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Reporters Roundtable (#3027)
February 21, 2003

Borg: IT'S 40 DOWN, 70 TO GO IN THIS YEAR'S SCHEDULED 110-DAY LEGISLATIVE SESSION. MOST MAJOR AGENDA ITEMS STILL UNRESOLVED. WE'LL DISCUSS LEGISLATIVE PROGRESS AND THE POLITICAL LANDSCAPE WITH IOWA STATEHOUSE REPORTERS ON THIS EDITION OF "IOWA PRESS."

FUNDING FOR THIS PROGRAM WAS PROVIDED BY "FRIENDS," THE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION FOUNDATION... GENERATIONS OF FAMILIES AND FRIENDS WHO FEEL PASSIONATE ABOUT THE PROGRAMS THEY WATCH ON IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION. AND BY THE IOWA BANKERS ASSOCIATION... FOR PERSONAL, BUSINESS, AND COMMERCIAL NEEDS, IOWA BANKS HELP IOWANS REACH THEIR FINANCIAL GOALS. AND BY THE ASSOCIATED GENERAL CONTRACTORS OF IOWA... THE PUBLIC'S PARTNER IN BUILDING IOWA'S HIGHWAY, BRIDGE, AND MUNICIPAL UTILITY INFRASTRUCTURE.

ON STATEWIDE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION, THIS IS THE FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 21 EDITION OF "IOWA PRESS." HERE IS DEAN BORG.

Borg: IOWA'S 2003 LEGISLATIVE SESSION BEGINS ITS SEVENTH WEEK. AND FOR SOME, NOT ENOUGH PROGRESS HAS BEEN MADE. THE IMPERATIVE MAJOR CHALLENGE, OF COURSE, IS BRIDGING A BUDGET DEFICIT. SOME PROJECT SHORT AS MUCH AS $400 MILLION IN THAT STATE BUDGET; THAT TAKES EFFECT IN JUST THREE MONTHS. THERE'S ALSO SOME GRUMBLING ABOUT A DO-NOTHING SESSION, SUGGESTIONS THAT PRIORITIES ARE BEING AVOIDED. IT SHOULD BE NOTED THAT IT'S A FAMILIAR TUNE IN MOST YEARS AT THIS STAGE, BUT FOR A REALITY CHECK ON THAT AND OTHER ITEMS, WE'VE GATHERED LEGISLATIVE AND POLITICAL REPORTERS FROM AROUND THE STATE FOR SOME OPINIONS: "DES MOINES REGISTER" POLITICAL COLUMNIST DAVID YEPSEN; "RADIO IOWA" NEWS DIRECTOR KAY HENDERSON; "ASSOCIATED PRESS" SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER MIKE GLOVER; AND "LEE NEWSPAPER" DES MOINES BUREAU CHIEF KATHIE OBRADOVICH. KATHIE, I SAID "AROUND THE STATE," AND YOU REPORT FOR NEWSPAPERS IN DAVENPORT AND MASON CITY, OTTUMWA, AND I DON'T KNOW WHERE ELSE. SO YOU'VE GOT A LOT OF PEOPLE FEEDING INTO YOU WITH OPINIONS, AND YOU'RE AT THE STATEHOUSE. IS THIS ALLEGATION OF DO NOTHING JUSTIFIED?

Obradovich: WELL, I THINK THERE'S TWO WAYS TO ANSWER THAT. FIRST OF ALL, I THINK THAT WHEN THERE HAS ONLY ONE BILL SIGNED INTO LAW 40 DAYS INTO THE SESSION, I THINK YOU CAN SAY THAT THE PACE UP THERE HAS BEEN CERTAINLY MAYBE A LITTLE SLOWER THAN WHAT WE'RE USED TO. AT THE SAME TIME, THERE'S A LOT OF ISSUES THAT ARE STILL SIMMERING, AND I'M NOT PREPARED TO SAY, WITH 70 DAYS TO GO, THAT THEY'RE NOT GOING TO COME OUT WITH SOMETHING. I THINK THAT THERE ARE A LOT OF ISSUES STILL ON THE BACK BURNER, INCLUDING MAYBE SOME BIG ISSUES. THEY COULD REWRITE TAX POLICY IN THIS STATE. THEY COULD COME UP WITH A REALLY SIGNIFICANT ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PLAN. THEY'RE JUST NOT READY TO SAY THAT THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT WE'RE GOING TO DO.

Glover: DEAN, THE ANSWER TO THAT IS IT'S TOO EARLY TO SAY. WE DON'T KNOW. WE DON'T KNOW IF THIS IS A DO-NOTHING SESSION, ALTHOUGH THERE ARE SOME WHO SUSPECT IT'S LIKELY TO END UP THAT WAY. THERE ARE, AS KATHIE HAS MENTIONED, A NUMBER OF VERY, VERY BIG ISSUES ON THE TABLE: REWRITING THE STATE'S INCOME TAX LAW; REWRITING THE STATE'S PROPERTY TAX LAW; REWRITING THE WAY THAT SCHOOL INFRASTRUCTURE IS FINANCED. ALL THAT KIND OF STUFF IS ON THE TABLE, AND SOME ARE PREDICTING THAT AT THE END OF THE DAY THAT THOSE THINGS ARE ACTUALLY GOING TO BE ACCOMPLISHED, WHICH WOULD MAKE THIS A VERY SIGNIFICANT SESSION. ONE OF THE THINGS THEY'RE DOING DIFFERENTLY THIS YEAR IS THEY'RE NOT DOING THINGS IN THEIR TYPICAL SORT OF COMMITTEE, PUBLIC-DEBATE TYPE OF STRUCTURE. THEY'VE NAMED A BUNCH OF WORKING GROUPS THAT ARE WORKING THROUGH ALL THESE THINGS IN PRIVATE. THEY DID IT LAST YEAR WITH THE LIVESTOCK CONFINEMENT BILL. THEY'RE DOING IT THIS YEAR WITH TAXES AND A NUMBER OF OTHER THINGS. WE JUST DON'T KNOW IF THOSE ARE GOING TO EVENTUALLY BEAR FRUIT.

Borg: AND FOR THAT, THERE'S SOME CRITICISM, TOO, ABOUT WORKING IN SECRECY.

Glover: WELL, THERE'S CRITICISM THAT THE TAX LAWS ARE BEING WRITTEN IN SECRET. THE COUNTER TO THAT IS THAT LEGISLATORS HAVE TO WORK PRIVATELY TO ACCOMPLISH THESE KINDS OF THINGS. IT'S A BALANCING ACT.

