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Iowa Press #3007
October 18 and 20, 2002

Borg: CAMPAIGN 2002 HAS JUST A FEW MORE DAYS UNTIL VOTERS HAVE THEIR SAY. WE'LL GET SOME INSIGHT FROM POLITICAL PARTY INSIDERS, REPUBLICAN STEVE ROBERTS AND DEMOCRAT ROB TULLY, ON THIS EDITION OF "IOWA PRESS."

ANNOUNCER: FUNDING FOR "IOWA PRESS" WAS PROVIDED BY FRIENDS, THE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION FOUNDATION; BY THE IOWA BANKERS ASSOCIATION... FOR PERSONAL, BUSINESS, AND COMMERCIAL NEEDS, IOWA BANKS HELP IOWANS REACH THEIR FINANCIAL GOALS; BY THE ASSOCIATED GENERAL CONTRACTORS OF IOWA... THE PUBLIC'S PARTNER IN BUILDING IOWA'S HIGHWAY, BRIDGE, AND MUNICIPAL UTILITY INFRASTRUCTURE; AND BY IOWA NETWORK SERVICES AND YOUR LOCAL INDEPENDENT TELEPHONE COMPANY... IOWA NETWORK SERVICES, YOUR CLOSEST CONNECTION.

ON STATEWIDE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION, THIS IS THE FRIDAY, OCTOBER 18 EDITION OF "IOWA PRESS." HERE IS DEAN BORG.

Borg: JUST A LITTLE MORE THAN TWO WEEKS NOW BEFORE IOWANS AND OTHER AMERICANS GO INSIDE VOTING BOOTHS TO HAVE THEIR SAY. BEFORE THAT HAPPENS, CANDIDATES ARE POUNDING AWAY ON THE MESSAGES THEY HOPE VOTERS REMEMBER ON NOVEMBER 5. CONTROL IS AT STAKE. IN THE U.S. SENATE, THE DEMOCRATS NOW HOLD A ONE-VOTE MAJORITY, 50 TO 49, WITH ONE INDEPENDENT. BUT IN THE UPCOMING ELECTION, 33 SENATE SEATS ARE ON THE BALLOT. OF THOSE 33 UP FOR ELECTION, 19 ARE BEING DEFENDED BY REPUBLICNS, DEMOCRATS DEFENDING 14 SEATS. IN THE U.S. HOUSE, ALL 435 SEATS ARE UP FOR ELECTION AS THEY ARE EVERY TWO YEARS, AND THAT INCLUDES IOWA'S FIVE CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICTS. IN THE HOUSE, THE REPUBLICANS HOLD A 223 TO 208 ADVANTAGE OVER THE DEMOCRATS, WITH ONE INDEPENDENT, AND THERE ARE 3 OPEN SEATS IN THE U.S. HOUSE. IN IOWA STATEHOUSE CAMPAIGNS, THE RACE FOR GOVERNOR AND LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR ARE GETTING MOST OF THE ATTENTION, BUT ALL FIVE POSITIONS OF THE IOWA EXECUTIVE COUNCIL -- ATTORNEY GENERAL, SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE, SECRETARY OF STATE, AUDITOR, AND TREASURER -- ALSO ON THE BALLOT. THEN THERE ARE THE LEGISLATIVE CAMPAIGNS, WHERE THE REPUBLICANS CONTROLLED BOTH THE HOUSE AND THE SENATE IN THE LAST IOWA GENERAL ASSEMBLY, SO THERE'S PLENTY OF ACTION AND CONTENTIOUS DEBATE. AND OUR TWO GUESTS TODAY ARE NOT TYPICAL SPECTATORS: DES MOINES ATTORNEY STEVE ROBERTS IS A MEMBER OF THE REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE, PAST CHAIR OF THE IOWA REPUBLICAN PARTY; DES MOINES ATTORNEY ROB TULLY, IMMEDIATE PAST CHAIR OF THE IOWA DEMOCRATIC PARTY AND A FORMER CANDIDATE FOR CONGRESS HIMSELF. GENTLEMEN, WELCOME BACK TO "IOWA PRESS." YOU BOTH HAVE BEEN HERE BEFORE, AND WE LOOK FORWARD TO AN INVIGORATING AND INSIGHTFUL DISCUSSION WITH YOU.

I LOOK FORWARD TO IT AS WELL.

THANK YOU.

Borg: ACROSS THE TABLE: "DES MOINES REGISTER" POLITICAL COLUMNIST DAVID YEPSEN AND "ASSOCIATED PRESS" POLITICAL REPORTER MIKE GLOVER.

Glover: MR. TULLY, GIVE US SOME INSIGHT. WHAT'S GOING TO BE THE BIGGEST SURPRISE WE ALL DON'T EXPECT TO HAPPEN ON THE NIGHT OF NOVEMBER 5?

Tully: I THINK THE BIGGEST SURPRISE IS GOING TO BE HOW MANY SEATS WE DO WIN IN THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES RIGHT HERE IN IOWA. AS YOU KNOW, WE ARE SIX SEATS AWAY FROM THE MAJORITY IN WASHINGTON, AND I THINK THAT WE CAN COUNT ON AT LEAST THREE DEMOCRATIC SEATS; OBVIOUSLY, LEONARD BOSWELL. I THINK THAT WE HAVE INCREDIBLY GREAT SHOTS AT THE FIRST, THE SECOND, AS WELL AS THE FOURTH, THAT BEING ANN HUTCHINSON, JOHN NORRIS IN THE FOURTH, AND, OF COURSE, JULIE THOMAS IN THE SECOND.

Glover: MR. ROBERTS, OTHER THAN A DEMOCRAT PREDICTING A DEMOCRATIC LANDSLIDE ON ELECTION NIGHT, WHAT'S THE BIG BIGGEST SURPRISE FROM REPUBLICANS?

Roberts: I THINK THE BIGGEST SURPRISE IS GOING TO BE HOW WELL WE DO IN COMPARISON TO WHAT MR. TULLY JUST SAID. [ LAUGHTER ] I DON'T KNOW WHAT THEY'RE SMOKING OVER THERE AT DEMOCRATIC HEADQUARTERS BUT, CLEARLY, THE CONGRESSIONAL SEATS, I THINK WE WILL KEEP THE ONES WE HAVE. AND I THINK WE HAVE A CHANCE IN THE BOSWELL SEAT. THAT'S A CLOSE RACE; SINGLE DIGITS. I THINK WE'LL DO WELL THERE, AND I THINK THERE'S SOME UPSET POSSIBILITIES.

