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Iowa Press #3009
November 1 and 3, 2002


Borg: CANDIDATES ARE GETTING IN A FINAL WEEKEND OF CAMPAIGNING, TRYING TO WIN THOSE UNDECIDED VOTERS. WE'VE ASKED A GROUP OF IOWA POLITICAL JOURNALISTS TO TAKE SOME TIME OUT FROM THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL TO TELL US WHAT THEY'VE SEEN AND HEARD. IT'S A REPORTERS ROUNDTABLE 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, NOVEMBER 1 EDITION OF "IOWA PRESS." HERE IS DEAN BORG.

Borg: LAST-MINUTE CAMPAIGNING DOMINATES THE WEEKEND NEWS AS CANDIDATES ACROSS THE NATION CROWD IN THOSE FINAL APPEALS THAT EACH CANDIDATE HOPES WILL TRANSLATE INTO A WIN ON TUESDAY. AND IOWA CERTAINLY IS A MAJOR CENTER FOR THAT FINAL POLITICAL PUSH. IOWA STATEHOUSE CAMPAIGNS INCLUDE THE RUN FOR GOVERNOR, ATTORNEY GENERAL, SECRETARIES OF THE STATE AND AGRICULTURE, AS WELL AS STATE TREASURER AND AUDITOR. THE IOWA LEGISLATURE, NO MATTER WHO IS ELECTED, WILL HAVE A NEW LOOK BECAUSE OF REDISTRICTING AND SEVERAL RETIREMENTS. REPUBLICANS HELD A MAJORITY IN BOTH CHAMBERS DURING THE LAST LEGISLATIVE SESSION. NATIONALLY THE BALANCE OF POWER IN THE 108TH CONGRESS IS UNPREDICTABLE. THAT'S PARTICULARLY TRUE IN THE U.S. SENATE, WHERE DEMOCRATS NOW HOLD A ONE-VOTE MARGIN. AND THE STRUGGLE FOR CONTROL OF THE SENATE NOW ALSO INCLUDES, AT LEAST IN MINNESOTA, AN AFFIRMATION OF THE PRINCIPLES EMBRACED BY THE LATE SENATOR PAUL WELLSTONE OF MINNESOTA. WELLSTONE, WHO FLIRTED WITH A RUN FOR THE WHITE HOUSE, WAS AN "IOWA PRESS" GUEST IN 1997. AT THAT TIME HE DISMISSED THE LIBERAL AND CONSERVATIVE LABELS THAT OFTEN CONFUSED VOTERS AT ELECTION TIME.

Wellstone: IF YOU'RE IN A CAFE IN IOWA AND YOU ASK PEOPLE, I THINK, YOU MIGHT SAY ARE YOU LIBERAL OR CONSERVATIVE, THEY MIGHT SAY THEY'RE CONSERVATIVE. AND THEN IN THE NEXT BREATH, THEY'LL TALK ABOUT THE WAY IN WHICH BIG HOLDING COMPANIES HAVE SQUEEZED SMALL BANKERS, THEY'LL TALK ABOUT THE WAY BOTH PARTIES ARE BEHOLDEN TO BIG MONEY, THEY'LL TALK ABOUT THE ARRAY OF TAX LOOPHOLES THAT GO TO THE BIG SPECIAL INTERESTS, THEY'LL TALK ABOUT THEIR CONCERNS FOR EDUCATION AND BEING ABLE TO HAVE A GOOD JOB AND BEING ABLE TO SEND THEIR KIDS TO COLLEGE. THAT OUGHT TO BE WHAT DEMOCRATS ARE ABOUT.

Borg: LIKE MOST IN THE POLITICAL ARENA, SENATOR WELLSTONE KNEW THE IMPORTANCE OF DEFINING THE DEFINITIONS. TODAY WE DISCUSS THE 2002 CAMPAIGN WITH "DES MOINES REGISTER" POLITICAL COLUMNIST DAVID YEPSEN, "RADIO IOWA" NEWS DIRECTOR KAY HENDERSON, "ASSOCIATED PRESS" SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER MIKE GLOVER, AND "LEE NEWSPAPERS" DES MOINES BUREAU CHIEF KATHIE OBRADOVICH. KATHIE, I'LL START WITH YOU. WE'VE JUST SEEN THAT CLIP FROM PAUL WELLSTONE WHEN HE WAS ON "IOWA PRESS." HE WAS, AT THE TIME OF HIS DEATH, ENGAGED IN A VERY TIGHT RACE IN MINNESOTA. AND THE GANSKE-HARKIN RACE HERE IN IOWA, WHEN IT BEGAN, WAS THOUGHT TO BE JUST AS TIGHT. IS THIS THAT TIGHT, AS WAS THE CASE IN MINNESOTA, DOWN THIS CLOSE TO THE WIRE?

Obradovich: I DON'T THINK IT IS AS TIGHT. THE REASON WHY BASICALLY STEMS FROM THE POLLING THAT WE'VE SEEN. I'LL BE HONEST. FRANKLY, POLLING CAN BE DECEPTIVE, AND IN A LOT OF CASES POLLING CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN THE FINAL OUTCOME. BUT I'D HAVE TO SAY THAT A DOUBLE-DIGIT LEAD FOR THE SENATOR GOING INTO THE FINAL WEEK OF THE CAMPAIGN IS PRETTY GOOD NEWS FOR HIM. CONGRESSMAN GANSKE IS THE FIRST REALLY RATHER MODERATE REPUBLICAN THAT THE PARTY HAS TRIED TO RUN AGAINST HARKIN. PEOPLE THOUGHT THAT MIGHT HAVE LED TO A CLOSER RACE. BUT HE DID HAVE SOME PROBLEMS FROM THE RIGHT OF HIS PARTY AND ENDED UP HAVING TO FIGHT IN A PRIMARY AGAINST A GUY THAT WE THOUGHT NOBODY KNEW. AND SOME OF THOSE PARTY DIVISIONS I THINK HAVE LINGERED.

