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Congressman Steve King

(#3114)
December 5, 2003

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IOWA PRESS #3114>>

Borg: LANDMARK LEGISLATION MARKS THIS YEAR'S CONGRESSIONAL SESSION, BUT IT'S POLITICALLY EXPLOSIVE. WE'LL QUESTION IOWA'S FIFTH DISTRICT CONGRESSMAN STEVE KING 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.

ON STATEWIDE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION, THIS IS THE FRIDAY, DECEMBER 5 EDITION OF "IOWA PRESS." HERE IS DEAN BORG.

Borg: ON MONDAY OF THIS COMING WEEK, THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES CONVENES TO WRAP UP LEGISLATIVE BUSINESS FOR THIS FIRST SESSION OF THE 108TH CONGRESS. VOTES ARE SCHEDULED ON THE CONTROVERSIAL OMNIBUS APPROPRIATIONS BILL, AND THEN BOTH THE HOUSE AND THE SENATE WILL BE IDLE UNTIL THE START OF THE SECOND SESSION ON TUESDAY, JANUARY 20. ACTIONS BY CONGRESS DURING THE PAST FEW MONTHS ARE ALREADY ISSUES IN THE 2004 POLITICAL CAMPAIGNS. CONGRESSMAN STEVE KING IS COMPLETING HIS FIRST YEAR IN THE U.S. HOUSE. CONGRESSMAN KING IS ON THE AGRICULTURE, JUDICIARY, AND SMALL BUSINESS COMMITTEES. WELCOME BACK TO "IOWA PRESS."

King: THANK YOU VERY MUCH. I'M VERY GLAD TO BE HERE.

Borg: AND YOU SERVED FOR SEVERAL YEARS IN THE IOWA LEGISLATURE, AND YOU KNOW THE TWO GENTLEMEN ACROSS THE TABLE VERY WELL.

King: YES, I DO.

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

Glover: CONGRESSMAN, YOU'VE JUST COME BACK FROM IRAQ. THERE'S A LOT GOING ON OVER THERE. ARE YOU CONFIDENT THIS ADMINISTRATION HAS IN PLACE A LONG-TERM PLAN FOR PULLING OFF WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE IN IRAQ?

King: I KNOW THAT THEY'VE PUT A LOT OF EFFORT IN BEFORE THE OPERATIONS BEGAN IN IRAQ TO DO A TRANSITION FOR THE GOVERNMENT -- FOR THE FREE PEOPLE OF IRAQ THAT WE EXPECT WILL ARRIVE. THEY HAVE MADE SOME CHANGES IN THOSE PLANS. AND LIKE A MILITARY PLAN, A RECONSTRUCTION PLANS NEEDS TO HAVE CHANGES IN IT TOO. I BELIEVE THAT THEY'RE MAKING CHANGES AS THEY NEED TO. THERE HAVE BEEN SOME SURPRISES. WE'RE DEALING WITH 150,000 CRIMINALS ON THE STREETS, A 400,000-MAN ARMY THAT BLENDED BACK INTO SOCIETY RATHER THAN SURRENDER AND SURRENDER THEIR WEAPONS. AND WE'RE DEALING WITH A WORLDWIDE CALL FOR JIHAD THAT'S BROUGHT A FEW THOUSAND JIHADISTS OR RADICAL ISLAMISTS IN THERE TO ATTACK AMERICANS AND AMERICAN SYMPATHIZERS. WHILE WE'RE SOLVING THAT PROBLEM, THE WAY WE'RE DOING IT IS BETTER INTELLIGENCE SO THAT WE CAN INTERDICT THE BOMBS AND ALSO, YOU KNOW, FORMING MORE AND MORE IRAQIS TO PROVIDE SECURITY FOR IRAQIS. WHILE I WAS THERE, THERE WERE 86,000 IRAQIS IN UNIFORM. A COUPLE OF WEEKS AGO, THE LAST I CHECKED, 118,000. SO WE'RE SOLVING THE PROBLEMS AS WE GO. THERE WILL BE SOME OTHER THINGS WE DIDN'T ANTICIPATE.

Glover: CAN WE AFFORD THIS?

King: WE HAVE TO AFFORD THIS, MIKE.

Glover: WELL, WHAT HAS TO GO TO PAY FOR IT?

King: WELL, DIFFERENT -- IT'S DIFFERENT IN WASHINGTON THAN IT IS IN IOWA. AND THAT IS THAT HERE IN THE IOWA LEGISLATURE, WE HAVE A BALANCED BUDGET REQUIREMENT. SO THE $87 BILLION THAT WE'RE COMMITTED, A LOT OF THAT IS UPGRADE FOR OUR MILITARY, BULLETPROOF VESTS, ARMORED HUMVEES, THINGS THAT PROTECT AND SAVE THE LIVES OF AMERICAN SERVICE MEN AND WOMEN.

Glover: SO ONE THING YOU CAN DO IN WASHINGTON IS RUN UP DEBT SO OUR KIDS PAY FOR IT.

King: WE CAN RUN UP A LITTLE BIT OF A DEBT, AND WE HAVE TO FIND A WAY TO BALANCE THE BUDGET. AND I'LL BE WORKING ON THAT AND TRYING TO SET THAT UP ON A FIVE-YEAR PLAN TO GET BACK TO IN THE BLACK. BUT THIS IS A NATIONAL CIRCUMSTANCE WHERE WE DON'T REALLY HAVE A CHOICE. THE COMMITMENT WAS MADE. BUT I WILL SAY THE $18.6 BILLION THAT GOES INTO INFRASTRUCTURE IN IRAQ IS A DOWN PAYMENT ON $100-BILLION RECONSTRUCTION EFFORT THERE. THEIR OIL REVENUE WILL TAKE OVER NEXT YEAR, AND WE SHOULDN'T HAVE TO GO BACK FOR CAPITAL TO REBUILD INFRASTRUCTURE IN IRAQ. THEY SHOULD BE ABLE TO DO THAT WITH THEIR OWN MONEY OR ELSE DOLLARS THAT CAN BE RAISED IN THE WORLD.

Yepsen: CONGRESSMAN, TELL US ABOUT YOUR IDEAS ON THIS FIVE-YEAR PLAN TO PAY FOR THIS. IT IS TRUE THE COUNTRY GOES INTO DEBT TO FIGHT WARS. IT IS ALSO TRUE THAT THE COUNTRY HAS PAID OFF THOSE DEBTS IN FAIRLY SHORT ORDER. HOW DO WE PAY OFF THE BILL HERE FOR HAVING TO FIGHT THE WAR ON TERROR?

