATS AL GORE?

Tully: I THINK THAT ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE IN POLITICS. AND CERTAINLY A LOT OF THINGS CAN HAPPEN BETWEEN NOW AND JANUARY 24TH. THE FACT IS, IT ALL COMES BACK DOWN TO THEIR ORGANIZATION. WHETHER THERE IS SOME GAFFES ON THE SIDE OF THE VICE PRESIDENT BEFORE THE 24TH. BUT I THINK, BASICALLY, WHERE WE ARE NOW, BOTH CAMPAIGNS ARE GOING FORWARD AND I DON'T EXPECT THEM TO MAKE A LOT OF MISTAKES BEFORE THE 24TH OF JANUARY.

Glover: IS THERE -- YOU'VE WATCHED THESE CAMPAIGNS PRETTY CLOSELY. GIVE US YOUR SENSE OF HOW ORGANIZATIONALLY PUT TOGETHER BRADLEY IS. WE KNOW THAT GORE HAS PUT A LOT OF TIME, EFFORT, AND MONEY INTO BUILDING THAT ORGANIZATION. HOW HAS BRADLEY DONE ON THE GROUND, IN THE FIELD?

Tully: WELL, I THINK THE ONE THING FOR US ALSO TO REMIND OURSELVES ABOUT BRADLEY IS THAT HE HAS A GAME PLAN THAT MIGHT NOT BE THE SAME AS THE VICE PRESIDENT'S. THE VICE PRESIDENT IS GOING TO GO FOR THE TRADITIONAL DEMOCRATS, AND THEY ARE WELL ORGANIZED ALL ACROSS THE STATE. SENATOR BRADLEY IS GOING TO BE PROBABLY LOOKING FOR PEOPLE THAT AREN'T TRADITIONAL CAUCUS GOERS. THAT'S A LITTLE BIT MORE OF A CHALLENGE BECAUSE PEOPLE THAT HAVEN'T NORMALLY GONE OUT ON A COLD JANUARY OR FEBRUARY EVENING TO GO VOTE FOR THE NEXT PRESIDENT, OR WHAT THEY BELIEVE TO BE THE NEXT PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, THEY'RE GOING TO HAVE TO CONVINCE THOSE PEOPLE TO GO TO THE PROCESS. AND FOR THOSE WHO HAVE PARTICIPATED IN THE PROCESS, IT MIGHT BE A LITTLE DAUNTING, IT MIGHT BE A LITTLE SCARY.

Yepsen: YOUR PARTY HAD ITS FIRST DEBATE OR TOWN MEETING, I GUESS THEY CALLED IT, IN NEW HAMPSHIRE LAST WEEK. IT WAS ON TV. WHO WON?

Tully: I'M NOT SURE IT WAS WHO WON. I WILL TELL YOU THAT I WATCHED IT AND, QUITE FRANKLY, I WAS VERY PROUD OF BOTH OF THESE INDIVIDUALS.

Yepsen: SPOKEN LIKE A GUY WHO HAS TO STAY NEUTRAL.

Tully: WELL, NO, REALLY, SERIOUSLY, I REALLY BELIEVE THAT. I THINK BOTH OF THEM HAD QUALITIES ABOUT THEMSELVES, YOU KNOW, THE VICE PRESIDENT DID HIS BREAKING OUT OF WHAT HE NORMALLY IS. YOU KNOW, PEOPLE PERCEIVE HIM AS BEING STIFF AND EVERYTHING AND, YOU KNOW, HE WAS TALKING BACK WITH THE AUDIENCE AND THAT TYPE OF THING. I THINK THAT BILL BRADLEY SHOWED INDIVIDUALS THAT HE IS A THOUGHTFUL INDIVIDUAL. I THINK HE LOOKED PRESIDENTIAL. I THINK HE SOUNDED PRESIDENTIAL, AS DID THE VICE PRESIDENT. I'LL BE VERY FRANK ABOUT IT, I LOVED IT. I THOUGHT THEY WERE WONDERFUL.

Glover: WELL, LET'S BREAK OUT OUR ROAD MAP HERE. MOST OF THE POLLS THAT I HAVE SEEN HAVE SHOWN GEORGE W. BUSH BEATING BOTH OF YOUR CONTENDERS RIGHT NOW. GIVE ME A ROAD MAP FOR TURNING THAT AROUND FOR EITHER ONE OF THEM AND WINNING THE WHITE HOUSE.