Glover: DEAN, ONE OF THE PROBLEMS THE REPUBLICANS ARE HAVING IN THAT RACE IS A PROBLEM YOU'RE SEEING ACROSS THE BOARD IN BOTH PARTIES FOR CHALLENGERS RUNNING AGAINST INCUMBENTS IN THIS STATE PARTICULARLY AND NATIONALLY IN GENERAL. VOTERS LACKING A REALLY STRONG, GOOD REASON ARE LIKELY TO STICK WITH AN INCUMBENT. LOOK AT THE TRACK RECORD OF INCUMBENTS HERE IN IOWA. THEY HAVE A PRETTY GOOD TRACK RECORD. YOU NEED A COMPELLING CASE TO CONVINCE VOTERS TO TOSS AN INCUMBENT OUT. HOW DO YOU MAKE A COMPELLING CASE IN THESE MILIEU OF MILLIONS AND MILLIONS OF DOLLARS OF TELEVISION COMMERCIALS OUT THERE? I SAW A REPORT LAST WEEK; THERE ARE ALLEGEDLY ABOUT $37 MILLION BEING SPENT IN THIS STATE THIS ELECTION YEAR ON TELEVISION MAINLY. SO IN THAT ENVIRONMENT, HOW DO YOU MAKE A COMPELLING, CLEAR CASE? HOW DO YOU PUNCH YOUR MESSAGE THROUGH? IT'S VERY, VERY DIFFICULT. AND CHALLENGERS, I THINK, IN BOTH PARTIES ARE FACING THAT THIS YEAR.

Borg: KAY, KATHIE REFERRED TO BILL SALIER'S CANDIDACY. MR. GANSKE -- AND GANSKE PREVAILED IN THAT PRIMARY. BUT HAS THAT HAD ANY LASTING EFFECTS ON THE GANSKE RACE AFTER HE WON THE PRIMARY?

Henderson: THE SHORT ANSWER IS YES. THE MORE EXPLANATION IS I LIVE IN A NEIGHBORHOOD WHERE THERE WERE A LOT OF SALIER SIGNS IN JUNE. THERE ARE NO GANSKE SIGNS IN THOSE YARDS THIS TIME AROUND. GANSKE DIDN'T WIN THE HEARTS AND MINDS, IF YOU WILL, OF THOSE PEOPLE WHO HAD SUPPORTED SALIER TO THE POINT THAT THEY WOULD GO OUT AND ACTIVELY CAMPAIGN FOR GANSKE. THAT'S WHAT HE NEEDED. MR. GANSKE IS USING THE WORD "EXTREME" TO DESCRIBE SENATOR HARKIN IN HIS CAMPAIGN ADVERTISING. AND AS ONE REPUBLICAN TOLD ME THIS WEEK, THE USE OF THE WORD "EXTREME" SHOULD BE GANSKE RAN AN EXTREMELY BAD CAMPAIGN, BECAUSE HE NEVER WENT OUT AND COURTED THE CONSERVATIVE WING OF THE PARTY THAT NEEDED TO BE ENERGIZED TO HELP HIM ALONG. AND THEN HE NEVER REALLY GAVE PEOPLE A REASON TO VOTE FOR HIM. THERE WERE PLENTY OF PEOPLE WHO HAD, IN THEIR MINDS, A REASON TO VOTE -- NOT VOTE FOR TOM HARKIN, BUT GANSKE NEVER SAID, "THIS IS WHAT I STAND FOR AND THIS IS WHY YOU SHOULD VOTE FOR ME."

Yepsen: ONE MEASURE OF THAT, DEAN, IS THERE WILL BE A BIG WRITE-IN FOR BILL SALIER ON ELECTION DAY, WHICH IS SURPRISING, GIVEN THAT -- HOW THESE PEOPLE ON THE REPUBLICAN RIGHT THOROUGHLY DISLIKE TOM HARKIN, BUT THEY'RE JUST NOT ENTHUSED ABOUT GREG GANSKE, WHO HAS RUN A VERY POOR CAMPAIGN. WE ALL THOUGHT IT WAS GOING TO BE MUCH CLOSER AT THIS POINT FOR A VARIETY OF REASONS. HE'S NOT BEEN COMPETITIVE IN MONEY. HE'S BEEN BOGGED DOWN IN CONGRESS. I THINK 9/11 HURT ALL CHALLENGERS, NO MATTER WHERE THEY WERE RUNNING. I THINK THE POINT THAT MIKE MAKES ABOUT THE CLUTTER OF TELEVISION OUT THERE -- I MEAN IT'S JUST ONE THING AFTER ANOTHER. BUT I THINK THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IS WE MAY HAVE SEEN TOM HARKIN SORT OF MOVE TO A HIGHER LEVEL HERE. AS CHAIRMAN OF THE AGRICULTURE COMMITTEE WRITING THE FARM BILL, TOM HARKIN IS NOW ABLE TO GO INTO RURAL IOWA AND SAY, "I KNOW YOUR PROBLEMS BETTER THAN THIS DES MOINES DOCTOR." SO ON THE MARGINS, HARKIN WILL BE EATING INTO GANSKE'S BASE, WHAT OUGHT TO BE GANSKE'S BASE. I THINK IT'S VERY SIGNIFICANT THAT THE DEMOCRATS ARE STARTING THEIR LITTLE BUS TOUR THIS WEEKEND IN WESTERN IOWA, WHICH IS REPUBLICAN TERRITORY. WHAT ARE THEY DOING OUT THERE? THEY'RE CROWDING THE REPUBLICANS, THAT'S WHAT THEY'RE DOING.

Glover: AND IT'S INTERESTING BECAUSE THEY MAY NOT BE RUNNING THE SENATE AFTER NOVEMBER 5. [ LAUGHTER ] ALL THIS ARGUMENT ABOUT "I'M CHAIR OF THE AGRICULTURE COMMITTEE," THAT MAY BE ALL MOOT ON THE DAY AFTER THE ELECTION BECAUSE THEY VERY WELL MAY NOT HAVE CONTROL OF THE SENATE.

Borg: MIKE, ON KAY'S POINT THAT BILL SALIER'S SUPPORTERS JUST AREN'T ENERGIZED OR MAYBE EVEN GOING TO VOTE THIS TIME, IS THAT ALSO BODING POORLY, THEN, FOR OTHER REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES?