King: WELL, THIS IS GOING TO BE AN ONGOING BILL TOO. WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT IS TO SET UP OUR BUDGET SO THAT WE CAN GET BACK INTO THE BLACK ON OUR OVERALL BUDGET IN FIVE YEARS. WE NEED TO SET SOME GOALS AND SOME STANDARDS, AND I THINK THAT HOMELAND SECURITY HAS CONSUMED BILLIONS OF DOLLARS THAT DIDN'T GET WATCHED VERY CLOSELY. IT WAS THE ISSUE OF THE DAY, AND IT WASN'T CHALLENGED, JUST LIKE OUR MILITARY BUDGET HASN'T BEEN CHALLENGED VERY MUCH. AS WE CONTINUE THIS DOMESTIC SPENDING IN THIS COUNTRY, THAT'S THE PART OF THE BUDGET THAT CONCERNS ME THE MOST. WE'RE AT WAR. WE SHOULD HAVE BEEN ABLE TO SACRIFICE HERE AT HOME.

Yepsen: CONGRESSMAN, DO WE NEED TO RESTRUCTURE AMERICAN MILITARY THINKING ABOUT THE USE OF THE GUARD AND THE RESERVES? I BELIEVE YOUR CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT WOULD HAVE ONE OF THE HIGHEST LEVELS OF PARTICIPATION IN IRAQ BY NATIONAL GUARD AND ARMORY RESERVE UNITS THAN ANY IN THE COUNTRY. BUT THE POINT IS WE STARTED THIS IDEA OF THE VOLUNTARY ARMY AND USING THE GUARD AND RESERVES AS BACKUPS WHEN WE THOUGHT WE HAD TO FIGHT THE CONVENTIONAL WAR WITH THE SOVIET UNION. WELL, NOW WE'RE FIGHTING GUERRILLA WARS. DON'T WE HAVE TO EXPAND THE FULL-TIME ARMY SO THAT WE DON'T HAVE TO USE THE GUARD AND RESERVE LIKE THIS?

King: I THINK WE'LL HAVE TO DO SOME OF THAT. YET, WHEN THE CALL COMES TO BRING BACK THE DRAFT, I'D WANT TO JUST CHARACTERIZE IT, THAT ARE NATIONAL GUARD HAS BEEN SO ESSENTIAL IN OUR MILITARY EFFORT BECAUSE IT TAKES A LONG TIME TO TRAIN PEOPLE TO USE THE TECHNOLOGY THAT WE HAVE TODAY, NOT JUST OUR PILOTS BUT OUR SUPPORT TEAM AND THE MODERN WEAPONRY THAT WE HAVE. I THINK THE SUCCESS OF THAT WEAPONRY IS VERY EVIDENT IN THE OPERATIONS IN IRAQ. BUT WE'RE GOING TO NEED GUARD TROOPS TO BE BETTER SKILLED AND BETTER TRAINED. YOU CAN'T GET THEM UP TO SPEED IN TWO YEARS. I'D LIKE TO CHANGE SOME OF THAT TRAINING AND GET THEM BETTER SUITED FOR THE TYPE OF TASKS THAT WE CAN SEE ARE THERE IN IRAQ.

Yepsen: SO YOU'RE NOT CERTAIN AT THIS POINT WE'D NEED THE DRAFT TO ACCOMPLISH THIS. IT MIGHT BE INEFFICIENT.

King: I'D BE OPPOSED TO THAT.

Yepsen: YOU'D BE OPPOSED TO THAT?

King: YES.

Yepsen: WHAT ABOUT -- GO BACK TO MIKE'S QUESTION ABOUT DOES THE ADMINISTRATION HAVE A PLAN TO WIN THIS. HOW DO WE KNOW WHEN WE'VE WON?

King: I APPRECIATE THAT QUESTION, DAVE, AND VERY SELDOM DO WE EVER EVEN HEAR THE QUESTION. AND I'VE RAISED IT SINCE THE FIRST WEEK AFTER SEPTEMBER 11. I THINK WE WIN WHEN WE CAN DECLARE THAT WE HAVE CHANGED THE CULTURE OF DEATH OF THE PEOPLE WHO BELIEVE THEIR PATH TO SALVATION IS KILLING AND KILLING US OR OTHER INFIDELS, TO USE THEIR TERMINOLOGY. I HAVE POSED THIS QUESTION AROUND THE COUNTRY AND AROUND THE WORLD, AND THE ANSWER THAT I GET BACK IS FREE PEOPLE DON'T FIGHT FREE PEOPLE. AND THE FREE PEOPLE IN IRAQ WILL NOT GO TO WAR AGAINST AMERICANS, SO WE HAVE A SAFER WORLD BECAUSE OF THAT. AND FREE PEOPLE PROMOTE FREEDOM THROUGHOUT THE WORLD. NOW, IF IT CAN ECHO ACROSS THE ARAB NATIONS THE WAY IT DID ACROSS THE EASTERN EUROPEAN NATIONS AT THE END -- AT THE FALL OF THE BERLIN WALL, THAT'S HOW WE GET TO A VICTORY ON THE WAR ON TERROR.

Borg: YOU TOLD MIKE A FEW MINUTES AGO WE HAVE TO AFFORD THIS. AND FROM WHAT YOU JUST SAID, IS IT YOUR ASSESSMENT THEN THAT, BECAUSE OF OUR INVESTMENT IN AFGHANISTAN AND ESPECIALLY IRAQ, WE ARE SAFER IN THE HOMELAND?

King: I ABSOLUTELY BELIEVE WE ARE SAFER IN THE HOMELAND. AND IF YOU'D LOOK AT -- IF YOU'D LOOK AT -- HOW LONG HAS IT BEEN SINCE WE'VE HAD A REAL EFFECTIVE TERRORIST ATTACK ON AMERICAN SOIL? A COUPLE OF YEARS AND MORE. SO IT CAN BE ARGUED THAT WE ARE SAFER HERE AND THAT THE STEPS WE'VE TAKEN HAVE MADE US SAFER. BUT LOOKING ALSO AT AFGHANISTAN AND IRAQ, THE ACCOMPLISHMENTS THERE HAVE BEEN ASTONISHING. IF THE PRESIDENT HAD STEPPED UP ON SEPTEMBER 12, 2001, AND SAID WE NEED TO REMOVE THE GOVERNMENTS IN AFGHANISTAN AND IN IRAQ, WE NEED TO SET UP FREE GOVERNMENTS THERE, AND WE WILL DO THAT IN LESS THAN TWO YEARS AND WE'LL DO IT WITH LESS THAN 500 AMERICAN LIVES LOST, I BELIEVE THAT THE PRESS AND THE PUBLIC WOULD HAVE RIDICULED HIM POTENTIALLY OUT OF OFFICE FOR SUCH AN OPTIMISTIC STATEMENT. BUT THEY HAVE ACCOMPLISHED JUST THAT.