Tully: WELL, AND, AGAIN, I ALWAYS REMIND PEOPLE IN 1992 THERE WAS NO WAY THAT GEORGE SR. WAS EVER GOING TO GET BEAT. THE REALITY IS THIS: THERE WAS A REASON WHY GEORGE W. BUSH DIDN'T PARTICIPATE IN THEIR TOWN MEETING WITH THE REPUBLICANS... IS HE TAKING THE JIM ROSS LIGHTFOOT APPROACH OF "I'VE GOT A LOT OF MONEY." EVERYBODY'S ALREADY SAYING THAT THIS GUY'S GOING TO BE THE PRESIDENT AND THERE'S NO WAY THAT HE CAN BE BEAT; BUT IF YOU DON'T GET IN AND TELL PEOPLE WHERE YOU STAND, THE VOTERS ARE GOING TO, AT SOME POINT, FIND OUT THAT YOU'RE NOTHING BUT A PAPER TIGER.

Yepsen: DO YOU EXPECT GEORGE W. BUSH TO BE THE REPUBLICAN NOMINEE?

Tully: YES.

Yepsen: ONE PERSON IN THE DOLE CAMP LAST WEEK ADVANCED AN INTERESTING THEORY TO ME, AND I WANT TO ASK YOU ABOUT IT. HE SAID THAT WHEN ELIZABETH DOLE GOT OUT, THE BIG BENEFICIARY WAS BILL BRADLEY, THAT THERE WERE A LOT OF NEW PEOPLE, A LOT OF YOUNG WOMEN, PARTICULARLY, WHO GOT INVOLVED IN THE DOLE CAMPAIGN WHO WERE ALWAYS SAYING THAT THEY LIKE BRADLEY. NOW THAT SHE'S GONE, ARE YOU SEEING ANY EVIDENCE OF DOLE PEOPLE, NEW PEOPLE COMING IN TO SIGN UP FOR BRADLEY?

Tully: SEE, THAT'S AN INTERESTING THEORY BECAUSE THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT I SAID WHEN IT HAPPENED. AND I DIDN'T PARTICULARLY SAY THAT IT WAS GOING TO GO TO BILL BRADLEY. BUT IT SEEMS TO ME THAT THE PEOPLE THAT ELIZABETH DOLE ATTRACTED WOULD BE MORE COMFORTABLE WITH EITHER ONE OF OUR CANDIDATES THAN THEY WOULD WITH THE REPUBLICAN FIELD. AND SO I FEEL VERY STRONGLY THAT AFTER THE NOMINATION PROCESS IS OVER, THOSE PEOPLE WILL BE VOTING FOR THE DEMOCRATIC NOMINEE.

Glover: LET'S STEP BACK JUST A LITTLE BIT AND NOT LOOK AT THE DAY-TO-DAY EXCHANGES BETWEEN THESE TWO CANDIDATES AND TRY TO GET A FLAVOR OF THE BIG PICTURE, ARE THESE TWO DEMOCRATIC CONTENDERS UNLEARNING THE LESSON THAT BILL CLINTON TAUGHT IN 1992, WHICH IS, TO WIN THE WHITE HOUSE, YOU HAVE TO STAY IN THE MIDDLE. ARE THEY, IN FACT, PLAYING THE OLD DEMOCRATIC GAME OF CATERING TO THE GROUPS?

Tully: WELL, I THINK THAT'S AN INTERESTING POINT. I MEAN ONE OF THE THINGS THAT THESE CANDIDATES ARE GOING TO HAVE TO -- AND I THINK THEY'RE ADDRESSING IT -- IS THAT WHEN THEY TALK ABOUT PROPOSALS FOR ANY PLAN TO BE UNDERTAKEN DURING THEIR ADMINISTRATION, THEY'RE GOING TO HAVE TO PAY FOR IT. I GUESS I WOULD PROBABLY SAY THAT MOST PEOPLE TALKING ABOUT ANY PLANS, WHETHER IT BE ON THE REPUBLICAN SIDE OR THE DEMOCRATIC SIDE, ALWAYS LOOK TO THE SURPLUS TO PAY FOR IT. SO FAR THAT CERTAINLY SEEMS TO BE THE GAME PLAN FOR ALL OF THEM. I THINK THAT IT'S NECESSARY, AT SOME POINT IN TIME, AS WE PROGRESS INTO THIS ELECTION THAT, WHETHER IT BE BILL BRADLEY OR AL GORE, IT'S ALWAYS ABOUT HOW YOU'RE GOING TO PAY FOR IT. AND AS LONG AS THEY STAY TRUE TO THAT MESSAGE, THEY'RE GOING TO BE ALL RIGHT.

