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Iowa Reporters review the President's April 15 message in Iowa

(#3133)
April 15 , 2004

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IOWA PRESS #3133>>

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 A SPECIAL EDITION OF "IOWA PRESS." HERE IS DEAN BORG.

Borg: GOOD EVENING. IT'S BEEN A BUSY DAY, INDEED A BUSY WEEK FOR THOSE IN THE NEWS-GATHERING ENTERPRISE, AND IT'S NOT QUITE OVER JUST YET. THERE'S A LOT TO DISCUSS AND WE HAVE SEVERAL POLITICAL JOURNALISTS TO HELP PROVIDE PERSPECTIVE TO TODAY'S EVENTS. WE'LL DO THAT FOLLOWING A REBROADCAST OF PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH'S SPEECH IN DES MOINES TODAY.

YOU'VE JUST SEEN AN IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION COVERAGE OF THE SOCRATIC DIALOGUE WITH HARVARD LAW PROFESSOR ARTHUR MILLER. THAT DIALOGUE WAS THE CENTERPIECE OF THE SYMPOSIUM TITLED "CAPITALIZING ON RURAL AMERICA." IT FOCUSED ON THE TROUBLED RURAL ECONOMY, HIGHLIGHTING SOME OF THE POSSIBLE REDEVELOPMENT SOLUTIONS.

COMING NEXT IS PRESIDENT BUSH'S ADDRESS TO THE SYMPOSIUM AT NOON TODAY AT THE MARRIOTT HOTEL IN DOWNTOWN DES MOINES, FOLLOWED BY AN "IOWA PRESS" REPORTERS ROUNDTABLE. HERE'S PRESIDENT BUSH.

President Bush: THANK YOU ALL. THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME. PLEASE BE SEATED. THANKS FOR THE WARM WELCOME. THANKS FOR THE WARM WEATHER. I REALLY AM GLAD TO BE ABLE TO COME AND TALK TO YOU ABOUT HOW TO MAKE SURE PEOPLE HAVE A CHANCE TO MAKE A LIVING. THAT'S WHAT WE'RE REALLY HERE TO TALK ABOUT: HOW CAN PEOPLE PUT FOOD ON THE TABLE; HOW CAN COMMUNITIES BE VIBRANT AND GROW. CHUCK GRASSLEY SAID I APPRECIATE RURAL AMERICA. I DO, SO MUCH THAT I CALL CRAWFORD, TEXAS, MY HOME. THAT'S RURAL AMERICA. I THINK WE'VE GOT ABOUT 661 PEOPLE... UNTIL I ARRIVE. [ LAUGHTER ] I APPRECIATE THE FEDERAL HOME LOAN BANK OF DES MOINES FOR HOSTING THIS. I KNOW WE'VE GOT PEOPLE FROM STATES OTHER THAN IOWA LIKE MISSOURI, MINNESOTA, SOUTH DAKOTA, NORTH DAKOTA. I'M GLAD YOU ALL ARE HERE. THANKS FOR COMING BY AND GIVING ME A CHANCE TO VISIT. MY ATTITUDE ABOUT RURAL AMERICA FROM THE PRESIDENTIAL PERSPECTIVE IS THAT IF WE CAN MAKE THE ECONOMY STRONG, RURAL AMERICA WILL BENEFIT. SEE, IT'S HARD TO TALK ABOUT THE HEALTH OF RURAL AMERICA UNLESS THE OVERALL ECONOMY ISN'T GROWING. IT'S NICE TO HAVE VISIONS ABOUT HOW TO BRING DEVELOPMENT TO YOUR COMMUNITY, BUT IF THE ECONOMY IS STAGNANT, IT'S HARD TO GET THERE. SO WHAT I WANT TO DO TODAY IS TALK ABOUT THE ECONOMY OF THE UNITED STATES AND HOW WE CAN LEAVE LASTING PROSPERITY TO MAKE SURE THAT YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT I THINK THE ROLE OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IS, WHICH IS TO CREATE AN ENVIRONMENT IN WHICH THE FARMER AND THE RANCHER CAN MAKE A LIVING, IN WHICH THE SMALL BUSINESSPERSON CAN REALIZE THEIR DREAMS, BECAUSE THE TRUTH OF THE MATTER IS, WHEN YOU REALLY THINK ABOUT RURAL AMERICA, RURAL AMERICA'S VITALITY DEPENDS UPON THE HEALTH OF THE AGRICULTURAL SECTOR. THE ECONOMY OF RURAL AMERICA DEPENDS UPON THE VITALITY OF SMALL BUSINESSES. SURE, YOU GET SOME BIG BUSINESSES TO MOVE INTO YOUR COMMUNITIES, AND THAT'S GOOD. AND I'D TRY HARD TO RECRUIT THEM IF I WERE YOU. BUT TRUE ECONOMIC VITALITY, A VITALITY THAT WILL LAST BEYOND JUST AN ECONOMIC SPUR, IS ONE THAT RECOGNIZES THE IMPORTANCE OF THE ENTREPRENEUR AND THE FARMER AND THE RANCHER. I WANT TO THANK MY FRIEND CHUCK GRASSLEY FOR INTRODUCING ME. I'VE SPENT SOME QUALITY TIME WITH SENATOR GRASSLEY HERE IN IOWA. YOU MIGHT REMEMBER THE 2000 CAUCUSES. HE SHOWED ME A LOT OF THE STATE... BY CAR. [ LAUGHTER ] I'LL NEVER FORGET DRIVING THE BACK ROADS OF IOWA AND CHAIRMAN GRASSLEY -- I CALL HIM MR. CHAIRMAN NOW. HE'S A POWERFUL GUY SO I HAVE TO PUT A FANCY TITLE TO HIS NAME. THE CHAIRMAN SAYS, "I KNOW THAT FARMER THERE." AND THEN HE'D GO BY