Borg: DAVE?

Yepsen: WE WANT TO GO THROUGH ALL THOSE RACES --

Roberts: SURE.

Yepsen: -- AS WELL AS JUST TO VISIT AMONG OURSELVES HERE A LITTLE BIT ABOUT WHAT'S GOING ON HERE. BUT, STEVE, WHAT IS YOUR SENSE OF THIS DEMOCRATIC ABSENTEE BALLOT PROGRAM? I MEAN, THE EARLY RETURNS -- ABSENTEE BALLOTS ARE NOW STARTING TO ARRIVE IN COUNTY AUDITORS' OFFICES. AND QUITE FRANKLY, STEVE, DEMOCRATS ARE CLEANING YOUR CLOCK ON THESE THINGS.

Roberts: I WOULD BE THE FIRST TO CONCEDE THAT AT THE MOMENT THEY HAVE BEEN MAYBE NOT CLEANING OUR CLOCK, BUT THEY'RE CLEARLY AHEAD AND WE ADMIT THAT.

Yepsen: WHAT DO YOU DO ABOUT IT? IS THERE ANYTHING REPUBLICANS CAN DO ABOUT IT?

Roberts: WELL, YES, THERE IS. THE ABSENTEE BALLOT RACE ISN'T OVER. I THINK WE'VE TAKEN SOME STEPS TO DO BETTER. THEY CLEARLY PUT SOME EXTRA MONEY INTO THIS. I DON'T THINK IT'S AS MUCH THE DOOR TO DOOR AS IT IS THE EXTRA MAILING THAT THEY'VE DONE. AND SO WE FEEL CONFIDENT WE'LL BE COMPETITIVE AT THE END.

Borg: BUT, DAVE, LET ME ASK -- DIDN'T YOU SAY -- INSINUATE THERE IS A DEMOCRATIC EDGE IN ABSENTEE BALLOTS? THOSE VOTES AREN'T COUNTED YET. OUR VOTERS KNOW THAT. SO WHAT DO YOU MEAN?

Yepsen: WHAT DO THEY DO KNOW IS WHO BRINGS THEM IN AND WHO ASKS FOR THEM, AND SO BOTH PARTIES CAN KEEP TRACK OF WHAT'S COME IN. WHAT DEMOCRATS HAVE DONE -- MAYBE WE SHOULD GET MR. TULLY TO FLUSH THIS OUT FOR US. BUT WHAT DEMOCRATS HAVE DONE I THINK IS PARTICULARLY EFFECTIVE. INSTEAD OF FOCUSING ON THE PARTY STALWARTS AND THE PARTY FAITHFUL AND PEOPLE WHO ALWAYS SHOW UP, THEY'RE JUST FIGURING THOSE PEOPLE ARE GOING TO SHOW UP ANYWAY, SO LET'S GO AFTER THE DEMOCRAT WHO DOES NOT VOTE IN A PRESIDENTIAL YEAR. AM I RIGHT, ROB?

Tully: THAT'S EXACTLY RIGHT. IN FACT, INTERESTINGLY ENOUGH, IF YOU GO BACK TO MY RACE IN 1998 AGAINST JIM NUSSLE, MY MARGIN OF LOSS WAS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A PRESIDENTIAL YEAR AND DEMOCRATS GETTING OUT --

Yepsen: SO IN OTHER WORDS, YOU WOULD HAVE WON HAD THE NONPRESIDENTIAL YEAR VOTERS TURNED OUT.

Tully: ABSOLUTELY. SO WHAT OUR CONCENTRATION IS, IS TO GET THOSE PEOPLE THAT NORMALLY DON'T VOTE IN AN OFF YEAR -- OFF-PRESIDENTIAL YEAR TO GO OUT AND VOTE. THOSE CAN BE DRAMATIC IN TERMS OF TURNAROUNDS AND RESULTS.

Yepsen: DEAN, LET ME JUST THROW ONE OTHER THOUGHT IN HERE. ON ELECTION DAY IN 2000, GEORGE BUSH WON IOWA, ON WHAT HAPPENED ON THE STREET IN IOWA ON ELECTION DAY. BUT AL GORE CARRIED THE STATE BECAUSE HE GOT A LOT MORE ABSENTEE BALLOTS.

Glover: MR. ROBERTS, THERE'S BEEN A LOT OF TALK IN THE RUNUP, NOT ONLY OF ABSENTEES BUT OF THE ORGANIZATIONAL EFFORT TO GET OUT THE VOTE EFFORT THAT DEMOCRATS HAVE DONE. AT THE BOTTOM LINE AT THE END OF THE DAY, HOW MUCH DIFFERENCE DOES THAT MAKE?

Roberts: IN GETTING OUT THE VOTE?

Glover: YEAH, THE WHOLE ORGANIZATIONAL, POUND THE STREETS, DOOR KNOCKING --

Roberts: OH, I THINK PARTICULARLY AT THE END IT MAKES A HUGE DIFFERENCE. THAT'S WHY THE REPUBLICAN PARTY HAS HAD A HUGE CONCENTRATION NATIONALLY AND IN THIS STATE IN BUILDING OUR LAST, WHAT WE CALL, OUR 72-HOUR EFFORT. AND THAT'S WHERE WE PUT A LOT OF OUR EMPHASIS TO GET THAT VOTE OUT AT THE END. I MEAN IN 2000, IF WE GET MORE VOTE OUT, WE MIGHT HAVE OVERCOME THAT ABSENTEE BALLOT THING IN THE PRESIDENTIAL RACE. THIS TIME AROUND, WE'RE GOING TO MAKE -- THIS IS A HUGE CHANGE FROM WHAT WE'VE DONE IN THE PAST. WE OBVIOUSLY -- THE TWO PARTIES IN THIS STATE GO BACK AND FORTH. AND WE LEARNED FROM THE DEMOCRATS AND THEY LEARNED FROM US. NOW WE HAVE DIFFERENT ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES IN THAT EFFORT, BUT WE'RE MAKING HUGE EFFORTS, MORE TRAINING --

Borg: STEVE, IS PART OF YOUR PROBLEM IN GETTING OUT THE VOTE THIS TIME, AS AN EARLY INDICATOR IN THE ABSENTEES, THAT YOU HAVEN'T INVIGORATED, THIS TIME, THE REPUBLICAN RIGHT?