Glover: BUT THE POINT I'M GETTING AT IS WHAT THEY SEEM TO BE DOING IS RETURNING TO THE DEMOCRATIC SORT OF STRATEGY OF COMPETING FOR THE VARIOUS INTEREST GROUPS THAT MAKE UP ABOUT 40 PERCENT OF THE ELECTORATE AND IGNORING THE MIDDLE. ARE YOU RUNNING THAT RISK OF ASSEMBLING A VERY FINELY TUNED DEMOCRATIC BASE WITHOUT ANY MIDDLE COME NOVEMBER?

Tully: WELL, I THINK THAT WE NOW CAN TALK ABOUT INITIATIVES THAT, ACTUALLY, TAKE CARE OF A MAJORITY OF AMERICANS, BECAUSE WE ACTUALLY CAN AFFORD TO DO IT, AND THAT'S REALLY WHAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT. THE QUESTION IS THAT WHETHER YOU'RE A DEMOCRAT OR REPUBLICAN, YOU HAVE TO BE ABLE TO GO TO INDIVIDUALS THAT ARE OUT, THE VOTERS OUT THERE, AND SAY, "I'M GOING TO CONNECT WITH YOU IN SOME WAY OR FASHION", AND "HOW AM I GOING TO BE ABLE TO AFFECT AND HELP YOU AFFECT YOUR LIFE IN A POSITIVE MANNER". AND THAT'S WHAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT, AND THAT'S WHAT THEY'RE TALKING ABOUT. THEY'RE TALKING ABOUT PROGRESSIVE INITIATIVES THAT ARE GOING TO AFFECT, YOU KNOW, SINGLE MOMS AND WORKING-CLASS FAMILIES, AND THAT SEE HOW WELL WE'VE DONE AS A NATION, BUT YET ARE STILL NOT COMPLETELY PART OF THIS WONDERFUL REBOUND WE'VE HAD IN TERMS OF THE ECONOMY.

Yepsen: WELL, HOW DO YOU ANSWER THE REPUBLICAN AD THAT'S UP NOW? BRADLEY-GORE, THE ONLY DEBATE IS WHO SPENDS MORE. HOW DO YOU ANSWER THAT?

Tully: WELL, AGAIN, IT'S THE OLD QUESTION IS TO THE PROGRAMS THAT THEY'RE TALKING ABOUT. ARE THEY PROGRAMS THAT CONNECT WITH THE AMERICAN PEOPLE? IS IT SOMETHING THAT WE CAN USE? I MEAN, THE FACT IS, HEY, HERE WE ARE A NATION HAVING THE LARGEST RESURGENCE IN ECONOMY IN THE HISTORY OF THIS COUNTRY. AND WE'VE GOT MILLIONS UPON MILLIONS OF CHILDREN, UNDER THE AGE OF THIRTEEN, THAT ARE NOT COVERED WITH MEDICAL CARE, AND SO THAT'S WHAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT.

Yepsen: EXCUSE ME. YOU ALSO HAVE A $5-TRILLION NATIONAL DEBT. CAN WE REALLY AFFORD ALL THESE PROGRAMS THAT ARE BEING PROPOSED? ARE YOU IN A BIDDING WAR HERE, MR. CHAIRMAN? THAT'S WHAT I'M GETTING AT, GORE AND BRADLEY AND GORE AND BRADLEY, AND AT THE END OF THE DAY, YOU GUYS WIND UP LOOKING LIKE BIG SPENDERS. ARE YOU WORRIED ABOUT THAT?

Tully: WELL, THE POINT IS THIS, I THINK ANY PLAN HAS TO HAVE SOME -- NOW, I'M TALKING FOR MYSELF AS WELL, BUT SOME PLANS GOT TO HAVE FOR PAYING DOWN THE DEBT. AND THE REALITY IS, NO MATTER IF YOU'RE A DEMOCRAT OR REPUBLICAN, WE HAVE TO HAVE THAT AS PART OF OUR PLAN WITH WHATEVER INITIATIVES THAT YOU'RE GOING TO TALK ABOUT.