Glover: YES, IT IS. AND TO BUTTRESS KAY'S POINT I THINK A LITTLE BIT, I WAS TALKING TO A DEMOCRAT JUST LAST WEEK, AND HE FOUND IT AMAZING, THE WHOLE THEORY -- KATHIE'S RIGHT; THE WHOLE THEORY BEHIND THE GANSKE CAMPAIGN WAS LET'S RUN AGAINST TOM HARKIN AS A MODERATE AND SEE IF WE CAN -- WE'VE ALWAYS RUN CONSERVATIVES AGAINST HIM BEFORE. LET'S RUN A MODERATE AND SEE IF WE CAN PAINT HIM AS AN EXTREMIST. IN THE LAST MONTH OF THIS CAMPAIGN, THIS DEMOCRAT ARGUED GREG GANSKE HAS RUN TO THE RIGHT OF JIM LIGHTFOOT. WHAT HAVE WE BEEN TALKING ABOUT FOR THE LAST MONTH: ABORTION, HUMAN CLONING. HE'S BEEN RUNNING A VERY CONSERVATIVE CAMPAIGN. WHY? I THINK IT HIT THEM ABOUT A MONTH AGO, WE HAVE A RIGHT-WING PROBLEM. WE NEED TO GET THAT BASE ENERGIZED.

Yepsen: AND I THINK --

Glover: AND TWO WEEKS OUT -- EXCUSE ME, DAVE. TWO WEEKS OUT IS JUST THE WRONG TIME TO START TO ENERGIZE YOUR BASE.

Yepsen: YEAH, THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN DONE MUCH EARLIER. HE SHOULD BE NOW IN A POSITION WHERE HE'S COURTING INDEPENDENTS AND WOMEN. YOU WANT TO GO OUT AND TALK ABOUT ABORTION AND ALL THIS AS A REPUBLICAN? WELL, THAT'S FINE. YOU MAY BELIEVE THAT BUT WHAT YOU'RE DOING IS YOU'RE SCARING OFF THE VOTES OF MODERATE, CENTRIST WOMEN. THE REPUBLICANS SEEM TO ALWAYS HAVE ONE PLAYBOOK THAT THEY USE AGAINST TOM HARKIN. AND I'M SORT OF REMINDED OF THAT SCENE IN THE MOVIE "PATTON" WHERE HE SAYS, "I'VE READ YOUR DAMN BOOK" TO ROMAL. IT'S LIKE THE DEMOCRATS -- THE REPUBLICANS JUST KEEP BRINGING UP ALL THESE OLD CHARGES: BAHAMAS, TOO EXTREME. HOW OFTEN HAVE WE HEARD THAT? HOW MANY TIMES HAS IT NOT WORKED? REPUBLICANS ARE GOING IN THE ROOM AND THEY'RE THROWING ALL THESE SWITCHES AND NONE OF THE LIGHTS GO ON.

Borg: AND I SEE TOM HARKIN SPENDING SOME OF HIS TIME NOW CAMPAIGNING FOR OTHER DEMOCRATS. HE'S ON TELEVISION IN THE CEDAR RAPIDS MARKET FOR JULIE THOMAS. WE'LL TALK ABOUT THAT CAMPAIGN JUST A LITTLE BIT LATER, BUT LET'S GO TO THE GOVERNOR CAMPAIGN NOW. MIKE, I'LL ASK YOU, WHERE DO YOU SEE THAT? IS THAT NECK AND NECK?

Glover: IT'S PROBABLY MORE COMPETITIVE THAN THE SENATE ELECTION. ONCE AGAIN, YOU'D HAVE TO GIVE SOMETHING OF AN EDGE TO THE INCUMBENT. TOM VILSACK HAS RUN, AFTER HAVING A BAD COUPLE OF YEARS, HAS RUN A PRETTY RESPECTABLE CAMPAIGN. HE'S RAISED A LOT OF MONEY. HE'S ACTUALLY PUT FORWARD SOME KIND OF AGENDA: "IF YOU REELECT ME, THESE ARE THE KINDS OF THINGS THAT I'M GOING TO DO." THE POLLS THAT WE'RE SEEING SHOWS THAT HE'S DEVELOPED SOMETHING OF AN EDGE. I THINK DOUG GROSS MADE A STRATEGIC AS OPPOSED TO A TACTICAL MISTAKE IN THIS RACE. WHEN YOU RUN AGAINST AN INCUMBENT, YOU HAVE TWO HURDLES TO GET OVER. THE FIRST HURDLE IS YOU CONVINCE VOTERS THIS INCUMBENT OUGHT TO GO. IN IOWA, THAT'S A PRETTY TOUGH TEST. THE SECOND HURDLE YOU HAVE TO GET OVER IS CONVINCE VOTERS, "AND I'M THE PERSON TO REPLACE THIS INCUMBENT." DOUG GROSS GOT IN THIS THING, AND I THINK WHEN HE GOT IN, HE WAS ALREADY OVER THE FIRST HURDLE. VILSACK HAD HAD A COUPLE OF BAD YEARS. I THINK VOTERS WERE WILLING TO THINK ABOUT REPLACING HIM. AND THEN DOUG GROSS JUMPED IN, THREW A MILLION BUCKS WORTH OF ATTACK-DOG TV, IN ESSENCE INTRODUCING HIMSELF TO VOTERS AS A JUNKYARD DOG. I DON'T THINK THAT'S THE BEST KIND OF INTRODUCTION. WHAT IF HE'D GOTTEN IN AND SPENT A MILLION BUCKS SAYING, "THIS IS A GREAT STATE. WE'VE HAD TOUGH TIMES. I'VE BEEN THERE. I KNOW HOW TO FIX IT." IT MIGHT HAVE BEEN A DIFFERENT RACE BY NOW.

