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Iowa Press #2801 - Reporters Roundtable
September 3, 2000

Borg: THE CAMPAIGNS OF 2000 ARE IN HIGH GEAR AS WE MOVE TOWARD THE GENERAL ELECTION OF 2000. WE'LL REVIEW WHAT'S HAPPENED AND PREVIEW WHAT'S TO COME WITH OUR TEAM OF POLITICAL REPORTERS 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, SEPTEMBER 3RD EDITION OF IOWA PRESS. HERE IS DEAN BORG.

Borg: HELLO AGAIN AND WELCOME TO OUR FIRST IOWA PRESS EDITION OF THE 2000/2001 BROADCAST SEASON. IT'S OUR 30TH ON THE AIR HERE ON STATEWIDE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION. WELL, 65 DAYS REMAIN NOW, BELIEVE IT OR NOT, TILL THE NOVEMBER 7 GENERAL ELECTION. AND IT'S AT THIS SPOT ON THE CALENDAR THAT WE MARK A CHANGE IN THE POLITICAL SEASONS. TRADITIONALLY, LABOR DAY WEEKEND IS THE TIME WHEN THE SUMMER CAMPAIGN SEASON EVOLVES INTO THE FALL CAMPAIGN SEASON, BUT IT'S A TIME WHEN ALL PREELECTION CAMPAIGNING INTENSIFIES AND GETS VERY, VERY SERIOUS. THESE ARE THE WANING WEEKS WHEN CANDIDATES FOR PRESIDENTIAL, CONGRESSIONAL, AND STATE OFFICES HAVE TO LIVE WITH WHATEVER MISTAKES MIGHT BE MADE. THERE IS PRECIOUS LITTLE TIME TO RECOVER BEFORE VOTERS HAVE THEIR SAY. WELL, WE GATHER TODAY TO SURVEY THE CAMPAIGN LANDSCAPE. AND JOINING US: DAVID YEPSEN OF THE DES MOINES REGISTER, JENEANE BECK OF KUNI PUBLIC RADIO, KAY HENDERSON OF RADIO IOWA, AND JOYCE RUSSELL OF WOI PUBLIC RADIO IN AMES. KAY, WE'VE HEARD FOR MANY WEEKS, NOW, ESPECIALLY AFTER THE CAMPAIGNS AND THE—

Henderson: THE CONVENTIONS.

Borg: THE CONVENTIONS. WHY DID I HAVE A BLOCK ON THAT? THE CONVENTIONS THAT THE MIDWEST IS THE BATTLEGROUND. NOW, WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE TENOR IN IOWA AS PART OF THAT BATTLEGROUND?

Henderson: WELL, IF I COULD THINK OF A PHRASE, IT MIGHT BE FULL THROTTLE. BOTH CANDIDATES CONSIDER IOWA TO BE A TOSS-UP. BOTH OF THEM HAVE COME HERE TO COMPETE. RIGHT AFTER THE DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION, AL GORE ROWED DOWN THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER ON A BOAT AND ATTRACTED PRETTY LARGE CROWDS. THE MONDAY AFTER THE DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION, GEORGE W. BUSH WAS HERE, ATTRACTED A LARGE CROWD IN DES MOINES AT A PARTY FUND-RAISER. HE WENT TO A SCHOOL. I DIDN'T THINK HE WAS QUITE ON HIS GAME, BUT THE SIGNIFICANCE OF HIS APPEARANCE HERE IS TO SHOW THAT HE, AS WELL AS GORE, INTENDS TO COMPETE FOR IOWA'S SEVEN ELECTORAL COLLEGE VOTES. OVER THE WEEKEND THE "DES MOINES REGISTER" RELEASED AN IOWA POLL, WHICH SHOWED THAT GORE WAS UP BY 8 POINTS. IF YOU CONSIDER ALL THE CANDIDATES IN THE PRESIDENTIAL FIELD, A HEAD-TO-HEAD BUSH-TO-GORE BATTLE SHOWS HIM AHEAD BY 10 POINTS. IT WAS TAKEN RIGHT AFTER THE CONVENTION, SO THERE WAS SORT OF A CONVENTION BOUNCE, BUT I THINK THAT YOU'RE SEEING THAT IN OTHER STATES AS WELL. I THINK IOWA IS MIRRORING WHAT'S HAPPENING IN THE NATION, AND GORE IS ON THE UPTICK, BUSH IS ON THE DOWNTICK.

Borg: JENEANE?

Beck: WELL, I THINK THAT WHAT'S BEEN INTERESTING IS ORIGINALLY, WHEN BUSH FIRST CAME TO IOWA, HE SEEMED VERY CONFIDENT AND MORE RELAXED. AND GORE WAS ALWAYS THE SORT OF STIFF CANDIDATE THAT EVERYONE SAID HAD A HARD TIME RELAXING, HAD A HARD TIME LOOSENING UP. BUT THAT SCHOOL EVENT THAT YOU TALKED ABOUT, GEORGE BUSH SEEMED UNCOMFORTABLE. HE SEEMED NOT TO KNOW WHEN TO LAUGH OR WHEN TO RELAX. AND GORE SUDDENLY IS THE ONE ON TV WITH HIS SLEEVES ROLLED UP OUT GLAD-HANDING OUTSIDE, AND BUSH IS ALL AT THESE POLITICAL EVENTS. IT MIGHT BE DIFFICULT FOR HIM.

Borg: JOYCE, HOW ARE YOU READING IT?

Russell: WELL, AT ANY RATE, BECAUSE IOWA HAS BEEN NAMED AS ONE OF THESE BATTLEGROUND STATES, WE MAY SEE SOME MORE VISITS AND WE'RE SEEING THE ADVERTISING. WHEN YOU SEE A LIST OF THE STATES THAT THE GORE ADS ARE RUNNING AND THE BUSH ADS ARE RUNNING AND THE REPUBLICANS AND THE DEMOCRATS, IOWA IS ALMOST ALWAYS ON THAT LIST. AND WE'RE SEEING THOSE NOW.

Borg: SURE. HAVE YOU SEEN ANY OF THE ADS YOURSELF IN ORDER TO EVALUATE THOSE?