Borg: ONE QUICK FOLLOW-UP. DO WE NEED TO SEND MORE TROOPS INTO IRAQ?

King: I DON'T BELIEVE WE DO AND EVERYONE THAT I TALKED TO OVER THERE SAID WE HAVE ENOUGH TROOPS THERE. IN FACT, THEIR ARGUMENT IS THAT THE MORE TROOPS WE HAVE THERE, THE MORE TARGETS THERE ARE FOR THE TERRORISTS THAT ARE ATTACKING US. UNIFORM THE IRAQIS. GET THEM TO PROTECT THE IRAQI PEOPLE. THEY'LL TAKE THE CASUALTIES. AND OF COURSE, THEY UNDERSTAND THE CULTURE AND THE LANGUAGE, AND THEY CAN HELP BETTER SEARCH OUT THE PEOPLE THAT WE'RE GOING TO NEED TO COLLAR TO ELIMINATE THESE ATTACKS.

Glover: ONE OF THE THINGS THAT HAPPENED IN THE WAKE OF SEPTEMBER 11 WAS THE PASSAGE OF WHAT WE CALL THE PATRIOT ACT. THERE'S BEEN A LOT OF CRITICISM OF THAT IN RECENT MONTHS. IS THERE ANY NEED TO REVISIT THAT LAW?

King: I HAVEN'T SEEN A COMPELLING NEED TO DO THAT. I'M WONDERING IF IT ISN'T MORE POLITICALLY MOTIVATED THAN ANYTHING ELSE. I'D LIKE TO SEE THE LIST OF THE INDIVIDUALS THAT HAVE BEEN DISENFRANCHISED OF THEIR RIGHTS BY THE PATRIOT ACT AND SEE IF THERE'S ENOUGH MAGNITUDE THERE TO BOTHER TO GO BACK AND REVISIT. IT MAKES A DIFFERENCE ON WHO IS GOING ADMINISTER THE PATRIOT ACT. AND SO AS I GO TO THESE HEARINGS AND LISTEN TO THE TESTIMONY, I'VE NOT HEARD A COMPELLING CASE YET OUT OF AN AMERICAN CITIZEN THAT'S BEEN DEPRIVED OF THEIR RIGHTS.

Yepsen: CONGRESSMAN, IT ISN'T JUST LIBERALS WHO ARE WORRIED ABOUT THE PATRIOT ACT. I MEAN THERE ARE A LOT OF GOOD CONSERVATIVES WHO WORRY ABOUT THE EXPANSION IN THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AND THE INTRUSIVENESS OF FEDERAL POWER HERE. YOU'RE A GOOD CONSERVATIVE. AREN'T YOU WORRIED ABOUT EXPANSION OF FEDERAL POWER HERE?

King: I'M A LITTLE WORRIED ABOUT EXPANSION OF FEDERAL POWER. I'D LIKE TO SEE THE EXAMPLES. WHAT I HEAR IS, WELL, IT LETS THE GOVERNMENT LOOK AT YOUR LIBRARY RECORDS AND SEE IF YOU WENT IN AND USED THE INTERNET THERE. I DON'T THINK WE HAVE ENOUGH RESOURCES TO ENFORCE A LOT OF THINGS THAT GO ON IN THIS COUNTRY, AND I DON'T BELIEVE WE'LL BE USING THOSE RESOURCES TO INTRUDE IN PEOPLE'S LIVES. IF THOSE CASES START TO SHOW UP, I'LL WANT TO SEE THOSE CASES AND SEE HOW IT ACTUALLY IS APPLIED.

Glover: YOU SAID ONE OF THE QUESTIONS ABOUT THE PATRIOT ACT IS THE WAY ITS ADMINISTERED. JOHN ASHCROFT IS BASICALLY IN CHARGE OF ADMINISTERING IT. ARE YOU SATISFIED WITH THE WAY HE'S ENFORCED THAT LAW?

King: UNLESS THERE'S AN EXAMPLE THAT COMES UP THAT I'M NOT AWARE OF, THE ANSWER IS YES. I HAVE A LOT OF CONFIDENCE IN JOHN ASHCROFT'S VALUES AND HIS COMMITMENT TO FOLLOWING THE RULE OF LAW.

Yepsen: IS THE WAR ON TERRORISM A WAR THAT IS GOING TO BE LIKE WORLD WAR II OR WORLD WAR I, WHERE THE U.S. GOES OUT AND BEATS AN ENEMY, OR IS IT GOING TO BE MORE LIKE THE DRUG WAR, WHERE IT JUST GOES ON AND ON AND ON FOREVER?

King: WELL, I HOPE IT'S NOT LIKE EITHER. AND YOU HAVE TO BE PRETTY OPTIMISTIC TO BE ABLE TO PAINT THE PICTURE AND FOLLOW THE STEPS TO GET FROM TODAY TO THE FINAL VICTORY ON THE WAR ON TERROR. AND I'M ONE OF THE FEW PEOPLE THAT TALKS ABOUT IT. I HOPE THAT -- FIRST OF ALL, THERE MAY BE AS MANY AS A HUNDRED MILLION PEOPLE ON THIS PLANET THAT ARE ALIGNED WITH AND SUPPORTIVE OF THE AL QAEDA TYPE NETWORK. AND WE CANNOT KILL THEM ALL AND WE WOULDN'T WANT TO KILL THEM ALL AND WE WILL PROBABLY HAVE TO KILL SOME MORE. BUT I'M HOPEFUL THAT WE'LL BE ABLE TO USE THE FREE PEOPLE MODEL OF IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN AND POSSIBLY PROMOTE THAT KIND OF FREEDOM IN THE OTHER COUNTRIES. WHEN THAT HAPPENS, WE CAN GET TO THE END OF THE WAR ON TERROR. I HOPE IT CAN HAPPEN IN LESS THAN A GENERATION.

Yepsen: I WANT TO SWITCH GEARS ON YOU, CONGRESSMAN: THE STEEL TARIFFS. THE PRESIDENT HAS APPARENTLY MADE A MISTAKE. HE'S LIFTING THE TARIFFS THAT HE IMPOSED EARLIER. DO YOU AGREE WITH THAT DECISION, AND WHAT'S THE EFFECT GOING TO BE ON IOWA OF LIFTING THE STEEL TARIFFS?