Borg: KAY, I SAID THAT IT'S A FAMILIAR TUNE AT THIS STAGE. BUT ALSO, MIKE HAS SAID THERE'S A HEAVY AGENDA. THAT MUST AFFECT IT TOO. IN FACT, HAVE THEY BITTEN OFF TOO MUCH?

Henderson: I DON'T THINK THEY'VE BITTEN OFF TOO MUCH, BECAUSE THERE'S A REAL SENSE THAT THEY WANT TO DO SOMETHING. THEY HAVE A BUNCH OF NEW LEGISLATORS UP THERE WHO ARE CHOMPING AT THE BIT. THEY HAVE A GOVERNOR WHO HAS LAID AN AGENDA ON THE TABLE THAT SAYS "I'M WILLING TO DO BIG THINGS." AND SO THEY'RE DISCUSSING THINGS LIKE COMPLETELY REDOING THE INCOME TAX STRUCTURE AND INSTALLING A FLAT TAX, COMPLETELY GETTING RID OF THE PROPERTY TAX COLLECTION SYSTEM AND INSTALLING SOMETHING NEW OR DIFFERENT. SO THESE ARE HUGE IDEAS AND I DON'T THINK IT'S SURPRISING TO ANY OF US THAT IT'S TAKING THEM TIME TO NOT ONLY UNDERSTAND -- VERY FEW OF US UNDERSTAND THE INTRICACIES OF TAX POLICY. AND I'M NOT GOING TO GO INTO THEM BECAUSE I DON'T UNDERSTAND THEM EITHER. SO IT TAKES A WHILE FOR LEGISLATORS TO LEARN THE DETAILS AND THEN LEARN THE DETAILS OF ALTERNATIVES THAT THEY MIGHT BE PRESENTED AND THEN WEIGH THE PROS AND THE CONS OF EACH OF THEM.

Borg: DAVID, WHAT I'M HEARING THE REST OF THEM SAY IS "IOWA BE PATIENT."

Yepsen: YEAH, I THINK THAT THAT'S FAIR TO SAY. I THINK SOME OF THIS IS BY DESIGN. FIRST OF ALL, YOU'VE GOT A LOT OF FRESHMEN. WE'VE TALKED ABOUT THAT BEFORE OUT HERE. IT TAKES THEM SOME TIME TO GET UP TO SPEED ON WHAT'S GOING ON. BUT LEADERS HAVE LEARNED THAT AT SOME POINT YOU'VE GOT TO CUT A DEAL. AND YOU DO THAT -- YOU DON'T DO THAT AT AN OPEN MEETING; YOU DO THAT OFF TO THE SIDE. AND THE PATTERN FOR THIS WAS SET A YEAR AGO WHEN THEY PASSED A HOG LOT BILL AND THEY GOT ALL THE INFLUENTIAL LEGISLATORS IN A ROOM, THEY KICKED EVERYBODY OUT, AND THEY CUT A DEAL. NOW, WHETHER YOU LIKE THE HOG LOT BILL OR NOT, THAT WAS A PROTOTYPE FOR WHAT'S HAPPENING HERE. SO LEADERS ARE DOING THE SAME THING WITH ALL THESE TAX ISSUES. THEY'RE GOING TO WORK SOMETHING OUT PRIVATE IN THE BACK ROOM. IT'S GOING TO BE ROLLED OUT. FRESHMEN AND EVERYBODY ARE GOING TO BE TOLD THIS IS THE DEAL, THIS IS THE PACKAGE, NOW PASS IT. NOW, IF YOU'RE FOR OPEN GOVERNMENT, YOU DON'T LIKE THAT. BUT IF YOU WANT TO SEE SOMETHING GET DONE, THAT'S THE WAY IT'S GOING TO BE.

Obradovich: THE OTHER THING THAT IS GOING ON HERE IS THAT EVERYONE HAS OPENED THE SESSION SAYING THAT THEY'RE GOING TO WORK TOGETHER, THAT THEY'RE GOING TO AVOID A LOT OF PARTISAN LEGISLATION THAT THEY'RE JUST GOING TO RUN UP IN ORDER FOR THE GOVERNOR TO VETO. AND THOSE ARE THE KINDS OF BILLS THAT LAST YEAR, WHILE THEY WERE DOWN BEHIND CLOSED DOORS WORKING OUT A DEAL ON THE BUDGET, THEY WERE THROWING UP ALL THESE NETWORK TIME-KILLER BILLS, YOU KNOW, PROJECT LABOR AGREEMENTS, PARTISANS THINGS THAT THEY WERE FIGHTING ABOUT ON THE FLOOR, AND IT LOOKED LIKE THEY WERE DOING SOMETHING. WE WERE ALL REPORTING ON AND WRITING STORIES ABOUT WHAT THEY WERE DOING, BUT REALLY THE REAL WORK WAS BEING DONE BEHIND CLOSED DOORS ANYWAY.

Yepsen: I THINK SOME OF THE BACK-ROOM STUFF IS NECESSARY BECAUSE IF YOU'RE GOING TO PASS A TAX BILL IN A REPUBLICAN LEGISLATURE WITH A DEMOCRATIC GOVERNOR, BOTH GROUPS ARE GOING TO HAVE TO MOVE BIG TIME. REPUBLICANS, THEY'RE PROBABLY GOING TO HAVE TO SAY NO TO DAVE STANLEY ON FEDERAL DEDUCTABILITY. NOW, WHETHER YOU DO THAT IN THE INCOME TAX CODE OR WHETHER YOU DO THAT WITH A FLAT TAX, YOU'VE KIND OF GOT TO TELL HIM NO. AND TOM VILSACK IS GOING TO HAVE TO EAT SOME TAX CUTS, WHICH IS NOT GOING TO MAKE HIS PEOPLE VERY HAPPY. SO IT'S A WHOLE LOT EASIER FOR THOSE PEOPLE TO GO OFF QUIETLY TO A BED AND BREAKFAST AND SIT AROUND AND TALK AND SING KUMBAYA AND CUT A DEAL THAN IT IS TO BE OUT IN THE OPEN FIGHTING WITH THEIR CONSTITUENCY GROUPS.