Russell: LET'S SEE, I THINK I'VE SEEN ONE WITH GOVERNOR BUSH, AND IT MAY BE A LITTLE TOO EARLY TO EVALUATE THE EFFECTIVENESS OF THOSE ADS.

Borg: DAVID, HAVE YOU SEEN ANY OF THEM?

Yepsen: SOME OF THE ADS ARE STARTING. IT'S WAY EARLY TO BE STARTING ADVERTISING. I THINK WE'RE IN FOR AN AWFULLY GOOD CAMPAIGN. REPRESENTING A PAPER WHO JUST TOOK A POLL, I WANT TO SAY I THINK SOME OF THESE POLLS ARE BEING TAKEN TOO EARLY. LET'S REMEMBER THIS, DEAN: TWO YEARS AGO THIS WEEKEND, JIM ROSS LIGHTFOOT WAS AHEAD OF TOM VILSACK BY 20 POINTS. VOTERS MORE AND MORE DECIDE LATER AND LATER WHAT THEY'RE GOING TO DO, AND THE FACT THAT GORE HAS AN 8-POINT LEAD OVER BUSH NOW DOESN'T MEAN MUCH. IT'S A 4-POINT MARGIN OF ERROR IN THAT POLL. IT IS NOT A PREDICTOR OF THE OUTCOME. THIS THING IS WINNABLE BY EITHER SIDE. THE ONE THING THAT PROMPTS ME TO GIVE THE EDGE TO GORE IN IOWA IS I THINK THE DEMOCRATS HAVE A FAR SUPERIOR VOTER-TURNOUT EFFORT. THEY CARRIED IOWA IN THE LAST THREE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS. THEY WON THE GOVERNORSHIP. THEY HELPED KNOCK DOWN A COUPLE OF CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS. WHEN IT COMES TO ELECTION DAY AND THE ACT OF GETTING OUT YOUR VOTE, DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS BOTH GET OUT ABOUT 80 PERCENT OF THEIR PEOPLE. THEY BOTH DO A GOOD JOB GETTING THEIR BASE OUT. DEMOCRATS WIN BY GETTING OUT MORE OF THEIR INDEPENDENTS. AND AMONG INDEPENDENT VOTERS RIGHT NOW, GORE HAS ABOUT A 20-POINT LEAD.

Borg: THE REASON, DAVE, THAT I ASKED IF YOU HAD SEEN THOSE, I HAVE HEARD SOME OF THEM ON RADIO WHERE SOME ANALYSIS IS BEING MADE. ONE OF THE THINGS THERE STRESSING FAMILY VALUES -- I'M TALKING ABOUT A GORE AD NOW -- THE EXPERIENCE, BUT THEN COMPLETELY SKIPPING OVER HIS ROLE AS VICE PRESIDENT BECAUSE THAT WOULD BE A TIE TO THE CLINTON ADMINISTRATION. HOW DO YOU SEE SOME OF THESE THINGS PLAYING AMONG IOWANS? IS THAT STILL POLITICAL BAGGAGE FOR HIM, AND IT'S A GOOD IDEA TO IGNORE IT IN ADVERTISING?

Yepsen: I THINK SO BECAUSE I THINK THAT ONE OF THE THINGS THAT POLL TOLD US, FOR EXAMPLE, WAS THAT MORE IOWANS -- FOR GORE. MORE IOWANS ALSO WANT TO SEE A CHANGE IN DIRECTION. ABOUT 45 PERCENT WANT TO SEE A CHANGE IN DIRECTION. ABOUT 43 PERCENT WANT TO SEE THE POLICIES CONTINUE. SO IT'S A REAL CLOSE CALL. AMERICANS, AND I THINK IOWANS, GENERALLY LIKE THE POLICIES OF THE CLINTON/GORE ADMINISTRATION. THEY DO NOT CARE FOR THE WAY PRESIDENT CLINTON HAS CONDUCTED HIMSELF IN THAT OFFICE PERSONALLY.

Borg: KAY, WE WERE TALKING AMONG SOME OTHER PEOPLE ABOUT THE POST-CONVENTION BOUNCE AND THE -- IT WAS ACTUALLY MIKE GLOVER WHO OBSERVED, WHEN I WAS SPEAKING WITH HIM -- ABOUT HOW THE POST-CONVENTION BOUNCE FOR BUSH WAS CUT SHORT VERY STRATEGICALLY BY THE ANNOUNCEMENT AND, FIRST OF ALL, THE LEAK OF THE LIEBERMAN NAME, AND THEN THE ANNOUNCEMENT. AND THEN ALL THE ATTENTION SHIFTED TO THE DEMOCRATIC CAMPAIGN, AND WE HAVEN'T HEARD MUCH POST-CONVENTION BOUNCE. IT JUST ENDED RIGHT THERE.

Henderson: BUSH WENT ON HIS OWN LITTLE TOUR. IT WAS A TRAIN TOUR. IT DIDN'T COME THROUGH IOWA, SO IOWANS DIDN'T GET A SENSE OF BUSH OUT ON THE HUSTINGS AFTER HIS CONVENTION. AND QUITE FRANKLY, I THINK THE BUSH PEOPLE ARE SHOCKED BY THE BOUNCE THAT GORE HAS GOTTEN, AND THEY'RE KIND OF TRYING TO FIND THEIR LEGS, TRYING TO FIGURE OUT WHAT'S GOING ON. YOU MENTIONED ADVERTISING. THEY HAVE PULLED THE TRIGGER ON A NEGATIVE AD, WHICH IS NOT RUNNING IN IOWA. IT'S RUNNING IN OTHER PARTS OF THE COUNTRY. SO IN REGARDS TO THE TENOR, WHICH WAS YOUR FIRST QUESTION, I THINK THESE GUYS ARE JUST GOING TO GO AT EACH OTHER LIKE YOU WON'T BELIEVE IT, ON A NUMBER OF ISSUES, BECAUSE THEY HAVE DECIDED THAT THIS RACE IS SO CLOSE THAT THEY NEED TO USE NEGATIVE CAMPAIGNING TO TRY TO TURN SOME VOTES.