AND HE'D SAY, "I REMEMBER MEETING THAT FARMER THERE." HE KNEW EVERY FARMER ON THE BACK ROADS OF IOWA. NO WONDER HE'S SUCH A POPULAR PERSON IN THIS GREAT STATE. HE'S DOING A GREAT JOB, BY THE WAY. I APPRECIATE WORKING FOR HIM. HE IS -- HE BROUGHT SOME OF THOSE GOOD IOWA VALUES TO THE CONGRESS. MR. CHAIRMAN, IT'S GREAT TO BE WITH YOU, AND I WANT TO THANK YOU FOR YOUR CONTINUED LEADERSHIP. [ APPLAUSE ] I ALSO HAD THE HONOR OF MEETING RANDY NEWMAN. I WANT TO THANK RANDY FOR BEING THE CHAIRMAN OF THE FHLB BOARD OF DIRECTORS. I WANT TO THANK THE MEMBERS OF THE BOARD WHO ARE HERE AS WELL AND ASSOCIATE MEMBERS FROM AROUND THE MIDWEST. I HAD THE HONOR OF LANDING AT THE AIRPORT AND ALSO BEING GREETED TODAY BY THE OTHER SENATOR FROM THE STATE OF IOWA. SENATOR TOM HARKIN IS WITH US. SENATOR, THANK YOU FOR YOUR HOSPITALITY AND YOUR GRACIOUSNESS FOR COMING OUT TO THE AIRPORT. I'M PLEASED YOU ARE HERE. I THANK CONGRESSMAN TOM LATHAM AS WELL AS CONGRESSMAN LEONARD BOSWELL. BOSWELL MADE SURE I KNEW THAT I WAS IN HIS DISTRICT. [ LAUGHTER ] I WANT TO THANK BOTH MEMBERS OF THE CONGRESS FOR SERVING YOUR STATE. I WANT TO THANK -- I'M A MEMBER OF THE EX-GOVERNORS CLUB, THOSE OF US WHO WERE FORTUNATE ENOUGH TO BE GOVERNORS OF A STATE. I'M A MEMBER. PROUD ALUMNUS. I SEE ANOTHER MEMBER OF THE EX-GOVERNORS CLUB TODAY. THAT WOULD BE FORMER GOVERNOR BOB RAY OF THE STATE OF IOWA. GOOD TO SEE YOU, BOB. THANK YOU FOR COMING. [ APPLAUSE ] I ALSO WHEN I LANDED, I MET AN INTERESTING PERSON NAMED SARAH SINDLINGER. SARAH IS RIGHT THERE. YOU DON'T KNOW SARAH YET, BUT YOU'RE ABOUT TO FIND OUT ABOUT THIS REMARKABLE AMERICAN. SHE IS A 16-YEAR-OLDER. SHE HAS VOLUNTEERED OVER 150 HOURS OF TIME. SHE'S A HIGH SCHOOL JUNIOR. SHE SAID, "WHAT CAN I DO TO MAKE MY COMMUNITY A BETTER PLACE?" INSTEAD OF JUST ASKING THE QUESTION, SHE'S ACTUALLY ACTED ON THE QUESTION. SHE HAS VOLUNTEERED IN A DAY CARE CENTER. SHE HAS VOLUNTEERED IN A LIBRARY. SHE UNDERSTANDS THE VALUE OF MENTORING. SHE HAS WORKED IN A HOSPITAL. SHE'S BEEN A BEST BUDDY TO A FELLOW STUDENT IN THE SPECIAL EDUCATION PROGRAM. YOU KNOW, THE REASON I BRING UP SARAH IS THIS. THERE'S A LOT OF TALK ABOUT THE STRENGTH OF AMERICA, AND WE'RE STRONG. WE'RE PLENTY STRONG. WE'RE STRONG MILITARILY. I WILL KEEP US STRONG MILITARILY. WE'RE STRONG ECONOMICALLY. WE NEED TO GET STRONGER ECONOMICALLY. BUT THE TRUE STRENGTH OF THE COUNTRY IS IN THE HEARTS AND SOULS OF OUR CITIZENS. THAT'S THE REALLY GOOD STRENGTH OF AMERICA. YOU KNOW THAT IF YOU LIVE IN RURAL AMERICA. YOU KNOW WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT. THE NOTION OF PEOPLE TAKING TIME OUT OF THEIR LIVES TO MAKE THEIR COMMUNITY A BETTER PLACE. SARAH IS HERE BECAUSE SHE IS A SOLDIER IN THE ARMY OF COMPASSION. SHE'S A PART OF THE TRUE STRENGTH OF THE COUNTRY. SHE'S A SOUL WHO'S WILLING TO DEDICATE HER TIME TO LOVE A NEIGHBOR JUST LIKE SHE'D LIKE TO BE LOVED HERSELF. MY CALL TO YOU AS YOU DO YOUR WORK IN YOUR COMMUNITIES IS TO CONTINUE TO RALLY THAT COMPASSION, TO HELP CHANGE AMERICA ONE HEART, ONE SOUL, ONE CONSCIENCE AT A TIME. SARAH, I'M HONORED YOUR HERE. THANK YOU FOR SETTING SUCH A FINE EXAMPLE. MAY GOD CONTINUE TO BLESS YOUR SOUL AND YOUR SPIRIT. [ APPLAUSE ] IT IS NICE OF YOU ALL TO WELCOME SOMEBODY FROM THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT ON TAX DAY. [ LAUGHTER ] THERE'S A LOT OF PEOPLE FILLING OUT THEIR TAXES -- PUTTING IN THEIR TAXES TODAY. LAURA AND I PUT IN OURS A LITTLE EARLY. SEE, THE NEWSPAPERS WANTED TO SEE WHAT I PAID. THAT'S JUST PART OF THE JOB. PEOPLE EXPECT THAT FROM THEIR PUBLIC SERVANTS, AND I'M MORE THAN HAPPY TO PARTICIPATE IN THAT ASPECT OF PUBLIC LIFE. PEOPLE ALSO EXPECT FROM THEIR PUBLIC SERVICE, WISE STEWARDSHIP OF THE TAXPAYERS' MONEY. PEOPLE ALSO EXPECT THAT WE KEEP THE FEDERAL TAX BURDEN AS LOW AS POSSIBLE. THAT WAS ONE OF MY PLEDGES TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. I