Henderson: WELL AND THE OTHER --

Glover: THE PROBLEM THEY'RE GOING TO HAVE IS THIS YEAR, I THINK WE ALL KNOW, IS THAT IF ANYTHING IS GOING TO GET ACCOMPLISHED BY THIS LEGISLATURE, IT'S GOING TO HAVE TO HAPPEN THIS YEAR. NEXT YEAR IS AN ELECTION YEAR. WE'VE JUST HAD AN ELECTION WHERE TOM VILSACK GOT REELECTED; REPUBLICANS RETAINED THEIR MAJORITY IN THE LEGISLATURE. SO YOU'VE GOT KIND OF A CALM BEFORE THE STORM THIS YEAR. NEXT YEAR IT'S GOING TO BE THE BEGINNING OF THE LEGISLATIVE ELECTIONS. IT'S GOING TO BE THE BEGINNING OF THE NEXT GUBERNATORIAL ELECTION. THIS GOVERNOR HAS TERM LIMITED HIMSELF. SO PROBABLY ABOUT NEXT YEAR AROUND THE MIDTERM ELECTIONS, YOU'RE GOING TO START SEEING GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATES COME OUT OF THE WOODS. IF ANYTHING IS GOING TO HAPPEN SIGNIFICANTLY ON TAX POLICY, ALL THESE KINDS OF THINGS, IT'S PROBABLY GOING TO HAVE TO HAPPEN THIS YEAR.

Henderson: AND THE OTHER THING THE SECRECY DOES IS IT LET'S THEM ROLL OUT EMBARRASSING IDEAS AND NOT BE EMBARRASSED IN PUBLIC. IF SOMEBODY SAYS SOMETHING STUPID OR COMES UP WITH A DUMB IDEA, THE BRIGHTER MINDS AROUND THE TABLE CAN SAY, "HEY, YOU MIGHT WANT TO PUT THAT BACK IN YOUR POCKET." CONVERSELY, IF THEY COME OUT WITH THIS PLAN, THE PUBLIC HASN'T SEEN IT, THERE'S NOT BEEN AN ABILITY FOR THE PUBLIC TO LOOK AT IT AND SAY, "HEY, THIS AFFECTS ME," AND TALK TO THEIR LEGISLATORS. SO THEY'RE SHORT-CIRCUITING THE PROCESS, WHEREBY THE PUBLIC GETS TO SEE WHAT'S BEING PROPOSED AND LET THEIR VOICES BE HEARD AT THE STATEHOUSE.

Glover: BEFORE WE WRAP OUR ARMS TOO CLOSELY AROUND THIS "LET'S DO EVERYTHING SECRET," IT'S MY MONEY. I'D LIKE TO KNOW HOW IT'S BEING SPENT, AND I'D LIKE TO KNOW WHAT GOES INTO THE ARGUMENTS ABOUT IT.

Yepsen: PART OF THE REASON -- WHAT THE PROBLEM WITH THIS SORT OF THIS LULL IN THE SESSION -- AND IT OCCURS IN EVERY SESSION. YOU HAVE A LOT OF FLURRY IN JANUARY, THE GOVERNOR SPEECHES AND TALK. THEN YOU GO INTO KIND OF THE FEBRUARY LULL. IT HAPPENS EVERY YEAR. THEY HAVE TO WAIT AROUND AND SEE WHAT THEIR REVENUES ARE GOING TO DO. AND IT'S DIFFICULT TO DO THAT WHEN YOU'VE GOT THIS PALL OF THIS WAR CAST OVER EVERYTHING. NO ONE KNOWS WHAT THE ECONOMY IS GOING TO DO. SO THERE'S ALWAYS A TENDENCY BY LAWMAKERS AT THIS STAGE OF THE GAME TO SAY LET'S WAIT UNTIL APRIL TO SEE WHAT OUR TAX REVENUES LOOK LIKE BEFORE WE PASS A LOT OF THESE BILLS.

Henderson: NOT ONLY DO THEY HAVE THAT, BUT THEY ALSO HAVE THINGS THAT ARE BUILT INTO THE GOVERNOR'S WISH LIST IN TERMS OF HIS BUDGET THAT HAVEN'T BEEN ENACTED INTO LAW, LIKE GOING OUT AND COLLECTING 25 MILLION MORE TAX DOLLARS FROM CORPORATIONS BY SOME LITTLE MACHINATION CHANGE IN STATE LAW. THEY HAVEN'T MADE THOSE CHANGES YET, SO NOT ONLY DO THEY NOT KNOW WHAT'S GOING ON WITH THE WAR, THEY DON'T KNOW IF THE RECOVERY IS ACTUALLY UNDERWAY, THEY DON'T REALLY KNOW HOW MUCH MONEY THEY'RE GOING TO BE COLLECTING EVEN IN UNDER NORMAL CIRCUMSTANCES.

Borg: WELL, AND THE OTHER THING, I WOULD THINK, IS THAT THERE ARE UNKNOWNS COMING DOWN IN HOMELAND SECURITY ALL THE TIME THAT THEY'RE ADDING ONTO THE BUDGET.

Glover: THERE'S A LOT THAT THEY'RE STILL TRYING TO GET THEIR ARMS AROUND. FOR ONE THING, THERE'S A REINVENTION PART OF THIS BUDGET WHERE THEY'RE GOING TO -- THE GOVERNOR IS PROPOSING $8O- OR $90 MILLION. IT'S GOING TO BE SAVED SOMEHOW. THEY'RE GOING TO MAKE GOVERNMENT MORE EFFICIENT. WELL, LET'S SEE SOME DETAILS THERE. KAY IS RIGHT; THEY'RE TALKING ABOUT COLLECTING $25 MILLION MORE IN CORPORATE INCOME TAXES BY SOME KIND OF A THING. ALL THAT IS STILL BEING SHAPED. IT'S STILL BEING STUDIED. IT'S STILL BEING EXAMINED.

Obradovich: THERE'S ALSO A BIG FEDERAL QUESTION OUT THERE. THE GOVERNOR HAS SAID SEVERAL TIMES THAT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OWES THE STATE SOME MONEY. THERE'S MONEY COMING, HOPEFULLY, FOR HOMELAND SECURITY, ALSO FOR THINGS LIKE TRANSPORTATION AND THE EDUCATION REFORM PACKAGE, THE "LEAVE NO CHILD BEHIND" BILL. SCHOOLS IN IOWA WILL BE IN SERIOUS TROUBLE IF NONE OF THAT MONEY COMES. SO THERE'S ANOTHER BIG QUESTION MARK THAT PROBABLY WON'T BE ANSWERED DURING THIS SESSION.

Glover: AND I THINK A LOT OF PEOPLE IN THIS STATE ARE BEING BEGINNING TO REALIZE THAT THAT MONEY IS NOT GOING TO COME. THERE'S GOING TO BE A $300-BILLION WAR IN THE MIDDLE EAST, AND "LEAVE NO CHILD BEHIND" IS GOING TO GET LEFT BEHIND AND HOMELAND SECURITY IS GOING TO GET LEFT BEHIND. EVERYTHING IS GOING TO GET LEFT BEHIND.