Yepsen: LOOK AHEAD TO NOVEMBER OF 2000. YOU'VE SAID YOU ASSUME BUSH IS THE REPUBLICAN NOMINEE. WHAT'S THE SCENARIO THAT GETS A DEMOCRAT TO THE WHITE HOUSE? HOW DO YOU GET TO 270? ALL THE NATIONAL POLLS ARE SHOWING THAT BUSH BEATS EITHER GORE OR BRADLEY. HOW DO YOU GET TO 270?

Tully: WELL, I THINK THE REALITY IS THIS... I MEAN, AGAIN, WE'RE TALKING HERE WE ARE IN OCTOBER, THE END OF OCTOBER OF 1999, AND WE'RE TALKING ABOUT WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN OVER THE NEXT YEAR IN TERMS OF WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN WITH THE POLLS. I MEAN, THE REALITY IS PEOPLE DON'T REALLY KNOW WHO GEORGE W. BUSH IS. HIS STANDS, HE STILL HAS TO DEFEND WHERE TEXAS IS ON CERTAIN ISSUES, WHETHER IT BE EDUCATION OR OTHERWISE. AND JUST SAYING THAT, YOU KNOW, IF TEXAS WAS AN INDIVIDUAL NATION, IT WOULD BE THE 11TH LARGEST GNP IN THE WORLD, I MEAN, COME ON. WE'VE GOT TO HAVE A LITTLE BIT MORE ON THE TABLE IN TERMS OF WHAT YOU'RE GOING TO DO FOR AMERICA.

Borg: AS I INTRODUCED YOU, I WAS TALKING ABOUT MECHANICS, AND THAT IS THE CONSTANTLY SHIFTING, MAYBE NOT ANYMORE, A CAUCUS DATE. HAS ALL OF THIS MANEUVERING THIS TIME AS I HINTED, NOT EMBARRASSED, BUT HAS IT SABOTAGED THE CHANCE THAT IOWA'S GOING TO HAVE THE FIRST IN THE CAUCUS NEXT TIME?

Tully: I THINK THAT'S A GOOD OBSERVATION, DEAN, AND THE REALITY IS YES. IT'S GOING TO BE TOUGH FOR US IN 2004 TO RETAIN THIS. NOT THAT WE'RE NOT GOING TO PUT THE FULL-COURT PRESS ON IN TERMS OF TRYING TO PRESERVE IT. WE HAVE -- THERE'S A LOT OF ANIMOSITY AROUND THE COUNTRY AND, ESPECIALLY, WITHIN THE RANKS OF THE DNC RULES AND BYLAWS COMMITTEE.

Yepsen: THAT'S THE DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE'S RULES COMMITTEE.

Tully: RIGHT, WHICH I SIT ON. AND I CAN TELL YOU FROM PERSONAL EXPERIENCE THAT THERE ARE PEOPLE ON THAT COMMITTEE THAT ARE SALIVATING TO GET RID OF IOWA AND NEW HAMPSHIRE FIRST-IN-THE-NATION STATUS.

Borg: WELL, WHAT'S GOING TO REPLACE IT?

Tully: WELL, RIGHT NOW THERE'S A BILL THAT'S BEING INTRODUCED IN THE SENATE BY SENATORS LIEBERMAN AND I THINK CHAFFEY, I THINK. AND THEY WANT TO HAVE REGIONAL ROTATING PRIMARIES. WE'LL HAVE FOUR REGIONS AND THEN IOWA AND NEW HAMPSHIRE WOULD BE PUT INTO THE MIX; HOWEVER, THE SECRETARY OF STATES HAVE ENDORSED A PLAN, WHICH SECRETARY OF STATE CULVER HAS TALKED ABOUT, IN WHICH WE DO HAVE THE REGIONAL ROTATING PRIMARIES, BUT WE STILL ALLOW IOWA AND NEW HAMPSHIRE TO BE OUT FRONT.

Glover: ISN'T THIS THE EVERY-FOUR-YEARS DUSTUP WE SEE OVER THE LINEUP?

Tully: IT IS, ALTHOUGH, QUITE FRANKLY, THE MANEUVERINGS OF NEW HAMPSHIRE THAT FORCED US TO GO UP TO THE 24TH HAS KIND OF ADDED FUEL TO THE FIRE IN TERMS OF WHY WE SHOULD GET RID OF IOWA AND NEW HAMPSHIRE.