Yepsen: I THINK DOUG GROSS GOT IN THE RACE LATE, AND THAT WAS A PROBLEM. HE WAS ALWAYS ABOUT A MONTH BEHIND WHERE HE OUGHT TO BE IN FUND-RAISING AND DEVELOPING HIS ISSUES. I THINK VILSACK QUICKLY UNDERSTOOD THAT THIS IS A DEFINITIONAL GAME, AND VILSACK JUST PICKED UP THOSE OLD SPOTS THAT STEVE SUKUP WAS RUNNING ABOUT DOUG GROSS BEING A BIG CORPORATE HOG LOT LAWYER FROM DES MOINES, RIGHT? AND THEN JUST KEPT RIGHT ON GOING. SO GROSS WAS IN A POSITION OF HAVING TO RESPOND ON THE ATTACK TRYING TO COUNTERATTACK, AND SO HERE WE ARE OFF TO A VERY NEGATIVE CAMPAIGN. AND HE NEVER REALLY GOT A CHANCE -- HE'S IMPROVED AS A CANDIDATE BUT HE NEVER GOT THE BREAK-THROUGH OPPORTUNITY. THERE'S ONE OTHER THING THAT I THINK IS AT WORK IN THAT RACE, AND THAT IS DOUG GROSS HAS NEVER RUN FOR OR HELD A HIGH PUBLIC OFFICE BEFORE. THROUGHOUT IOWA HISTORY, MOST GOVERNORS, DEAN, HAVE EITHER RUN FOR OR HELD A TOP PUBLIC OFFICE. BOB RAY RAN FOR POLK COUNTY ATTORNEY, FOR STATE REPRESENTATIVE. PEOPLE HAD SOME SENSE OF WHO HE WAS. THE FIRST GOVERNOR OF IOWA WAS JACKSON COUNTY SHERIFF BEFORE THEY MADE HIM GOVERNOR. SO WE JUST DON'T ELECT PEOPLE TO THE GOVERNORSHIP WHO ARE INEXPERIENCED.

Henderson: BUILDING ON DAVID'S COMMENTS ABOUT DOUG BEING FROM DES MOINES, THAT REALLY HURTS HIM IN RURAL IOWA, WHICH IS A REPUBLICAN STRONGHOLD. ALSO, THE CORPORATE HOG LOT THING HURTS HIM IN RURAL IOWA. ALSO, THE FACT THAT THIS IS THE YEAR OF ENRON AND WORLD-COM HURTS HIM BECAUSE HE'S A CORPORATE LAWYER. THIS IDEA THAT THEY WERE GOING TO RUN DOUG GROSS WONDERFUL RAGS-TO-RICHES STORY PERSONALLY, BUT IN THIS YEAR IN THIS SITUATION THAT WE'RE FINDING OURSELVES IN, THAT WASN'T THE STORY THAT IOWANS WANTED TO HEAR.

Borg: KATHIE, DOUG GROSS TRIED TO THROW AT GOVERNOR VILSACK THE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE FISCAL CONDITION OF STATE GOVERNMENT. DID THAT STICK?

Obradovich: I THINK THAT DOUG GROSS WAS CHALLENGED IN THAT ALLEGATION BY THE FACT THAT THE LEGISLATURE WAS CONTROLLED BY REPUBLICANS AND, YOU KNOW, BASICALLY HAD THEIR VOTES ON EVERY BUDGET BILL THAT WAS PASSED AND SIGNED INTO LAW BY THE GOVERNOR. HE HAD THE PROBLEM OF CREDIBILITY WHEN LEGISLATIVE LEADERS ON THE REPUBLICAN SIDE SAID, "WE DON'T HAVE A BILLION-DOLLAR BUDGET DEFICIT. WE DON'T HAVE TO PAY BACK ALL THAT MONEY IN ONE YEAR." SO ONE OF HIS MAJOR ARGUMENTS THAT THE BUDGET WAS WAY, WAY, WAY OUT OF WHACK REALLY DIDN'T STICK, AND SO I THINK THAT WAS A PROBLEM. THE SECOND PROBLEM I THINK HE FACED WAS THAT GOVERNOR VILSACK, BY NECESSITY, WENT OUT WITH A MESSAGE OF OPTIMISM: "WE DID WHAT WE NEEDED TO DO; THE ECONOMY IS GOING TO TURN THE CORNER; BECAUSE WE DID WHAT WE NEEDED TO DO, WE ARE GOING TO BE IN A GOOD POSITION TO DO GOOD THINGS." WHEREAS, HE, BY NECESSITY AGAIN, HAD A MESSAGE OF PESSIMISM: "OH, THINGS ARE SO FAR OUT OF WHACK THAT WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO SPEND A LOT OF TIME CLEANING UP THIS MESS." YOU KNOW, FRANKLY, POST SEPTEMBER 11, I THINK PEOPLE WOULD PREFER THE UPBEAT MESSAGE.

Glover: AND I THINK IT WAS ALMOST A STRUCTURAL PROBLEM THAT DOUG GROSS RAN INTO IN THAT, AS I MENTIONED EARLIER, I THINK GOVERNOR VILSACK -- IT IS NEVER FUN TO BE CHIEF EXECUTIVE WHEN THE ECONOMY GOES SOUTH. YOU'RE GOING TO GET STUCK WITH THE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE PROBLEMS THAT CAUSES: 10 PERCENT OF THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH WORKFORCE HAS BEEN LAID OFF, DEEP CUTS IN POPULAR PROGRAMS, TUITION GOING UP AT COLLEGES, ALL THAT KIND OF STUFF. THAT BAGGAGE IS RIGHT ON VILSACK'S BACK. DOUG GROSS DIDN'T NEED TO STICK HIM WITH THAT. THAT WAS ALREADY THERE. WHAT DOUG GROSS NEEDED TO DO WAS SAY, "ELECT ME AND HERE'S WHAT I'LL DO DIFFERENT." HERE'S WHERE -- AND WHEN DOUG GROSS BEATS UP TOM VILSACK FOR INCREASING TUITION AT THE STATE'S MAJOR PUBLIC COLLEGES, OKAY, DOUG, WHAT'S YOUR ALTERNATIVE? ARE YOU GOING TO SPEND MORE ON THE REGENTS? NO, YOU'RE NOT GOING TO SPEND MORE ON THE REGENTS, SO WHAT YOU'RE GOING TO DO IS THE SAME THING.