Borg: AND BEFORE WE LEAVE UNCERTAINTY, WE DON'T KNOW HOW MUCH THE GAMBLING TAX IS GOING TO BRING IN EITHER.

Yepsen: YOU DON'T KNOW HOW MUCH THE GAMBLING TAX IS GOING TO BRING IN BECAUSE THE SUPREME COURT HAS SORT OF SAID, "WE'RE GOING TO HEAR THAT CASE." THERE'S A REAL ARGUMENT UP THERE ABOUT THAT. YOU ALSO DON'T KNOW WHAT THE PAY PACKAGE IS GOING TO BE FOR STATE WORKERS. SO SOME OF THIS STUFF JUST HAS TO KIND OF WORK ITSELF OUT. IT'S SORT OF NORMAL AND AT THE START OF EVERY SESSION. MIKE IS RIGHT; IF THEY'RE GOING TO DO SOMETHING, THEY'RE GOING TO HAVE TO GET IT DONE THIS YEAR. BUT I THINK IT'S ALSO FAIR TO POINT OUT THAT A LOT OF CONTROVERSIAL IDEAS HAVE A TWO- OR THREE-YEAR GESTATION PERIOD IN IOWA POLITICS. IF YOU'RE GOING TO REWRITE THE INCOME TAX LAW, REWRITE THE PROPERTY TAX LAW, AND YOU'RE GOING TO DO THAT ALL IN ONE SESSION STARTING FROM GROUND ZERO, I THINK IT'S AWFUL TOUGH. AND THERE'S ONE PIECE OF THIS THAT SAYS THEY MIGHT WAIT TILL NEXT YEAR. IT IS COMPLICATED. AND IF THEY SEE THAT THEY'RE GOING TO DO SOMETHING POPULAR, WELL, LET'S DO IT NEXT YEAR IN AN ELECTION WHEN SOMEBODY MIGHT REMEMBER IT.

Henderson: AND THERE'S ANOTHER PIECE OF TAX POLICY THAT WE HAVEN'T DISCUSSED YET, THE LOCAL OPTION SALES TAX. MOST URBAN AREAS OF THE STATE ARE COLLECTING IT TO HELP SCHOOL DISTRICTS REBUILD THEIR BUILDINGS OR BUILD NEW BUILDINGS, AND SMALL SCHOOL DISTRICTS ARE THREATENING TO SUE THE STATE AND HAVE AGREED TO NOT SUE THE STATE IF THEY FIX THE WHOLE THING. SO THAT'S PART OF THE TAX MIX, AND THAT'S ALSO PROBLEMATIC AS WELL.

Borg: MIKE, YOU WERE THE ONE THAT SAID STRIKE WHILE THE IRON IS HOT. AND THAT IS, POLITICALLY, THIS IS THE YEAR TO REWRITE THE TAX PLAN. BUT DAVE HAS JUST SAID SOMETHING LIKE THAT TAKES A THREE-YEAR GESTATION. WHAT ARE THE INDICATIONS THAT SOMETHING MIGHT GET DONE THIS YEAR? AND THEN TELL ME ALSO ABOUT THAT -- THE RECEPTION IT'S GETTING IN THAT FARM BUREAU PLAN?

Glover: PEOPLE WHO ARE IN THE KNOW AT THE LEGISLATURE, PEOPLE WHO ARE RUNNING THESE WORKING GROUPS TELL ME THAT IT'S LIKELY THERE WILL BE AN OMNIBUS TAX BILL THAT WILL REWRITE THE INCOME TAX SYSTEM, PROBABLY NOT A FLAT TAX -- THEY WON'T GO THAT FAR -- THAT IT WILL REVAMP THE PROPERTY TAX SYSTEM, NOT THE PLAN PROPOSED BY THE FARM BUREAU, BUT HEAD DOWN THAT PATH; THAT THERE WILL BE A BILL THAT WILL DO THAT AND IT WILL PASS AND PROBABLY GET THE GOVERNOR'S SIGNATURE BY THE END OF THE YEAR. SO THE ANSWER IS, YES, THEY'LL PROBABLY TINKER WITH THE TAX SYSTEM, THEY'LL PROBABLY MAKE SOME INCOME TAX CHANGES, THEY'LL PROBABLY SIMPLIFY A LITTLE BIT, THEY'LL PROBABLY MAKE SOME PROPERTY TAX CHANGES, BUT NOT GO QUITE AS FAR AS HAS BEEN PROPOSED.

Henderson: THE THING ABOUT THE FARM BUREAU PLAN THAT IS MOST INTRIGUING TO LEGISLATORS IS NOT THE DRAMATIC WAY IN WHICH IT CHANGES THE COLLECTION OF PROPERTY TAXES BUT THE FACT THAT IT WOULD COLLECT $2 BILLION FOR THE STATE TO USE TO INVEST IN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVES. I MEAN YOU SEE THEIR EYES GLAZE OVER AND THEY GET THIS GIDDY LOOK ON THEIR FACE WHEN THE FARM BUREAU SAYS $2 BILLION. THAT'S A LOT OF MONEY AND THEY'RE LOOKING FOR SOME METHOD BY WHICH THEY CAN FINANCE THIS IDEA OF CREATING A HUGE, MAMMOTH FUND WHEREBY THAT CAN LURE THE BIOTECHNOLOGY INDUSTRY AND THE LIFE SCIENCES INDUSTRY TO THE STATE.

Borg: NOW, IS THAT THE SAME FUND THAT THE GOVERNOR MENTIONED AND CALLED THE IOWA VALUES FUND?

Yepsen: YES. YOU TAKE -- PART OF THAT MONEY WOULD GO INTO THAT. BUT WE SIT AROUND AND TALK ABOUT HOW WE HAVE TO DO THINGS DIFFERENTLY IN IOWA, AND I THINK YOU HAVE TO GIVE CREDIT TO THE FARM BUREAU FOR COMING UP WITH SOMETHING THAT IS AN EYEOPENER. THE FARM BUREAU, IOWA'S TRADITIONAL, CONSERVATIVE, PROPERTY-TAX-HATING FARM ORGANIZATION IS PROPOSING A STATEWIDE PROPERTY TAX OF 4.5 CENTS PER THOUSAND DOLLARS. AND THEY WOULD TAKE THAT MONEY AND THEY WOULD PAY OFF ALL THESE LITTLE DEBTS THAT CITIES HAVE OCCURRED HANDING OUT TAX BREAKS. THEY WOULD TAKE THE $2 BILLION, AND THEY WOULD USE IT FOR THINGS LIKE THE VALUES FUND, FOR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS. THEY WOULD PUT SOME OF IT INTO FIXING UP SMALL SCHOOLS. WHETHER YOU LIKE THE IDEA OR NOT, IT IS BIG, IT IS PRETTY DRAMATIC, AND I THINK IT SAYS SOMETHING ABOUT THE ATMOSPHERICS UP THERE THAT PEOPLE WANT SOMETHING DONE DIFFERENTLY IN IOWA. AND THE FARM BUREAU HAS CERTAINLY COME UP WITH THAT IDEA.