Borg: THERE'S ALSO A FACTOR, JENEANE, OF THE NADER INFLUENCE. DO YOU SEE ANY OF THAT? YOU COME FROM A COLLEGE TOWN, AND YOU REPORT FOR KUNI PUBLIC RADIO IN CEDAR FALLS. SOME OF THE HOTBEDS FOR NADER ARE IOWA CITY, JOHNSON COUNTY, AND STORY COUNTY, JOYCE, WHERE YOU'RE FROM UP IN WOI. DO YOU SEE THAT IN THOSE PARTICULAR COLLEGE COUNTIES THAT NADER IS GOING TO HAVE A SIGNIFICANT INFLUENCE?

Beck: I HAVE TALKED TO SOME COLLEGE STUDENTS THAT ARE TRYING TO SET UP SOME FRINGE MOVEMENTS THAT WOULD SUPPORT NADER, AND SOME OF THEM HAVE BEEN DEMOCRATS. HOWEVER, UNLESS HE COMES BACK TO IOWA AND DOES SOME RALLYING -- HE HAS GOOD CREDENTIALS THAT PEOPLE LIKE... THE FACT THAT HE'S BEEN A CONSUMER ADVOCATE. AND NOT THAT THE OTHER TWO CANDIDATES DON'T HAVE THEIR OWN BORING FACTOR, BUT WHEN HE WAS HERE LAST, HE WAS SO BORING AND HE NEEDS TO SORT OF RALLY THOSE PEOPLE AND CONVINCE THEM THAT A VOTE FOR HIM MEANS SOMETHING. OTHERWISE, IT'S JUST GOING TO BE A LOT OF YOUNG PEOPLE AND MAYBE NOT THE ADULTS THAT TURN OUT AND VOTE FOR NADER.

Borg: I CITED THOSE COUNTIES. WHY IS IT THAT NADER HAS A LITTLE BIT OF A FOLLOWING IN THOSE AREAS?

Yepsen: I THINK BECAUSE HE'S THE MOST LIBERAL CANDIDATE IN THE RACE, AND COLLEGE TOWNS ARE HOTBEDS LEFT OF CENTER POLITICS. HAVING SAID THAT, WE'VE PROBABLY DEVOTED MORE TIME TO RALPH NADER AND PAT BUCHANAN AS A PERCENTAGE OF THIS SHOW THAN THEY'RE GOING TO GET. IOWANS ARE VERY FRUGAL PEOPLE. THEY DON'T THROW AWAY ANYTHING AND THEY DON'T THROW AWAY THEIR VOTE. AND IT'S NOT VERY PROFOUND TO SAY THAT RALPH NADER AND PAT BUCHANAN AND JOHN HAGELIN ARE NOT GOING TO BE THE NEXT PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.

Borg: JOYCE AND KAY, I'M GOING TO SHARE THIS QUESTION BETWEEN YOU, AND THAT IS, HAS THE REFORM PARTY JUST PLAIN FALLEN APART? WHAT DO YOU THINK, JOYCE?

Russell: WELL, NATIONALLY, YEAH, WE SAW THIS WEEK WITH THE REFORM PARTY AND THE NATURAL LAW PARTY TRYING TO HAVE A JOINT EFFORT TOGETHER. AND THEY'VE SORT OF LOST -- THEY HAD THE GOVERNOR OF MINNESOTA WHO WAS, SORT OF, THEIR KEY SUCCESS CASE AFTER ROSS PEROT. BUT THIS YEAR I DON'T THINK THERE'S GOING TO BE ANY REALLY COMPELLING FIGURE FOR THE REFORM PARTY, AND I DON'T THINK THEY'RE GOING ANYWHERE.

Henderson: WITHOUT ROSS PEROT, THEY'RE DEAD.

Yepsen: THESE THIRD-PARTY MOVEMENTS, DEAN -- YOU THINK OF GREAT THIRD-PARTY MOVEMENTS RECENTLY: ROSS PEROT, GENE MCCARTHY, GEORGE WALLACE, JOHN ANDERSON. DURING THOSE CAMPAIGNS, THEY WERE REALLY ON THE RADAR SCREEN. THEY WERE A REAL FACTOR. THESE CAMPAIGNS ARE A SIDESHOW.

Borg: WE HEAR A LOT ABOUT, KAY, VOTER APATHY. IS THAT GOING TO CHANGE IN THIS ELECTION? DO YOU THINK THERE'S ENOUGH OF A CONTEST HERE, PARTICULARLY THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN, THAT VOTERS ARE GOING TO GET ENTHUSED?

Henderson: WELL, IF YOU LOOK AT VOTER TURNOUT, IT'S ALWAYS HIGHER IN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION YEARS. FOR SOME UNKNOWN REASON, AMERICANS CARE MORE ABOUT WHO THEIR PRESIDENT IS THAN WHO THEIR MAYOR IS AND WHO THEIR SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER IS, EVEN THOUGH THOSE SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS MAY BE MAKING CHOICES AND DECISIONS THAT ARE MUCH MORE VITAL TO THEIR CHILDREN'S FUTURE. SO PEOPLE HAVE SOME SORT OF PERSONAL INVESTMENT IN DECIDING WHO THE TITULAR HEAD OF THE AMERICAN GOVERNMENT WILL BE, OUR PLACE IN THE WORLD. AND SO, YES, I THINK THAT TURNOUT WILL HAVE AN UPTICK. I'M NOT QUITE SURE THAT AS THE NEGATIVE CAMPAIGNING STARTS THAT PEOPLE WILL START TO FALL OFF. THE RESULT OF NEGATIVE CAMPAIGNING IS THAT IT REINFORCES ATTITUDES, AND IT ALSO TURNS OTHERS OFF. SO PEOPLE MAY BE TURNED OFF, AND THEY MAY STAY HOME.

Borg: THAT BEING SAID, JENEANE, HOW DOES THAT BODE, THEN, FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE DOWN ON THE BALLOT BUT STILL ARE CARRIED, IF THERE IS A COATTAIL EFFECT AT ALL?