Borg: ONE THING DOUG GROSS DID SAY, KAY, WAS THAT HE WOULD PUT DEBI DURHAM, HIS RUNNING MATE, IN CHARGE OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, BUT IT DIDN'T SEEM TO GO ANYWHERE.

Henderson: WELL, PEOPLE DO NOT VOTE FOR THE VICE-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE. LET'S ALL REMEMBER DAN QUAYLE AND THE HUBBUB ABOUT DAN QUAYLE, AND GEORGE HERBERT WALKER BUSH WAS ELECTED THAT YEAR. SO SHE REALLY -- YOU CAN MAKE A MISTAKE WITH YOUR LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR CANDIDATE CHOICE, BUT YOU REALLY CAN'T CHANGE THE HEARTS AND MINDS OF PEOPLE WITH THAT CHOICE. THE OTHER INTERESTING THING THAT'S HAPPENED SINCE THE LAST TIME WE'VE HAD THIS LITTLE ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION IS THAT DEBI DURHAM WAS IN A FORUM DURING WHICH SHE SAID THAT THE STATE'S ENGLISH ONLY LAW WAS A MISTAKE BECAUSE IT HAD GIVEN THE BUSINESS WORLD THE IMPRESSION THAT IOWA DIDN'T LIKE IMMIGRANTS. SHE HADN'T REALLY READ THE REPUBLICAN PLAYBOOK, AND DOUG, THAT SAME DAY, CAME OUT AND SORT OF SLAPPED HER DOWN AND SAID, "IN A GROSS/DURHAM ADMINISTRATION, IT WILL BE DOUG GROSS MAKING THE POLICY DECISIONS." SO THAT WAS A MAJOR MISSTEP ON HER PART.

Yepsen: WE'VE BEEN PRETTY PESSIMISTIC ABOUT THE TOP OF THE REPUBLICAN TICKET HERE, AND I THINK THERE'S AMPLE EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE TO SHOW THAT. THE ONE THING REPUBLICANS ARE BANKING ON AT THIS JUNCTURE, FOR BOTH OF THESE RACES AS WELL AS LATER RACES, IS A LOW TURNOUT. WE ALL CAME OUT ON 9/11 AND THOUGHT THIS WAS GOING TO BE -- AMERICA WILL HAVE CHANGED AND PEOPLE WILL BE MORE ENGAGED. IT'S ALMOST BEEN THE OPPOSITE. PEOPLE ARE COCOONING. THEY'VE TURNED INWARD. THEY'RE BUMMED OUT ABOUT THE ECONOMY, BUT YET WE HAVE RECORD EMPLOYMENT IN IOWA. THEY'RE AFRAID, THEY'RE SCARED, BUT THEY WANT TO BE LEFT ALONE. THEY'RE SICK OF THESE TELEVISION ADS. SO THE THING THE REPUBLICANS ARE BANKING ON IS A LOW-TURNOUT ELECTION, THAT IN FACT SOME PEOPLE ARE JUST SO SICK OF THIS THAT THEY'LL JUST STAY AWAY. IT'S POLITICAL SCIENCE 101, DEAN. IN LOW TURNOUT ELECTIONS, REPUBLICAN CHANCES IMPROVE.

Glover: BECAUSE DEMOCRATS ARE THE FIRST ONES TO STAY HOME.

Yepsen: THAT'S RIGHT.

Obradovich: THE TELEVISION ADS ARE REALLY CONTRIBUTING TO THAT. I THINK EVERYWHERE I GO THIS YEAR, ESPECIALLY NOW TOWARD THE END OF THE ELECTION, VOTERS ARE ACTUALLY ASKING CANDIDATES, "WHAT IS THE DEAL WITH ALL OF THESE NEGATIVE ADS? I'M SO SICK OF THEM. WHY DO YOU HAVE TO DO THAT?" IN PAST ELECTIONS, I THINK VOTERS WOULD GROUSE ABOUT THE NEGATIVE ADS AMONG THEMSELVES, BUT YOU DON'T SEE THEM TAKING IT TO THE CANDIDATE. ACTIVISTS EXPRESSING WORRY ABOUT TURNOUT AS A RESULT OF THAT -- SO I THINK THAT'S A VALID ISSUE.

Glover: THERE'S A QUALITATIVE CHANGE, I THINK, IN THIS YEAR'S ELECTION WITH TELEVISION. I THINK THE LEVEL OF TELEVISION THIS YEAR IS MORE THAN I'VE EVER SEEN. IT'S RATCHETED UP TO A LEVEL I'VE NEVER SEEN, AND IT RATCHETED UP EARLIER THAN I'VE EVER SEEN. WE WERE SEEING TELEVISION AT LEVELS THAT I WOULD ANTICIPATE IN THE LAST WEEKEND A COUPLE OF MONTHS AGO.

Yepsen: I'M ACTUALLY LOOKING FORWARD TO SEEING A FARM CHEMICAL AD. [ LAUGHTER ]

Borg: BROADCASTERS -- JUST TO UNDERSCORE WHAT YOU SAID, BROADCASTERS HAVE TOLD ME THAT THERE'S USUALLY A LULL OFF OF JULY AND SO ON. THERE WAS NEVER A LULL. IT JUST KEPT SATURATION ALL THE WAY.

Henderson: AND THIS PAST WEEK DEMOCRATS COMPLAINED ABOUT VOTER SUPPRESSION EFFORTS. REPUBLICANS ARE COMPLAINING ABOUT ABSENTEE BALLOT ABUSES. THE GREATEST VOTER SUPPRESSION EFFORT ARE THOSE ADVERTISEMENTS THAT FOLKS ARE SEEING ON THE TELEVISION AND HEARING ON THE RADIO.

Borg: LET'S GO TO THE CONGRESSIONAL RACES OVER IN THE FIRST DISTRICT. ANN HUTCHINSON, CURRENTLY THE MAYOR OF BETTENDORF, IS AGAINST INCUMBENT JIM NUSSLE IN THAT NEW REDISTRICTED AREA.