King: I AGREE WITH THE PRESIDENT'S DECISION TO LIFT THE STEEL TARIFFS. I THINK THAT HIS EFFORT TO PUT THE TARIFF IN PLACE WAS AN EFFORT TO PROTECT THE STEEL INDUSTRY, THE DOMESTIC STEEL INDUSTRY IN THE UNITED STATES. THAT PUT A BURDEN ON A LOT OF OUR PRODUCERS AND A LOT OF OUR LIGHT INDUSTRY. AND I'VE WRITTEN A LETTER AND GOT SOME OTHER FOLKS TO SIGN ONTO THAT LETTER ASKING THE PRESIDENT TO LIFT THAT. THAT WENT OUT SEVERAL MONTHS AGO, AND I'M VERY SUPPORTIVE OF HIS DECISION TO LIFT THE TARIFF AND ALLOW THE FREE MARKET FORCES TO TAKE PLACE. WE WERE LOOKING AT SANCTIONS THAT WOULD BE MAYBE TWO BILLION DOLLARS OR MORE. WE NEED TO HAVE MORE FREE MARKET ECONOMY AND MORE FREE TRADE. AND IF THE UNITED STATES IS GOING TO PROMOTE IT AT THE WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION, IF WE'RE GOING TO PROMOTE IT IN OTHER AREAS OF THE WORLD, WE NEED TO ABIDE BY IT IN THIS COUNTRY AS WELL.

Glover: ANOTHER CONTROVERSIAL ITEM YOU'VE HAD TO DEAL WITH IN RECENT DAYS IS AN EXPANSION OF THE MEDICARE PROGRAM. IT'S A FAIRLY DRAMATIC EXPANSION. YOU VOTED FOR THAT. WHY?

King: THERE WERE A NUMBER OF COMPONENTS IN THE BILL THAT CAUSED ME TO BE SUPPORTIVE. THERE WERE A NUMBER OF THINGS THAT WEREN'T IN THE BILL THAT I WOULD LIKED TO HAVE SEEN. OUTSIDE OF THE PLUSES AND THE MINUS, THERE WAS A CENTRAL PIECE IN THE BILL THAT -- I PUT OUT A MARKER AND I SAID EVEN THOUGH WE HAVE LANGUAGE IN THE BILL THAT IMPROVES THE DOLLARS GOING INTO RURAL HEALTH CARE IN AMERICA, THERE AREN'T ENOUGH CHANGES THERE TO MOVE IOWA OUT OF LAST PLACE. WE CLOSE THE GAP BUT WE DON'T MOVE OUT OF LAST PLACE. AND I HAD INTRODUCED LEGISLATION AND HAD DRAFTED LANGUAGE AND HAD A COMMITMENT FROM LEADERSHIP THAT THEY WOULD CONSIDER MY PROPOSAL IN THE CONFERENCE COMMITTEE. WE GOT DOWN TO THE LAST TWO DAYS, THEY HADN'T CONSIDERED MY PROPOSAL, AND SO MY LANGUAGE THEN BECAME, "NOW YOU MUST ADOPT MY LANGUAGE BECAUSE YOU'LL NEVER BE ABLE TO CONVINCE ME THAT IT HAD A SERIOUS CONSIDERATION BEFORE THE CONFERENCE COMMITTEE." SO SECTION 508 IN THE BILL IS A SECTION THAT ESTABLISHES A $900-MILLION FUND FOR HOSPITALS IN AMERICA TO GO BEFORE HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES AND MAKE THE EQUIVALENT OF A RATE CASE. THAT LET'S THEM ARGUE THAT THEY'RE BEING PAID LESS IN COMPENSATION THAN THEY'RE COMPETING IN THEIR DISTRICTS AND REQUIRES A SECRETARY TO MAKE ADJUSTMENTS TO CORRECT THOSE FLAWS AND REQUIRES THE SECRETARY TO CONSIDER QUALITY. HERE IN IOWA, WE'RE LAST IN COMPENSATION AND WE'VE GONE FROM EIGHTH TO SIXTH IN HOSPITAL QUALITY. SO IT GIVES US A REAL ADVANTAGE TO GET A DECENT SHARE OF THE $900 MILLION.

Glover: LET'S STEP BACK AND LOOK AT THE BIGGER PICTURE FOR A SECOND. YOU VOTED TO SPEND $87 BILLION A YEAR IN IRAQ. YOU VOTED FOR A $400-BILLION EXPANSION OF THE MEDICARE PROGRAM, AND YOU'RE VOTING IN FAVOR OF A HALF TRILLION ANNUAL DEFICITS. DID SOMETHING HAPPEN TO YOU WHEN YOU LEAVE IOWA? [ LAUGHTER ]

King: MIKE, SOMETIMES YOU'VE GOT TO DO WHAT YOU CAN DO. AND I AM IN THERE BEHIND THE SCENES, AND I'VE VOTED AGAINST SOME OF THE APPROPRIATION BILLS. WE DO THE PLUSES AND THE MINUSES ON ALL OF THAT. I'M NOT SURE THAT I'M GOING TO END UP WITH A RECORD THAT SHOWS IT TO BE A BALANCED BUDGET, BUT IT'S GOING TO BE CLOSER THAN THE ONE THAT ACTUALLY GETS PASSED. YOU GET -- YOU GET AN OMNIBUS SPENDING BILL THAT CAME AT US THAT WAS 3,000 PAGES IN JANUARY, AND IT'S VIRTUALLY IMPOSSIBLE TO EVEN KNOW WHAT'S IN THE BILL. AND IT'S UP OR DOWN VOTES ON MANY OF THOSE THINGS. THIS MEDICARE BILL IS SOMETHING ALSO THE PUBLIC IS NOT AWARE OF. WE DIDN'T HAVE THE CHOICE OF VOTING AGAINST THE PRESCRIPTION DRUG MEDICARE BILL OR FOR IT. IT WASN'T NO DOLLARS OR $400 BILLION. IT WAS $400 BILLION OR, IF THAT FAILS, THEN THERE WOULD HAVE BEEN A DISCHARGE PETITION AND WE WOULD HAVE SEEN AN $800-BILLION BILL THAT WAS FULL OF COMPLETE ENTITLEMENTS AND HAD NO COMPETITION IN IT AND NO HEALTH SAVINGS ACCOUNTS AS WELL.