TAKE THAT RESPONSIBILITY SERIOUSLY. AND I WANT TO THANK SENATOR GRASSLEY FOR HIS HELP IN REDUCING THE TAX BURDEN ON THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. TAX DAY IS SOMETHING MOST PEOPLE REALLY DON'T LOOK FORWARD TO. BUT THIS YEAR IT'S A LITTLE BETTER BECAUSE OF THE TAX RELIEF WE DELIVERED, AND THE ECONOMY IS STRONGER FOR IT. I MENTIONED SMALL BUSINESSES AS A PART OF THE -- AS A PART OF THE STRATEGY TO MAKE SURE THAT RURAL AMERICA IS STRONG. A MAJOR COMPONENT OF THE TAX RELIEF WAS AIMED AT OUR SMALL BUSINESSES. SEE, MOST SMALL BUSINESSES ARE SUBCHAPTER S CORPORATIONS OR LIMITED PARTNERSHIPS AND, THEREFORE, PAY TAXES AT THE INDIVIDUAL INCOME TAX RATE. THEREFORE, WHEN YOU HEARD THE FACT THAT WE'VE LOWERED INDIVIDUAL INCOME TAXES, I WANT YOU TO THINK ABOUT MORE MONEY IN THE POCKETS OF SMALL BUSINESS SO THEY CAN EXPAND AND HIRE NEW PEOPLE. A LOT OF THE TAX RELIEF THAT WE PASSED WAS AIMED AT OUR SENIORS. BY REDUCING THE TAXES ON DIVIDENDS, WE'VE HELPED OUR SENIORS. YOU'VE GOT SENIORS LIVING IN RURAL AMERICA. IT'S GOOD THEY'VE GOT A LITTLE MORE MONEY IN THEIR POCKET. A LOT OF THE TAX RELIEF WE PASSED WAS AIMED AT PEOPLE WITH CHILDREN. WE'VE RAISED THE CHILD CREDIT TO $1,000. SOME OF THE TAX RELIEF WE PASSED WAS TRYING TO MITIGATE THE EFFECTS OF THE MARRIAGE PENALTY. IT DIDN'T MAKE MUCH SENSE TO ME THAT WE TAXED MARRIAGE IN A COUNTRY WHERE YOU'RE TRYING TO ENCOURAGE MARRIAGES AND STABLE FAMILIES. THE TAX RELIEF WE PASSED IS HELPING TO DRIVE THE ECONOMY FORWARD, AND CAME AT ABOUT THE RIGHT TIME, JUST ABOUT THE RIGHT TIME, FOR THAT MATTER, BECAUSE WE'RE EMERGING FROM A PERIOD OF INCREDIBLE ECONOMIC CHALLENGES. RURAL AMERICA HAS BEEN CHALLENGED ECONOMICALLY JUST LIKE THE REST OF AMERICA HAS BEEN CHALLENGED ECONOMICALLY. WE WENT THROUGH A RECESSION. RECESSION HURT. IT HURT IN ALL SECTORS OF OUR COUNTRY. RECESSION MEANS THAT WE HAD NEGATIVE GROWTH FOR THREE QUARTERS. NEGATIVE GROWTH MEANT IT WAS HARD FOR PEOPLE TO FIND WORK. NEGATIVE GROWTH MEANT IT WAS HARD TO BE OPTIMISTIC ABOUT THE FUTURE, AND YET WE OVERCAME THAT RECESSION. I WILL ARGUE THAT THE TAX RELIEF MADE THE RECESSION ONE OF THE MOST SHALLOW IN AMERICAN ECONOMIC HISTORY. RIGHT AFTER WE STARTED COVERING FROM THAT, WE GOT ATTACKED. THE ATTACKS HURT US ALL. THE ATTACKS ON AMERICA HURT EVERY SINGLE AMERICAN. THE ATTACKS ON AMERICA HURT OUR ECONOMY. WE LOST NEARLY ONE MILLION JOBS IN JUST THREE MONTHS AFTER SEPTEMBER 11, 2001. SOME OF THOSE JOBS WERE IN RURAL AMERICA. IT ALSO AFFECTED OUR WAY OF THINKING ABOUT THE WORLD. WE GREW UP THINKING THAT OCEANS COULD PROTECT US. WE LEARNED A HORRIBLE LESSON ON THAT DAY THAT WE WERE NO LONGER IMMUNE FROM THREATS THAT MIGHT BE GATHERING OVERSEAS. I VOWED THAT DAY THAT I WOULD TAKE WHATEVER ACTION WAS NECESSARY TO STAY ON THE OFFENSIVE TO PROTECT AMERICA. WE'LL DO EVERYTHING WE CAN AT HOME TO PROTECT US. BUT THE BEST WAY TO SECURE THE HOMELAND IS TO BRING THE KILLERS TO JUSTICE ONE KILLER AT A TIME. AND THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA WILL CONTINUE TO DO. [ APPLAUSE ] WE'RE A TOUGH COUNTRY AND A COMPASSIONATE COUNTRY. WE REFUSE TO BE INTIMIDATED BY THE TERRORISTS. IT TOOK US A WHILE TO KIND OF FIGURE OUT WHAT WAS GOING ON, BUT WHEN WE FIGURED IT OUT, THIS COUNTRY STARTED MOVING FORWARD AGAIN. SEE, THE PEOPLE OF THIS COUNTRY ARE RESOLUTE AND THEY'RE STRONG. NO MATTER WHETHER YOU LIVE IN URBAN AMERICA OR RURAL AMERICA, THERE'S A WONDERFUL STRENGTH IN THE FIBER OF THE PEOPLE OF AMERICA. THEN WE FOUND OUT ANOTHER CHALLENGE TO OUR ECONOMY, AND THAT IS THERE WERE SOME PEOPLE THAT FORGOT TO BE RESPONSIBLE CITIZENS AND DIDN'T TELL THE TRUTH. THEY WERE CEOs THAT BETRAYED THE TRUST. AND THAT AFFECTED US. IT REALLY DID, WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT IT. IT CREATED A CHALLENGE WE HAD TO OVERCOME. I APPRECIATE THE MEMBERS OF CONGRESS FROM