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Iowa Press #2812 - Rob Tully - Chairman, Iowa Democratic Party
Nov. 19, 2000

Dean Borg: THE ELECTION OF 2000 IS ALMOST TWO WEEKS BEHIND US, AND WHILE THE BIG QUESTION REMAINS UNANSWERED, THE POST ELECTION ANALYSIS CONTINUES. WE'LL DISCUSS THE ELECTION OF 2000, BOTH NATIONAL AND LOCAL, WITH ROB TULLY, THE CHAIR OF THE IOWA DEMOCRATIC PARTY, ON THIS EDITION OF IOWA PRESS.

Narrator: FUNDING FOR IOWA PRESS HAS BEEN PROVIDED BY FRIENDS OF IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION; BY THE IOWA BANKERS ASSOCIATION... FOR PERSONAL, BUSINESS, AND COMMERCIAL NEEDS, IOWA BANKS HELP IOWANS REACH THEIR FINANCIAL GOALS; AND BY THE ASSOCIATION OF BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY, THE VOICE OF IOWA BUSINESS, REPRESENTING THE INTERESTS OF OVER 1,500 IOWANS EMPLOYING 300,000 IOWANS. THIS IS THE SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 19 EDITION OF IOWA PRESS. HERE IS DEAN BORG.

Borg: THE ELECTION THAT WAS BILLED AS TOO CLOSE TO CALL IS PROVING TO BE EXACTLY THAT AND MORE, AND STILL IS. IN FLORIDA, HIGHLY CHARGED PARTISANSHIP HAS EVOLVED INTO OUTRIGHT BELLIGERENCE AS THE DISPUTE OVER THE PRESIDENTIAL TABULATION HAS NOW EVOLVED TO A LEGAL TUG OF WAR BEING PLAYED OUT IN THE COURTS AND ON NATIONAL TELEVISION. LOCALLY THE PROSPECT OF AN IOWA RECOUNT WAS TAKEN OUT OF PLAY, THOUGH, ON THURSDAY OF THIS PAST WEEK, SO VICE PRESIDENT GORE WINS IOWA BY A LITTLE MORE THAN 4,000 VOTES. THE IOWA STATEHOUSE VOTE HAS BEEN SIGNED, SEALED, AND DELIVERED, AND THE RESULTS SHOW NO CHANGE IN THE BALANCE OF POWER OF THE IOWA LEGISLATURE. HERE TO HELP US SORT THROUGH THE ELECTION OF 2000 IS ROB TULLY, THE CHAIRMAN OF THE IOWA DEMOCRATIC PARTY. MR. TULLY, WELCOME BACK TO IOWA PRESS.

Tully: GLAD TO BE BACK.

Borg: WE'LL BE INTERESTED IN YOUR COMMENTS. AND I MIGHT SAY THAT MR. TULLY'S COUNTERPART, IOWA REPUBLICAN CHAIR KAYNE ROBINSON WAS INVITED TO BE WITH US TODAY BUT WAS UNABLE TO PARTICIPATE. ACROSS THE TABLE: REPORTERS DAVID YEPSEN OF THE DES MOINES REGISTER AND MIKE GLOVER OF THE ASSOCIATED PRESS.

Glover: MR. TULLY, THE ELECTION HAS COME AND GONE AND LEFT IN ITS WAKE A COUPLE OF SHELLS OF POLITICAL PARTIES. GIVE US YOUR ASSESSMENT OF THE HEALTH OF THE IOWA DEMOCRATIC PARTY.

Tully: WELL, I THINK THE HEALTH OF THE IOWA DEMOCRATIC PARTY IS A GOOD ONE. WHEN WE LOOK BACK ON THIS ELECTION, ONE OF THE THINGS THAT WE'VE BEEN PLAGUED WITH OVER THE YEARS IS NOT HAVING THE FINANCES TO BE ABLE TO DO THE THINGS THAT WE NEED TO DO, AND THAT'S A FULL FRONTAL ASSAULT ON ELECTION DAY IN TERMS OF GETTING OUT THE VOTES, AS WELL AS EARLY VOTING. THE THING THAT'S BEEN WHAT WE'VE ACCOMPLISHED THIS YEAR IS, ONE, WE TOOK THE PARTY OUT OF DEBT FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 25 YEARS, AND WE WERE ABLE TO KEEP IT OUT OF DEBT THROUGH THE ENTIRE ELECTION PROCESS. WHAT WE'RE MOST PLEASED WITH THIS YEAR, TWO THINGS ACTUALLY, FIRST, AS IT RELATES TO THE ELECTION, WE'RE EXTREMELY PLEASED THAT WE WON THE EARLY VOTE CONTEST. YOU KNOW, BACK IN 1996 WE BROUGHT IN ABOUT 65,000 EARLY BALLOTS. OUR GOAL WAS TO BRING IN 100,000 EARLY BALLOTS. WE KNEW IT WAS GOING TO BE NECESSARY BECAUSE WE KNEW IT WAS GOING TO BE A CLOSE RACE HERE. WHEN THE DUST SETTLED, WE HAD BROUGHT IN 138,000 EARLY BALLOTS. AND OF COURSE, THE MARGIN, AS DEAN HAD SAID EARLIER, WAS A LITTLE OVER 4,000. SO IT'S THAT CRITICAL MOVE BY THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY AND THE TROOPS THAT WE HAD ON THE GROUND WERE ABLE TO BRING THAT THROUGH. OF COURSE, THE SECOND MOST IMPORTANT THING THAT WE'RE VERY PLEASED WITH IS WE WERE ABLE TO KEEP THE FIRST-IN-THE-NATION STATUS FOR 2004.