Yepsen: CONGRESSMAN, WHERE DO WE GO -- WHERE DOES THE CONGRESS GO WITH MEDICARE NOW? IS THIS SOMETHING THAT'S IN LAW, THAT YOU SPEND A FEW YEARS IMPLEMENTING IT TO SEE HOW IT WORKS, OR DO YOU SEE THINGS THAT NEED TO BE DONE RIGHT NOW TO EXPAND THE BENEFIT, TO TWEAK IT SOME? IT'S ALMOST AS IF CONGRESS HAS GOT THE FOOT IN THE DOOR HERE OF A PRESCRIPTION DRUG BENEFIT BUT HASN'T GOT THE JOB DONE. DO YOU AGREE WITH THAT?

King: WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO DO SOME MORE THINGS ON THE MEDICARE BILL, AND ONE OF THE REASONS THAT IT DOESN'T TAKE EFFECT UNTIL 2006 IS SO WE CAN DO A BETTER JOB OF IDENTIFYING ANY MISTAKES THAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN MADE AND MAKE THOSE CORRECTIONS BEFORE THEY'RE IMPLEMENTED INTO LAW. ONE OF THE THINGS THAT I WILL CONTINUE TO WORK ON IS PROMOTION OF REIMPORTATION OF PRESCRIPTION DRUGS. WE SHOULD HAVE HAD IT IN THE BILL AND --

Borg: TO ALLOW IT?

King: TO ALLOW FOR THE REIMPORTATION OF PRESCRIPTION DRUGS. AND THAT COST OF 30 PERCENT MORE FOR US COMPARED TO THE CANADIAN MODEL, FOR EXAMPLE, WE'VE GOT TO CONTINUE TO WORK DOWN THAT PATH. AND THEN ANOTHER PIECE IS TO PROMOTE MORE COMPETITION WITHIN THE BILL SO THAT WE CAN GET SOME ACCOUNTABILITY.

Yepsen: PEOPLE TALK ABOUT THE COST OF THIS BILL, AND IT IS EXPENSIVE. BUT IS THERE AN OFFSET IN THAT AMERICANS MAY BE HEALTHIER AND AT A LOWER COST?

King: THERE'S BOUND TO BE. IT'S GOING TO BE VERY HARD TO MEASURE THAT COST-BENEFIT RATIO. BUT WE KNOW WE HAVE SENIORS THAT ARE CHOOSING SOMETIMES BETWEEN FOOD AND MEDICINE. I'VE TALKED TO THEM AND THEY SAY, "WELL, I'VE CUT MY MEDICINE IN HALF. I'M ONLY BUYING HALF OF WHAT I'M PRESCRIBED." WE'LL HAVE HEALTHIER PEOPLE AND THEY WON'T BE IN THE CLINIC OR THE HOSPITAL AS OFTEN OR FOR AS LONG. SO THAT'S PART OF THE EQUATION, AND THERE'S MORE TO IT BESIDES.

Glover: WE'VE TOUCHED ON THE ISSUE OF THE FEDERAL DEFICIT EARLIER. AS DAVE MENTIONED, IT'S NOT ALL THAT UNUSUAL FOR THE NATION TO RUN UP A DEFICIT IN TIME OF WAR. THERE ARE THOSE WHO ARGUE THAT THIS DEFICIT, IN TERMS OF THE SIZE OF THE OVERALL ECONOMY, IS NOT THAT BIG. ARE YOU TROUBLED BY THE DEFICITS THAT ARE RUNNING, AND HOW LONG DO YOU THINK IT WILL TAKE US TO GET OUT OF THIS DEFICIT?

King: I'M TROUBLED BY THE DEFICITS WE'RE RUNNING, AND I'M TROUBLED BY THE GROWTH IN THE DEFICITS THAT WE'RE RUNNING. AND WE'RE LOOKING AT AN 8-PERCENT INCREASE IN FEDERAL SPENDING. AND, YES, WE HAD A FANTASTIC GROWTH QUARTER LAST QUARTER THAT HAD TO BE REVISED FROM 7.2 PERCENT TO 8.2 PERCENT. MULTIPLY THAT TIMES FOUR. THAT'S A TREMENDOUS GROWTH PERIOD. BUT WE CAN'T PROJECT OUT ACROSS THAT LINE. IF WE COULD, IT WOULD SOLVE THE INCREASED SPENDING. I WANT TO KEEP OUR GROWTH AND SPENDING DOWN TO SOMETHING THAT'S CLOSE TO A REFERENCE OF THE ACTUAL INFLATION FACTOR. AND IF WE CAN DO THAT, WE'LL ALWAYS BE ABLE TO BALANCE THE BUDGET, AND THAT'S OUR RESPONSIBILITY. I CALLED FOR LAST JANUARY AND FEBRUARY AND SAID WE ARE AT WAR. AND WHEN WE'RE GOING INTO WAR, WE HAVE AN OBLIGATION TO DO THE BEST WE CAN TO PROTECT AND EQUIP AND TRAIN OUR SERVICE MEN AND WOMEN. BUT WE ALSO NEED TO BE WILLING TO SACRIFICE AT HOME, AND THAT DOESN'T INCLUDE GROWING THE DOMESTIC SPENDING. SO I SAID CUT THE TAXES, CUT THE SPENDING, AND CUT MY OWN ACCOUNT.

Glover: ARE YOU WORRIED THAT THE DEFICITS, AT THIS CURRENT LEVEL WITH RESPECT TO THE SIZE OF THE ECONOMY, ARE GOING TO BE A BLOCK TO THE ECONOMY IMPROVING?

King: YOU KNOW, I DON'T THINK SO IN THE SHORT TERM. IN THE LONG TERM, I WOULD AGREE THAT'S THE CASE.

Glover: WHEN DO WE GET OUT OF THE DEFICITS?

King: I'M HOPING FOR FIVE YEARS, AND I'M MORE OPTIMISTIC THAN MOST. RIGHT NOW THE WAY IT'S GOING, IF YOU CHART THE LINES, THE BEST YOU COULD HOPE FOR IS NINE TO TEN YEARS. WE'VE GOT TO CHANGE THOSE LINES AND GET THEM BACK DOWN AND SLOW THIS, OTHERWISE IT WILL SLOW OUR GROWTH AS WELL.

Yepsen: CONGRESSMAN, AREN'T THE DEFICITS AND THE TAX CUTS WORKING? I MEAN IT'S CLASSIC. YOU GET INTO A RECESSION, PRESIDENTS FROM THE BEGINNING OF TIME HAVE CUT TAXES; JOHN KENNEDY DID IT. THEY'VE INCREASED SPENDING; FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT DID IT. AND THE ECONOMY GETS ITS PUMP PRIMED, AND IT STARTS TO MOVE UP. I MEAN THE DOW IS ALMOST AT 10,000. UNEMPLOYMENT IS GOING DOWN. JOBS ARE BEING CREATED. IN FACT, HASN'T THIS WORKED?