Glover: TALK TO THE AVERAGE IOWAN WHO MAYBE ISN'T A POLITICAL JUNKIE. WHY SHOULD THEY CARE ABOUT IOWA'S PRECINCT CAUCUSES?

Tully: WELL, YOU KNOW, THAT'S INTERESTING, BECAUSE I HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO BE AT VALLEY HIGH SCHOOL YESTERDAY AND I TALKED ABOUT THAT VERY ISSUE WITH KIDS THAT ARE GOING TO BE VOTING IN NOVEMBER OF 2000. AND I SAID, YOU KNOW, WE ARE SO FORTUNATE. AND MOST IOWAN'S, I THINK UNDERSTAND THIS, BUT WE GET THE OPPORTUNITY TO LOOK PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES IN THE EYE. WE CAN TELL THEM, HEY, THIS IS WHAT'S HAPPENING TO ME AS AN INDIVIDUAL, AND WE GET TO TALK ABOUT THE ISSUES THAT ARE IMPORTANT TO US. AND, YOU KNOW, THERE'S ARGUMENTS ALL OVER SAYING, "WELL, IOWA'S NOT REPRESENTATIVE". THAT'S RIDICULOUS. OF COURSE IOWA'S REPRESENTATIVE. I MEAN, THE FACT IS, WE LIVE AND BREATHE AND DO OUR EVERYDAY ACTIVITIES HERE IN IOWA NO DIFFERENT THAN SOMEBODY DOES IT ANYWHERE ELSE, AND WE HAVE THE SAME PROBLEMS WITH CRIME. WE HAVE THE SAME PROBLEMS WITH CRUMBLING SCHOOL BUILDINGS. WE HAVE THE SAME PROBLEM WITH ELDERLY THAT DON'T HAVE MONEY TO BE ABLE TO BUY MEDICATIONS. I MEAN THE REALITY IS, IS THAT WE GET TO TAKE THESE PEOPLE, LOOK THEM IN THE EYE, AND MAKE THEM EITHER PUT THEMSELVES ON THE LINE SAYING THIS IS WHAT I BELIEVE IN, THIS IS WHERE I STAND ON ISSUES. AND, YOU KNOW, ONE OF THE THINGS THAT WE DO THAT I THINK IS SO IMPORTANT IS THAT WE ACTUALLY HELP CANDIDATES FOCUS. WE ALLOW THEM TO DEVELOP A CAMPAIGN STRATEGY IN THEME BECAUSE THEY TALK TO REAL PEOPLE AS OPPOSED TO TALKING TO PUNDITS THAT SAY, YOU KNOW, "WE GOTTA RUN THIS THIRTY-SECOND COMMERCIAL BECAUSE WE GOTTA MAKE IT LOOK SOFT AND WARM AND..."

Glover: IF IOWANS ARE SO ENGAGED AND SO WRAPPED UP IN THIS CAUCUS PROCESS, WHY IN THE LAST ELECTION CYCLE DID 100,000 OUT OF 3 MILLION PEOPLE PARTICIPATE?

Tully: THE REASON IS BECAUSE WE HAD AN INCUMBENT. I MEAN THE REALITY IS THAT ANYTIME THAT YOU HAVE A SITUATION WHERE YOU HAVE AN INCUMBENT THAT BY ALL STRETCH, BY ALL POLLS, AND EVERYTHING ELSE, YOU KNOW, THINGS AREN'T GOING TO CHANGE -- I MEAN, WE ARE IN THE TIME OF, I THINK, OUR POLITICAL LIVES THAT WE'VE GOT A VERY BUSY ELECTION COMING UP.

Glover: BUT WITHOUT AN INCUMBENT, THE MOST OPTIMISTIC PREDICTION THAT YOU'LL SEE IS THAT IN THIS ELECTION CYCLE 10 PERCENT OF THE STATE WILL PARTICIPATE.

Tully: AND THAT'S A CHALLENGE FOR US. IT'S A CHALLENGE FOR KAYNE ROBINSON. IT'S A CHALLENGE FOR ME TO BE ABLE TO ENERGIZE OUR DEMOCRATS, OUR REPUBLICANS TO PARTICIPATE AND TO GET OUT AND BE A PART OF THIS.

Yepsen: I'D LIKE TO GO BACK TO THIS DISCUSSION OF THE CAUCUSES AND THE REGIONAL PRIMARIES. DOESN'T THAT TAKE A FEDERAL CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT?