Glover: WE'LL GET TO THAT IN A MINUTE, BUT IF YOU COULD WRITE A PRESCRIPTION FOR ANYTHING THAT NEEDS TO BE DONE TO HELP THE IOWA DEMOCRATIC PARTY, PUT IT ON A DIFFERENT PATH, STRENGTHEN IT, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

Tully: I THINK MOST IMPORTANT IS FOR US TO MAKE SURE THAT WE KEEP THE FOCUS ON, ONE, THE ISSUES THAT WE CAN WIN WITH AND, TWO, MAKING SURE THAT OUR FINANCIAL WELL-BEING STAYS STRONG, BECAUSE ONE OF THE THINGS THAT YOU FIND OUT IN ANY TYPE OF ELECTION, WHETHER YOU'RE RUNNING FOR COUNTY SUPERVISOR, YOU'RE RUNNING FOR GOVERNOR, OR YOU'RE RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, YOU NEED THE FUNDS TO BE ABLE TO DO THINGS THAT ARE NECESSARY TO WIN AN ELECTION. I THINK WE'VE PROVED THAT THIS YEAR. THE GOVERNOR WAS EXTREMELY HELPFUL IN FUND-RAISING BOTH ON THE PARTY LEVEL, BUT ALSO INDIVIDUAL CANDIDATES.

Yepsen: I WANT TO ASK YOU ABOUT FLORIDA, MR. TULLY. WHAT'S YOUR REACTION TO EVENTS DOWN THERE? GOVERNOR BUSH THIS MORNING HAS ADDED TO HIS LEAD. IS THIS THING STARTING TO BE OVER WITH FOR AL GORE?

Tully: WELL, I DON'T KNOW IF IT'S STARTING TO BE OVER WITH BECAUSE, I'LL BE HONEST WITH YOU, I DON'T KNOW ENOUGH ABOUT THOSE INDIVIDUAL COUNTIES TO BE ABLE TO TELL YOU WHERE NUMBERS ARE COMING IN. YOU COULD PRETTY MUCH LOOK AT SOMEPLACE HERE IN IOWA AND YOU SAW NUMBERS COMING IN, YOU COULD SAY, WELL, THIS IS A DEMOCRATIC AREA, THOSE NUMBERS DON'T LOOK VERY GOOD, WE HAVE PROBLEMS. SO I CAN'T ANSWER IT ON THAT STANDPOINT. BUT AS TO GENERALLY AS YOU WERE ASKING ABOUT THE PROCESS, AS OPPOSED TO SOME PEOPLE THAT MIGHT BE JUST SLIGHTLY GETTING A LITTLE TIRED ABOUT THIS, SEE, I THINK THIS MAKES WHAT I THINK IS OUR GREATEST ASSET, AND THAT IS THAT WE HAVE AN ELECTION SYSTEM THAT PEOPLE GO TO THE POLLS OR THEY EARLY VOTE OR WHATEVER AND THEY MAKE THE DECISION. AND IT IS SO CLOSE THAT RECOUNTS ARE A PART OF THE PROCESS. RATHER THAN, I THINK, PUTTING OUR ELECTORAL SYSTEM INTO A CRISIS, I THINK THIS IS A CELEBRATION OF OUR ELECTORAL PROCESS.

Yepsen: HOW LONG DO YOU THINK THIS CAN GO ON IN FLORIDA BEFORE PEOPLE DO START LOSING PATIENCE WITH IT?

Tully: WELL, I THINK THAT WE'RE PROBABLY LOOKING TO A WEEK FROM MONDAY, AFTER THANKSGIVING WEEKEND. IF WE GET TO THE MONDAY AFTER THANKSGIVING AND WE STILL DON'T HAVE AN ANSWER TO THAT, I THINK PEOPLE ARE GOING TO GET A LITTLE TIRED BECAUSE WE'RE STARTING TO GET CLOSE TO THE PROCESS WHERE THE ELECTORS HAVE TO GO AND VOTE.

Glover: REGARDLESS OF THE OUTCOME IN FLORIDA, REGARDLESS OF THE OUTCOME NATIONALLY, DON'T WE, IN FACT, HAVE A RECIPE FOR GRIDLOCK, A NATION DIVIDED, AN ELECTION THAT WAS BASICALLY A TIE AND A FOUR-YEAR RUN-UP TO A REMATCH?

Tully: WELL, IT'S GOING TO BE INTERESTING AND A LOT OF TIMES YOU HAVE TO LOOK AT WHAT'S HAPPENED IN HISTORY. YOU LOOK AT THE PREVIOUS RACES WHERE THEY WERE CLOSE WHERE, SAY, THE POPULAR VOTE WAS WON BY ONE INDIVIDUAL, THE ELECTORAL VOTE WAS WON BY ANOTHER, AND THEY WERE ALL WEAK IN PRESIDENCIES. THAT'S AT LEAST THE HISTORY OF IT. IN FOUR YEARS THEY WERE ALL GONE AFTER THAT PROCESS TOOK PLACE. SO I THINK THAT WE'RE PROBABLY LOOKING AT THAT IT'S GOING TO BE A CHALLENGE FOR WHOEVER IT IS, WHETHER IT BE GORE OR WHETHER IT'S GOING TO BE BUSH, THAT THEY'RE GOING TO HAVE TO ESTABLISH EARLY ON SOME CONFIDENCE WITH THE AMERICAN PEOPLE AND VICE VERSA FOR THEM TO BE AT LEAST SOMEWHAT SUCCESSFUL IN THEIR FOUR YEARS AS PRESIDENT.

Glover: AND THIS HAS BEEN A BITTERLY PARTISAN ELECTION FROM THE BEGINNING. IS THERE ANYTHING THAT THE TWO PARTIES CAN DO ONCE IT'S SETTLED TO PUT THE ELECTION BEHIND AND TO GET ON WITH THE BUSINESS OF GOVERNING AMERICA?