Beck: WELL, ANYTIME THERE IS A PRESIDENTIAL RACE, THAT IS HELPFUL FOR DEMOCRATS, BECAUSE MORE DEMOCRATS TURN OUT -- OR MORE INDEPENDENTS TURN OUT WHEN THERE IS A PRESIDENTIAL RACE AND MANY OF THEM END UP VOTING DEMOCRATIC. THE THING IS DURING THE LAST RACE, CLINTON CARRIED IOWA SO WELL THAT A LOT OF DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATES GOT A BIGGER BOOST, AND THIS IS GOING TO BE A MUCH TIGHTER RACE BETWEEN GORE AND BUSH, SO I'M NOT SURE. I THINK IT WILL HELP DEMOCRATS IN THE SENSE THAT TURNOUT IS HIGHER, BUT THEY WILL NOT HAVE THE COATTAILS TO RIDE WITH GORE. EVEN IF HE WINS IOWA, IT'S NOT GOING TO BE BY AS SUBSTANTIAL AMOUNT AS CLINTON DID.

Borg: SO, JOYCE, YOU DON'T THINK, BASED ON WHAT HAS BEEN SAID HERE ALREADY, THAT THE CONGRESSIONAL RACES IN IOWA ARE GOING TO BE AT ALL INFLUENCED. WE ALREADY AGREED ON EARLIER PROGRAMS WHEN WE HAD PARTY CHAIRS ON THAT -- WELL, THEY DIDN'T EXACTLY AGREE WITH OUR CONTENTION, BUT IT ISN'T MUCH OF A CONTEST THIS YEAR AMONG THE CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATES.

Russell: WELL, PROBABLY THE MOST INTERESTING CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE -- RACE THAT WE'LL SEE WILL BE IN THE THIRD DISTRICT WITH REPUBLICAN JAY MARCUS, WHO USED TO BE A NATURAL LAW PARTY CANDIDATE AND IS NOW GETTING THE SUPPORT OF SOME KEY IOWA REPUBLICANS WHO ARE TURNING OUT TO HELP HIM RAISE MONEY. AND HE'S RUNNING AGAINST DEMOCRAT LEONARD BOSWELL. THEY'RE BOTH ALREADY VERY ACTIVE. REPRESENTATIVE BOSWELL HAS BEEN IN THE STATE A LOT. EVERY TIME CONGRESS ISN'T BUSY, HE'S HERE AND RUNNING ON HEALTH CARE ISSUES AND KEY DEMOCRATIC ISSUES. AND I THINK JAY MARCUS WILL GIVE HIM A RUN FOR HIS MONEY.

Yepsen: DEAN, ONE OF THE PLACES THAT THIS TURNOUT BECOMES REALLY IMPORTANT IS IN THE BATTLE FOR THE LEGISLATURE. YOU'RE RIGHT, CONGRESSIONAL RACES JUST AREN'T AMOUNTING TO A WHOLE LOT THIS SEASON. PART OF THAT IS WE'RE COMING UP ON A REAPPORTIONMENT YEAR IN 2002, AND THE DISTRICTS WILL BE COMPLETELY CHANGED. AND THERE WILL PROBABLY BE AN OPEN SEAT, WHEN CONGRESSMAN GANSKE GIVES IT UP, TO RUN AGAINST SENATOR HARKIN. ONE OF THE THINGS THAT I'VE NOTICED IS CREDIBLE CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATES IN THIS STATE, THEY'RE WAITING A COUPLE YEARS. "WHAT'S MY DISTRICT GOING TO LOOK LIKE? I'M NOT GOING TO SPEND ALL MY TIME RUNNING FOR CONGRESS IN RACES THAT 98 PERCENT OF THE INCUMBENTS ALWAYS WIN ANYWAY. I'M GOING TO WAIT A COUPLE YEARS." BUT WHERE IT DOES HAVE AN IMPACT IS ON THE LEGISLATIVE BATTLES. DAVE SCHRADER, THE MINORITY LEADER IN THE HOUSE, WHO WANTS VERY MUCH TO BE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE, SAYS IT'S GOT TO BE A BIG TURNOUT FOR US AS DEMOCRATS TO GET THE SEATS WE NEED TO TAKE CONTROL. SO THAT'S THE PLACE TO WATCH THIS TURNOUT.

Henderson: AND THIS IS PROBABLY THE LAST WORD ON CONGRESSIONAL RACES, DEAN, BUT CONGRESSMAN GANSKE IS SO SELF-ASSURED THAT HE IS RUNNING AN ADVERTISEMENT AGAINST SENATOR HARKIN, WHO IS HIS OPPONENT TWO YEARS FROM NOW, NOT THIS YEAR.

Borg: AND YOU'RE RIGHT. LET'S SWITCH INTO THE LEGISLATIVE RACES. DAVE HAS GOTTEN US INTO THAT. WHAT ARE THE ISSUES IN LEGISLATIVE RACES? FIRST OF ALL, ARE THERE STATEWIDE ISSUES THAT DRIVE LEGISLATIVE RACES, DO YOU THINK, JENEANE?

Beck: I'M SURE THERE ARE A FEW. I KNOW THAT THEY'RE PROBABLY TALKING ABOUT TEACHER PAY AND SCHOOL REFORM, AND IN CERTAIN COUNTIES, EVEN HOG LOTS ARE ALWAYS AN ISSUE. BUT DAVE HAD TALKED ABOUT THIS BEFORE PREVIOUSLY THAT OFTENTIMES THESE STATEHOUSE RACES ARE DETERMINED BY WHO DO YOU LIKE, WHO DO YOU KNOW, WHO'S BEEN ACTIVE IN YOUR CITY OR YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD BEFORE. AND THAT HAS A LOT OF IMPACT. WE JUST HAVE COME OFF THE DOOR-KNOCKING PHASE WHERE THEY'VE GONE ALL SUMMER AND KNOCKED ON DOORS, AND NOW WE'LL HEAR SOME RADIO ADVERTISEMENTS, MAYBE IF THEY HAVE A CERTAIN AMOUNT OF MONEY, SOME TELEVISION ADVERTISEMENTS. BUT IT'S GOING TO BE WHO KNOCKED ON THEIR DOOR AND WHO IMPRESSED THEM MORE, REALLY.