Roberts: NO. WELL, FIRST OF ALL, I THINK THE REPUBLICAN RIGHT IS GETTING INVIGORATED HERE AT THE END. THE ABSENTEE BALLOT THING, WE STARTED LATER, FRANKLY, ON THAT EFFORT, AND WE PROBABLY HAVE NOT PUT AS MUCH INTO DIRECT MAIL AS THE DEMOCRATS HAVE. BUT AT THE SAME TIME, WE'VE HAD A TREMENDOUS EMPHASIS FOR THE END OF THE ELECTION. THAT'S WHERE WE THINK THERE'S GOING TO BE THE BIG --

Glover: MR. TULLY, EXPAND THE DISCUSSION BEYOND ABSENTEE BALLOTS TO THE WHOLE ORGANIZATIONAL EFFORT. THERE'S BEEN A LOT OF TALK -- DEMOCRATS HAVE BEEN WORKING FOR A COUPLE OF YEARS TO PUT THIS ORGANIZATIONAL COORDINATED CAMPAIGN, YOU CALL IT, TOGETHER. AT THE END OF THE DAY, AT THE BOTTOM LINE IN A GENERAL ELECTION, HOW MUCH DIFFERENCE CAN THAT MAKE?

Tully: WELL, I THINK IT'S GOING TO MAKE A TREMENDOUS DIFFERENCE AND GOES BACK TO MY PREDICTION AT THE BEGINNING OF THE SHOW. ONE OF THE THINGS I THINK THAT'S IMPORTANT ABOUT THIS ASPECT IS, THIS PARTICULAR COORDINATED CAMPAIGN THAT WE PUT TOGETHER THIS YEAR IS ABSOLUTELY THE MOST SOPHISTICATED AND WHAT I WOULD CALL 21ST-CENTURY POLITICS AT ITS BEST, IN THAT WE MERGED WHAT WE HAVE AND WE DO BEST IS GETTING PEOPLE IN DOING THE FOOTWORK, IN GETTING OUT, USING THE TECHNOLOGY. I MEAN WE HAD VOLUNTEERS OUT ALL OVER THE STATE, AND WE HAVE CANVASSED, AT LEAST TWICE, THE ENTIRE STATE, WHICH IS UNPRECEDENTED IN OUR HISTORY. SO WE THINK WITH THAT AND WITH THE EFFORTS AND WITH WHAT WE CONSIDER TO BE GOOD CANDIDATES THAT WE'RE GOING TO BRING HOME A GOOD EFFORT.

Yepsen: I'D LIKE TO JUST GO DOWN THROUGH THE BALLOT, IF WE COULD, AND JUST PRETEND WE'RE SITTING IN A BAR SOMEWHERE. SID, BRING US ANOTHER ROUND, OKAY? THE SENATE RACE. STEVE ROBERTS, GIVE US YOUR TAKE ON THAT GANSKE-HARKIN RACE.

Roberts: I THINK THERE'S NO QUESTION THAT GREG GANSKE IS THE UNDERDOG, BUT HE'S HAD A HISTORY OF UPSETS. HE UPSET NEAL SMITH. NOBODY BACK IN -- AT LEAST UP UNTIL THE END, THOUGHT HE WOULD BEAT NEAL SMITH IN '94. THE RACE IS GOING TO BE DECIDED IN THE LAST WEEK OR TWO, AND I THINK IT'S VERY POSSIBLE THAT HE CAN TAKE HIM AT THE END. THAT'S THE PLAN.

Yepsen: ROB, WHAT'S YOUR --

Tully: I THINK IT'S IMPORTANT TO REALIZE THAT THIS IS NOT 1994. YOU'VE GOT TO REMEMBER IN 1994, WHAT BROUGHT GREG GANSKE TO ELECTION IS THAT ACROSS THE COUNTRY, INCLUDING IOWA, SEVEN OUT OF TEN PEOPLE DID NOT THINK THE COUNTRY WAS GOING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION. THOSE PARTICULAR NUMBERS AND RIGHT TRACK/WRONG TRACK ARE JUST NOT HERE FOR THIS PARTICULAR ELECTION. SECONDLY, GREG GANSKE, TO WIN THIS ELECTION, HAS TO WIN THE EASTERN PART OF THE STATE OR HE HAS TO MAY INROADS INTO THE EASTERN PART OF THE STATE. HIS NAME RECOGNITION IS NOT AS HIGH AS IT SHOULD BE, AT LEAST THIS CLOSE TO THE ELECTION. WITH THE EFFORT THAT THE PARTY IS GOING TO MAKE IN TERMS OF OUR EARLY VOTING AND GETTING OUR PEOPLE OUT TO VOTE, I'M GOING TO PREDICT THAT TOM HARKIN ACTUALLY IS GOING TO HAVE HIS LARGEST MARGIN THAT HE'S EVER HAD.

Yepsen: WELL, THAT ISN'T SAYING MUCH, BECAUSE TOM HARKIN NEVER WINS BY MUCH. STEVE, HOW DO YOU FIGURE? THERE ISN'T ONE POLL OUT THERE THAT SHOWS GANSKE ANYWHERE NEAR HARKIN.

Roberts: WELL, --

Yepsen: THEY RUN FROM 20 POINTS TO 10.

Roberts: WELL, THERE'S SOME SINGLE-DIGIT POLLS. I BELIEVE "WHO" HAD A POLL THIS LAST WEEK THAT SHOWED HIM WITH NINE POINTS. AGAIN, IN THIS STATE --

Glover: WELL, THAT'S NOT DOUBLE DIGITS. IT'S ONLY NINE.