Tully: WELL, I WILL SAY THIS, I WAS VERY PLEASED WHEN THE VICE PRESIDENT WENT ON TV AND SAID, "HEY, LET'S YOU AND I MEET," REFERRING TO GEORGE W. BUSH, "AND LET'S ASSURE THE AMERICAN PEOPLE TOGETHER THAT WHATEVER THE RESULT OF THIS IS THAT WE'RE GOING TO WORK TOGETHER FOR THE TRANSITION OF GOVERNMENT" -- Glover: BUT THAT MEETING NEVER HAPPENED.

Tully: AND THAT MEETING NEVER HAPPENED, WHICH THAT, IN AND OF ITSELF, DISAPPOINTED ME. I THINK THAT THE VICE PRESIDENT HAS MADE ALL THE RIGHT MOVES TO MOVE IT IN THAT DIRECTION. KEEPING IN MIND THAT THE CAMPAIGN WAS A LOT ON GEORGE W. BUSH SAYING THAT PEOPLE DON'T GET ALONG IN WASHINGTON, A LOT OF IT HAD TO DO WITH THE REPUBLICAN LEADERSHIP IN CONGRESS. SO I DON'T ANTICIPATE THAT THE REPUBLICANS IN CONGRESS ARE GOING TO CHANGE ANYTHING DIFFERENT THAN THEY'VE DONE OVER THE LAST FOUR YEARS.

Yepsen: MR. TULLY, WHAT'S WRONG WITH GRIDLOCK, WITH A SPLIT GOVERNMENT? WE HAVE SPLIT CONTROL HERE IN IOWA. WE HAVE SPLIT CONTROL IN WASHINGTON, YET WE HAVE THE BEST ECONOMY WE'VE EVER HAD IN THE HISTORY OF THE COUNTRY.

Tully: OH, I'M NOT SAYING THAT THERE'S ANYTHING WRONG WITH GRIDLOCK, ALTHOUGH THE THING THAT I THINK WE HAVE TO KEEP IN MIND -- AND I ALWAYS PREACH THIS WHEN I GO AND TRAVEL AROUND THE STATE WHEN I'M TALKING TO DEMOCRATS AND OTHERS IS THIS: ONE THING THAT WE FORGET IS THAT WE ARE THE GOVERNMENT. AND SO, YOU KNOW, IF YOU SEE SOME FRUSTRATION OVER GRIDLOCK AND EVERYTHING, IT'S FROM THE PEOPLE THAT CREATE THE GOVERNMENT, THAT IS, THE VOTERS. SO IT'S NOT GOOD, I DON'T THINK, FOR THE OVERALL INTEREST OF THE VOTERS IN MAKING SURE THAT THE THINGS THAT THEY WANT THEIR GOVERNMENT TO DO TO HAPPEN.

Yepsen: WHAT WERE VOTERS SAYING IF THIS IS WHAT THE OUTCOME THAT THEY RENDERED? "THAT WE DON'T WANT GOVERNMENT TO DO A LOT?" "WE'RE HAPPY WITH THE WAY THINGS ARE?" WHAT ARE THEY SAYING?

Tully: WELL, I THINK ON THE NATIONAL LEVEL, I MEAN, I THINK THIS REALLY WAS A DIFFERENCE IN PHILOSOPHIES. AND YOU KNOW, THEY TALK ABOUT THERE'S SOME ROLE FOR GOVERNMENT UNDER AL GORE'S GOVERNMENT. THERE'S LITTLE OR NO ROLE FOR GOVERNMENT UNDER GEORGE W. BUSH'S GOVERNMENT. SO I THINK THAT, IN AND OF ITSELF, CREATES MAYBE A LITTLE BIT OF TENSION BETWEEN VOTERS AS TO WHAT DIRECTION THEY WANT THEIR GOVERNMENT TO TAKE.

Yepsen: I WANT TO ASK A PROCESS QUESTION HERE. WE'RE ALL FOCUSED ON THE PROCESSES IN FLORIDA. YOU'RE A STUDENT OF THE PROCESS. ARE THERE CHANGES TO THE IOWA BALLOT OR THE IOWA SYSTEM OF CONDUCTING ELECTIONS THAT YOU SEE WE OUGHT TO MAKE IN THIS STATE AS A RESULT OF THIS ELECTION, WHAT WE'VE SEEN HERE, AND MAYBE WHAT WE'RE SEEING IN FLORIDA? ANY REFORMS, ANY CHANGES THAT YOU WANT TO SEE MADE?

Tully: ABSOLUTELY, BUT NOT HERE IN IOWA BECAUSE, QUITE FRANKLY, WE DO IT WELL HERE IN IOWA. I THINK THAT WE'RE GOING TO SEE ON A NATIONAL LEVEL AN IDEA OF AT LEAST COMING CLOSE TO A UNIFORM BALLOT AND CERTAINLY A PROCESS OF COUNTING VOTES. YOU KNOW, THE GREAT THING ABOUT OUR SYSTEM HERE IN MOST OF OUR COUNTIES -- AND I THINK WE'LL EVEN SEE THE SECRETARY OF STATE ASKING FOR FUNDING THAT WE CAN PROVIDE THE SAME MACHINERY TO EVERY COUNTY IN IOWA, AND THAT'S SIMILAR TO WHAT WE HAVE HERE IN POLK COUNTY AND SOME OF THE OTHER LARGER COUNTIES, WHERE YOU MAKE YOUR VOTE BY FILLING IN THE LINE THAT'S AN ARROW RIGHT TO THAT PERSON. SO IF YOU VOTE FOR GEORGE W. BUSH AND AL GORE, YOU PUT THE BALLOT INTO THE MACHINE AND THE MACHINE WON'T TAKE IT. JUST THE SAME AS IN THE OLD TIME WHEN WE HAD THE MACHINES WHERE YOU PULLED DOWN, IF YOU ENDED UP PULLING TWO PEOPLE DOWN WHEN YOU WEREN'T SUPPOSED TO, YOU COULDN'T REGISTER YOUR VOTE UNTIL YOU WENT BACK AND CORRECTED IT. SO I THINK THAT WE'RE CERTAINLY GOING TO SEE, ON A NATIONAL LEVEL, SOME MOVING AWAY FROM PUNCH BALLOTS, BECAUSE THERE IS A CHANCE FOR FLAWS IN THAT SYSTEM BECAUSE THE MACHINES DON'T PICK IT UP.