BOTH POLITICAL PARTIES WORKING TOGETHER TO PASS GOOD REFORMS THAT MADE IT VERY CLEAR THAT THIS COUNTRY WILL NOT TOLERATE DISHONESTY IN THE BOARDROOMS OF AMERICA. [ APPLAUSE ] I THINK THE AMERICANS CITIZENS NOW BELIEVE THAT THE LAWS WE PASSED ARE BEGINNING TO WORK. AFTER ALL YOU'RE LOOKING ON YOUR TV SCREENS AND SEEING SOME OF THOSE WHO BETRAYED THE TRUST BEING HELD TO ACCOUNT. AND THEN AS YOU KNOW, I MADE A DIFFICULT BUT NECESSARY DECISION TO HELP DEFEND AMERICA AND MAKE THE WORLD MORE PEACEFUL. ONE OF THE LESSONS OF SEPTEMBER 11 IS ANYTIME AN AMERICA PRESIDENT SEES A GATHERING THREAT, WE MUST DEAL WITH IT. WE MUST TAKE IT SERIOUSLY. I SAW A THREAT BASED UPON INTELLIGENCE IN THE FORM OF SADDAM HUSSEIN. THE CONGRESS, BY THE WAY, LOOKED AT THE VERY SAME INTELLIGENCE AND SAW A THREAT. THE UNITED NATIONS SECURITY COUNCIL LOOKED AT THE SAME INTELLIGENCE, AND IT SAW A THREAT AS WELL. I WENT TO THE U.N., AS YOU MIGHT REMEMBER, AND SAID, THERE IS A THREAT. SEPTEMBER 11 CHANGED. SADDAM HUSSEIN MUST BE VIEWED IN A DIFFERENT LIGHT, AS LEAST FROM THE AMERICAN PERSPECTIVE, THAN BEFORE. HE'S A SERIOUS THREAT TO US. I BASED THAT ON THE INTELLIGENCE BUT ALSO UPON THE KNOWLEDGE THAT HE HAD USED CHEMICAL WEAPONS AGAINST HIS OWN PEOPLE, THE KNOWLEDGE THAT HE WAS PAYING FOR SUICIDE BOMBERS TO GO KILL, THE KNOWLEDGE THAT HE HATED OUR COUNTRY. SO I CALLED THE UNITED NATIONS AND AT THE UNITED NATIONS, I CALLED -- I CALLED FOR THEM TO COLLECTIVELY DEAL WITH THE THREAT, AND THEY AGREED TO. IN A UNANIMOUS DECISION, THEY SAID THIS MAN IS A THREAT. THEY PASSED THE SECURITY COUNCIL RESOLUTION. THAT SAID DISARM OR FACE SERIOUS CONSEQUENCES. ANYTIME AN AMERICAN PRESIDENT SAYS DISARM OR FACE SERIOUS CONSEQUENCES, THE AMERICAN PRESIDENT BETTER MEAN IT. WHEN THE COMMANDER AND CHIEF SPEAKS FOR THE COUNTRY, I BELIEVE THE PERSON OUGHT TO SPEAK CLEARLY AND MEAN WHAT HE SAYS. SO I ACTED ON THOSE SENTIMENTS AS WELL AND SAID, "MR. SADDAM HUSSEIN, DISARM OR FACE SERIOUS CONSEQUENCES." HE CHOSE NOT TO. HE DEFIED THE WORLD AGAIN. GIVEN THE LESSONS OF SEPTEMBER 11, I WAS FACED WITH A CHOICE: EITHER TO TRUST THE WORD OF A MADMAN, A TYRANT, A DICTATOR, OR DEFEND THE COUNTRY. GIVEN THAT CHOICE, I WILL DEFEND AMERICA EVERY TIME. [ APPLAUSE ] THAT DECISION CREATED AN ECONOMIC HURDLE THAT WE HAD TO CROSS, BECAUSE MARCHING INTO WAR IS NOT CONDUCIVE TO ECONOMIC GROWTH AND VITALITY. THE LENDERS WHO ARE HERE KNOW WHAT I MEAN. IT'S KIND OF HARD TO LEND INTO AN ENVIRONMENT WHEN THE KNOW THE COUNTRY IS PREPARING FOR WAR. WAR IS NEGATIVE, NOT POSITIVE. WE'RE NOW MARCHING TO PEACE, BUT THAT MARCH IS TOUGH. IT'S HARD WORK. THESE LAST WEEKS HAVE BEEN TOUGH WEEKS FOR AMERICA. WE'VE ENCOUNTERED -- WHEN I SAY "WE," IT'S JUST NOT AMERICAN FORCES, IT'S COALITION FORCES AND INNOCENT IRAQI CITIZENS, BY THE WAY, WHO HAVE ENCOUNTERED SERIOUS VIOLENCE IN PARTS OF IRAQ. THE DIFFERENT FASHIONS, FORMER SADDAM LOYALISTS, SOME FOREIGN FIGHTERS, SADER, WHO IS A RADICAL CLERIC, AND HIS GANGS HAVE A COMMON GOAL. THEY WANT TO STOP THE MARCH TO DEMOCRACY IN IRAQ. THE IDEA OF A FREE SOCIETY REALLY BOTHERS THEM. FREEDOM IS SOMETHING THEY CAN'T STAND, AND THEY WANT TO RUN US OUT OF IRAQ. THAT'S WHAT THEY WANT TO DO. WE'RE NOT GOING TO BE RUN OUT OF IRAQ. WE'RE NOT GOING TO LET A RUTHLESS POWER GRAB -- AFFECT THAT WHICH IS IMPORTANT. SEE, IT'S IN OUR NATIONAL INTEREST THAT IRAQ BE FREE AND PEACEFUL. IT'S IN OUR NATIONAL INTERESTS, THE LONG-TERM INTERESTS OF THIS COUNTRY THAT RIGHT IN THE HEART OF THE MIDDLE EAST THERE BE A FREE SOCIETY, ONE THAT WILL HELP SPREAD HOPE AND OPPORTUNITY. SEE, I BELIEVE FREE SOCIETIES ARE PEACEFUL SOCIETIES. I'M ALSO MOTIVATED BY THIS AMERICAN VALUE THAT SAYS FREEDOM IS NOT OUR GIFT TO THE WORLD, FREEDOM IS THE ALMIGHTY'S GIFT TO EVERY MAN AND WOMAN IN THIS WORLD. THAT'S WHAT I BELIEVE. AND I BELIEVE -- [ APPLAUSE ] IRAQ WILL EITHER BE PEACEFUL AND