Obradovich: RIGHT. THAT IS ONE OF THE THREE RACES THAT I THINK NATIONALLY AROUND THE COUNTRY PEOPLE ARE LOOKING AT AS BEING A REAL COMPETITIVE RACE. JIM NUSSLE HAS REPRESENTED A LOT OF THAT DISTRICT BEFORE AS THE REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE. HE HAS NOT REPRESENTED THE QUAD CITIES, WHICH IS REALLY THE NEW BASE OF THE DISTRICT. THAT'S WHERE ALL THE MONEY IS COMING FROM. THAT IS WHERE, PRETTY MUCH, THE CAMPAIGN HAS BEEN GOING ON. IT USED TO BE MORE WATERLOO/CEDAR FALLS-CENTERED, IN THAT AREA. AND THAT IS ANN HUTCHINSON'S BASE AS WELL. SHE WAS A REPUBLICAN WHO SWITCHED PARTIES. WELL-KNOWN MAYOR OF BETTENDORF. I THINK THAT AFTER A PRETTY TOUGH PRIMARY AGAINST DAVE NAGEL THAT SHE'S BEEN DOING A FAIRLY GOOD JOB OF TAKING THIS SORT OF MODERATE ROLE AND REALLY MAKING JIM NUSSLE HUSTLE. HE HASN'T HAD TO HUSTLE THE LAST COUPLE OF CYCLES.

Glover: THE CONVENTIONAL WISDOM IN THAT RACE THAT I'M HEARING WAS THAT SHE GOT OFF TO KIND OF A SLOW START. SHE'S A FIRST-TIME CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE, HAD A LITTLE TROUBLE COMING OUT OF THE BOX, BUT SHE'S HIT HER STRIDE IN THE LAST COUPLE OF MONTHS, AND IT'S A COMPETITIVE RACE.

Borg: AND, OF COURSE, JIM NUSSLE MOVED OUT OF SCOTT COUNTY AND INTO THE FIRST DISTRICT -- INTO THE SECOND DISTRICT, I SHOULD SAY. WHO DID I SAY?

Henderson: JIM NUSSLE.

Borg: OH, I'M SORRY. JIM LEACH IS IN IOWA CITY NOW AS A RESIDENT THERE, AND HE'S RUNNING AGAINST CEDAR RAPIDS PEDIATRICIAN DR. JULIE THOMAS. JIM NUSSLE -- JIM LEACH SEEMS TO BE VERY FRUSTRATED AT THE STYLE OF THE CAMPAIGN THERE. IT'S JUST NOT HIS STYLE.

Yepsen: WELL, THAT'S RIGHT. JIM -- YOU KNOW, THERE'S AN OLD SAYING, "YOU CAN'T TEACH AN OLD DOG NEW TRICKS," AND SOMETIMES THAT'S TRUE WITH POLITICIANS TOO. AND JIM LEACH IS SORT OF LIVING IN THIS ANCIENT WORLD WHEN POLITICS WAS DIFFERENT. IT WAS MORE CIVIL. IT WAS MORE GENTEEL. WELL, I'VE GOT NEWS FOR YOU, CONGRESSMAN LEACH, THE GAME HAS CHANGED. WE SAW THE SAME THING HAPPEN TO NEAL SMITH WHEN HE GOT BEAT IN 1994: "OH, THEY WON'T REJECT ME. I DON'T LIKE RAISING MONEY. I DON'T LIKE SPENDING --" AND LO AND BEHOLD, JULIE THOMAS HAS COME IN AND RUN A VERY GOOD CAMPAIGN. SHE'S A VERY GOOD CANDIDATE. I THINK FOR A WHILE THERE, SHE CAUGHT UP WITH LEACH, ACTUALLY, IN SOME OF THE TRACKING POLLS. SHE MAY HAVE PEAKED TOO EARLY, BECAUSE REPUBLICANS HAVE COUNTERATTACKED. THE NATIONAL REPUBLICAN PARTY HAS COME INTO THAT RACE AND SAID, "YOU KNOW, THIS JUST ISN'T YOUR SEAT, CONGRESSMAN LEACH. IT BELONGS TO THE REPUBLICAN PARTY TOO, AND SO WE ARE GOING TO DO WHAT WE HAVE TO TO TRY TO HELP YOU." BUT, DEAN, LET ME TURN THIS AROUND. YOU LIVE IN THAT DISTRICT. YOU'VE COVERED THIS RACE PROBABLY MORE THAN ANY OF THE REST OF US. WHAT'S YOUR TAKE ON THAT RACE?

Borg: WELL, THE INTERNAL REPUBLICAN POLLS, I'M TOLD -- YOU CAN PUT THE AMOUNT OF CREDENCE YOU WANT TO IN THAT. BUT I'M TOLD THAT, AS YOU SAY, JIM LEACH'S NUMBERS DID GO BELOW 50 PERCENT. SINCE THE ADVERTISING HAS COME IN NEGATIVE ON HIS BEHALF BY THE NATIONAL REPUBLICAN PARTY, HE IS UP NOW ABOVE 50 PERCENT AT ABOUT 52 AT THE LATEST REPUBLICAN POLL, I'M TOLD. BUT THAT'S GOING TO BE A VERY, VERY LATE NIGHT.

Glover: I LIKE DAVE'S COMPARISON TO NEAL SMITH, BECAUSE WHATEVER HAPPENS IN THIS ELECTION, IF JIM LEACH HANGS ON, IF JULIE THOMAS WINS, LONG TERM -- AND BY LONG TERM, I MEAN THE NEXT ELECTION OR TWO -- THAT'S GOING TO BE A DEMOCRATIC SEAT. JIM LEACH CANNOT HOLD THAT DISTRICT LONG TERM. IT'S A 58-PERCENT DEMOCRATIC DISTRICT. AT SOME POINT THE DEMOCRATS ARE GOING TO BEAT HIM, JUST LIKE IN 1990 WHEN THE DEMOCRATS DREW THAT NEW CENTRAL IOWA, WESTERN IOWA DISTRICT THAT HAD NEAL SMITH IN IT. NEAL SMITH CALLED THEM AND HE SAID, "YOU KNOW, I CAN'T HOLD THIS DISTRICT LONG TERM." THEY SAID, "WE THINK YOU CAN, NEAL." WELL, THEY WERE WRONG. JIM LEACH CAN'T HOLD THAT DISTRICT LONG TERM.