Borg: GENERAL COLIN POWELL SAID THAT HE WATCHED TELEVISION DURING THE GULF WAR TO SEE WHAT WAS HAPPENING IN DOWNTOWN BAGHDAD. TELEVISION ALSO GAVE THE AMERICAN ELECTORATE AN INSIGHT INTO THE PROCESS AS IT WAS HAPPENING IN FLORIDA. WHAT'S YOUR PERCEPTION OF HOW THE MEDIA, PARTICULARLY TELEVISION, PERFORMED IN REPORTING THE ELECTION AND PARTICULARLY IN PROJECTIONS?

Tully: WELL, YOU KNOW, THE INTERESTING THING IS -- AND IT'S A VOTER NEWS SERVICE THAT PROVIDED ALL THE EARLY PROJECTION MATERIAL TO ALL THE NETWORKS, AND WE'VE HAD TIME TO SPEND -- OR HAD SOME TIME SPENT WITH THEM DURING THE CAUCUSES. I WAS NOT A FAVOR OF VOTER NEWS SERVICE DURING THE CAUCUS PROCESS OF DOING ENTRANCE POLLS TO FIGURE OUT HOW THE RESULT WAS GOING TO BE IN THE CAUCUS BECAUSE -- BECAUSE OF THE WAY WE AT LEAST DO IT ON THE DEMOCRATIC SIDE, THERE IS A FORMULA THAT GOES IN AND I DID NOT WANT RAW NUMBERS TO BE GIVEN OUT BECAUSE THAT ISN'T WHAT THE STRENGTH IS OF THE CANDIDATE. INTERESTINGLY ENOUGH, THOUGH, THEY DID THE ENTRANCE POLLS ANYWAY, AND THEY PREDICTED THE WINNERS OF THE IOWA CAUCUSES AT A QUARTER TO SEVEN BEFORE THE FIRST BELL WENT OFF AT THE 7:00 STARTING BELL WITH THE CAUCUS, AND THINK WERE DEAD-ON ACCURATE. THEY DID IT DOWN TO A POINT PERCENTAGE.

Glover: ARE THE MAJOR NEWS MEDIA OUTLETS DOING THE COUNTRY A FAVOR WITH DOING EXIT POLLING AND PROJECTIONS -- EARLY PROJECTIONS? SHOULD THEY BE PROHIBITED?

Tully: WELL, HERE'S THE THING, I DON'T THINK YOU CAN PROHIBIT IT BECAUSE I THINK YOU'VE GOT A FIRST AMENDMENT ARGUMENT THERE. YOU KNOW, THEY COULD CERTAINLY USE SOME SELF-RESTRAINT IN THE PROCESS OF WAITING UNTIL THE POLLS CLOSE. I THINK IN A NUMBER OF JURISDICTIONS, THEY MAY HAVE EVEN DONE THAT. BUT IT'S REALLY TOUGH FOR PEOPLE IN MY JOB THAT ARE OUT ON THE WEST COAST, THAT THERE'S A TREND AS IT COMES ACROSS THE COUNTRY -- I REMEMBER THE 1980 ELECTION; I WAS A STUDENT AT DRAKE. I WAS OUT DOOR-KNOCKING AT 7:30 AT NIGHT, AND I WENT BACK -- AND IT WAS KIND OF COLD THAT NIGHT. I WENT BACK INTO MY CAR JUST TO TURN ON THE RADIO, AND THE ELECTION WAS OVER AT 7:30. CARTER HAD ALREADY CONCEDED.

Yepsen: BUT, MR. TULLY, IS THAT THE FAULT OF THE MEDIA FOR HAVING CALLED IT, OR IS THAT THE FAULT OF PRESIDENT JIMMY CARTER FOR HAVING CONCEDED BEFORE THE POLLS WERE CLOSED?

Tully: I DON'T DISAGREE WITH THAT. I DID NOT AGREE WITH PRESIDENT CARTER CONCEDING.

Yepsen: SO THE NETWORKS WERE SIMPLY REPORTING WHAT THE PRESIDENT HAD SAID.

Tully: BUT YOU ALSO HAVE TO REMEMBER THAT THEY WERE ALSO PREDICTING BEFORE THE POLLS -- THE POLLS STILL HAD THREE OR FOUR HOURS LEFT IN CALIFORNIA, AND THEY HAD ALREADY PREDICTED BASED UPON THEIR EARLY EXITING POLL DURING THE DAY. MY POINT BEING IS THAT WHEN YOU'RE OUT ON THE WEST COAST AND YOU SEE THINGS HAPPENING, IT MAKES IT MORE DIFFICULT FOR YOU AS AN OPERATIVE TO BE ABLE TO GET YOUR PEOPLE OUT TO VOTE.

Glover: WELL, IS MAIL VOTING LIKE THEY DO IN OREGON AND WASHINGTON, IS THAT IN THE FUTURE? Tully: I THINK THAT'S AN INTERESTING POINT, BECAUSE OREGON SENDS OUT THEIR BALLOTS A COUPLE WEEKS AHEAD OF TIME, AND THEY ACTUALLY HAVE A HIGHER PERCENTAGE OF PEOPLE VOTING.

Glover: AND THE POLLS WE'VE SEEN SINCE THIS ELECTION, THE ONE THREAD THAT'S RUNNING THROUGH IT IS THAT PEOPLE SEEM TO BE CONTENT TO WAIT FOR A WHILE TO SEE THE OUTCOME OF AN ELECTION TO SEE THAT IT'S ACCURATELY COUNTED.