Yepsen: YEAH, WHAT ABOUT THIS? I MEAN EASTERN IOWA, GANSKE IS FROM DES MOINES --

Roberts: WELL, LET ME TELL YOU. LET'S GO BACK IN HISTORY. AND I KNOW EVERYBODY SAYS EVERY YEAR IS DIFFERENT, AND THAT'S TRUE -- EVERY ELECTION CYCLE. BUT I REMEMBER BACK IN 1978, EVEN I DIDN'T GIVE ROGER JEPSEN A CHANCE, AND HE CAUGHT DICK CLARK AT THE END OF THE ELECTION.

Yepsen: IN THE LOWEST VOTER TURNOUT IN AN ELECTION SINCE WORLD WAR II. THAT'S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN THIS TIME.

Roberts: WELL, IT REMAINS TO BE SEEN. I THINK IT'S ONE OF THOSE THINGS THAT -- WE'RE SEEING IN THE ELECTION CYCLES THAT DECISIONS ARE MADE LATER AND LATER, AND THAT COULD BE A FACTOR. I KNOW WHEN I STARTED IN THIS BUSINESS, YOU COULD BEGIN TO PREDICT BY A COUPLE, THREE WEEKS OUT BUT ANYMORE YOU COME UP TO THE LAST WEEK -- LOOK AT THE PRESIDENTIAL RACE IN 2000.

Glover: BUT YOU'LL CONCEDE YOU HAVE A HURDLE TO GET OVER IN THAT ONE.

Roberts: ABSOLUTELY.

Glover: MR. TULLY, LET'S LOOK AT THE GOVERNOR'S ELECTION. THE POLLS HAVE SHOWN THAT TO BE A BIT MORE COMPETITIVE, THOUGH MOST HAVE GIVEN GOVERNOR VILSACK A LEAD IN THE RACE. GIVE US A SCENARIO THAT DOUG GROSS OVERTAKES GOVERNOR VILSACK IN THESE LAST TWO WEEKS. HOW DOES HE DO IT?

Tully: WELL, I THINK THE ONLY WAY FOR DOUG GROSS TO DO THAT IS THAT HE HAS TO CONTINUE ON IN A VERY NEGATIVE MANNER. RIGHT NOW --

Glover: THAT'S NOT BEEN A VERY POSITIVE RACE FROM EITHER SIDE.

Tully: NO, IT HASN'T. BUT KEEPING IN MIND -- KEEPING IN MIND THAT WHATEVER INROADS THAT DOUG GROSS HAS MADE, IT'S ALL ABOUT BRINGING TOM VILSACK DOWN BECAUSE OF THE FACT THAT DOUG GROSS -- NOBODY KNOWS WHO HE IS. I MEAN THIS IS A GUY WHO WAS BEHIND THE SCENES, WAS NOT POLITICALLY ACTIVE PRIOR TO THE TIME OF BEING ASKED BY THE FAT CATS OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY TO COME UP AND STEP UP: "WE NEED A CANDIDATE BECAUSE WE DON'T LIKE THE TWO GUYS THAT ARE RUNNING, AND WE WANT SOMEBODY THAT WE CAN BE ABLE TO TALK TO AND USE." AND RIGHT NOW I THINK THAT'S THE ONLY WAY IT HAPPENS. I THINK WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN, THOUGH, IS THAT TOM VILSACK -- AND IT MAY VERY WELL BE CLOSER THAN WHAT THE POLLS SAY NOW, BUT IT'S GOING TO COME DOWN TO WHO THE PEOPLE ACTUALLY TRUST, AND I REALLY DO BELIEVE THAT IT'S GOING TO BE AN ISSUE OF WHO DO YOU LIKE IN TERMS OF -- THAT YOU WANT TO LEAD THE STATE. AND I THINK IT'S GOING TO COME DOWN TO TOM VILSACK.

Glover: MR. ROBERTS, LET'S GET YOU ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE PARTISAN AISLE AS WELL. BECOME AN ADVISOR TO TOM VILSACK. TELL HIM HOW -- WHAT HE NEEDS TO DO TO HANG ON TO WIN THIS THING.

Roberts: WELL, BEFORE I DO THAT, I THINK I NEED TO RESPOND TO MR. TULLY'S -- UNDERSTANDABLY, HE DOESN'T HAVE THE FACTS OF INSIDE THE REPUBLICAN PARTY, BUT DOUG GROSS WAS NOT PICKED BY THE FAT CATS. DOUG GROSS ACTUALLY WAS SOMEWHAT OF A CHENEY. HE WAS OUT TRYING TO FIND THE BEST CANDIDATE. AND THEN THE EVENTS OF SEPTEMBER 11, AS HE SAYS, CHANGED HIS MIND, AND HE DECIDED TO RUN. SO I THINK THAT'S IMPORTANT TO CORRECT THE RECORD. IT WASN'T THAT KIND OF SITUATION AT ALL. AS FAR AS GOVERNOR VILSACK, I THINK HE HAS TO, FRANKLY, DEFEND HIS RECORD. I THINK HE CAME IN FOUR YEARS AGO WITH GREAT HOPES. HE'S OBVIOUSLY SMART AND CAPABLE. AND IN FOUR YEARS, ADMITTEDLY THERE HAVE BEEN SOME OUTSIDE FACTORS, BUT IOWA IS JUST NOT GOING ANYWHERE. WE'RE AT A CROSSROADS AND CLEARLY WE NEED NEW LEADERSHIP.

Yepsen: WHAT ABOUT THAT, ROB? I MEAN THE GOVERNOR MAY LEAD IN THE POLLS, BUT IT IS A SICK LEAD. I MEAN HE'S BOUNCING AROUND 50 PERCENT. HE'S AN INCUMBENT. HE'S HAD FOUR YEARS. THE WRONG TRACK NUMBERS ARE GOING THROUGH THE ROOF IN THIS STATE. THAT'S A TOUGH HILL --

Tully: WELL, IT'S A TOUGH HILL EXCEPT FOR THAT MOST IOWANS UNDERSTAND THAT THE FINANCIAL CRUNCH THAT THIS STATE IS IN HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH WHAT HAPPENED UP AT THE STATEHOUSE UNDER THE LEADERSHIP OF TOM VILSACK. I MEAN, WE'RE IN A NATIONAL RECESSION --

Yepsen: WAIT A MINUTE. WAIT A MINUTE, ROB. HAD THEY PASSED TOM VILSACK'S ORIGINAL BUDGETS, THE STATE'S BUDGET DEFICIT WOULD BE ABOUT $400 MILLION HIGHER --

Tully: BUT KEEP IN MIND --

Yepsen: -- HAD THEY APPROVED WHAT HE RECOMMENDED.