DEMOCRATIC, OR IT WILL BE A SOURCE OF VIOLENCE, A SOURCE OF INSTABILITY, A SOURCE OF HATRED, AND A THREAT TO FREE SOCIETIES. I'M PROUD OF THOSE WHO HAVE SERVED OUR NATION AND ARE SERVING OUR NATION. OUR MILITARY IS DOING INCREDIBLY GOOD WORK. THEY'VE BEEN GIVEN A HARD JOB. [ APPLAUSE ] THEY'VE BEEN GIVEN A TOUGH JOB, AND THEY'RE PERFORMING BRILLIANTLY. SEE, THE TRANSITION FROM TORTURE CHAMBERS AND RAPE ROOMS AND MASS GRAVES AND FEAR OF AUTHORITY IS A TOUGH TRANSITION. AND THEY'RE DOING THE GOOD WORK OF KEEPING THIS COUNTRY STABILIZED AS A POLITICAL PROCESS UNFOLDS. WE SAW YESTERDAY MR. BRAHEME FROM THE UNITED NATIONS BEGIN TO LAY OUT THE SPECIFIC STRATEGY NECESSARY TO FIRST PASS SOVEREIGNTY AND THEN EVENTUALLY PUT A CONSTITUTION IN PLACE AND THEN FREE ELECTIONS IN IRAQ. WE'RE MOVING TOWARD DEMOCRACY BUT THE SITUATION ON THE GROUND I READILY CAN SEE IT'S TOUGH WORK AND WE'VE GOT GOOD PEOPLE THERE WORKING IT. AND SOME HAVE PAID THE HIGHEST PRICE OF ALL. SOME OF THE PEOPLE THERE IN IRAQ HAVE MADE THE ULTIMATE SACRIFICE ON BEHALF OF A MORE STABLE AND PEACEFUL WORLD. TOM LATHAM TOLD ME ABOUT COMING FROM THE FUNERAL OF MARINE LANCE CORPORAL BEN CARMEN FROM JEFFERSON, IOWA. MY DEEPEST SYMPATHIES GO TO THE CARMEN FAMILY. I KNOW HOW INCREDIBLY DIFFICULT IT IS FOR THEM TO PUT THEIR LOVED ONE INTO THE GROUND. BEN CARMEN'S FATHER SAID THIS. HE SAID HE KNEW THAT AMERICA WAS IN DANGER -- "HE," TALKING ABOUT HIS SON. THE DAD TALKING ABOUT HIS SON SAID HE KNEW THAT AMERICA WAS IN DANGER AND IT WAS TIME FOR GUYS LIKE HIM TO STEP UP TO THE PLATE. THAT'S WHAT HIS DAD SAID ABOUT HIS COURAGEOUS SON. MR. CARMEN MUST KNOW THAT OUR PRAYERS ARE WITH HIM AND WITH THOSE OF OTHERS WHO HAVE LOST A LOVED ONE IN IRAQ AND THAT THE MISSION THAT HIS SON WAS ON WAS A NOBLE AND IMPORTANT MISSION FOR PEACE AND FREEDOM AND FOR THE SECURITY OF AMERICA. AND WE WILL STAY THE COURSE IN IRAQ SO THAT HIS SON DID NOT DIE IN VAIN. [ APPLAUSE ] WE'VE OVERCOME A LOT OF CHALLENGES, WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT IT. RURAL AMERICA HAS OVERCOME A LOT OF ECONOMIC CHALLENGES. IN THREE SHORT YEARS WE'VE BEEN THROUGH A RECESSION. BY THE WAY, A STOCK MARKET CORRECTION, THAT AFFECTED PEOPLE IN RURAL AMERICA. WE'VE BEEN THROUGH AN ATTACK ON OUR COUNTRY, A NATIONAL EMERGENCY. WE'VE BEEN THROUGH CORPORATE SCANDALS. WE'RE MAKING THE WORLD MORE PEACEFUL AND SECURE. THOSE ARE CHALLENGES THAT ARE HARD FOR ANY ECONOMY TO OVERCOME, BUT THIS IS AMERICA. THIS IS A COUNTRY THAT'S FULL OF VIBRANCY, VIBRANT PEOPLE. THE ENTREPRENEURIAL SPIRIT IS STRONG AND I INTEND TO KEEP IT THAT WAY. TAX RELIEF HELPED. HERE ON TAX DAY WE CAN SAY THAT BY CUTTING TAXES, WE HELPED THE ENTREPRENEURIAL SPIRIT OF BOTH URBAN AND RURAL AMERICA. AND THE FACTS -- BEAR ME OUT, ECONOMIC GROWTH IN THE SECOND HALF OF 2003 WAS THE BEST IN NEARLY TWENTY YEARS. THINGS ARE IMPROVING. MORE MANUFACTURERS ARE SEEING RISING ACTIVITY THAN AT ANY POINT IN ABOUT TWO DECADES. INFLATION IS LOW. THAT'S GOOD FOR RURAL AMERICA. INTEREST RATES ARE LOW. THAT'S GOOD IF YOU WANT TO BUY A HOUSE. HOME OWNERSHIP IS AT THE HIGHEST RATE EVER. THAT'S A PROUD STATISTIC FOR AMERICA TO HOLD UP. YOU KNOW WHY? BECAUSE WE WANT MORE PEOPLE OWNING THEIR OWN HOME. AN OWNERSHIP SOCIETY IS A POSITIVE SOCIETY. WHEN PEOPLE OWN SOMETHING THEY HAVE A VITAL STAKE IN THE FUTURE OF OUR COUNTRY, WHETHER IT BE IN RURAL AMERICA OR URBAN AMERICA. THERE WAS GOOD CONFIRMATION LAST MONTH ABOUT STRENGTHENING THE ECONOMY. WE CREATED 308,000 NEW JOBS IN MARCH, 750,000 SINCE AUGUST. THAT'S POSITIVE. PEOPLE ARE GETTING HIRED. PEOPLE ARE GOING BACK TO WORK. THE UNEMPLOYMENT RATE IN IOWA WAS 4.1 PERCENT. THAT'S BELOW THE NATIONAL AVERAGE. I'M SURE THERE'S POCKETS OF UNEMPLOYMENT THAT ARE HIGHER THAN THAT, BUT OVERALL THIS STATE'S UNEMPLOYMENT RATE IS BETTER THAN THE NATION, WHICH IS A CREDIT TO THE ENTREPRENEURS OF THE STATE