Borg: I'LL GET INTO THIS JUST A BIT LATER. I THINK THERE ARE SOME STATEWIDE ISSUES, SUCH AS TEACHER PAY AND OTHERS, THAT YOU HAVE MENTIONED. BUT THEY SOMETIMES ARE THE THIRD RAIL, AND PEOPLE DON'T TO WANT TOUCH THEM IN A LEGISLATIVE RACE. THEY'LL GET INTO THE LEGISLATURE AND THEN THEY'LL MAKE THEIR VIEWS KNOWN. BUT THERE SEEMS TO ME TO BE A STATEWIDE INTEREST ISSUE RIGHT NOW THAT, PERHAPS, EVERYBODY WILL GET ON, BECAUSE IT INVOLVES THE DEATH OF A LITTLE GIRL, SHELBY DUIS. AND EVERYBODY AGREES THAT IS TRAGIC. WHAT, JENEANE, DO YOU SEE, AS THE POLITICAL FALLOUT OF THAT AS IT TRANSLATES INTO THE MEETING OF THE NEXT GENERAL ASSEMBLY?

Beck: I THINK THAT GOVERNOR VILSACK HAS TRIED TO DEFUSE IT A BIT, BUT I DON'T KNOW THAT HE'S DONE A VERY GOOD JOB OF THAT. AND THE LAWMAKERS HAVE TALKED ABOUT IT IN THE SENSE THAT -- I THINK THEY'RE A LITTLE BIT WORRIED THAT THERE WILL BE THIS IMPETUS FOR A LOT OF SPENDING ON THE DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES. I GET A LITTLE BIT FROM REPUBLICANS SAYING, "WELL, DOES IT MEAN MONEY IS TO FIX THE PROBLEM? WE MIGHT BE ABLE TO FIX THE PROBLEM THROUGH BETTER TRAINING OR THROUGH RESTAFFING WITHIN THE DEPARTMENT, MOVING PEOPLE AROUND SO THERE ARE MORE INVESTIGATORS AND LESS BUREAUCRATS." BUT I THINK THE BIG CONCERN IS THAT THEY WANTED TO MAKE TEACHER PAY THE SPENDING ISSUE THIS SESSION. AND NOW WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN IF THEY HAVE TO SPEND MILLIONS OF DOLLARS ON NEW INVESTIGATORS?

Borg: I CAN'T IMAGINE THAT THERE ARE VERY FEW PEOPLE WATCHING THIS PROGRAM WHO DON'T KNOW WHAT I'M REFERRING TO WHEN I SAY SHELBY DUIS, BUT IN CASE THAT SOMEBODY HAS BEEN OUT OF THE STATE, THAT'S THE TWO-YEAR-OLD GIRL FROM UP IN NORTHERN IOWA WHO DIED VERY TRAGICALLY. AND IT SEEMS TO BE A CHILD ABUSE CASE, BUT NOBODY HAS BEEN CONVICTED EXACTLY IN HER DEATH.

[ SPEAKING AT ONCE ]

Borg: BUT THE DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES HAS BEEN IMPLICATED IN NOT DOING ENOUGH. KAY?

Henderson: AND I THINK THAT'S THE PART OF THIS CASE THAT WE HAVEN'T SEEN A LOT OF DISCUSSION ABOUT, BUT I THINK WE WILL... THE FACT THAT THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM IS HELD IN SUCH LOW EST -- LOW REGARD BECAUSE OF WHAT'S HAPPENED. THERE WILL BE NO ONE WHO IS HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR A MURDER IN THIS CASE. AND THERE WILL BE A MOTHER, HEIDI WATKINS, WHO WILL BE SPENDING TIME IN PRISON FOR CHILD ENDANGERMENT. THE GOVERNOR HAS ALREADY TALKED ABOUT REWRITING THE RULES OF EVIDENCE AND THE RULES OF -- THE DEFINITION, IF YOU WILL, OF ABUSE IN THIS CASE AND OTHER CASES IN WHICH THE ELDERLY ARE ABUSED AND DOMESTIC PARTNERS ARE ABUSED. THAT'S REALLY A TRICKY PROBLEM. AND FOR THOSE REPUBLICANS WHO ALWAYS LIKE TO HAMMER ON THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM AND ITS FAILINGS, I THINK THEY MAY PICK THIS UP AND TRY TO RUN WITH IT.

Yepsen: I DO THINK THIS IS GOING TO BE AN ISSUE, BOTH IN THE CAMPAIGN AND IN THE NEXT SESSION OF THE LEGISLATURE. RIGHT NOW EVERYONE IS KIND OF FUMBLING AROUND. THERE'S A LOT OF FINGER-POINTING THAT'S GOING ON, WHERE IS TO FIX BLAME. AND THE ANSWER IS ALL OF THE ABOVE. AND EVENTUALLY THESE POLITICIANS ARE GOING TO START -- REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS -- ARE GOING TO START TO COME TO THE CONCLUSION THAT WE'VE GOT TO DO MORE. THERE'S GOT TO BE MORE CHILD PROTECTIVE WORKERS. THAT'S GOING TO BE A LITTLE BIT MORE MONEY. MAYBE IT CAN BE REALLOCATED FROM WITHIN THE DEPARTMENT. MORE HAS TO BE DONE TO HELP PROSECUTORS. MORE HAS TO BE DONE TO PREVENT SUBSTANCE ABUSE IN OUR STATE. THERE'S A WHOLE SERIES OF THINGS THAT HAVE TO HAPPEN. AND I CAN SEE THE POLITICIANS NOW STARTING TO MOVE IN THAT DIRECTION. THERE ARE TWO MORE REVIEWS OF THIS CASE THAT HAVE STILL GOT TO BE COMPLETED, ONE BY THE OMBUDSMAN, ONE BY THE AMERICAN HUMANE SOCIETY. ONCE ALL THAT IS DONE, I THINK YOU'LL SEE A LOT MORE CONSENSUS BUILD AROUND THIS CASE THAT "NEVER AGAIN."