Tully: BUT KEEP IN MIND, DAVID.

Yepsen: THAT'S JUST A FACT.

Tully: I UNDERSTAND. BUT KEEP IN MIND THIS: THE REALITY IS THAT WHEN THE NUMBERS STARTED GOING DOWN NATIONALLY, YOU KNOW, TOM VILSACK DIDN'T SIT THERE AND GO, YOU KNOW, I STILL WANT TO GET MY PROGRAM THROUGH. TOM VILSACK SWITCHED AROUND AND SAID, "LISTEN, WE HAVE TO LEAD. WE HAVE TO MAKE CUTS. WE HAVE TO DO THE THINGS WE HAVE TO DO." AND WE ENDED UP WITH $100-MILLION SURPLUS AT THE END OF LAST YEAR.

Roberts: BUT THAT WAS THE REPUBLICAN LEGISLATURE THAT DID THAT. THEY HAD THE BUDGET PLAN.

Glover: AND THAT'S REALITY. POLITICS IS NOT ALWAYS ABOUT REALITY. GEORGE HERBERT WALKER BUSH DIDN'T HAVE A HECK OF A LOT TO DO WITH THE RECESSION IN '91 AND '92, BUT IT BEAT HIM. TOM VILSACK MAY NOT HAVE HAD ANYTHING TO DO WITH THIS RECESSION, BUT THE FACT IS VOTERS BLAME THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE.

Tully: MICHAEL, WITHOUT QUESTION. BUT THE POINT IS, IS THAT IOWANS HAVE SEEN IT. YOU KNOW, OUR FRIEND DOUG GROSS THREW AS MUCH AS HE COULD AT HIM. HE HAD THAT GREAT COMMERCIAL WHERE, YOU KNOW, WHAT HAPPENED TO THE BILLION DOLLARS. AND THE NUMBERS NEVER CHANGED. THEY DIDN'T CHANGE BECAUSE PEOPLE DIDN'T BELIEVE IT. IF THEY DIDN'T BELIEVE THAT, THEY'RE NOT GOING TO BELIEVE THE FACT THAT TOM VILSACK IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS NATIONAL RECESSION.

Roberts: IT'S A FACT, THOUGH, THAT WE'RE DOWN A BILLION DOLLARS.

Tully: NO, IT'S NOT.

Yepsen: I WANT TO TAKE MIKE'S QUESTION --

Tully: DON'T LET THE FACTS GET IN THE WAY OF A GOOD STORY, STEVE.

Yepsen: I WANT TO TAKE MIKE'S QUESTION AND FLIP IT AROUND TO WHAT REALLY GOES ON IN POLITICS; AND THAT IS, ROB TULLY, WHAT ARE YOU TELLING TOM VILSACK'S PEOPLE THEY'VE GOT TO DO TO GET THIS THING MOVING?

Tully: WELL, I THINK THE THING THAT YOU TELL THEM IS THAT THIS RACE REALLY IS ABOUT CHARACTER. IT IS ABOUT WHO LEADS THE STATE. AND THE FACT IS THAT WHEN TOM VILSACK IS OUT ON THE STUMP AND IOWANS HEAR HIM AND HE TALKS ABOUT WHAT HE'S DONE AND WHAT HE'S GOING TO DO, HE'S GOING TO WIN. THAT'S BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT THEY -- THE IOWANS EXPECT THAT OUT OF THEIR GOVERNOR. YOU KNOW, QUITE FRANKLY, DOUG GROSS REALLY HASN'T PUT ANYTHING ON THE TABLE.

Yepsen: WELL, THAT'S A GOOD COMMERCIAL. STEVE, WHAT ARE YOU ADVISING DOUG GROSS AT THIS POINT?

Roberts: WELL, I THINK DOUG GROSS IS OUT THERE SAYING THE REAL ISSUE IS LEADERSHIP, GETTING SOMETHING DONE IN THIS STATE. YOUR OWN PAPER HAS BEEN RUNNING A SERIES OF ARTICLES ABOUT THE CHALLENGES THIS STATE HAS. YOU'VE WRITTEN SOME IN YOUR COLUMNS ABOUT THAT. WE'RE AT A CROSSROADS, PROBABLY THE MOST SIGNIFICANT CROSSROADS WE'VE BEEN AT IN A LONG, LONG TIME: DO WE WANT TO CONTINUE TO BE LAST; DO WE WANT TO CONTINUE TO HAVE EVERYBODY LEAVE THE STATE; ALL THOSE KINDS OF ISSUES. WE NEED NEW LEADERSHIP TO GET THAT DONE, AND DOUG GROSS HAS A HISTORY OF GETTING THINGS DONE.

Yepsen: BEFORE WE LEAVE THIS AND GO TO CONGRESS, I HAVE ONE QUESTION FOR ROB. YOU KNOW, THIS IS A NEGATIVE CAMPAIGN. WE'VE NEVER SEEN FOUR AND FIVE COMMERCIALS STACKED UP. PEOPLE ARE COMPLAINING ABOUT IT. ARE DEMOCRATS WORRIED ABOUT A TURNOUT SUPPRESSION EFFORT, ABOUT A FALLOFF IN TURNOUT? THE FIRST PEOPLE WHO DECIDE NOT TO VOTE ARE GENERALLY DEMOCRATIC VOTERS. THAT'S WHY STEVE WAS TELLING US ABOUT THE JOYS OF 1978 WHEN IT WAS A LOW TURNOUT AND REPUBLICANS WON. HOW WORRIED ARE DEMOCRATS THAT THE NEGATIVE TONE OF THIS CAMPAIGN IS GOING TO HURT THE PARTY'S CANDIDATES?

Tully: WE'RE NOT AND FOR TWO REASONS. ONE IS THAT WHAT WE'RE GETTING IN OUR RESPONSES IN TERMS OF OUR GET-OUT-THE-VOTE EFFORT AND EVERYTHING, I THINK WE'RE GOING TO HAVE RECORD NUMBERS.