King: THERE'S NO QUESTION IT'S WORKED, AND IT'S WORKED MORE DRAMATICALLY THAN ALMOST ANYBODY WOULD HAVE PREDICTED. AND IT'S TRUE THAT THE TAX CUTS ARE AN ECONOMIC STIMULUS, AND THERE ARE TWO SCHOOLS OF THOUGHT. ONE IS CUT TAXES. THAT PUTS MORE DOLLARS INTO THE ECONOMY. THAT STIMULATES CAPITAL INVESTMENT AND JOBS AND GROWTH. AND THAT SCHOOL OF THOUGHT WAS APPLIED WITH OUR JOBS AND GROWTH PLAN. THE OTHER SCHOOL OF THOUGHT IS BORROW MONEY AND SPEND IT WITH GOVERNMENT AND GET THOSE DOLLARS INTO THE ECONOMY, AND THAT WILL ALSO STIMULATE THE ECONOMY. AND THIS ADMINISTRATION HAS PULLED OFF BOTH OF THOSE THINGS ALMOST SIMULTANEOUSLY. AND BOTH OF THEM ARE CONTRIBUTING TO THE ECONOMY, BUT NEITHER ONE CAN BE SUSTAINED INDEFINITELY. AND I'M FOR KEEPING OUR TAX CUTS DOWN AND ACTUALLY REMOVING MORE AND MORE DOLLARS FROM THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, BUT WE CAN'T CONTINUE TO BORROW MONEY TO PUT INTO THIS ECONOMY. THAT WAS A SHORT FIX.

Yepsen: SO FIVE YEARS. BUT WHAT PERCENTAGE OF THE GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT SHOULD FEDERAL DEFICITS BE? YOU SAID INFLATION 1 PERCENT, 2 PERCENT. IT'S ABOUT 5 NOW; ISN'T IT?

King: WELL, I THINK WE NEED TO TRACK WITH INFLATION, AND I'M NOT SURE WHAT THOSE NUMBERS ARE. I HAVEN'T TRACKED THEM NOW IN A YEAR AND A HALF OR TWO, SINCE I STARTED TO SHAPE THESE PHILOSOPHIES. BUT I DON'T THINK THAT GOVERNMENT SHOULD GROW FASTER THAN THE PRIVATE SECTOR, AND THAT'S THE INDICATOR THAT I WOULD FOLLOW.

Glover: LET'S LOOK AT ANOTHER CONTROVERSY, AN ISSUE THAT YOU'VE BEEN INVOLVED IN AND ONE THAT HITS FAIRLY CLOSE TO HOME, AND THAT'S THE ENERGY BILL THAT DIDN'T MAKE IT OUT OF THIS CONGRESS. ONE OF THE BIG FIGHTS IN THAT ENERGY BILL IS BALANCING OFF THE INTEREST OF ETHANOL VERSUS A SUBSIDY, OR A DERIVATIVE OF OIL, MTBE. IT SEEMS LIKE NEITHER ONE OF THOSE PROBLEMS CAN GET RESOLVED UNLESS THE OTHER GETS RESOLVED. HOW DOES THAT PLAY OUT?

King: WELL, IT'S INTERESTING THAT THE SENATE SEEMS TO BE SUPPORTIVE OF THE ETHANOL AND NOT AS SUPPORTIVE OF THE PROTECTION FOR THE MTBE PRODUCERS. AND THE HOUSE -- AND AT LEAST THE HOUSE LEADERSHIP -- IF YOU LOOK WHERE LEADERSHIP IS, THEY SEEM TO REPRESENT SOME OIL STATES. SO WE HAVE THIS IMPASSE NOW THAT WAS THE REASON THAT THE ETHANOL -- OR THAT THE ENERGY BILL DID NOT GET PASSED. THERE'S ALSO ANOTHER COMPONENT THAT WAS PULLED OUT OF THE BILL THAT WAS SHOULD HAVE BEEN IN THERE, AND THAT WAS DRILLING FOR OIL IN ANWAR. THERE'S PROBABLY NOT A BETTER PLACE ON THE PLANET TO HAVE OIL AND DRILL FOR IT THAN THAT.

Glover: THAT'S THE ARCTIC NATIONAL WILDLIFE AREA.

King: YES.

Glover: GIVEN THAT THAT'S THE STANDOFF, THAT'S THE GRIDLOCK THAT'S GOING ON, HOW DO WE GET OUT OF THAT? IT SEEMS THAT THERE WON'T BE AN ENERGY BILL UNTIL THAT GETS RESOLVED, AND HOW DOES IT GET RESOLVED?

King: MY ESTIMATION IS THIS: THE PRESIDENT IS DETERMINED TO HAVE AN ENERGY BILL. AND WHEN I SEE THAT KIND OF DETERMINATION IN THE PRESIDENT, I HAVEN'T SEEN HIM FALL ON HIS SWORD FOR A PIECE OF IT. SO I THINK SOMETHING GETS COMPROMISED, AND I IMAGINE IT'S GOING TO BE SOME OF THE MTBE PROTECTION, IT LOOKS TO ME LIKE. I DON'T THINK IT WILL BE ALL OF IT. I THINK IT WILL BE INCREMENTAL. I THINK THERE WILL BE SOME PRESSURE MADE POTENTIALLY ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THAT, BUT THERE'S NOT MUCH WE CAN GIVE WITH ETHANOL. THOSE THINGS ARE PRETTY WELL DUG IN. THERE WILL BE A BILL, AND I THINK THERE WILL BE ONE IN EITHER LATE JANUARY OR EARLY FEBRUARY.

Yepsen: CONGRESSMAN, HOW DO YOU RESPOND AS -- A GOOD IOWA CONGRESSMAN; EVERYBODY IN IOWA IS FOR ETHANOL. BUT HOW DO YOU RESPOND TO THE CONSERVATIVE ARGUMENT THAT IT IS NOT COST EFFECTIVE, THAT IF YOU DIDN'T -- IF YOU ADD UP ALL THE TAX SUBSIDIES THAT HAVE TO GO INTO ETHANOL, IT COSTS US MORE THAN IT'S WORTH?