Russell: ONE OTHER AREA THAT MIGHT GET LOOKED AT, TOO, IS THE TRAINING OF MEDICAL PERSONNEL WHO INVESTIGATE -- I MEAN NOT INVESTIGATE, WHO EXAMINE YOUNG PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN ABUSED. AND THERE'S SOME INDICATION THAT NEEDS TO BE -- THERE NEEDS TO BE SOME IMPROVEMENT THERE.

Borg: SOMETIMES IN CASES LIKE THIS, A LAW COMES INTO BEING THAT HAS THAT PERSON'S NAME. IS THAT THE KIND OF CASE THIS IS? HAS IT GRABBED -- GO AHEAD.

Yepsen: I DON'T THINK IT WILL BE A SINGLE LAW, DEAN, BUT I THINK IT WILL BE A WHOLE SERIES OF THINGS -- WE'VE TALKED ABOUT THEM ALL OUT HERE -- THAT WILL HAPPEN DURING THE NEXT SESSION OF THE LEGISLATURE AS OUR POLICYMAKERS TRY TO PREVENT THIS FROM HAPPENING AGAIN.

Borg: SOMEBODY MENTIONED TEACHERS' PAY AS BEING ANOTHER STATEWIDE ISSUE AND, OF COURSE, WE'VE HEARD A LOT ABOUT IT. ACTUALLY, THERE ARE TWO PLANS. ONE SEEMS TO BE A LEGISLATURE'S PLAN. REPUBLICANS CONTROL THE LEGISLATURE. MARVIN POMERANTZ, ONE OF THE STATE'S LEADING REPUBLICANS, FORMER STATE CHAIR, HAS, ON HIS OWN VOLITION, CONVENED A COMMITTEE AND MADE A REPORT ON WHAT HE THINKS MIGHT BE THE OVERHAUL. AND THEN TOM VILSACK ALSO CONVENED A COMMITTEE THAT WAS HEADED BY DES MOINES INSURANCE MAN, JOHN FORSYTH, AND THAT COMMITTEE REPORTED ABOUT A WEEK AGO. NOW THERE ARE TWO PLANS OUT THERE. HOW DO SEE THAT, JOYCE, EVOLVING?

Russell: THE PLANS ARE NOT THAT DIFFERENT. THEY BOTH CALL FOR RAISING TEACHER PAY TO THE NATIONAL AVERAGE. THEY GO ABOUT IT A LITTLE BIT DIFFERENT. THEY BOTH CALL FOR SOME KIND OF MERIT PAY BASED ON THE PERFORMANCE OF A TEACHER IN THE CLASSROOM. SO THERE ARE NOT THAT MANY DIFFERENCES BETWEEN -- AT LEAST IN PHILOSOPHY, BETWEEN THOSE TWO PLANS. BUT WHEN THE FORSYTH PLAN WAS DISCUSSED RECENTLY, A REPRESENTATIVE OF THE TEACHERS UNION, IN TALKING TO REPORTERS, REFERRED TO THEM AS THE DEMOCRATIC PLAN AND THE REPUBLICAN PLAN. WELL, REPUBLICANS IN THE LEGISLATURE REALLY RESISTED THAT. THEY SAY, "OKAY, IF WE CALL THIS A REPUBLICAN PLAN AND THE DEMOCRATIC PLAN, THEN THAT IS GOING TO HURT THE CHANCES FOR PASSING SOMETHING IN THE LEGISLATURE THIS YEAR." AND YET, AS YOU SAID, A REPUBLICAN, MARVIN POMERANTZ, CAME UP WITH THIS CERTAIN APPROACH. THE DEMOCRATIC GOVERNOR CHOSE HIS OWN COMMISSION. AND BOTH THE DEMOCRATS AND THE REPUBLICANS IN THE LEGISLATURE HAVE EXPRESSED A CONCERN THAT POLITICS WILL GET IN THE WAY, ESPECIALLY ELECTORAL POLITICS, WITH THE LEGISLATIVE RACES THIS FALL, AND THAT IT WILL -- THE FACT THAT IT WILL PROBABLY BE AFTER THE ELECTIONS BEFORE THEY CAN SIT DOWN AND TRY TO COME UP WITH A PLAN TO PRESENT TO THE LEGISLATURE. IT'S VERY COMPLEX. AND THE LESS TIME THAT YOU HAVE, THE LESS LIKELY THAT YOU'RE GOING TO COME UP WITH SOMETHING DAY ONE OF THE LEGISLATURE.

Borg: SURE. KAY?

Henderson: I THINK THE PROBLEM FOR THIS PLAN WILL BE IN HOW TO YEAR PAY UP IN RURAL AREAS, BECAUSE YOU'RE ALREADY HEARING REPUBLICANS SAYING THE MARKET IN IOWA IS NOT THE SAME MARKET IN CONNECTICUT, SO WE CAN'T TIE TEACHER PAY TO THE NATIONAL AVERAGE. THE PROBLEM HERE IS THAT SMALLER SCHOOLS ARE FINDING IT DIFFICULT TO GET MATH AND SCIENCE TEACHERS BECAUSE THE PAY IS SO LOW. AND YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE THIS SORT OF DISCONNECT BETWEEN PEOPLE IN RURAL AREAS WHO RESENT THE TEACHERS IN THEIR COMMUNITY, BECAUSE THEY ARE THE HIGHEST PAID PEOPLE IN TOWN.

Borg: WHAT I WANT TO KNOW IS WHETHER OR NOT EITHER OF THESE PLANS MIGHT FAIL OR SOMETHING THAT IS REALLY VERY INEFFECTIVE MIGHT EVOLVE BECAUSE THE TWO SIDES CAN'T AGREE. WHAT DO YOU THINK, DAVE?