Borg: STEVE, LET'S GO OVER TO THE FIRST DISTRICT, WHERE A PERSON, MAYOR OF BETTENDORF, ANN HUTCHINSON, WAS REGISTERED AS A REPUBLICAN.

Roberts: NOT ONLY WAS REGISTERED AS A REPUBLICAN BUT THOUGHT OF RUNNING AS ONE.

Borg: WHAT IS GOING TO DRIVE THAT ELECTION? IS SHE GOING TO BE ABLE TO UPSET JIM NUSSLE, WHO IS CHAIRMAN OF THE HOUSE BUDGET COMMITTEE?

Roberts: I DON'T THINK SO. I DON'T THINK THERE'S ANY QUESTION JIM NUSSLE IS GOING TO WIN. HE GOT HIS SCARE BACK IN '96 WHEN HE ALMOST GOT BEAT BY DONNA SMITH IN THE OLD DISTRICT. ADMITTEDLY THE DISTRICT IS DIFFERENT NOW, BUT HE HAS SPENT A LOT OF TIME DOWN IN THE PARTS THAT HE HASN'T REPRESENTED BEFORE, NOTABLY SCOTT COUNTY. AND I THINK HE'LL HAVE A GOOD WIN.

Borg: WELL, YOU KNOW THAT DISTRICT WELL.

Tully: I KNOW IT EXTREMELY WELL.

Borg: HOW DO YOU SEE IT SHAPING UP?

Tully: WELL, HERE'S THE THING THAT JIM NUSSLE HAS TO WORRY ABOUT IS THE FACT THAT HE WAS SMART IN '98. WHEN HE TOOK THAT ELECTION TO ME, HE CAMPED OUT IN DUBUQUE AND STAYED THERE AND SPLIT DUBUQUE'S VOTE WITH ME, WHICH GAVE HIM THE EDGE. HE LITERALLY IS GOING TO HAVE TO LIVE, BETWEEN NOW AND THE REST OF THE CAMPAIGN, IN DAVENPORT, BECAUSE SCOTT COUNTY IS GOING TO PROVIDE A GOOD PORTION OF THE VOTES OUT OF THAT ENTIRE DISTRICT. AND THE ONE THING THAT PEOPLE FORGET IN LOSING JIM LEACH IN THAT PARTICULAR SEAT, SCOTT COUNTY LIKES HAVING THEIR OWN CONGRESSPERSON. AND SO I THINK THAT THE REPUBLICANS AND OUR FRIEND JIM NUSSLE ARE GOING TO PUT ALL THEIR EGGS IN THE FACT OF TRYING TO WIN SCOTT COUNTY TO MAKE THE DIFFERENCE, BECAUSE THAT'S THE ONLY WAY HE WINS THAT.

Yepsen: STEVE, LET'S GO DOWN THE RIVER. JIM LEACH, REPUBLICAN INCUMBENT VERSUS DR. JULIE THOMAS OF CEDAR RAPIDS. EVERYBODY IS SAYING LEACH IS IN TROUBLE. THOMAS HAS SPENT MORE MONEY. SHE'S GOT MORE TIME TO CAMPAIGN THERE. HOW MUCH TROUBLE IS JIM LEACH IN?

Roberts: I THINK IT'S A VERY COMPETITIVE RACE, NO QUESTION ABOUT IT. I THINK IT WOULD BE A TERRIBLE TRAGEDY, REGARDLESS OF HOW GOOD A CANDIDATE DR. THOMAS IS, IF WE LOST JIM LEACH, AND PARTICULARLY IF WE LOSE JIM LEACH BECAUSE HE'S PROBABLY THE MOST ETHICAL PERSON IN THE CONGRESS AND DOESN'T TAKE PAC MONEY AND HAS LIMITS ON CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS, ET CETERA, AND SO ON.

Glover: BUT HE MOVED INTO A 58-PERCENT DEMOCRATIC DISTRICT.

Roberts: BUT A DISTRICT THAT HE HAD REPRESENTED NEARLY ALL --

Glover: WITH SCOTT COUNTY AS A BASE.

Roberts: THAT'S TRUE, BUT HE'S --

Yepsen: STEVE, IS JIM LEACH JUST BEING STUPID AS A CANDIDATE? I MEAN, THAT'S ALL -- DO-GOODER AND GOO-GOO AND ALL THAT, AND NO PAC MONEY AND ALL THAT. BUT THE FACT IS, HE GOES INTO THE CAMPAIGN WITH ONE HAND TIED BEHIND HIS BACK. THESE GUYS ARE CLEANING HIS CLOCK.

Roberts: I WOULD HOPE THAT IN POLITICS -- AND IT'S HARD TO FIND ETHICS OFTEN, BUT I WOULD HOPE THAT WE STILL HAVE SOME -- THERE'S STILL ROOM FOR AN ETHICAL CANDIDATE, SOMEBODY THAT HAS THE BELIEFS AND STICKS BY THEM, NOT ONLY IN GOOD TIMES BUT IN BAD TIMES.

Yepsen: ROB, IS JULIE THOMAS GOING TO CONGRESS?

Tully: I THINK THAT SHE'S GOT THE EDGE NOW. I THINK, TO GIVE FAIRNESS TO JIM LEACH, THAT HIS VOTE AGAINST THE WAR, RESOLUTION AGAINST IRAQ, MAY VERY WELL HELP HIM IN JOHNSON COUNTY. THE QUESTION WILL BE FOR JOHNSON COUNTY DEMOCRATS IS WHETHER THEY FINALLY, AFTER ALL THESE YEARS, WANT A DEMOCRAT AND THEY WANT DICK GEPHARDT TO BE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE.

Glover: MR. ROBERTS, LET'S MOVE INTO CENTRAL IOWA AND THE NEW THIRD DISTRICT. HOW DO YOU SEE THAT?

Roberts: WELL, LET'S START OUT WITH THE FACT THAT MOST OF YOU KNOW MY LAW PARTNER STAN THOMPSON. SO NOT ONLY DO I HAVE A REPUBLICAN PREJUDICE BUT I HAVE --

Glover: YOU'VE GOT FOUR OR FIVE CONFLICTS IN THAT ONE. WE'LL GRANT YOU THAT.