OF IOWA AND THE ENTREPRENEURS, BY THE WAY, OF OTHER STATES HERE AS WELL. YOU'RE DOING WELL. AND I APPRECIATE THAT. MY JOB IS TO MAKE SURE THAT THE ENVIRONMENT IS SUCH THAT YOU CAN CONTINUE TO DO WELL. YOU SEE, I'M INTERESTED IN LASTING PROSPERITY. I WANT PROSPERITY TO BE ACHIEVED IN THE OUTYEARS. AND THERE IS SOME UNCERTAINTY. PEOPLE ARE WORRIED ABOUT FINDING WORK. FAMILIES ARE WONDERING WHETHER OR NOT THEIR LOVED ONE CAN FIND A JOB CLOSE TO HOME, BECAUSE THIS IS A CHANGING ECONOMY. THIS IS DIFFERENT. SOME THINGS DON'T CHANGE. FARMERS OUT THERE PLANTING THE FIELD, ALTHOUGH AGRICULTURE IS DIFFERENT FROM THIRTY YEARS AGO. WE NEED OUR RANCHERS FEELING GOOD ABOUT THINGS. WE NEED TO MAKE SURE, THOUGH, THAT THIS IS THE BEST PLACE IN THE WORLD TO DO BUSINESS. IF YOU'RE REALLY INTERESTED IN MAKING SURE THAT PEOPLE CAN FIND WORK AT HOME, AMERICA HAS GOT TO BE THE BEST PLACE TO DO BUSINESS. THE ENVIRONMENT HAS GOT TO BE A GOOD PLACE FOR PEOPLE TO MAKE A LIVING IS WHAT I'M TELLING YOU. THE FIRST WAY TO DO SO IS TO MAKE SURE OUR LEGAL SYSTEM IS BALANCED AND FAIR. YOU KNOW, TOO MANY LAWSUITS RUN UP THE COST OF DOING BUSINESS IN AMERICA. FRIVOLOUS LAWSUITS ARE REALLY HARD ON SMALL BUSINESSES. WE NEED GOOD LEGAL REFORM. CONGRESS HAS GOT A RESPONSIBILITY LIKE ON CLASS-ACTION LEGAL REFORMS. WE NEED TO GET IT OUT OF CONGRESS. WE NEED TO SEND A MESSAGE THAT WE'LL HAVE A FAIR AND EQUITABLE LEGAL SYSTEM, NOT ONE THAT IS FULL OF FRIVOLOUS AND JUNK LAWSUITS THAT MAKE IT HARD FOR PEOPLE TO FIND WORK. WE NEED LESS REGULATIONS. WE'RE WORKING ON REGULATORY RELIEF AT THE ADMINISTRATIVE BRANCH. CONGRESS NEEDS TO WORK ON REGULATORY RELIEF TOO IN THE LAWS THEY PASS. I WISH I COULD SAY THAT EVERY SINGLE FORM THAT PEOPLE WERE REQUIRED TO FILL OUT WAS READ IN WASHINGTON OR IN DES MOINES OR ANYWHERE ELSE WHERE THERE'S A STATEHOUSE. I DON'T THINK SO. WE NEED TO STREAMLINE THESE REGULATIONS. WE DON'T NEED OUR SMALL-BUSINESS PEOPLE SPENDING ENORMOUS AMOUNTS OF TIME FILLING OUT FORMS THAT DON'T GET READ. WE ALSO NEED TO MAKE SURE THAT WE CAN -- THAT OUR HEALTH CARE IS ACCESSIBLE AND AFFORDABLE. THE RISING COST OF HEALTH CARE MAKES IT DIFFICULT FOR PEOPLE TO EMPLOY PEOPLE. IT'S HARD ON SMALL BUSINESSES. I'M TELLING YOU, IT'S HARD ON RURAL AMERICA. AND YOU KNOW WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT. SO WE PASSED SOME GOOD LAWS THAT ALLOW FOR HEALTH SAVINGS ACCOUNT, WHICH ARE AN IMAGINATIVE WAY TO HELP CONTROL THE COSTS OF HEALTH CARE INDIVIDUALS AND SMALL BUSINESSES AND FARMING FAMILIES. CONGRESS NEEDS TO PASS ASSOCIATION TO HEALTH CARE PLANS THAT ALLOWS SMALL BUSINESSES IN RURAL AMERICA TO POOL THEIR RISK WITH OTHER BUSINESSES, PERHAPS IN URBAN AMERICA, SO THAT THEY GET THE SAME PURCHASING POWER THAT BIG BUSINESSES DO IN THE MARKETPLACE. IT'S A SMART WAY TO MAKE SURE THAT THE RURAL ECONOMY STAYS HEALTHY SO THAT THE SMALL BUSINESSES OUT THERE ARE ABLE TO FIND AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE. I APPRECIATE SENATOR GRASSLEY WORKING WITH ME ON MEDICARE REFORM. IN ORDER TO MAKE SURE HEALTH CARE IS AVAILABLE, THE MEDICARE REFORM PACKAGE WE WORKED WITH EMPHASIS ON RURAL HOSPITALS MADE A DIFFERENCE AND WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN THE HEALTH CARE IN RURAL AMERICA. A VIBRANT RURAL AMERICA MUST HAVE THE ABILITY FOR PEOPLE TO FIND HEALTH CARE. AND THE MEDICARE REFORMS ARE GOING TO HELP A LOT. AS WELL, I APPRECIATE CONGRESS WORKING ON COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTERS. THESE ARE PLACES WHERE PEOPLE -- LOW-INCOME PEOPLE CAN FIND PRIMARY CARE SO THEY'RE NOT USING THE EMERGENCY ROOMS OF URBAN OR RURAL HOSPITALS. THERE'S PRACTICAL THINGS WE CAN DO TO MAKE SURE THAT THE ECONOMY STAYS STRONG, PEOPLE CAN FIND WORK, THE RURAL ECONOMIES ARE VIBRANT, BY DEALING WITH HEALTH CARE. I'M NOT GOING TO ALLOW THE HEALTH CARE SYSTEM TO BE FEDERALIZED. I THINK THAT WOULD