Glover: I THINK WE NEED TO STEP BACK A SECOND -- AND DAVE TOUCHED ON AN IMPORTANT POINT. I THINK WE NEED TO STEP BACK AND LOOK AT THE BIGGER PICTURE THAT WE SOMETIMES OVERLOOK. WHAT'S HAPPENED THIS YEAR THAT HASN'T HAPPENED IN ANY OF OUR WORKING CAREERS? A GOVERNOR CAME TO THE ROSTRUM OF THE IOWA HOUSE CHAMBERS AND GAVE HIS CONDITION OF THE STATE SPEECH AND SAID, "LET'S MERGE LOCAL SCHOOLS." LIGHTNING DIDN'T STRIKE HIM, HE LIVED TO FIGHT ANOTHER DAY, AND THE IDEA KIND OF GOT ACCEPTED. THE FARM BUREAU SAID -- AND WE SOMETIMES FORGET THIS -- "LET'S BORROW $2 BILLION --"

Yepsen: AND RAISE OUR OWN TAXES.

Glover: "AND RAISE OUR OWN TAXES." AND EVERYBODY SAID, "WELL, THAT'S AN INTERESTING IDEA. LET'S LOOK AT IT." THAT'S, I THINK, A SIGN THAT PEOPLE UP THERE UNDERSTAND THAT THE WAY THINGS HAVE BEEN DONE IS NOT THE WAY THINGS ARE GOING TO BE DONE. ISSUES THAT HAVE BEEN OFF THE TABLE, UNMENTIONABLE, ARE NOW IN PLAY.

Borg: IS THAT BECAUSE, MIKE, THERE IS A NEW MAKEUP IN THE LEGISLATURE?

Glover: IT'S BECAUSE THERE'S A NEW MAKEUP IN THE LEGISLATURE AND THERE'S AN UNDERSTANDING, I THINK, IF YOU LOOK AT THE LAST CAMPAIGN AND THE IDEAS THAT WERE FLOATING AND YOU LOOK AT THIS STATE, THERE'S AN UNDERSTANDING THAT THE WAY THINGS HAVE BEEN DONE ISN'T WORKING; THAT WE CAN GO BACK AND RELY ON TRADITIONAL PRODUCTION AGRICULTURE, EVERYBODY CAN HAVE A 200-ACRE FARM; THERE'S GOING TO BE A COFFEE SHOP IN OUR LITTLE IOWA TOWN; AND THAT'S THE WAY THINGS ARE GOING TO BE FOREVER. PEOPLE UNDERSTAND THAT MODEL ISN'T WORKING ANYMORE AND THIS STATE HAS TO CHANGE OR WE COME IRRELEVANT.

Obradovich: I THINK IT'S ALSO ABOUT POLITICAL REALITY. THE REPUBLICANS FEEL THAT THEY WILL BE IN CHARGE OF THE LEGISLATURE FOR THE NEXT FOUR YEARS. SOME OF THOSE LEADERS ARE LOOKING AT THE POSSIBILITY OF PERHAPS RUNNING FOR GOVERNOR FOUR YEARS FROM NOW. THEY KNOW THEY'RE GOING TO HAVE TO WORK WITH VILSACK. THEY KNOW THEY'RE GOING TO HAVE TO SHOW SOME ACCOMPLISHMENTS AT THE END OF THAT FOUR YEARS. AND THE ONLY WAY THEY CAN DO THAT IS BY WORKING WITH GOVERNOR VILSACK. I MEAN IT'S A PRAGMATIC THING.

Yepsen: YEAH. AND CARRYING ON FROM THAT THOUGHT, I THINK THE FACT THE GOVERNOR HAS SAID HE IS NOT RUNNING FOR A THIRD TERM HAS REALLY REMOVED SOME OF THE POLITICAL ELECTRICITY OUT OF THE SITUATION. IT GIVES HIM A LOT MORE FREEDOM TO MOVE. HE CAN TELL A DEMOCRATIC CONSTITUENCY GROUP TO TAKE A HIKE. BUT AT THE SAME TIME, REPUBLICANS DON'T HAVE TO BE SPENDING THEIR TIME TRIPPING HIM UP, PLAYING GAMES WITH THEM. SO THERE'S -- YOU'VE GOT A COMBINATION OF BOTH SIDES BEING IN A POSITION TO WANT TO DO SOMETHING AND HEARING VERY CLEARLY FROM VOTERS IT'S TIME TO DO THINGS DIFFERENTLY.

Borg: I HEAR THE REFERRING OF AN OLD TUNE UP THERE, KAY, AND THAT IS REGENTS INSTITUTIONS SHOULD BE THE ECONOMIC ENGINES OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT. IS THERE ANYTHING -- I'M HEARING IT AGAIN. IS THERE ANYTHING DIFFERENT THIS TIME?

Henderson: WELL, THIS IOWA VALUES FUND THAT THE GOVERNOR HAS PROPOSED WOULD SPEND $50 MILLION BUILDING LABORATORIES, BASICALLY, THAT BUSINESSES COULD USE TO CONDUCT EXPERIMENTS, BASICALLY BIOTECH BUSINESSES. AND THOSE LABORATORIES, THE GOVERNOR HAS CONCEDED, WOULD BE BUILT ON OR NEAR THE CAMPUSES IN IOWA CITY AND AMES. SO ONCE AGAIN, THEY BENEFIT FROM BEING THESE ENGINES OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, AS YOU DESCRIBE. AND I THINK THAT'S -- THAT PART OF THE IOWA VALUES THING IS GETTING WIDESPREAD SUPPORT, BECAUSE THERE'S A COMPANY IN NORTHWEST IOWA CALLED TRANS OVA THAT'S REALLY PRESSURING THE LEGISLATURE TO DO SOMETHING AND THOSE LABORATORIES WOULD BENEFIT THAT COMPANY.

Glover: SOME THINGS ARE NEVER NEW. WE'VE BEEN TALKING ABOUT USING THE REGENTS AS ENGINES OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT SINCE I'VE BEEN IN THE STATEHOUSE. THERE'S A LASER CENTER AT THE UNIVERSITY OF IOWA. MAYBE WE SHOULD RENOVATE THAT AND USE IT FOR ONE OF THESE LABORATORIES.