Tully: I DON'T BELIEVE SO. I MEAN THE REALITY IS THAT WE'VE ALWAYS TALKED ABOUT -- WE'RE TALKING ABOUT THE STATES, BASICALLY, THE POLITICAL PARTIES CHOOSING THEIR NOMINEE. AND IT'S NOT A STATE FUNCTION AS MUCH AS IT'S A PARTY FUNCTION OF DOING THAT. BUT IF WE WERE TO DO THIS AND THE PLAN WAS PUT INTO PLACE AND THAT WE HAD ACCLAMATION BY EVERYBODY SAYING, "YES, WE WANT TO BE A PART OF IT", I WOULD SUGGEST THAT WE PROBABLY DO HAVE SOME SORT OF EITHER FEDERAL OR STATE RATIFICATION OF THIS PROCESS SO THAT WE MAKE SURE THAT WE HAVE SOMETHING THAT'S IN PLACE AND IT'S FIXED.

Glover: LET'S TAKE SOME OF THESE PRESIDENTIAL STARS OUT OF OUR EYES FOR A FEW MINUTES, IF WE COULD, AND COME BACK HOME. YOU'VE GOT FOUR REPUBLICAN INCUMBENT CONGRESSMEN, PROBABLY ALL RUNNING FOR REELECTION, ALTHOUGH THEY'VE NOT ALL FORMALLY ANNOUNCED. ARE THERE ANY OF THEM THAT YOU CAN TAKE OUT, AND IF SO, WHO?

Tully: WELL, YOU KNOW, THE ONE NUMBER THAT YOU ALWAYS HAVE TO LOOK AT AND TO BE REALISTIC ABOUT HAVING ANY CHANCE OF TAKING OUT A CONGRESSMAN IS TO LOOK AT THE RIGHT-TRACK/WRONG-TRACK. I MEAN THAT'S THE BOTTOM LINE NO MATTER WHAT YOU DO. BECAUSE INCUMBENCY IS SO POWERFUL, AND THERE IS SO MUCH MONEY ATTACHED TO INCUMBENCY, YOU HAVE TO LOOK AND SEE IF THE COUNTRY THINKS THE COUNTRY'S GOING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION. WHEN I RAN IN THE LAST ELECTION CYCLE, 70 PERCENT OF THE PEOPLE THOUGHT THE COUNTRY WAS GOING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION. REGARDLESS OF WHAT I DID OR DIDN'T DO, THAT'S THE REASON WHY OUR CAMPAIGN WAS NOT SUCCESSFUL AGAINST JIM NUSSLE. YOU NOW LOOK AT THOSE NUMBERS; THOSE NUMBERS AREN'T IN THE 70 PERCENTILE. THEY'RE DOWN INTO THE 50 PERCENTILE. AND THAT'S WHERE IF WE KNOCK SOMEONE OFF, IT'S GOING TO BE THAT. [ SPEAKING AT ONCE ]

Yepsen: YOU CAN'T BEAT SOMEBODY WITH NOBODY. AND EVEN IF THE POLLS ARE SHOWING THAT, WHO YOU GOT? I MEAN, THERE'S NO DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATES THAT WE CAN SEE SURFACING IN FOUR OF IOWA'S FIVE CONGRESSIONAL ELECTIONS.

Tully: WELL, ACTUALLY, WE DO HAVE SOME THAT ARE SURFACING. AND IN THE SECOND DISTRICT WHO'S GOING TO TAKE ANOTHER RUN AT IT, IS DONNA SMITH.

Glover: AND SHE LOST BEFORE?