Borg: WELL, LET'S GO TO THE THIRD DISTRICT. KAY, I'LL GO TO YOU ON THAT. THAT ALSO IS A POPULATION AT LEAST CONCENTRATED IN POLK COUNTY. AND STAN THOMPSON AND MR. BOSWELL --

Henderson: STAN THOMPSON AND LEONARD BOSWELL, WHO MOVED INTO DES MOINES FROM DAVIS CITY, A LONG-TIME RURAL PERSON AND CHANGED HIS ADDRESS TO AN URBAN SETTING. THIS HAS BEEN THE MOST PUZZLING OF THE RACES, I THINK, IN IOWA, BECAUSE BOSWELL, BY ALL ACCOUNTS, DOESN'T FIT THE DISTRICT. HE'S NOT AN URBAN GUY AND THIS IS CERTAINLY AN URBAN DISTRICT. AND THOMPSON HAS REALLY WORKED HIS BEHIND OFF IN THIS RACE, AND FOR SOME UNKNOWN REASON, THE CONVENTIONAL WISDOM IS THAT BOSWELL IS GOING TO HOLD THAT SEAT. I THINK THIS COULD BE A SURPRISE ON ELECTION NIGHT, BUT STILL THE EDGE HAS TO GO TO BOSWELL FROM ALL THE INDICATORS THAT WE SEE.

Obradovich: STAN THOMPSON HAS A FUTURE THOUGH, I THINK. HE HAS BEEN -- MAYBE HIS INEXPERIENCE HAS SHOWN A LITTLE BIT IN THIS CAMPAIGN, BUT HE IS A PRETTY PERSONABLE GUY, A YOUNG GUY, AN ATTRACTIVE CANDIDATE. YOU KNOW, I DO THINK HE'S GOT A FUTURE IN POLITICS IN IOWA.

Borg: IS TOM LATHAM IN TROUBLE, DAVE, IN THE FOURTH?

Yepsen: HE COULD BE. JOHN NORRIS RUNNING A VERY SPIRITED CAMPAIGN AGAINST HIM. LATHAM IS A PRETTY LAID BACK GUY. THE DEMOCRATS THOUGHT THEY COULD RUN JOHN NORRIS, A VERY ATTRACTIVE CANDIDATE, WELL FINANCED, AND GET TOM LATHAM. LATHAM HAS ROUSED HIMSELF, HAS RUN A VERY SPIRITED CAMPAIGN, HAS GONE ON THE ATTACK. I FIND IT INTERESTING, WE WENT INTO THIS RACE SAYING IOWA IS VERY COMPETITIVE, AND IT IS. BUT YET RIGHT NOW, IF YOU LOOK AT THIS THING ON THE EVE OF THE ELECTION, YOU'RE LOOKING AT BASICALLY FOUR INCUMBENTS GOING BACK. GOING BACK TO WHAT WE WERE TALKING ABOUT AT THE BEGINNING, THIS COULD VERY WELL BE A STATUS QUO ELECTION. AFTER A WHOLE YEAR OF THIS KIND OF CAMPAIGNING, WE MAY SEE ALL INCUMBENTS WIN.

Borg: WELL, IT WON'T BE STATUS QUO, MIKE, OUT IN THE FIFTH DISTRICT.

Glover: NO, I'LL GO FAR OUT ON A LIMB HERE, AND I'LL MAKE A PREDICTION. I THINK STEVE KING IS GOING TO WIN IN THE FIFTH DISTRICT. [ LAUGHTER ]

Henderson: WRITE THAT DOWN.

Glover: THERE ARE ONLY ABOUT 58,000 MORE REPUBLICANS THAN DEMOCRATS IN THAT DISTRICT. I THINK IF YOU MATCH STEVE KING AND PAUL SHOMSHOR, I'M GOING TO PUT MY MONEY ON STEVE KING.

Borg: BUT I'VE OFTEN HEARD YOU SAY THAT IN REDISTRICTING, THE REPUBLICANS IN THE LEGISLATURE MAY HAVE SQUANDERED THE REPUBLICAN VOTES OUT THERE THAT SHOULD HAVE GONE INTO SOME OTHER DISTRICTS. REALLY WHAT I'M GETTING AT, IS MR. KING NOT STIMULATING ENOUGH VOTER TURNOUT THERE?

Glover: OH, HE'S WORKING VERY HARD. THERE ARE 286 LITTLE TOWNS AND BURBS IN THAT DISTRICT. HE SAYS HE'S VISITED EVERY ONE OF THEM, AND HE'S WORKING HARD TO TURN OUT VOTERS. THE REPUBLICANS -- THE BIG PICTURE BET THAT REPUBLICANS MADE WAS WE'LL CREATE ONE OVERWHELMING REPUBLICAN DISTRICT IN WESTERN IOWA -- IT WAS NO ACCIDENT THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE AT THE TIME WAS RUNNING FOR CONGRESS IN THAT DISTRICT -- AND THEN WE'LL CREATE FOUR COMPETITIVE DISTRICTS IN THE EASTERN PART OF THE STATE, AND WE'LL BET THAT OUR INCUMBENTS CAN HOLD ON THERE. AND SHORT TERM, THEY'RE RIGHT. LONG TERM, A LOT OF THOSE DISTRICTS ARE GOING TO SWING DEMOCRATIC.

Yepsen: WHAT HAPPENS IN THIS DYNAMIC, DEAN, IS THE LEGISLATORS -- THE IOWA LAW REQUIRES THAT THE CONGRESSIONAL PLAN FOR REDISTRICTING AND THE LEGISLATIVE PLAN FOR REDISTRICTING BE THE SAME PLAN. SO LEGISLATORS GET THIS PLAN, AND THEY IMMEDIATELY LOOK AT WHAT? THEMSELVES. THEY DON'T CARE ABOUT JIM LEACH OR TOM LATHAM OR WHATEVER. THEY'RE WORRIED ABOUT THEMSELVES. IF THEY SEE, HEY, I'VE GOT A DECENT DISTRICT HERE, I CAN WIN THAT, I'M FOR THIS PLAN. SO THEY WIND UP PAYING NO ATTENTION TO THESE CONGRESSIONAL RACES.