Obradovich: ONE OF THE THINGS THAT'S DIFFERENT ABOUT THAT, THOUGH, IS THAT LEGISLATORS ARE NOT CONTENT TO SAY, OKAY, WE'RE GOING TO JUST DO ALL THIS FANTASTIC RESEARCH AND THEN ANY PRODUCTS THAT ARE DEVELOPED OUT OF THAT, YOU KNOW, WILL BE IN IOWA IF WE'RE LUCKY. THEY'RE TRYING TO BUILD SOME STRINGS INTO THAT TO SAY THE REGENTS RESEARCH MONEY, PERHAPS, MIGHT BE TIED TO HOW WELL THEY KEEP THOSE NEW PRODUCTS AND THOSE NEW BUSINESSES IN IOWA. THAT'S SOMETHING THAT'S A LITTLE BIT DIFFERENT. IT'S NOT JUST RESEARCH FOR RESEARCH SAKE, AS MANY PEOPLE IN THE ACADEMIC WORLD BELIEVE OUGHT TO BE HAPPENING, AS WELL AS RESEARCH FOR THE SAKE OF ACTUALLY MAKING SOME MONEY.

Yepsen: WELL, THE REGENTS INSTITUTIONS, IOWA AND IOWA STATE, ACTUALLY DO A PRETTY GOOD JOB OF INVENTING THINGS. THEY HAVE A PRETTY HIGH NUMBER OF PATENTS THAT COME OUT OF THOSE SCHOOLS. WHAT THE PROBLEM HAS BEEN IN IOWA IS IN TRANSLATING THOSE PATENTS INTO JOBS AND BUSINESSES HERE. AND SO THAT'S WHY YOU'RE SEEING A LOT OF TALK ABOUT VENTURE CAPITAL. THERE'S PARTS OF THIS VALUES FUND THAT WOULD GO TO TRY TO HELP TRANSLATE SOME OF THOSE PATENTS THAT ARE COMING OUT OF THOSE STATE UNIVERSITIES INTO BUSINESSES AND JOBS ALL OVER THE STATE.

Borg: DAVE TALKED ABOUT PATENTS AND INVENTIONS LEAVING IOWA. RIGHT NOW I WANT TO TALK ABOUT PEOPLE COMING INTO IOWA, AND THAT IS POLITICAL CANDIDATES HOPING TO BE THE DEMOCRATIC NOMINEE FOR PRESIDENT. QUITE A FEW, MIKE, IN THE PAST COUPLE OF WEEKS AND PARTICULARLY THIS PAST WEEK.

Glover: WE HAVEN'T HAD MUCH SNOW THIS WINTER, BUT WE'VE HAD A BLIZZARD OF CANDIDATES. AND THERE HAS BEEN A BLIZZARD OF CANDIDATES COMING INTO IOWA. THERE ARE NINE DEMOCRATS WHO HAVE INDICATED THAT THEY'RE GOING TO SEEK THE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINATION OF THEIR PARTY? VIRTUALLY ALL OF THEM HAVE BEEN ACTIVE IN THE STATE. WE HAVE TO REMEMBER WE'RE UNDER A YEAR AWAY FROM IOWA'S CAUCUSES. AND THE PRIMARY SEASON THIS TIME AROUND, ONCE AGAIN, IS VERY FRONT-LOADED, SO EARLY EVENTS LIKE IOWA AND NEW HAMPSHIRE ARE GOING TO BE VERY IMPORTANT. SO YOU'VE GOT MAJOR PLAYERS ALREADY PUTTING THEIR CAMPAIGN INFRASTRUCTURE INTO PLACE, ALREADY HIRING LOCAL ACTIVISTS TO RUN THEIR CAMPAIGN, RENTING OFFICE SPACE. THOSE CAMPAIGNS ARE UP AND RUNNING.

Borg: IS THE TIMING, THOUGH, SIMPLY BECAUSE IT IS TIME? YOU SAY THE CAUCUSES ARE NEXT JANUARY. IS IT TIME OR IS THERE A SENSE, DO YOU THINK, NATIONALLY AMONG DEMOCRATS THAT PRESIDENT BUSH IS VULNERABLE AND PERHAPS THIS PRIZE OF A NOMINATION IS WORTH HAVING?

Glover: I THINK CLEARLY THERE IS A SENSE AMONG DEMOCRATS -- WHETHER THEY'RE RIGHT OR NOT, WE'LL SEE. IT'S WHY WE HAVE ELECTIONS. THERE'S A SENSE AMONG DEMOCRATS THAT THIS PRESIDENT IS MORE VULNERABLE NOW THAN HE WAS, SAY, A YEAR AGO. YOU LOOK AT THE NUMBERS OBJECTIVELY, HIS APPROVAL RATING IS DOWN. HIS MATCH-UP NUMBERS AGAINST MOST OF THE MAJOR DEMOCRATS ARE UNDER 50 PERCENT. THAT'S NOT A GOOD THING FOR A SITTING PRESIDENT. A SITTING PRESIDENT THAT IS PAYING ATTENTION TO REELECTION, AS THIS ONE IS, IT'S ALWAYS A TOUGH TARGET, BUT THERE'S A SENSE THERE'S SOME BLOOD IN THE WATER HERE.

Henderson: TO ILLUSTRATE THAT: WHAT IS THE MAJOR ISSUE THAT THEY'RE ALL TALKING ABOUT? IRAQ. SOME OF THEM ARE DISTINCTLY OPPOSING THE WAR. SOME OF THEM ARE TRYING TO SIT ON THE FENCE A LITTLE BIT. SOME OF THEM ARE SUPPORTING THE WAR. SO THE MAJOR DEBATE AMONG THE DEMOCRATS AT THIS POINT IS WHETHER WE SHOULD GO TO WAR WITH IRAQ, WHICH INDICATES THAT THEY'RE TRYING TO MEASURE UP WITH THE MAJOR ISSUE THAT PRESIDENT BUSH WILL BE GOING TO THE ELECTORATE WITH WHEN HE RUNS FOR REELECTION.

Borg: DAVE, I'M INTERESTED IN THAT. ISN'T THAT A LITTLE BIT OF QUICKSAND -- HOWARD DEAN PARTICULARLY -- TO BE SO OUTWARD ABOUT -- WITHOUT EQUIVOCATION, ON GOING TO WAR WITH IRAQ. IF SOMETHING HAPPENS THAT IT LOOKS LIKE IT HAS TO BE DONE AND IT'S A GOOD IDEA, HE'S HANGING OUT THERE.