King: WELL, ONE OF THE SIMPLE OFFSETS TO THAT IS TO LOOK AT THE CALCULATION OF WHAT THE MIDDLE EASTERN OIL COSTS US, IF YOU ADD THE COST TO PROTECT THAT OIL INTO THE EQUATION. I'VE SEEN SOME NUMBERS THAT LOOK TO ME LIKE THEY WERE REALLY OBJECTIVE ANALYSIS THAT THAT GAS FROM OVER THERE ACTUALLY COSTS AROUND $5.34 A GALLON. THAT'S ONE SIDE OF IT. BUT WE HAVE -- WHEN WE CAN ROLL THESE DOLLARS WITHIN OUR ECONOMY, WE GET TO VALUE ADD TO THOSE AND MULTIPLY ON THOSE DOLLARS. AND WE'RE GETTING MORE AND MORE ENERGY OUT OF EVERY BUSHEL OF CORN THESE DAYS AS WELL.

Glover: WHAT CAN YOU DO FOR OTHER FORMS OF ALTERNATIVE ENERGY? IOWA IS GETTING INCREASINGLY INTO WIND ENERGY, THERE'S BIODIESEL, AND ALL THAT KIND OF STUFF. WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO TO HELP THOSE SEGMENTS OF THE ALTERNATIVE ENERGY?

King: THERE IS BIODIESEL LANGUAGE IN THE ENERGY BILL AND I'M SUPPORTIVE OF THAT AND THAT'S GOING TO HELP US DEVELOP THAT INDUSTRY. THEY'RE ALSO FOLLOWING THE ETHANOL MODEL, WHICH WILL HELP BIODIESEL, I THINK, CATCH UP WITH THE ETHANOL FASTER THAN IT MIGHT HAVE IF IT HAD TO CHART ITS OWN COURSE. I AM SUPPORTIVE OF THE WIND, AND I WASN'T THAT SIX OR SEVEN YEARS AGO. BUT THAT'S SOMETHING WE HAVE A SIGNIFICANT AMOUNT OF IN IOWA. NO PUN INTENDED. AND IT'S -- WE JUST AS WELL HARNESS THAT ENERGY.

Glover: THERE'S A FAIR AMOUNT OF WIND HERE. [ LAUGHTER ] OF COURSE.

Yepsen: CONGRESSMAN, DO YOU THINK CONGRESS NEEDS TO GET INTO REGULATION OF TRANSMISSION LINES? I'M TOLD BY UTILITY PEOPLE THAT, YOU'RE CORRECT, YOU'VE GOT A LOT OF WIND UP IN NORTHWEST IOWA, THE WIND CAPITAL OF THE WORLD. BUT TO GET IT TO DES MOINES WHERE THEY NEED IT, THEY HAVE TO ROUTE IT THROUGH OMAHA. SO DOESN'T IT MAKE SENSE THAT WE MAKE IT EASIER TO BUILD TRANSMISSION LINES?

King: I THINK IT DOES MAKE SENSE THAT WE MAKE IT EASIER, AND I'M NOT FAMILIAR WITH WHAT THE SPECIFIC CHANGES MIGHT NEED TO BE MADE. BUT I DO KNOW THAT WHEN WE TALKED ABOUT BUILDING GENERATION PLANTS HERE IN IOWA, AND I WAS IN THE IOWA SENATE WHEN WE ENABLED AND ENACTED SOME OF THAT LANGUAGE, I BEGAN ASKING THE QUESTION: WHY DON'T WE JUST GENERATE THAT ELECTRICITY UP IN THE COAL FIELDS IN WYOMING AND PUT NEW TRANSMISSION LINES DOWN HERE INTO IOWA RATHER THAN -- RATHER THAN SIGN A DE FACTO CONTRACT TO DELIVER COAL TO IOWA FOR THE NEXT FORTY YEARS. THE ANSWER I GOT BACK WAS THERE ARE TOO MANY POLITICAL BARRIERS, STATE LINES AND OTHER POLITICAL BARRIERS ALONG THE WAY AND TOO MUCH DIFFICULTY WITH EASEMENTS. I THINK WE CAN BREAK DOWN SOME OF THOSE BARRIERS AND HELP FACILITATE A MORE EFFICIENT SYSTEM.

Yepsen: ANOTHER THING THAT FACES CONGRESS, DEAN MENTIONED IT IN HIS OPEN, IS THE OMNIBUS APPROPRIATIONS BILL. IN THAT BILL IS $50 MILLION FOR AN ENVIRONMENTAL PROJECT IN CORALVILLE. IT'S CALLED A RAIN FOREST. NOW, A LOT OF CRITICS OF THAT ARE SAYING IT'S PORK. HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT IT?

King: WELL, I LOOKED AT SOME OF THE OTHER PROJECTS THAT ARE IN -- THAT WERE LINED UP WITH THAT BILL THAT WERE PUT IN THE ENERGY BILL. AND THERE WERE SHOPPING CENTERS IN NEW YORK AND IN GEORGIA AND IN LOUISIANA AND IN COLORADO. AND THAT WAS ABOUT $2 BILLION, AND THEY WERE JUSTIFYING BECAUSE THEY WERE ENERGY EFFICIENT AND IF THEY WOULD PUT A CENTRAL AIR CONDITIONER INTO A HUGE SHOPPING CENTER, THEY COULD SAVE 25 PERCENT OF THE ENERGY THEY WOULD HAVE CONSUMED IF THEY OTHERWISE HAD DONE SOME OTHER TYPE OF SYSTEM. THAT WAS JUSTIFYING TAXPAYER DOLLARS THERE. I THINK SENATOR GRASSLEY HAS PLUGGED THAT IN ALONGSIDE THAT AND SAID, IF YOU CAN DO THIS FOR A FOR-PROFIT, WE'RE GOING TO SET THIS UP AND AT LEAST TRY TO GET SOMETHING BACK TO IOWA.

Yepsen: HAS IOWA BEEN A LOSER IN THE PAST IN THIS GAME OF FEDERAL PORK, WHERE OTHER STATES HAVE PLAYED THE GAME AND GOT MILITARY BASES, AND IOWANS HAVE NOT HAD THE SENIORITY OR THE INTEREST IN TRYING TO DO THIS SORT OF THING?