Roberts: BUT THEN WE'VE HAD A HISTORY OF HAVING PEOPLE ON BOTH SIDES, SO IT'S -- BUT IN ANY EVENT, I THINK STAN HAS RUN AN OUTSTANDING RACE. IF YOU WANT TO TALK ABOUT TEXTBOOK DOING EVERYTHING RIGHT, HE'S BEEN AN OUTSTANDING CANDIDATE AND HE REPRESENTS THE WAVE OF THE FUTURE. HAVING SAID THAT, IT'S A VERY CHALLENGING RACE BECAUSE LEONARD BOSWELL, EVEN THOUGH HE'S COMPLAINED ABOUT MOVING INTO POLK COUNTY AND DOESN'T WANT TO DEBATE IN POLK COUNTY -- AND I THINK THOSE ARE VALID ISSUES -- HE IS AN INCUMBENT AND HE HAS DONE WELL BEFORE. SO IT'S A VERY CHALLENGING SITUATION.

Glover: MR. TULLY, THIS IS ONE OF YOUR GUYS THAT CHOSE TO MOVE AFTER THE NEW CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICTS WERE DRAWN. HE MOVED INTO A DISTRICT THAT IS PRETTY COMPETITIVE, BUT IT DOESN'T LEAN DEMOCRATIC VERY MUCH. HOW DO YOU WIN THAT?

Tully: WELL, LEONARD IS DOING EXACTLY WHAT HE SHOULD BE DOING AND THAT IS SPENDING A LOT OF TIME IN POLK COUNTY.

Roberts: HE NEEDS TO.

Tully: HE'S HAD ABOUT 300 MEETINGS. IN FACT, HE'S PROBABLY SPENDING MORE TIME IN POLK COUNTY THAN STAN IS PROBABLY SPENDING IN POLK COUNTY. AND BY THE WAY, STAN --

Roberts: THAT'S HARD TO DO.

Tully: STAN IS A FRIEND OF MINE, ACTUALLY A NEIGHBOR OF MINE, AND I LIKE HIM VERY MUCH. BUT STAN IS GOING TO PROBABLY LEARN THE SAME LESSON THAT ROB TULLY DID IN 1998. IT'S GOOD TO GET NEW BLOOD INTO THE PARTY, BUT THE FACT IS HE'S GOING TO COME UP SHORT ON THIS ONE.

Glover: LET'S EXPAND THIS ELECTION TO ALL THE CONGRESSIONAL ELECTIONS. I DON'T BELIEVE MANY OF THE INTERNAL POLLS I SEE. I FIGURE THEY'RE BEING USED FOR PARTISAN PURPOSES. BUT ONE OF THE THINGS I DO BELIEVE IS WHEN I SEE CANDIDATES THROWING ABOUT 1,200 GROSS RATING POINTS OF ATTACK TV AT EACH OTHER, I SAY TO MYSELF, MAYBE THAT THING IS TIGHTENING UP A LITTLE BIT. IS THAT WHY I'M SEEING THAT IN THAT DISTRICT?

Tully: IN THIS PARTICULAR DISTRICT?

Glover: YEAH.

Tully: WELL, I THINK IT'S MORE YOU SEE IT IN THE LATHAM-NORRIS RACE.

Yepsen: WELL, HANDICAP THAT ONE.

Tully: I'LL TELL YOU WHAT, THE FACT THAT I THINK THOU DOTH PROTEST TOO MUCH, THE FACT THAT LATHAM IS RUNNING A NUMBER OF SERIES OF NEGATIVE ADS AGAINST JOHN NORRIS, THE INTERNAL POLLS THAT YOU PROBABLY HAVE SEEN AND THAT I'VE SEEN IS THAT RACE IS NECK AND NECK.

Yepsen: STEVE, LATHAM HAD A NICE LEAD AGAINST JOHN NORRIS EARLY ON. THIS THING HAS TIGHTENED UP.

Roberts: I THINK YOU'RE GOING TO SEE -- I THINK YOU'VE SEEN ACROSS THE STATE IN THESE RACES BACK AND FORTH, I MEAN IN TERMS OF TIGHTENING AND SO ON. I THINK THERE'S NO QUESTION THAT TOM LATHAM WILL WIN THAT. THERE MAY BE A BUMP IN THE ROAD HERE AND THERE, BUT HE'LL WIN.

Borg: WHAT IS CAUSING THE RACES TO TIGHTEN UP, AS MIKE AND DAVID SAID? WHAT'S DRIVING THAT?

Roberts: WELL, I THINK, CLEARLY, ALL OF THEM ARE VERY COMPETITIVE. I MEAN WE TALKED ABOUT THIS THOMPSON-BOSWELL RACE. THAT'S VERY COMPETITIVE.

Borg: BUT ARE PEOPLE MAKING UP THEIR MINDS, OR ARE THERE ISSUES THAT ARE EMERGING AND VOTERS ARE DECIDING?

Roberts: I THINK -- I THINK WHEN YOU HAVE, FRANKLY, GOOD CANDIDATES ON BOTH SIDES, IT'S HARDER FOR PEOPLE TO MAKE UP THEIR MIND.

Glover: WE'VE TALKED ABOUT FOUR CONGRESSIONAL RACES THAT ARE VERY COMPETITIVE, BUT WE HAVEN'T TALKED ABOUT THE FIFTH BECAUSE IT ISN'T TERRIBLY COMPETITIVE OUT IN WESTERN IOWA. IN RETROSPECT, MR. ROBERTS, DID REPUBLICANS MAKE A MISTAKE WHEN THEY DREW NEW CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICTS AND CREATED THIS HUGE REPUBLICAN DISTRICT OUT WEST?

Roberts: I --

Glover: DID THAT LEAVE FOUR COMPETITIVE DISTRICTS?

Roberts: I THINK IF YOU LOOK STRICTLY AT THE CONGRESSIONAL RACES, POSSIBLY THAT'S TRUE, THAT IT WOULD HAVE BEEN BETTER TO TAKE A LOOK AT THE THIRD PLAN. THERE'S SOME CONFUSION OF WHETHER YOU CAN GO BACK --

Yepsen: WHEN WE -- EXCUSE ME, STEVE, BUT WHEN WE HAD MIKE MAHAFFEY OUT HERE AND MIKE ASKED HIM THAT SAME QUESTION, THAT ANSWER WAS, YES, REPUBLICANS GOOFED UP BAD.