Borg: KAY, LET'S TALK ABOUT THE LEGISLATURE. THEY REDREW -- THIS NEW LEGISLATURE IS NOT GOING TO DO THAT FOR ANOTHER TEN YEARS. BUT HOW DO YOU SEE THE LEGISLATIVE RACES? REPUBLICANS CONTROLLED THE LAST SESSION.

Henderson: THE CONVENTIONAL WISDOM AGAIN IS THAT REPUBLICANS HAVE THE EDGE IN THE IOWA SENATE. BUT IN THE HOUSE, THAT IS VERY COMPETITIVE AND THERE COULD BE A SHOT FOR DEMOCRATS THERE. WELL, IT REALLY TURNED OUT TO TURNOUT, BECAUSE THE PEOPLE VOTE IN THE TOP-OF-THE-TICKET RACES, AND SOMETIMES WHEN THEY FLOAT DOWN, THEY DON'T CROSS THOSE X'S DOWN THE BALLOT. SO IF IT'S A BIG DEMOCRATIC YEAR FOR THE TWO TOMs, TOM HARKIN AND TOM VILSACK, I THINK THERE IS A REALLY GOOD SHOT THAT DEMOCRATS COULD CONTROL THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.

Yepsen: WE WOULD BE REMISS HERE, DEAN, IF WE DIDN'T MENTION THIS ABSENTEE BALLOT EFFORT THAT'S GOING ON THAT WILL HAVE AN EFFECT ON ALL OF THESE RACES, PARTICULARLY THE LEGISLATURE. I THINK THE DEMOCRATS HAVE OUTHUSTLED REPUBLICANS IN THE BATTLE FOR THE LEGISLATURE. THEY'VE GONE AFTER MARGINAL VOTERS WHO DON'T ORDINARILY VOTE IN NONPRESIDENTIAL YEARS. THEY'VE GOTTEN THEM ABSENTEE BALLOTS. I THINK YOU'LL SEE DEMOCRATS WIN MORE OF THE CLOSE RACES, AND THIS COULD TIP THE BALANCE. IT COULD ALSO MEAN A LONG NIGHT FOR US, DEAN, AS WE GO THROUGH THIS COUNTING AND RECOUNTING OF ABSENTEES. WE DON'T HAVE CHADS IN IOWA; WE HAVE ABSENTEE BALLOTS.

Obradovich: IT MAY BE EVEN A LONG WEEK AS WE WAIT FOR THE MAIL FOR SOME OF THESE BALLOTS TO COME IN.

Borg: THAT'S RIGHT. LINDA LANGENBERG, THE COMMISSIONER OF ELECTIONS OVER IN LINN COUNTY, SAYS THAT SHE ANTICIPATES A LOT OF CHALLENGED BALLOTS AS PEOPLE WHO HAVE RECEIVED THEM IN THE MAIL HAVE TORN THEM UP AND SAID, I'M GOING TO VOTE IN PERSON.

Glover: GETTING BACK TO KAY'S POINT, LET'S LOOK AT OUR HISTORY. IN 1980 REPUBLICANS DREW THE NEW LEGISLATIVE DISTRICTS; DEMOCRATS TOOK CONTROL IN THE 1982 ELECTION. 1990, DEMOCRATS DREW THE NEW LEGISLATIVE DISTRICTS; 1992, REPUBLICANS TOOK CONTROL OF THE LEGISLATURE -- PART OF THE LEGISLATURE.

Yepsen: IT WOULD BE FAR MORE SIGNIFICANT TO URBAN-RURAL SHIFT THAN, I THINK, THE PARTISAN ONE. WE'RE GOING TO HAVE A MORE URBAN AND SUBURBAN LEGISLATURE. WE'LL GAVE A LOT MORE TO TALK ABOUT.

Borg: THAT'S RIGHT. WELL, WE'RE GOING TO SAVE THAT. I KNOW WE'RE GOING TO TALK ABOUT THAT IN JUST A MOMENT. WEDNESDAY NIGHT WE'RE GOING TO GET BACK AND SEE HOW RIGHT WE WERE ON THIS EDITION. THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR YOUR INSIGHTS.

Glover: I HATE IT WHEN THAT HAPPENS. [ LAUGHTER ]

Borg: A COUPLE OF PROGRAM REMINDERS. WE'LL HAVE A SPECIAL EDITION, A LATINO VERSION, OF OUR "IOWA PRESS" REPORTERS ROUNDTABLE. LORENZO SANDOVAL WILL HOST THE SESSION. THAT'S DEDICATED TO THE CURRENT CAMPAIGN AT ELECTION 2002. THE AIR TIMES FOR THAT ARE SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 3, AT 12:30. THAT'S IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING OUR NOON BROADCAST OF "IOWA PRESS." AND THAT WILL BE REBROADCAST AT 6:30 MONDAY NIGHT, NOVEMBER 4. THE "IOWA PRESS" SPECIAL IN SPANISH, WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES, AND IT CAN BE HEARD IN ENGLISH ON THE SECOND AUDIO PROGRAM, OR SAP CHANNEL, OF YOUR TV OR VCR. TUESDAY, OF COURSE, THE FINISH LINE FOR THE 2002 CAMPAIGNS. AND ON THE DAY AFTER THE ELECTION, AS I JUST SAID, WE'LL HAVE A LIVE EDITION OF "IOWA PRESS" ON WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 6. WE'LL DISCUSS THE RESULTS AND THE IMPLICATIONS FOR THE CONGRESS, THE IOWA GENERAL ASSEMBLY, AND THE IOWA STATEHOUSE. THAT WILL BE LIVE AT 6:30 IN THE EVENING ON WEDNESDAY, AND I HOPE THAT YOU'LL PLAN TO WATCH THAT POST-ELECTION PROGRAM AND SEE HOW RIGHT WE WERE. WHAT HAPPENS ELECTION DAY WILL DETERMINE THE PROGRAM THAT WE BRING YOU WEDNESDAY NIGHT. THAT'S IT FOR THIS WEEK'S EDITION OF "IOWA PRESS." I'M DEAN BORG. THANKS FOR JOINING US TODAY.

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