BE A TERRIBLE MISTAKE TO HAVE A FEDERAL DELIVERY OF HEALTH CARE. [ APPLAUSE ] WE NEED TO MAKE SURE WE MAINTAIN SPENDING DISCIPLINE IN WASHINGTON. ONE WAY TO MAKE SURE THE ECONOMY -- THE OVERALL ECONOMY GROWS IS FOR THERE TO BE WISE EXPENDITURE OF PEOPLE'S MONEY. IT'S ALWAYS A BATTLE, OF COURSE. EVERY IDEA IS A GOOD IDEA AND EVERY IDEA REQUIRES MORE MONEY. I'VE SUBMITTED MY BUDGET WHICH REDUCES THE DEFICIT IN HALF BY FIVE YEARS WITHOUT RAISING TAXES ON THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. IT'S GOING TO REQUIRE SOME DISCIPLINE -- SPENDING DISCIPLINE. FORTUNATELY, IOWA IS REPRESENTED BY CONGRESSMAN JIM NUSSLE ON THE BUDGET COMMITTEE. WE'LL HAVE AN INTERESTING BATTLE IN THIS ELECTION YEAR ABOUT KEEPING SPENDING DOWN, BUT I THINK IF THE WILL IS RIGHT, WE CAN. WE CAN MEET OUR PRIORITIES, MAKE SURE OUR SOLDIERS GET WHAT THEY WANT, MAKE SURE THE HOMELAND IS DEFENDED WITHOUT BUSTING THE BUDGET. TO MAKE SURE THE ECONOMY CONTINUES TO GROW AND RURAL AMERICA IS HEALTHY, WE NEED AN ENERGY PLAN. WE NEED TO GET SOUND ENERGY LEGISLATION TO MY DESK. IF YOU'RE A BUSINESS PERSON THINKING ABOUT HIRING SOMEBODY OR WANTING TO START A BUSINESS AND YOU'RE WORRIED ABOUT GETTING ELECTRICITY, YOU'RE NOT GOING TO START YOUR BUSINESS. IF YOU'RE SOMEBODY WHO IS A MANUFACTURER IN THE STATE OF IOWA OR MISSOURI, MINNESOTA, THE DAKOTAS AND YOUR ENERGY SUPPLIES ARE DISRUPTED, YOUR PRICE OF NATURAL GAS GOES TOO HIGH, OR YOUR WORRIED ABOUT THE RELIABILITY OF ELECTRICITY, YOU'RE NOT GOING TO BE IN A MOOD TO EXPAND YOUR BUSINESS. WE'RE HOOKED ON FOREIGN SOURCES OF ENERGY RIGHT NOW. THE COUNTRY NEEDS TO CHANGE ITS ATTITUDE. OF COURSE WE'VE GOT TO ENCOURAGE CONSERVATION -- THAT'S IMPORTANT -- AND USE NEW TECHNOLOGIES. IN MY JUDGMENT, WE OUGHT TO OPEN UP LANDS FOR EXPLORATION FOR NATURAL GAS. WE CAN DO SO IN A ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY WAY, TO MAKE US LESS DEPENDENT ON FOREIGN SOURCES OF ENERGY. WE NEED TO CONTINUE TO PROMOTE CLEAN COAL TECHNOLOGY SO WE BECOME LESS DEPENDENT ON FOREIGN SOURCES OF ENERGY. WE NEED TO USE THAT WHICH WE GROW RIGHT HERE IN PLACES LIKE IOWA TO MAKE US LESS DEPENDENT ON FOREIGN SOURCES OF ENERGY. THAT'S WHY I'VE WORKED WITH THE SENATOR ON ETHANOL, WHICH I THINK IS AN IMPORTANT INGREDIENT, AN IMPORTANT PART OF MAKE MAKING SURE THAT WE HAVE A MODERN ENERGY PLAN AS WE GO INTO THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY. LET'S GROW IT INSTEAD OF DEPENDING ON FOREIGN SOURCES TO PROVIDE IT. [ APPLAUSE ] I HOPE I CAN GET AN ENERGY BILL TO MY DESK. IT WOULD BE GOOD FOR RURAL AMERICA IF I DO SO... "WHEN" I DO SO. LET ME BE OPTIMISTIC. ANOTHER THING THAT'S IMPORTANT FOR RURAL AMERICA IS TO BE CONFIDENT IN OUR TRADE POLICY. THERE'S A LOT OF TALK ABOUT ECONOMIC ISOLATIONISM IN WASHINGTON RIGHT NOW. THAT MEANS THROWING UP BARRIERS TO TRADE. THAT WILL BE BAD FOR RURAL AMERICA. IT'S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN ON MY WATCH. I WILL RESIST THAT BECAUSE I BELIEVE THAT WHEN YOU'RE GOOD AT SOMETHING, YOU OUGHT TO PROMOTE IT. WE'RE REALLY GOOD AT GROWING THINGS, AND WE OUGHT TO BE SELLING THINGS THAT WE GROW EVERYWHERE AROUND THE WORLD. WE'RE 5 PERCENT OF THE WORLD'S POPULATION. WHY DON'T WE SELL TO THE OTHER 95 PERCENT AS OPPOSED TO WALLING OURSELVES OFF. GOOD ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT POLICY IN RURAL AMERICA DEPENDS UPON OUR ABILITY TO OPEN UP MARKETS FOR PRODUCTS MADE IN RURAL AMERICA, PRODUCTS GROWN IN RURAL AMERICA. I'LL TELL YOU SOMETHING REALLY INTERESTING. LET ME TAKE A STEP BACK. MANY PRESIDENTS OF BOTH PARTIES HAVE MADE THE DECISION THAT AMERICA'S MARKET SHOULD BE OPENED. THAT'S GOOD FOR THE CONSUMERS. WHEN YOU ARE MORE CHOICES TO MAKE, IT'S GENERALLY GOOD FOR CONSUMERS. IT HELPS WITH PRICE. THE MORE COMPETITION THERE IS FOR YOUR DEMAND, THE BETTER SELECTIONS YOU WILL HAVE AT A BETTER PRICE. THAT'S JUST HOW