Yepsen: WELL, I THINK IRAQ IS THE WHOLE BALL GAME FOR EVERYBODY, INCLUDING THE PRESIDENT. LOOK, THAT WAR, IF IT HAPPENS, IF IT GOES QUICKLY, HE'S GOING TO BE A VERY POPULAR PRESIDENT, VERY DIFFICULT TO BEAT. IT COULD BE LIKE 1984. IF IT GOES BADLY AND WE'RE BOGGED DOWN IN THE SIEGE OF BAGHDAD, THEN WE'RE GOING TO HAVE A SCENARIO LIKE '92. YOU'VE GOT SOME OF THE DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATES WHO ARE OPPOSED TO THE WAR. IF THE WAR GOES BAD, THEY'RE GOING TO BE ABLE TO SAY "I TOLD YOU SO." YOU'VE GOT OTHER DEMOCRATS WHO'VE SUPPORTED THE PRESIDENT, LIKE DICK GEPHARDT AND JOHN KERRY AND JOHN EDWARDS. AND IF THE WAR GOES QUICKLY, WHEN IT'S OVER, THEY CAN SAY, "YEP, WE WERE WITH HIM AND NOW LET'S TALK ABOUT THE ECONOMY." SO THE WHOLE GAME IS IN IRAQ.

Henderson: BUT THE OTHER THING YOU HAVE TO REMEMBER IS THAT THESE FOLKS ARE CAMPAIGNING FOR THE HEARTS AND MINDS OF 100,000 IOWANS. THESE ARE DEMOCRATS WHO ARE SLIGHTLY IF NOT MORE COMPLETELY LIBERAL THAN THE GENERAL RANK AND FILE DEMOCRAT. SO WHEN YOU GO TO THESE EVENTS AND YOU TALK TO PEOPLE WHO ARE ATTENDING THEM, MOST OF THEM ARE OUT THERE TELLING US THAT THEY'RE LOOKING FOR A CANDIDATE WHO IS AN ANTIWAR CANDIDATE. SO THESE FOLKS LIKE HOWARD DEAN WHO ARE COMING IN ARE APPEALING TO THE WING OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY THAT OPPOSES WAR.

Obradovich: IT WAS INTERESTING THIS WEEK AT THE IOWA FEDERATION OF LABOR CONVENTION, WHICH HAD FOUR CANDIDATES SPEAKING, THAT MARK SMITH, THE PRESIDENT OF THAT GROUP, INTRODUCED THE SPEAKERS ESSENTIALLY BY SAYING, "AND LABOR UNIONS DON'T WANT WAR IN IRAQ. WE DON'T THINK THAT SADDAM HUSSEIN HAS SHOWN THAT HE'S A THREAT." AND THEN MEANWHILE JOE LIEBERMAN IS SITTING THERE AND THINKING TO HIMSELF, WELL, NOW I HAVE TO GET UP AND SAY WHY I SUPPORTED THE RESOLUTION AND WHY I THINK MILITARY INTERVENTION IN IRAQ MIGHT BE A WAY TO GO. AND TO HIS CREDIT, HE'S NOT SHYING AWAY FROM THAT.

Borg: MIKE, SOMEBODY MENTIONED HERE INFRASTRUCTURE BEING SET UP. IS IT ANY MORE INTRICATE AND ELABORATE THIS TIME THAN YOU'VE SEEN IN PAST CAUCUSES OR BEING SET UP ANY EARLIER?

Glover: NO, IT'S ACTUALLY BEING SET UP A LITTLE BIT LATER THAN IT HAS IN PAST YEARS. THEY'RE SETTING UP THE SAME SOURCE OF INFRASTRUCTURE. KAY IS RIGHT; CAUCUS CAMPAIGNS ARE ALL ABOUT MOBILIZING A FEW THOUSAND SUPPORTERS WHO ACTUALLY SHOW UP, SO IT'S A VERY ORGANIZATIONALLY ORIENTED CAMPAIGN. AND WHAT I FIND INTERESTING IS THAT AMONG WHAT I WOULD CONSIDER THE MAINSTREAM DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATES, THERE'S AN URGE FOR BUSH TO GET THIS GOING, GET IT OUT, START THE WAR. THERE'S GOING TO BE A WAR. THEY ALL ASSUME THAT. LET'S GET IT DONE. THE ASSUMPTION AMONG MOST OF THEM IS THAT IT'S GOING TO BE A RELATIVELY QUICK WAR, IT'S PROBABLY GOING TO GO RELATIVELY SMOOTHLY. LET'S GET IT OVER WITH SO IN SIX MONTHS THE AMERICAN ELECTORATE, WHOSE MEMORY IS NOTORIOUSLY SHORT, WON'T REMEMBER IRAQ. THEN WE CAN TALK ABOUT THE ECONOMY AND THE UNEMPLOYMENT RATE AND WHATEVER AND THE ISSUES THAT FAVOR DEMOCRATS MORE. THERE'S A SENSE AMONG SOME OF THE MAJOR CANDIDATES THAT THIS IS GOING TO BE AN INEVITABLE WAR, WE'RE GOING TO HAVE THE FIGHT, LET'S DO IT NOW AND GET IT OVER WITH, SO IN NOVEMBER 2004 IT'S HISTORY.

Henderson: TO ILLUSTRATE THAT POINT AT THE SAME EVENT THAT KATHIE WAS DISCUSSING, AN IOWA FEDERATION OF LABOR EVENT, JOHN EDWARDS DISCUSSED HOW HE SUPPORTED THE RESOLUTION WITH IRAQ. BUT THEN HE WENT FURTHER TO CRITICIZE BUSH'S FOREIGN POLICY INITIATIVES AND HOW BUSH WAS SETTING THE COUNTRY UP TO BECOME HATED AMONGST THE WORD. SO THEY'RE ALREADY PAST THE GAME WITH IRAQ AND LOOKING FORWARD AND SORT OF DRAWING A PICTURE FOR FOLKS ABOUT HOW THEIR FOREIGN POLICY WOULD BE WAGED IN A POST-IRAQ WAR WORLD.

Yepsen: THIS IS GOING TO BE UP IN THE AIR FOR SEVERAL MONTHS, I THINK, DEAN. THE FUNCTION OF IOWA IS TO WIN ON THE FIELD. WE TAKE LARGE FIELDS OF CANDIDATES AND BASICALLY CUT THEM DOWN TO TWO OR THREE WHO THEN MOVE ON TO NEW HAMPSHIRE. WHEN YOU'VE GOT -- I COUNT 13 PEOPLE WHO ARE EITHER SAYING THEY'RE GOING TO RUN OR ARE THINKING ABOUT IT. THAT'S AN AWFULLY BIG FIELD. IT WILL BE A CUMBERSOME CAMPAIGN, LOTS OF BIG STAGE DEBATES. AND I DON'T THINK WE'LL HAVE MUCH CLARITY TO IT FOR SOME TIME, BECAUSE I THINK IOWA DEMOCRATS ARE GOING TO BE THINKING ABOUT THIS A LONG TIME. THEY'RE CONCERNED ABOUT THE WAR. THEY WANT TO BEAT GEORGE BUSH. AND SO IT'S GOING TO TAKE A WHILE FOR THAT TO CONGEAL.