Tully: SHE LOST BEFORE. BUT I THINK THAT SHE UNDERSTANDS SOME OF THE REASONS SHE DIDN'T. SHE'S GOING TO HAVE TO RAISE FUNDS TO BE COMPETITIVE, AND I THINK THAT SHE CAN DO THAT. I THINK IF YOU LOOK OVER IN THE FIFTH DISTRICT, WE ARE LOOKING AT, AND HE HAS TALKED ABOUT IT BUT THERE ARE OTHER THINGS, FACTORS THAT HE HAS TO WORK OUT... BUT DAVE NIXON, WHO IS A VERY POPULAR DEMOCRAT UP IN THAT AREA -- WE LOOK DOWN HERE IN THE FOURTH DISTRICT. WE'RE TALKING WITH -- AND SOMEBODY WHO HAS TALKED ABOUT IT BEFORE, BUT WE'RE CONFIDENT THAT HE IS AN EXTREMELY GOOD AND STRONG CANDIDATE, AND THAT'S MAYOR TOM HANAFAN FROM COUNCIL BLUFFS, WHICH REALLY MAKES THIS AN INTERESTING RACE HERE IN THE FOURTH DISTRICT BECAUSE TOM'S STRONG TIES TO THE WESTERN PART OF THE DISTRICT ADDED TO THE RESURGENCE OF THE POLK COUNTY DEMOCRATIC PARTY HERE. WE FEEL VERY STRONGLY THAT WE CAN HAVE A CREDIBLE CHALLENGE TO CONGRESSMAN GANSKE.

Yepsen: HOW DIFFICULT -- TALK ABOUT THE IOWA HOUSE. YOU'RE WITHIN A FEW SEATS THERE OF TAKING CONTROL OF THE IOWA HOUSE, BUT HOW CAN YOU TAKE BACK THE IOWA HOUSE IF YOU'RE GIVING FOUR INCUMBENT REPUBLICAN CONGRESSMEN A FREE RIDE?

Tully: WELL, I'M NOT PLANNING ON GIVING FOUR INCUMBENT CONGRESSMEN A FREE RIDE, AND THE REALITY IS -- TWO THINGS YOU GOT TO REMEMBER, I THINK, ALSO: THE MONIES THAT ARE RAISED, WHETHER THEY BE ON A LEGISLATIVE LEVEL OR ON A CONGRESSIONAL LEVEL, REALLY COME FROM TWO DIFFERENT SOURCES. A MAJORITY OF THE MONEY ON A CONGRESSIONAL LEVEL COMES FOR ALL INTENT AND PURPOSE, BY BOTH PARTIES OUTSIDE THE STATE, BECAUSE OF THE INCREDIBLE AMOUNT OF MONEY THAT HAS TO BE RAISED TO RUN -- AS YOU KNOW, I RAISED THREE QUARTERS OF A MILLION DOLLARS FOR MY RACE. AND IT'S DAUNTING. YOU LOOK AT STATE REPRESENTATIVE RACES; MOST OF THAT MONEY IS RAISED WITHIN THE CONFINES OF THE STATE.

Yepsen: BACK TO THIS CONGRESSIONAL QUESTION. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME ANYBODY KNOCKED OFF AN INCUMBENT CONGRESSMAN IN IOWA WITHOUT HAVING ANNOUNCED A YEAR BEFORE?

Tully: I THINK IT'S DIFFICULT.

Yepsen: OKAY.

Tully: BUT NOT IMPOSSIBLE.

Glover: YOU'VE GOT A DEMOCRATIC GOVERNOR HEADING INTO THIS ELECTION, FIRST TIME IN A LONG TIME. WHAT DO YOU EXPECT THAT DEMOCRATIC GOVERNOR TO DO FOR YOU, AND HOW'S HE DO IT?

Tully: WELL, I EXPECT HE HAS BEEN VERY, VERY GOOD ABOUT OUR TWO SPECIAL ELECTIONS WITH JANE GREIMANN UP IN STORY COUNTY HERE AND MARSHA ROGERS OVER IN CEDAR RAPIDS. I WILL TELL YOU THAT, YOU KNOW, IT WAS FUNNY, I WAS TALKING ABOUT THIS EARLIER, YOU KNOW. THE OPPONENT TO MARSHA ROGERS OVER IN CEDAR RAPIDS ACTUALLY PUT OUT A PUBLICATION YESTERDAY THAT INDICATES THAT 1. NOWHERE ON THE SHEET DOES IT SAY THAT HE'S A REPUBLICAN, BUT THE THREE HEADLINES ON IT HAS HIM AND GOVERNOR VILSACK LIKE THEY'RE CAMPAIGNING TOGETHER, WHICH ONLY TELLS ME TWO THINGS: 1. THE REPUBLICANS DON'T HAVE ANY INITIATIVES, AT LEAST IN THAT PARTICULAR RACE, THAT THEY'RE PROUD OF SO THAT THEY HAVE TO HANG THEIR COATTAILS ONTO GOVERNOR VILSACK. BUT 2. THE FACT IS THAT GOVERNOR VILSACK IS EXTREMELY, EXTREMELY POPULAR, AND ESPECIALLY POPULAR OVER IN THE EASTERN PART OF THE STATE, INCLUDING CEDAR RAPIDS. AND HE FIGURES THAT IF HE'S GOING TO WIN, HE HAS TO ALIGN HIMSELF WITH GOVERNOR VILSACK. THE ONLY PROBLEM IS GOVERNOR VILSACK DOESN'T EVEN KNOW HIM.