King: WELL, I WOULDN'T CALL US A LOSER NECESSARILY. THERE HAVE BEEN SOME STATES THAT HAVE BEEN HUGE WINNERS IN THIS, THAT HAVE HAD -- PARTICULARLY SENATORS THAT HAVE HAD LONG-TERM TENURE THAT LEVERAGED THOSE DOLLARS INTO THEIR STATES. AT SOME POINT IT'S DIFFICULT TO MAKE THOSE DECISIONS. AND AS I WATCH SENATOR GRASSLEY, THERE HAVE BEEN SOME THINGS THAT I'VE DISAGREED WITH. BUT AS I WATCH HIM WORK IN THAT SENATE AND ONE OF THE MOST POWERFUL -- I'VE CALLED HIM THE DE FACTO LEADER OF THE UNITED STATES SENATE. HE UNDERSTANDS THE NEGOTIATIONS. HE UNDERSTANDS THE LEVERAGE. HE DOESN'T ALWAYS TALK ABOUT WHAT'S GOING ON IN HIS MIND, BUT I AM IMPRESSED WITH HIS ABILITY TO NEGOTIATE AND ACCOMPLISH HIS ULTIMATE GOAL. AND ONE OF THE REASONS IS HE DOESN'T SHOW HIS WHOLE CARD.

Glover: SO IT'S PORK BUT JUST NOT AS BAD OF PORK AS YOU SEE SOMEWHERE ELSE.

King: WELL, ONE THING WE HAVE HERE IS AN EDUCATIONAL CENTER THAT'S NOT FOR PROFIT.

Yepsen: WELL, ONE PERSON'S PORK IS SOMEONE ELSE'S --

King: THAT'S DIFFERENT THAN A FOR-PROFIT CENTER.

Glover: EXACTLY.

Yepsen: ONE PERSON'S PORK IS SOMEONE ELSE'S BACON. I MEAN TOM HARKIN IS ALSO PART OF THIS TOO. HE'S A SENIOR MEMBER OF THE SENATE. IS HE NOT PART OF THIS EFFORT TO TRY TO GET MORE FEDERAL REVENUE BACK INTO IOWA?

King: YOU KNOW, I DON'T KNOW WHAT HE HAS HIS FINGERPRINTS ON, BUT I'M SURE HE'S PART OF THAT EFFORT.

Glover: LET'S SWITCH. IT WOULDN'T BE AN OFFICIAL IOWA PRESS PROGRAM IF WE DIDN'T TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT JUST POLITICS. BEFORE YOU RAN FOR CONGRESS, YOU THOUGHT ABOUT RUNNING FOR GOVERNOR. YOU'VE HAD SOME OF YOUR PEOPLE HANGING AROUND THE LEGISLATURE KEEPING TABS ON WHAT'S HAPPENING IN THE STATE. DO YOU STILL HAVE SOME INTEREST IN RUNNING FOR GOVERNOR?

King: I WOULDN'T RULE IT OUT, MIKE. I SPENT SIX YEARS STEEPED IN STATE POLICY. THERE'S A LOT ABOUT THIS STATE THAT I CARE ABOUT. I LOVE THIS STATE AND THE PEOPLE IN IT. AND I COULD -- I COULD LAY OUT AN AGENDA FOR YOU THAT I'D LIKE TO HAND TO THE NEXT CANDIDATE FOR GOVERNOR AND ASK HIM TO RUN FOR GOVERNOR ON IT. I CAN'T RULE IT OUT TOTALLY. I ALWAYS WILL ACT ON WHAT I SEE AS MY DUTY WHERE I CAN MAKE THE MOST CONTRIBUTION.

Glover: BUT THE GOVERNOR'S OFFICE IS COMING OPEN AT THE CONCLUSION OF TOM VILSACK'S SECOND TERM. HE SAID HE'S NOT SEEKING A THIRD TERM. IT'S A LOGICAL PLACE FOR YOU TO STEP IN. IS THAT SOMETHING YOU'RE LOOKING AT?

King: I'LL ALWAYS BE LOOKING AT THOSE KIND OF OPPORTUNITIES. AND I HAVEN'T SET ANYTHING IN MOTION TO GO DOWN THAT PATH, BUT I WANT TO HAVE A VOICE IN STATE POLICY AND I WANT TO BE ABLE TO GET THIS STATE MORE COMPETITIVE AGAIN.

Yepsen: WHAT IS YOUR TIME LINE FOR DECIDING WHETHER OR NOT TO RUN FOR GOVERNOR IN 2006?

King: OH, IT WOULD BE AT LEAST A YEAR AWAY.

Yepsen: WELL, MORE IMMEDIATELY IS THE '04 ELECTION. PRESIDENT BUSH HAD A CLOSE LOSS HERE IN 2000. DO REPUBLICANS HAVE A CHANCE OF CARRYING IOWA IN 2004, AND IS IT MORE DIFFICULT TO CARRY IOWA BECAUSE OF ALL THESE TELEVISION ADS THAT THE DEMOCRATS ARE RUNNING AGAINST HIM?

King: IT MAKES IT A LOT HARDER FOR HIM TO OPERATE IN THE STATE. I THINK -- THE THINK THE PRESIDENT HAS A VERY GOOD CHANCE TO CARRY IOWA, AND A LOT COULD HAPPEN, OF COURSE, IN THE NEXT SHORT YEAR. BUT THE THING THAT'S DISTURBED ME THE MOST AS I'VE WATCHED THESE NINE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES VIE FOR THE ATTENTION IN THE STATE, THEY ARE SO EAGER TO CURRY FAVOR WITH THE LEFT WING OF THEIR PARTY, THE MORE ACTIVIST WING OF THEIR PARTY, THAT THEY HAVE MERCILESSLY PUMMELLED THE PRESIDENT AND UNJUSTLY, ON OCCASION AFTER OCCASION. AND I'VE BEEN VERY VOCAL ON THIS, THAT I BELIEVE THAT STATEMENTS THAT ARE MADE BY THESE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES THAT THE PRESIDENT HAS PERPETRATED A FRAUD AND HE'S NOT BEEN TRUTHFUL WITH THE AMERICAN PEOPLE AND THAT WE HAVE A FAILED POLICY IN IRAQ, THOSE ARE ALL INACCURATE STATEMENTS.

Borg: CONGRESSMAN KING, WE HAVE TO LEAVE IT THERE. THANKS FOR BEING OUR GUEST TODAY.

King: THANK YOU.

Borg: ON OUR NEXT EDITION OF "IOWA PRESS," WE SHIFT TO IOWA'S CAPITAL. GOVERNOR TOM VILSACK WILL BE OUR GUEST. AND WE'LL BE BACK AT OUR USUAL TIMES: FRIDAY AT 7:30 AND SUNDAY AT NOON. THAT'S IT FOR THIS WEEK'S EDITION. I'M DEAN BORG. THANKS FOR JOINING US TODAY. 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.