Tully: I THINK THAT WE MAY BE GOING TO THAT TREND. AND CERTAINLY, IF THERE'S MORE PARTICIPATION, I'M A FIRM BELIEVER IN THAT.

Yepsen: WHAT ABOUT A UNIFORM POLL CLOSING TIME ACROSS THE COUNTRY? IT WOULDN'T AFFECT THOSE OF US IN THE MIDDLE WEST VERY MUCH. WE MIGHT HAVE TO CHANGE OUR POLL CLOSING TIME TO 8:00 INSTEAD OF 9:00. BUT DO YOU FAVOR THAT KIND OF AN IDEA TO AVOID THIS PROBLEM THAT YOU'VE JUST DESCRIBED WITH NETWORKS CALLING ELECTIONS EARLY OR THAT SEA OF RED OR THAT SEA OF BLUE STARTING TO BUILD UP AND DISCOURAGING PEOPLE ON THE WEST COAST?

Tully: WELL, YOU KNOW, THERE'S -- NOW THAT WE'RE GOING THROUGH THIS, I'VE BEEN READING ABOUT THIS: HAVING A 24-HOUR PERIOD THAT STARTS UNIFORMLY AT ONE TIME AND ENDS 24 HOURS OF VOTING IN A NATIONAL ELECTION. IF EVERYBODY STARTS AT THE SAME TIME AND ENDS AT THE SAME TIME, THAT CERTAINLY WOULD AVOID IT. THE QUESTION IS WHETHER OR NOT WE'RE GOING TO HAVE POLL WORKERS AND LOCAL OFFICIALS AND EVERYTHING ELSE HAVING PEOPLE WORKING AT MIDNIGHT OR 2 O'CLOCK IN THE MORNING. I THINK IT'S A GREAT IDEA, BUT I'M NOT THE GUY THERE COUNTING THE VOTES AT 2 O'CLOCK IN THE MORNING.

Glover: WELL, LET'S BRING YOU HOME FROM CALIFORNIA FOR JUST A SECOND AND TALK ABOUT SOME STRICTLY IOWA RACES, LIKE THE IOWA LEGISLATURE. YOU PUT EVERYTHING YOU HAD INTO TRYING TO GET THE IOWA LEGISLATURE BACK, PARTICULARLY THE IOWA HOUSE. YOU MADE NO GAINS. WHAT WENT WRONG AND WHAT CAN YOU DO TO CORRECT THAT?

Tully: WELL, YOU KNOW, IT'S KIND OF INTERESTING, WE DID -- WE MADE A CONCERTED EFFORT. WE THOUGHT THAT WE HAD SOME REALLY WONDERFUL CANDIDATES. WE DID HAVE WONDERFUL CANDIDATES RUNNING ALL ACROSS THE STATE. THE INTERESTING THING IS THAT -- AND I KNOW THERE'S BEEN SOME ARTICLES SAYING, "GEE, THE GOVERNOR WASN'T VERY HELPFUL." QUITE FRANKLY, THE GOVERNOR WAS EXTREMELY HELPFUL. AND THE REASON THAT WE LOST SOME OF THOSE CLOSE ELECTIONS THAT WE ANTICIPATED WE COULD WIN AND WIN BACK THE MAJORITY IS THAT THE REPUBLICANS USED THE PERSON THAT WOULD MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN THESE RACES, AND THAT WAS GOVERNOR VILSACK. IN 15 OF OUR TOP RACES THAT WE ANTICIPATED THAT WE WERE HOPING TO TAKE OVER FROM SOME INCUMBENTS, THE REPUBLICANS SENT A MAILING LIKE THE ONE HERE I'VE GOT FOR ALLEN BORLAUG WHO RAN UP AGAINST BRIAN QUIRK UP THERE IN NEW HAMPTON. THE HEADLINES IN ALL OF THESE SAID: "GOVERNOR VILSACK AND ALLEN BORLAUG AGREE ON PROPOSAL TO CURB TAXES; VILSACK AND BORLAUG TO FOCUS WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT; BORLAUG AND VILSACK TARGET HEALTH CARE." THEY ACTUALLY USED A DEMOCRATIC GOVERNOR, BECAUSE EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THESE THAT WENT OUT IN THOSE 15 RACES DIDN'T INDICATE THAT BORLAUG WAS A REPUBLICAN.

Glover: WHAT DO YOU DO TO TURN IT AROUND?

Tully: WELL, I THINK THAT, AS ALWAYS, THE THING THAT PLAGUES US IN EVERY ELECTION IS THAT, AS MUCH AS I WISH -- AND WE WERE FINANCIALLY BETTER THAN WE'VE EVER BEEN -- WE'LL NEVER BE ABLE TO DO THESE TYPES OF THINGS AT THE END THE WAY THE REPUBLICANS DO. THEY WERE ABLE TO DUMP $15,000 IN EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THOSE RACES AND THAT'S BECAUSE THEY, GOD LOVE 'EM, THEY DID THAT STRAW POLL VOTE NAMES AND RAISED A MILLION DOLLARS OFF OF THEIR NATIONAL CANDIDATES TO BE ABLE TO USE IN LOCAL RACES. I DON'T FAULT THEM. I APPLAUD THEM FOR DOING THAT, BUT THE REALITY IS THAT WHEN WE GOT DOWN TO THE END IN THESE PARTICULAR RACES, $15,000 RIGHT AT THE END CAN MAKE ALL THE DIFFERENCE IN THE WORLD IN TERMS OF DOING THAT KIND OF STUFF.