Yepsen: NO, I THINK THERE WILL BE SOME AGREEMENT. I THINK THERE WILL BE SOME AGREEMENT AFTER THE ELECTION. BEFORE THERE CAN BE ANY AGREEMENT, WE HAVE TO KNOW WHO IS CONTROLLING THE LEGISLATURE. WE DON'T KNOW THAT YET. AFTER THE ELECTION, THEN THE GOVERNOR AND WHOEVER RUNS THE LEGISLATURE CAN SIT DOWN AND START WORKING OUT THE DETAILS. THE PROBLEM IS MONEY. IT COSTS HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS TO DO THIS, AND THE STATE DOES NOT HAVE THIS KIND OF MONEY. SO IF I WERE AN EDUCATOR OUT THERE WATCHING THIS PROGRAM, HEARING ALL THIS TALK ABOUT HIGHER TEACHER PAY, I WOULDN'T SPEND IT JUST YET, BECAUSE IT'S LIKELY TO BE LITTLE INCREASES OVER SEVERAL YEARS. AND EVEN AT THE END OF IT, WE'RE STILL NOT GOING TO HAVE TEACHER PAY AT THE NATIONAL AVERAGE.

Borg: JENEANE, AS MARTIN JISCHKE LEFT IOWA STATE, HE SAID WE'VE CUT TAXES TOO MUCH. HOW DO YOU SEE THAT THAT TRANSLATES INTO THIS CAMPAIGN, THE COMING GENERAL ASSEMBLY? DO YOU THINK THAT THERE MIGHT BE A SUBCISION IN CUTTING TAXES, THAT WE MIGHT INCREASE SOME? MARTIN JISCHKE CAME OVER TO THE UNIVERSITY OF IOWA THIS PAST WEEK AND TOLD STUDENTS THERE, "DON'T EXPECT ANY MORE HELP FOR THE REGENTS INSTITUTIONS," -- THAT IS, TOM VILSACK CAME TO THE UNIVERSITY OF IOWA. AND HE SAID THAT MONEY IS GOING TO GO TO K-12.

Beck: WELL, WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT TAX CUTS, THERE'S TWO ISSUES THERE. ONE IS IF THE REPUBLICANS MAINTAIN CONTROL OF THE LEGISLATURE, THEY HAVE -- THEY'VE ALREADY CUT BACK ON THE TAX CUTS. THE TAX CUTS HAVE GOTTEN PROGRESSIVELY SMALLER IN THE LAST COUPLE OF YEARS, AS THE MONEY HAS DRIED UP A LITTLE BIT. BUT THEY HAVE THIS THING ABOUT WANTING TO SAY, "FOR THE SIXTH YEAR IN A ROW, WE CUT TAXES," AND THEY WILL WANT TO BE ABLE TO SAY "FOR THE SEVENTH YEAR IN A ROW." SO THEY'LL BE SMALL TAX CUTS BECAUSE THEY WANT TO BE ABLE TO CONTINUE SAYING THAT, "IN A ROW." BUT IT WILL HAVE TO BE VERY TARGETED BECAUSE, IF THEY'RE GOING TO DO TEACHER PAY, THERE'S JUST NO MONEY AVAILABLE FOR IT.

Yepsen: MARTIN JISCHKE'S COMMENTS OUT HERE ABOUT WE MAY NEED TO RAISE TAXES HAS REALLY JUST PROVED TO ME HOW OUT OF TOUCH PEOPLE IN COLLEGE TOWNS CAN GET. THE REAL WORLD OUT THERE IS NOT GOING TO SEE ANY TAX INCREASES. THE DAY AFTER HE SAID THAT OUT HERE, WE ALL WENT UP TO THE STATEHOUSE AND ASKED THE GOVERNOR WHAT HE THOUGHT ABOUT IT. HE SAID, "NO WAY." AND THE LAST THING A LIBERAL DEMOCRATIC GOVERNOR IS GOING TO DO, WHO WANTS TO GET REELECTED, IS GOING TO DO IS RAISE TAXES. WHAT WAS SIGNIFICANT, THOUGH, WAS THE GOVERNOR GOING TO IOWA CITY AND TELLING THE STUDENTS DOWN THERE, "DON'T LOOK FOR A BIG BAILOUT." IT TOOK NIXON TO GO TO CHINA, AND IT TOOK A LIBERAL DEMOCRATIC GOVERNOR TO GO TELL THE REGENTS, YOU KNOW, "THE GRAVY TRAIN IS OVER." WE HAVE OTHER PRIORITIES IN THIS STATE NOW: KIDS, CHILD ABUSE, OTHER PRIORITIES BESIDES DUMPING A LOT OF MONEY INTO THE STATE UNIVERSITIES."

Borg: YOU KNOW, IN OUR CLOSING MINUTES HERE, I'D LIKE TO GET INTO SOMETHING THAT GOVERNOR TOM VILSACK SAID IN HIS INAUGURAL MESSAGE AND HAS CONTINUED TO CARRY THROUGH, AND THAT IS A VISION FOR IOWA THAT INVOLVES IMPROVING THE QUALITY OF LIFE AND, AT THE SAME TIME, HIGHER PAYING JOBS AND DEVELOPING VALUE-ADDED INDUSTRY IN THIS STATE. HOW DO YOU SEE THE CHANGING NATURE OF IOWA? THERE SEEMS TO BE, JOYCE, AN INDICATION THAT IOWANS CONSIDER US KIND OF A BATTLEGROUND: "NO INDUSTRY IN MY HOMETOWN."

Russell: WELL, THAT'S CERTAINLY SHOWING UP WITH OPPOSITION TO THE EXCEL PLANT THAT -- THAT'S A KEY AGRICULTURAL INDUSTRY... CATTLE RAISING AND PROCESSING OF CATTLE.

Borg: BUT THE CONTENTION IS THAT WE WANT TO IMPROVE QUALITY OF LIFE. WE'RE TRYING TO GET MORE IOWANS TO RETURN TO IOWA, FORMER IOWANS TO RETURN TO IOWA. THE NEW YORK TIMES THIS PAST WEEK, DAVE, DID A STORY ON IOWA BECOMING THE ELLIS ISLAND, IF YOU WILL, TO ATTRACT IMMIGRANTS HERE. HOW DO YOU SEE THIS CONTENTIOUS ISSUE?