Yepsen: WHAT DOES THAT TELL YOU ABOUT THE HEALTH OF THE TWO-PARTY SYSTEM AND HOW INTERESTED PEOPLE ARE IN IT? I MEAN, WE'VE SEEN THE RISE OF THE REFORM PARTY. WE'VE GOT CANDIDATES THAT DON'T PUT THEIR OWN PARTY AFFILIATIONS BEHIND THEIR NAMES. YOU GOT THE REFORM PARTY PHENOMENON. MIKE MENTIONED THE LOW TURNOUT THAT WE'LL SEE IN THESE CAUCUSES. WHAT'S THE HEALTH OF THE TWO-PARTY SYSTEM LIKE?

Tully: WELL, YOU KNOW, AS I SAID BEFORE, YOU KNOW, AND AS I GO AROUND AND TALK AROUND THE STATE IN TERMS OF THE PARTY, I REMIND PEOPLE THAT REGARDLESS OF OUR AFFILIATION AS A DEMOCRAT, YOU HAVE TO BE ABLE TO CONNECT WITH THE VOTER. HOW ARE YOU GOING TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN SOMEBODY'S LIFE? AND THE REALITY IS, I STILL BELIEVE, AND I WOULDN'T HAVE TAKEN OVER THE CHAIRMANSHIP OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY IF I DIDN'T BELIEVE IN THE DEMOCRATIC PRINCIPLES, IN TALKING ABOUT THE THINGS THAT MATTER TO WORKING MEN AND WOMEN OF THE STATE.

Glover: DAVE MENTIONED THE REFORM PARTY. WILL IT BE A FACTOR IN THIS COMING ELECTION?

Tully: FRANKLY, AS OF THIS POINT IN TIME, I DON'T THINK SO. YOU KNOW, PEOPLE TALKED ABOUT PAT BUCHANAN BOLTING TO GO TO THE REFORM PARTY. I DON'T THINK IT'S THAT BIG OF DEAL. I DON'T THINK IT AFFECTS THE DEMOCRATS. I DON'T THINK IT AFFECTS THE REPUBLICANS.

Borg: I HEARD YOU SAY AT THIS POINT IN TIME, DO YOU THINK THEY HAVE MOMENTUM THAT MAY BE A CHALLENGE?

Tully: NO, BUT I ALWAYS, YOU KNOW, THINK THAT SOMETHING MAY CATCH. I MEAN, THERE'S ALWAYS, YOU KNOW, THIS IS A LONG PERIOD OF TIME. WE'VE GOT A YEAR AND, YOU KNOW, THE QUESTION IS WHO'S GOING TO BE THE REFORM PARTY CANDIDATE. SEE, I DON'T THINK PAT BUCHANAN WILL EVEN WIN THE REFORM PARTY NOMINATION, AND IF IT TURNS OUT TO BE DONALD TRUMP, I DON'T THINK THAT'S GOING TO BE MUCH OF A FACTOR.

Borg: WE'LL LEAVE THAT AS A PREDICTION, AND WE'LL COME BACK AND CHECK IT LATER. THANK YOU, MR. TULLY. AS THE IOWA CAUCUS OF 2000 NEARS, SO DOES THE IOWA LEGISLATIVE SESSION. AND ON OUR NEXT EDITION OF IOWA PRESS, WE'LL TURN TO STATEHOUSE POLITICS. JOINING US WILL BE TWO STATEHOUSE LEADERS -- SENATOR STEWART IVERSON IS THE MAJORITY LEADER IN THE IOWA SENATE AND REPRESENTATIVE BRENT SIEGRIST, SPEAKER OF THE IOWA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. WE'LL QUESTION THEM ABOUT THE EMERGING LEGISLATIVE AGENDA, NEXT SUNDAY AT NOON AND 7:00 HERE ON STATEWIDE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION. I HOPE YOU'LL WATCH. UNTIL THEN, I'M DEAN BORG. THANKS FOR JOINING US TODAY.

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