Yepsen: BUT DIDN'T DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATES USED TO DO THAT SAME THING WITH TERRY BRANSTAD? THEY'D SAY, "WELL, HE AND I AGREE ON THESE ISSUES"

Tully: WELL, BUT NOT TO THIS EXTENT, QUITE FRANKLY. THEY'RE RELYING -- AND THE REASON IS THAT GOVERNOR VILSACK IS EXTREMELY POPULAR IN THE STATE OF IOWA, AND SO THEY USED IT AS A PART OF THAT. PLUS, KEEPING IN MIND THE OTHER ANGLE THAT THEY USED -- AND I THINK WE BROUGHT IT UP EARLIER, I THINK MICHAEL DID -- IS THAT THEY WERE TALKING ABOUT, "DON'T YOU WANT TO HAVE A LITTLE BIT OF A CHECK ON GOVERNOR VILSACK? HE'S A GREAT GUY BUT DON'T YOU THINK WE OUGHT TO HAVE A CHECK." THAT WAS AN UNDERLYING THEME FOR THE LEGISLATURE OF HAVING THE CHECKS AND BALANCES THAT WE TALKED EARLIER.

Yepsen: BUT DIDN'T THEY WIN THAT ARGUMENT?

Tully: WELL, I THINK THAT'S AN ARGUMENT THAT THEY USED.

Yepsen: THE GOVERNOR PUT HIS PRESTIGE ON THE LINE AND CAMPAIGNED HARD, AND WE HAVE NO CHANGE. 56/44 IN THE HOUSE, 30/20 IN THE SENATE, WHICH IS EXACTLY WHAT IT WAS GOING IN --

Tully: OH, I DON'T THINK THERE'S ANY DOUBT THAT THE GOVERNOR USED HIS POSITION TO TRY TO HELP DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATES, BUT THE REALITY IS THAT REPUBLICANS USED HIS PRESTIGE AND DID IT VERY EFFECTIVELY.

Yepsen: I WANT TO TAKE MIKE'S QUESTION TO CONGRESS. FIVE CONGRESSIONAL SEATS. YOU WON ONLY ONE OF THEM. WHAT HAPPENED IN THE BATTLE FOR CONGRESS? WHY WEREN'T YOU ABLE TO MOUNT BETTER CHALLENGES AGAINST FOUR REPUBLICAN INCUMBENTS?

Tully: WELL, I'LL TAKE YOU BACK TO '94. PEOPLE SAY, "WELL, LOOK AT THIS, GREG GANSKE TOOK OUT LONG-TERM CONGRESSMAN NEAL SMITH." YOU'VE GOT TO REMEMBER THAT THE ONE NUMBER ON ANY POLLING THAT MAKES A DIFFERENCE -- AND I LEARNED THIS THE HARD WAY IN THE SECOND DISTRICT IN 1998 -- AND THAT IS THIS: RIGHT TRACK, WRONG TRACK. IN 1998 RIGHT TRACK, WRONG TRACK THAT THE COUNTRY WAS GOING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION BY 70 PERCENT. IT WAS 60-PLUS PERCENT THIS YEAR. IN 1994 IT WAS BELOW 50 PERCENT. YOU'RE NOT GOING TO REMOVE AN INCUMBENT FROM OFFICE WHEN TWO-THIRDS OF THE PEOPLE IN THE STATE OF IOWA THINK THE COUNTRY IS GOING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION. BECAUSE OF THE NUMBERS BEING FAIRLY SIMILAR TO DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS, NO PARTIES MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN THOSE TYPES OF RACES. WE HAD GREAT CANDIDATES BUT UNLESS YOU HAVE $2- OR $3 MILLION TO THROW INTO A PARTICULAR RACE TO BE ABLE TO DO SOME SERIOUS MESSAGE DELIVERY, IT'S GOING TO BE TOUGH TO DEFEAT AN INCUMBENT.

Glover: ONE OF THE THINGS THAT THIS ELECTION SET THE STAGE FOR IS REAPPORTIONMENT IN THE NEXT SESSION OF THE IOWA LEGISLATURE. THE LAST COUPLE OF TIMES, REAPPORTIONMENT REALLY HASN'T BEEN MUCH OF A STORY, IT'S REALLY NOT BEEN VERY CONTROVERSIAL. WHAT DO YOU SEE HAPPENING IN THIS SESSION OF THE LEGISLATURE AS FAR AS REAPPORTIONMENT? TWO THINGS: WHAT TRENDS DO YOU SEE; AND DO YOU THINK THE LAW NEEDS TO BE CHANGED?

Tully: WELL, TO ANSWER YOUR FIRST QUESTION, I THINK WE'RE PROBABLY NOT GOING TO EVEN SEE THAT MUCH THIS TIME. THEY DO THE NONPARTISAN -- I THINK IT'S A COMPUTER PROGRAM THAT THEY HAVE THAT SHOOTS OUT -- I THINK WE'RE PROBABLY GOING TO SEE THE FOURTH DISTRICT SHRINK A LITTLE BIT IN TERMS OF ITS SIZE. THE FOURTH DISTRICT INCLUDES AMES. IT'S BASICALLY CARVED OUT OF THE MIDDLE, AND THEN WE EXPAND THE SIZE OF THE OTHER HOUSE DISTRICTS. I THINK THAT YOU'RE GOING TO SEE CERTAINLY SOME BELIEF ON OUR PART THAT WE CAN WIN BACK THE FOURTH DISTRICT. I ANTICIPATE THAT THE FOURTH DISTRICT IS GOING TO BE A -- AN OPEN SEAT. THE FIFTH DISTRICT MAY BE AN OPEN SEAT, BECAUSE I THINK WE MAY VERY WELL SEE TOM LATHAM AND GREG GANSKE TAKE EACH OTHER ON IN A PRIMARY TO RUN AGAINST TOM HARKIN.

Glover: DO YOU THINK THE LAW SHOULD BE CHANGED IN THE WAY WE GO ABOUT REAPPORTIONING THINGS IN IOWA?