Yepsen: IT'S TOUGH. THIS STATE IS 97 PERCENT WHITE, AND A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO WORK IN THE MEATPACKING INDUSTRY ARE IMMIGRANTS. IT'S A CLASSIC AMERICAN PATTERN OF PEOPLE COMING TO THIS COUNTRY TO TAKE JOBS THAT NONE OF THE REST OF US WANT TO DO. THERE WAS A DANISH GUY THAT DID THAT ABOUT 150 YEARS AGO IN MY FAMILY. SO A LOT OF PEOPLE ARE HAVING TROUBLE MAKING THAT ADJUSTMENT. AND THE SECOND THING IS THAT A LOT OF CRITICS OF THIS ARE SAYING, YES, WE HAVE TO HAVE A PACKING PLANT. BUT WHEN WE TALK ABOUT IMPROVING THE QUALITY OF LIFE IN IOWA, WE DIDN'T HAVE IN MIND A WHOLE BUNCH OF MEATPACKING JOBS. WE HAD SOME MIND SOME OTHER THINGS, HIGH TECHNOLOGY JOBS THAT MIGHT, IN FACT, PAY BETTER WAGES. SO THAT'S A BIT OF THE DEBATE TOO.

Borg: AND, KAY, PART OF THE STRUGGLE IS AGRICULTURE, TRADITIONALLY THE LEADING INDUSTRY IN IOWA -- AND OTHERS HAVE SPUN OFF THAT -- AND URBAN FLIGHT INTO THE AG AREA, AND THERE YOU GET THE CONTENTION BETWEEN THE TWO. IS THAT -- HOW IS THAT GOING TO PLAY OUT?

Henderson: YOU'RE NOT GOING TO FIGHT THE TREND WHERE YOU'VE SEEN FARMERS MOVE OFF THE FARM. THAT'S BEEN GOING ON FOR 150 YEARS. THE PROBLEM HERE IS IF IOWA DOESN'T GROW AND THE IOWA 2010 PROJECT, WHICH WAS COCHAIRED BY DAVID OMAN, A REPUBLICAN GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE, AND BETSY BRANSGARD, AT THE REQUEST OF GOVERNOR BRANSTAD -- THOSE FOLKS HAVE BEEN GUESTS ON HERE. THEY IDENTIFIED THE WAY TO GROW IOWA'S POPULATION IS TO WELCOME PEOPLE FROM OUTSIDE THE STATE IN. A LOT OF IMMIGRANTS MAKING THIS AN IMMIGRATION ZONE, BECAUSE IF THEY DON'T, THE WORRY IS THAT IOWA IS GOING TO BECOME ONE GIANT NURSING HOME. THE STATE IS GRAYING LIKE YOU WOULDN'T BELIEVE. WE'RE LOSING POPULATION. EVEN IF EVERY GRADUATE OF AN IOWA HIGH SCHOOL WERE TO STAY HERE, WE WOULDN'T BE ABLE TO FILL THE JOBS, GIVEN THE AMOUNT OF PEOPLE WHO ARE RETIRING, THE AMOUNT OF PEOPLE WHO ARE LEAVING THE STATE AND GOING TO THE GREAT BEYOND. SO THERE'S GOT TO BE SOME SORT OF CONCERTED EFFORT ON THE PART OF THE STATE TO ATTRACT NEW PEOPLE HERE. THEY'RE JUST SORT OF FLAILING AROUND TRYING TO FIND A WAY TO DO IT.

Borg: THIS WEEKEND A LOT OF IOWANS ARE READING ABOUT THE 2010 VISION THAT KAY MENTIONED, JENEANE. HOW DO YOU SEE THE RECEPTION OF THAT?

Beck: WELL, WE'VE ALREADY SEEN THE RECEPTION ON SOME OF THE ISSUES. WE'VE TALKED ABOUT THE IMMIGRATION ISSUE. THERE HAS BEEN SOME COMMENTS MADE THAT HAVEN'T MAYBE MADE IOWA LOOK THAT GOOD, THAT HAVE SEEMED SORT OF RACIST. WHETHER THEY WERE MEANT TO BE OR NOT, BUT THEY WERE FEARFUL THAT WOULD BRING IN POPULATIONS THAT WOULD HURT THE SCHOOLS OR HURT THE COMMUNITY. BUT THERE ARE SOME OTHER RECOMMENDATIONS THAT I FOUND INTERESTING. THEY WOULD LIKE TO REDUCE SOME OF THE GOVERNMENT -- REDUCE COUNTY GOVERNMENTS BECAUSE COUNTIES DON'T HAVE THE MONEY, AS THE RURAL REGIONS DRY UP, TO SUPPORT 99 COUNTY GOVERNMENTS. AND HAVING REGIONAL GOVERNMENTS, THAT'S AN IDEA THAT MIGHT BE OF INTEREST.

Borg: FIFTEEN SECONDS, DAVE. A PARTING WORD ON 2010?

Yepsen: A LOT OF CONTROVERSY. I DON'T THINK MUCH OF IT WILL HAPPEN, BECAUSE THE OTHER THING THAT SHOWS IN THAT POLL IS ABOUT 2/3 OF IOWANS THINK THINGS ARE GOING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION. AND IT VEXES EVERY POLICYMAKER WE TALK ABOUT HERE, EVERY GOVERNOR. IF YOU WANT TO MAKE CHANGE, YOU'VE GOT TO HAVE THE PUBLIC THAT WANTS TO DO IT, AND MANY IOWANS DON'T WANT TO MAKE CHANGE.

Borg: THANKS FOR YOUR INSIGHTS. WE'LL GATHER HERE JUST BEFORE THE ELECTION TO SEE HOW THINGS ARE GOING. OUR CLOSING REMINDERS ARE THAT IOWA PRESS RETURNS NEXT WEEK AT THE SAME TIME, NOON AND 7:00. I HOPE YOU'LL WATCH THEN. AND A FINAL REMINDER AS WE LEAVE YOU IS THAT YOU CAN KEEP UP WITH IOWA PRESS ON THE WORLDWIDE WEB. JOIN US AT WWW.IOWAPRESS.IPTV.ORG. AND THAT'S IT FOR THIS WEEK'S EDITION OF IOWA PRESS. I'M DEAN BORG. THANKS FOR JOINING US TODAY.

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