Roberts: WELL, THE DIFFERENCE IS MR. MAHAFFEY IS NOT A PARTY OFFICIAL.

Yepsen: OKAY. WE'VE GOT ABOUT TWO MINUTES LEFT HERE. I WANT JUST A COUPLE COMMENTS FROM EACH OF YOU ON THE LEGISLATURE. STEVE, HOW BAD IS REDISTRICTING GOING TO HURT THE REPUBLICANS IN TRYING TO HOLD ON TO THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY? AL GORE CARRIED 60 OF THE 100 IOWA HOUSE DISTRICTS.

Roberts: WELL, THAT TIES INTO THE EARLIER QUESTION ABOUT THE CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICTS. THE REASON THE REPUBLICANS TOOK THE SECOND PLAN IS BECAUSE THEY BELIEVED AND THEY HAD DONE SOME CALCULATIONS AND GAVE US THE BEST CHANCE TO KEEP CONTROL OF BOTH HOUSES OF THE LEGISLATURE. AND I THINK WE'RE GOING TO DO THAT.

Tully: INTERESTINGLY ENOUGH, TOM HARKIN AND TOM VILSACK, IN THEIR RESPECTIVE LAST RACES, TOOK 70 OUT OF THOSE 100 DISTRICTS. I THINK THIS IS GOING TO BE VERY COMPETITIVE. THIS IS THE BEST CHANCE THAT THE DEMOCRATS HAVE HAD OVER THE LAST NUMBER OF YEARS, AND WE'VE GOT GOOD CANDIDATES. SO I THINK THAT WE'RE GOING TO DO WELL ON ELECTION NIGHT.

Yepsen: THERE'S A LOT OF BUZZ OUT THERE THAT THE DEMOCRATS TAKE THE IOWA HOUSE, REPUBLICANS HOLD ON TO THE SENATE. DO YOU GUYS BUY THAT?

Tully: I DO.

Yepsen: STEVE?

Roberts: I THINK IT'S GOING TO BE -- THIS MAY BE -- I THINK BOTH PLACES WE'RE GOING TO WIN.

Glover: GIVE ME A BREAKDOWN. IT'S 56-44 AND 29-21 NOW. WHAT WILL IT BE ON NOVEMBER 6?

Roberts: I WOULD SAY 53 BOTTOM ON THE REPUBLICAN SIDE AND PROBABLY 27 ON THE SENATE.

Tully: WELL, I THINK WE'RE GOING TO TAKE BACK THE HOUSE. I THINK IT WILL BE MUCH CLOSER IN THE SENATE, AND IT'S ONLY GOING TO BE A COUPLE SEATS BECAUSE WE'RE ACTUALLY -- WE'VE ACTUALLY GOT TWO HEAD-TO-HEAD BATTLES THAT WE BELIEVE THAT WE'RE GOING TO TAKE, BOTH OF THOSE. THAT WOULD BE A PLUS TWO FOR US AND A MINUS TWO FOR THEM.

Borg: I'M GOING TO GO BACK. WE HAVE JUST A FEW SECONDS. I DIDN'T GET IT -- WHAT'S THE ISSUE -- MAIN ISSUE DRIVING VOTERS IN THE FEDERAL ELECTIONS?

Tully: I THINK THAT IT, AS WELL AS THE STATE, IS COMING BACK TO THE BOTTOM LINE, THE ECONOMY.

Borg: AND WHAT, STEVE?

Roberts: I WOULD SAY THE ECONOMY. I THINK WHAT DOUG GROSS SAYS, "ARE YOU BETTER OFF TODAY THAN YOU WERE FOUR YEARS AGO IN IOWA," AND THAT CLEARLY SUGGESTS CHANGE.

Borg: THANKS FOR YOUR INSIGHTS.

Tully: YOU BET.

Borg: ON OUR NEXT EDITION OF "IOWA PRESS," THE PREELECTION SPOTLIGHT GOES ON THE IOWA STATEHOUSE WHERE THE ELECTION OF 2002 DETERMINES THE MAKEUP, AS WE JUST SAID, OF THE 80TH IOWA GENERAL ASSEMBLY CONVENING IN MID JANUARY. DAVE YEPSEN IS GOING TO BE INTERVIEWING ELECTED OFFICIALS LEADING THEIR RESPECTIVE CAUCUSES INTO THAT ELECTION. HERE TO DISCUSS THE CAMPAIGN WILL BE STATE SENATOR STEW IVERSON OF DOWS AND MIKE GRONSTAL OF COUNCIL BLUFFS. AND THEY'RE THE MAJORITY LEADER AND MINORITY LEADER RESPECTIVELY IN THE IOWA SENATE. AND ALSO, HE'LL BE TALKING WITH REPRESENTATIVES CHRISTOPHER RANTS OF SIOUX CITY AND RICHARD MYERS OF IOWA CITY, WHO LEAD RESPECTIVELY THE MAJORITY REPUBLICANS AND THE MINORITY DEMOCRATS IN THE IOWA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. THAT'S "IOWA PRESS" NEXT WEEKEND, FRIDAY AT 6:30, SUNDAY AT NOON. AND THIS IS GOING TO BE A VERY BUSY WEEK HERE ON IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION. MONDAY THROUGH THURSDAY, IT'S "CAMPAIGN 2002" WITH HOST AND MODERATOR MIKE GLOVER, AS THE CANDIDATES WHO APPEAR ON THE 2002 BALLOT WILL BE DISCUSSING THEIR CAMPAIGNS. MONDAY EVENING, LIVE AT 6:30, MIKE IS INTERVIEWING CANDIDATES FOR SECRETARY OF STATE AND STATE AUDITOR. I HOPE YOU'LL WATCH THE ENTIRE WEEK FOR "CAMPAIGN 2002," LIVE EACH NIGHT AT 6:30. THAT'S THIS EDITION OF "IOWA PRESS." I'M DEAN BORG. THANKS FOR JOINING US TODAY.

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