Henderson: THE OTHER INTERESTING THING THAT I HEARD WHEN I TALKED TO PEOPLE AFTER A DICK GEPHARDT EVENT -- I WAS ASKING THEM WHO THEY WERE SUPPORTING IN THE RACE, AND THEY KEPT SAYING "MY CHOICE TODAY" OR "THE PERSON I THINK I'M GOING TO SUPPORT NOW." PEOPLE ARE SORT OF BEHIND A HORSE, BUT THAT HORSE RACE CAN CHANGE DRAMATICALLY AND THEY MAY PICK SOMEBODY ELSE IN TWO WEEK'S TIME. IT'S REALLY FLUID RIGHT NOW.

Obradovich: THEY LOVE THE GUY THEY JUST HEARD.

Glover: TWENTY-FOUR HOURS IN AN ETERNITY IN POLITICS, AND WE HAVE A YEAR TO GO.

Yepsen: THE POINT ABOUT WINNOWING THE FIELD -- DICK GEPHARDT WAS PART OF THE BIG STORY HERE LAST WEEK. I THINK ONE OF THE THINGS THAT COULD COME OUT OF IOWA IS THAT DICK GEPHARDT CRASHES AND BURNS HERE. HE'S NOT AS POPULAR NOW AS HE WAS IN 1988. THE EXPECTATIONS ARE THAT HE HAS TO WIN IOWA NOW BECAUSE HE WON IT THEN. AND I DON'T THINK HE'S IN GOOD SHAPE TO DO THAT. SO THE STORY THAT I THINK A LOT OF PEOPLE ARE WATCHING, IS THIS DICK GEPHARDT'S WATERLOO.

Borg: ARE MAJOR DEMOCRATS TAKING SIDES YET -- I MEAN IOWA DEMOCRATS?

Glover: SURE. SOME MAJOR DEMOCRATS ARE TAKING SIDES. JERRY CRAWFORD, ROB TULLY, FORMER CHAIRMAN. JOHN NORRIS HIS PICKED A HORSE. SO, YEAH, A LOT OF PROMINENT IOWA DEMOCRATS ARE TAKING SIDES IN PART BECAUSE OF THE DYNAMIC OF THE RACE. IF YOU JUMP INTO A RACE RIGHT NOW, YOU PICK A HORSE, AND YOU'RE A PROMINENT DEMOCRAT, YOU CAN BE A PLAYER, YOU CAN BE A CAMPAIGN MANAGER, YOU CAN BE A CAMPAIGN CHAIRMAN, YOU CAN HAVE A SAY IN HOW THE CAMPAIGN RUNS. IF YOU WAIT SIX MONTHS, YOU'RE JUST GOING TO BE ONE OF THE PACK, ANOTHER NAME ON THE LETTERHEAD.

Borg: AND DOES THAT GO FOR TOM HARKIN AND GOVERNOR VILSACK?

Glover: TOM HARKIN -- GOVERNOR VILSACK HAS SAID HE WILL REMAIN NEUTRAL. HE REMAINED NEUTRAL LAST TIME, SO EVERYONE ASSUMES THAT WILL BE THE CASE. SENATOR HARKIN IS INVITING THE CANDIDATES IN FOR A SERIES OF FORUMS THIS SPRING AND SUMMER, WHERE HE'LL HOST FORUMS TO INTRODUCE THE CANDIDATES TO IOWA, DEMOCRATIC ACTIVISTS. THE ASSUMPTION IS THAT AT THE END OF THE DAY, SENATOR HARKIN WILL PICK A FAVORITE AND ENDORSE SOMEBODY HE DID LAST TIME. IN FACT, HE ENDORSED AL GORE AT A TIME IN THE CAMPAIGN WHEN AL GORE BADLY NEEDED IT.

Henderson: SO THEY'VE GOT TO COME IN AND KISS HIS RING, AND THEN HE'LL MAKE A DECISION. IT'S KIND OF LIKE A REALITY TV SHOW. YOU KNOW, THE BACHELORETTE.

Borg: NOW, WHAT DO REPUBLICANS DO IN THESE MONTHS?

Glover: REPUBLICANS NEED TO DO SOMETHING TO KEEP THE FOCUS ON THEIR MESSAGE, THEIR THEME. I THINK YOU'LL SEE PRESIDENT BUSH MULTIPLE TIMES IN THIS STATE. I THINK YOU'LL SEE A LOT OF CABINET MEMBERS IN THIS STATE MULTIPLE TIMES. YOU'LL FIND REPUBLICANS TRYING TO KEEP THEIR MESSAGE.

Obradovich: ANOTHER INTERESTING THING IS THAT THEY'LL START TO SHOOT ARROWS AT THE ONES THAT THEY THINK MIGHT BE FRONT-RUNNERS. WE SAW THE REPUBLICANS THIS WEEK PUTTING OUT REALLY HYPE ABOUT GEPHARDT AND HOW HE MUST WIN AND BASICALLY TRYING TO PUMP UP HIS EXPECTATIONS. AND SO I THINK IT WAS KIND OF AN INTERESTING WAY FOR THEM TO GET INVOLVED.

Borg: THERE'S AN AWFULLY LOT HAPPENING IN IOWA. WE'RE RIGHT AT THE EPICENTER. THANKS FOR YOUR COMMENTS. IN OUR CURRENT WORLD CONDITIONS, AS I'VE JUST SAID, AMERICAN DIPLOMACY IS GETTING A SEVERE TEST. ON OUR NEXT EDITION OF "IOWA PRESS," WE CALL IN THE EXPERTISE OF TWO DIPLOMATIC FOREIGN SERVICE VETERANS. FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR KENNETH QUINN, NOW PRESIDENT OF THE WORLD FOOD PRIZE FOUNDATION, JOINS US, ALONG WITH FORMER AMBASSADOR TO BOSNIA-HERZEGOVENIA, JOHN MENZIES. HE IS NOW PRESIDENT OF GRACELAND UNIVERSITY IN LAMONI. THAT'S NEXT FRIDAY AT 6:30 HERE ON STATEWIDE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION. I'M DEAN BORG. THANKS FOR JOINING US TODAY.

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