Tully: WELL, I'LL BE HONEST WITH YOU, I THINK THE WAY IT IS IS FINE, AND I'LL TELL YOU WHY. IF WE LEAVE IT UP TO THE ACTUAL POLITICIANS THEMSELVES IN TERMS OF BEING ABLE TO SIT IN THE BACK ROOM AND GERRYMANDER THEMSELVES AROUND, I THINK THAT IOWANS WOULD EXPECT AND WOULD WANT FOR US TO DO IT AS MUCH AS WE CAN IN A NONPARTISAN WAY. THE WAY WE DO IT RIGHT NOW IS A PRETTY GOOD FORMULA. AND KEEPING IN MIND AND AS YOU KNOW THIS, IF WE DON'T LIKE THE FIRST ONE, WE CAN REJECT IT; WE DON'T LIKE THE SECOND ONE, WE CAN REJECT IT; AND THE THIRD ONE, WE GET THE STATE SUPREME COURT INVOLVED.

Borg: WHAT'S YOUR REASONING IN SAYING THAT LATHAM AND GANSKE WILL GO FOR GOVERNOR RATHER THAN GANSKE GOING FOR THE SENATE?

Tully: NO, I THINK THEY BOTH HAVE EYES ON THE U.S. SENATE. I THINK ANYTIME THAT AN INDIVIDUAL CAN GO AND THEY ONLY HAVE TO RUN EVERY SIX YEARS INSTEAD OF EVERY TWO OR, EVEN BETTER EVERY FOUR, THAT I THINK BOTH OF THEM, AT LEAST WITH THE INDICATIONS THAT WE HAVE, THEY ARE BOTH VERY MUCH INTERESTED IN THAT. I DON'T KNOW IF THERE'S ANYTHING THAT I'VE HEARD THAT TOM LATHAM WANTS TO COME BACK TO IOWA SPECIFICALLY. THAT'S WHY I SAY THAT, DEAN.

Yepsen: MR. TULLY, AS LONG AS WE'RE TALKING ABOUT REFORMS AND CHANGES, SOME PEOPLE ARE TALKING ABOUT CHANGING THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE, EITHER ELIMINATING IT OR ALTERING THE WAY ELECTORS ARE ALLOCATED. HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THAT? SHOULD WE CHANGE THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE IN SOME FASHION, DO AWAY WITH IT?

Tully: I THINK PART OF -- I'VE GOT TWO ANSWERS TO THAT, AND YOU'RE GOING TO LOVE IT BECAUSE I' GOING TO SAY BOTH THINGS. [LAUGHTER ] FIRST AND FOREMOST, I'M A FIRM BELIEVER IN MAJORITY RULE. I DO BELIEVE THAT WE OUGHT TO HAVE AN ELECTORAL PROCESS THAT BASICALLY IS -- A MAN WHO GETS, OR A WOMAN WHO GETS, THE MOST VOTES WINS THE ELECTION, BUT THERE'S SOMETHING TO BE SAID FOR THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE IN THIS MANNER, AND I CAN BE TALKED OUT OF IT. THERE WOULD HAVE BEEN NO ONE STOPPING BY THE STATE OF IOWA, WHETHER IT BE GEORGE W. BUSH OR EVEN AL GORE, IN TERMS OF IOWA AND OTHER SMALLER STATES. OUR SEVEN ELECTORAL VOTES, AS I PREACHED OVER AND OVER AGAIN AS I TRAVELED ACROSS THE STATE, IOWA WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE. WE WILL CHOOSE THE NEXT PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. IF AL GORE WINS FLORIDA, WHICH I HOPE HE DOES -- WHICH I HOPE HE DOES, THAT IOWA WILL HAVE MADE THE DIFFERENCE IN THIS PARTICULAR RACE. WE HAD -- I THINK AL GORE WAS HERE FIVE TIMES. I THINK GEORGE W. BUSH WAS HERE FOUR OR FIVE TIMES SINCE THE CAUCUSES, AND I THINK THAT'S IMPORTANT FOR THIS PART OF AMERICA TO BE ABLE TO BE TOUCHED BY THE CANDIDATES AND, MORE IMPORTANTLY, TO BE HEARD BY THE CANDIDATES.

Glover: MR. TULLY, DOES THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY HAVE A RALPH NADER PROBLEM? IF YOU LOOK AT THE ELECTION RETURNS AROUND THE COUNTRY, THERE WERE 93,000 NADER VOTES IN FLORIDA. ABOUT TWO-THIRDS OF THOSE WOULD HAVE BEEN AL GORE VOTES. DIDN'T, IN FACT, RALPH NADER, IF IT ENDS UP BEING A GEORGE BUSH WIN, WON'T RALPH NADER HAVE MADE THE DIFFERENCE?

Tully: IN FLORIDA HE WOULD HAVE.

Glover: WHAT DO YOU DO ABOUT IT?

Tully: WELL, I THINK -- FIRST, LET ME ALSO ADDRESS IT HERE IN IOWA, BECAUSE IT WAS A CONCERN FOR US. IN PAST ELECTIONS, JOHN ANDERSON, WHEN HE RAN, GOT 19 PERCENT OUT OF JOHNSON COUNTY. THAT THREW THE ELECTION INTO THE REPUBLICAN COLUMN. BUT INTERESTINGLY ENOUGH, WE WORKED FAIRLY HARD IN JOHNSON COUNTY AND WE KEPT RALPH NADER'S PERCENTAGE DOWN TO 6 PERCENT. WE WERE VERY PROUD AND PLEASED WITH THAT. AND THE KEY TO THAT IS -- WHICH BRINGS US NOW TO YOUR QUESTION. HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH IT? YOU HIT IT HEAD ON AND TALK ABOUT THE ISSUES AND YOU TAKE IT STRAIGHT TO THOSE VOTERS AND SAY, LISTEN, HERE'S -- WHEN YOU'RE SITTING THERE AND ARGUING THERE'S NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THESE TWO PARTIES, THERE WAS AN INCREDIBLE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THESE TWO CANDIDATES IN THE WAY THEY WANTED GOVERNMENT TO WORK OR TO GO FORWARD AND THEIR VISION FOR THE FUTURE. THE FACT THAT RALPH NADER DIDN'T LIKE THE VISION WAS SOMETHING THAT SOME PEOPLE -- THAT APPEALED TO THEM. BUT I DON'T THINK RALPH NADER'S APPEAL WAS AS STRONG FOR RALPH NADER, IN AND OF HIMSELF, AS IT WAS TO NONE OF THE ABOVE, BECAUSE I THINK THAT WAS A FACTOR IN THIS RACE FOR SOME PEOPLE.

Yepsen: WHAT ABOUT YOUR OWN FUTURE, MR. TULLY? YOUR TERM AS CHAIRMAN OF THE STATE PARTY IS ABOUT OVER. ARE YOU GOING TO SEEK REELECTION? ARE YOU GOING TO RETIRE? WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS?

Tully: WELL, THAT'S AN INTERESTING QUESTION. I JUST HAD DINNER WITH SENATOR HARKIN THE OTHER NIGHT, AND HE WAS FAIRLY PERSUASIVE IN ASKING ME TO STAY ON AS STATE PARTY CHAIR. I'VE HAD A GREAT TIME. IT'S BEEN A WONDERFUL, WONDERFUL EXPERIENCE, BUT IT'S BEEN A LITTLE DIFFICULT. I'LL BE HONEST WITH YOU, AND EVERYONE ELSE, THAT IT'S BEEN A LITTLE DIFFICULT TO TRY TO MAKE A LIVING AND DO THIS. BUT I WOULDN'T CHANGE THE WAY WE RUN OUR PARTY, AND THAT IS TO HAVE A NONPAID CHAIR.

Yepsen: SO YOU INTEND TO STAND FOR REELECTION AS PARTY CHAIR?

Tully: WELL, LET'S PUT IT THIS WAY, I THINK THAT MY PREFERENCE IS TO LET SOMEONE ELSE. I'M A FIRM BELIEVER IN NEW BLOOD AND THAT IT'S GOOD TO HAVE CONSTANT CHANGE TO BE ABLE TO HAVE SOMEONE COME IN AND MOTIVATE MORE. I WILL STAY ACTIVE WITH THE PARTY. WHETHER I RUN FOR REELECTION OR NOT WILL PROBABLY BE MADE WHEN I TALK WITH GOVERNOR VILSACK AND SENATOR HARKIN AT FURTHER LENGTH. I MAY STAY ON FOR A VERY SHORT PERIOD OF TIME UNTIL THEY FIND SOMEONE THAT THEY'RE COMFORTABLE WITH.

Yepsen: WHAT ABOUT ANOTHER RUN FOR OFFICE, CONGRESS, STATEWIDE OFFICE, SOMETHING LIKE THAT? IS THAT IN THE CARDS FOR YOU?

Tully: WELL, YOU KNOW, THE LAST TIME YOU ASKED ME THAT ON THIS PROGRAM, I SAID I NEVER SAY NEVER. BUT I'VE ENJOYED -- I WAS VERY PROUD AND HONORED TO RUN IN THE SECOND DISTRICT AS THEIR NOMINEE IN 1998. I WOULDN'T TRADE THAT EXPERIENCE FOR ANYTHING.

Yepsen: SO YOU'RE STILL SAYING YOU NEVER SAY NEVER.

Tully: THAT'S WHAT I'M STILL SAYING.

Glover: ONE OF THE BIGGEST ELECTIONS YOU'VE GOT IS COMING UP IN TWO YEARS. THE FIRST DEMOCRATIC GOVERNOR IN 30 YEARS IS GOING TO BE STANDING FOR REELECTION. HOW DO YOU GET HIM REELECTED?

Tully: I'M GOING TO TELL YOU, I WOULD LIKE TO SAY I WOULD TAKE CREDIT FOR GETTING TOM VILSACK REELECTED, BUT I THINK GOVERNOR VILSACK IS GOING TO GET HIMSELF REELECTED. WHEN YOU HAVE THE POPULARITY RATE THAT HE DOES AND HIS BELIEF OF A VISION FOR IOWA FOR US TO GROW, PEOPLE KNOW THAT HE SPEAKS THE TRUTH WHEN HE TALKS ABOUT THAT. HE IS GOING TO BE VERY STRONG. HE'S GOING TO BE FINANCIALLY HEALTHY GOING INTO THIS ELECTION CYCLE. I KNOW THE REPUBLICANS WOULD LOVE TO TAKE HIM OUT, BUT THEY'RE NOT GOING TO DO IT.

Borg: I'M SORRY, IT WILL APPEAR THAT I'M TAKING YOU OUT RIGHT NOW. [LAUGHTER] Borg: WE'RE OUT OF TIME. THANK YOU VERY MUCH, ROB TULLY. ON OUR NEXT EDITION OF IOWA PRESS, OUR FOCUS SHIFTS TO THE JUDICIAL BRANCH OF IOWA GOVERNMENT. JOINING US, THE NEW CHIEF JUSTICE OF THE IOWA SUPREME COURT, LOUIS LAVORATO, WHO WILL DISCUSS THE BUSINESS OF THE IOWA JUDICIAL SYSTEM AND THE ISSUES FACING THAT BRANCH OF IOWA GOVERNMENT. NEXT SUNDAY AT NOON AND 7:00 HERE ON IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION. A CLOSING REMINDER TOO: IOWA PRESS NOW AVAILABLE ON THE WORLDWIDE WEB. TRANSCRIPTS OF PAST EDITIONS AND MORE, AVAILABLE WHEN YOU CLICK IN AT THE ADDRESS ON YOUR SCREEN NOW: WWW.IOWAPRESS.IPTV.ORG. THAT'S IT FOR THIS WEEK'S EDITION OF IOWA PRESS. I'M DEAN BORG. THANKS FOR JOINING US TODAY.

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