THE MARKETS WORK. IN RETURN, COUNTRIES HAVEN'T RECIPROCATED. THEY HAVEN'T OPENED UP THEIR MARKETS AS GENEROUSLY AS WE'VE OPENED UP OURS. SO THE CHOICE WE HAVE TO MAKE IS DO WE RETALIATE BY CLOSING OURS, AND THEREFORE THEY KEEP THEIRS CLOSED, OR DO WE WORK TO OPEN UP OTHER MARKETS. I'VE CHOSEN THE LATTER ROUTE. JUST TREAT US THE WAY WE TREAT YOU IS MY MESSAGE WHEN IT COMES TO FOREIGN TRADE. OUR MARKETS ARE OPEN FOR YOU. YOU OPEN UP OUR MARKETS TO YOUR CONSUMERS -- YOUR MARKETS TO OUR PRODUCTS. AND ITS BEGINNING TO WORK. IF YOU ASK ANY FARMER, THEY KNOW WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT BECAUSE FARM INCOME IS AT A RECORD LEVEL IN 2003, MUCH OF IT THANKS TO THE ABILITY FOR OUR FARMERS TO EXPORT INTO OTHER MARKETS. IT'S IMPORTANT TO KEEP THOSE MARKETS OPENED. IT'S IMPORTANT TO MAKE SURE THAT WE'RE CONFIDENT ABOUT OUR TRADE POLICY, NOT PESSIMISTIC, NOT WILLING TO FALL PREY TO THE FALSE HOPES OF ECONOMIC ISOLATIONISM. ECONOMIC ISOLATIONISM WILL HURT RURAL AMERICA, AND IT'S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN. [ APPLAUSE ] WE'LL BE TOUGH WHEN WE HAVE TO, TO MAKE SURE THAT WE'RE TREATED FAIRLY. I FILED THE FIRST WTO CASE AGAINST CHINA OVER UNFAIR TAX BURDENS IT GIVES TO ITS SEMI-CONDUCTOR MAKERS. IN OTHER WORDS, WHEN WE SEE INEQUITY, WE'LL FILE A COMPLAINT. WE'LL TAKE PEOPLE TO THE COURT. WE JUST WANT TO OPEN THE FIELDS. WE JUST WANT TO BE TREATED THE EXACT SAME WAY WE TREAT THEM. THE INTERESTING THING THAT HAPPENED LAST MONTH IS THAT AMERICA HIT AN ALL-TIME RECORD FOR EXPORTS. THAT'S POSITIVE NEWS. THAT'S POSITIVE NEWS THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY. THE REASON WHY -- YOU KNOW WHY? IT'S BECAUSE WE PRODUCE THE BEST PRODUCTS. WHEN IT SAYS MADE IN THE USA, THEY'RE THE BEST. [ APPLAUSE ] ONE OF THE GREAT CHALLENGES WE HAVE IS TO MAKE SURE OUR WORK FORCE IS TRAINED FOR THE JOBS OF THE 21ST CENTURY, MAKE SURE PEOPLE WHO ARE GROWING UP IN RURAL AMERICA HAVE GOT THE SKILLS NECESSARY TO BECOME EMPLOYED IN THE JOBS THAT WILL BE AVAILABLE AS WE MOVE INTO THE 21ST CENTURY. THE WORK FORCE INVESTMENT ACT NEEDS TO BE REFORMED IN A POSITIVE WAY SO THAT PEOPLE ARE TRAINED FOR JOBS WHICH ACTUALLY EXIST. ONE OF THE GREATEST STRENGTHS OF OUR COUNTRY IS THE COMMUNITY COLLEGE SYSTEM, AND IT NEEDS TO BE UTILIZED IN AN EFFECTIVE SMART WAY TO COMBINE THOSE WHO ARE LOOKING FOR WORKERS AND THOSE WHO WANT TO WORK WITH A PLACE -- IN ORDER TO LEARN THE SKILLS SO THEY CAN GET HIRED. THAT SOUNDS PRETTY SIMPLE BUT SOMETIME THE SYSTEM DOESN'T WORK THAT WAY. SO I'VE LAID OUT A JOBS FOR THE 21ST CENTURY PROGRAM THAT REALLY UTILIZES THE COMMUNITY COLLEGE SYSTEM IN A WAY THAT I THINK IS STRATEGICALLY IMPORTANT TO MAKE SURE PEOPLE GET THE SKILLS. LISTEN, YOU HEAR A LOT OF TALK ABOUT PRODUCTIVITY. THAT MEANS THAT ONE WORKER CAN PRODUCE MORE GOODS OR SERVICES THAN BEFORE. WE WANT PEOPLE TO BE MORE PRODUCTIVE, AND OFTENTIMES THE WAY THAT HAS TO HAPPEN IS THROUGH EDUCATION. THERE'S PLENTY OF WAYS FOR PEOPLE TO FIND MONEY TO HELP WITH THE EDUCATION. WE JUST WANT TO MAKE SURE OUR WORK FORCE TRAINING PROGRAMS ARE APPLICABLE TO THE 21ST CENTURY. AS WELL, WE'VE GOT TO MAKE SURE YOU GET IT RIGHT EARLY IN THE PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM. I MEAN YOU CAN TALK ALL YOU WANT ABOUT PRODUCTIVITY IN WORKERS, BUT IF PEOPLE CAN'T READ, IT'S A STEEP HILL TO CLIMB. I KNOW IN IOWA, YOU DO A GREAT JOB AT YOUR PUBLIC SCHOOLS OF HOLDING PEOPLE TO ACCOUNT OF MEASURING SO YOU CAN DETERMINE WHETHER OR NOT YOUR CURRICULUM IS WORKING OR NOT. AND THAT'S IMPORTANT. IT'S IMPORTANT IN RURAL AMERICA AS WELL. IT'S IMPORTANT TO MAKE SURE THAT YOU SET HIGH STANDARDS, YOU CHALLENGE WHAT I CALL THE SOFT BIGOTRY OF LOW EXPECTATIONS. YOU EXPECT NOTHING BUT EXCELLENCE FOR EVERY SINGLE CHILD BEING EDUCATED IN ANY SINGLE PUBLIC SCHOOL ACROSS THE STATE IN WHICH YOU LIVE. THAT'S THE SPIRIT BEHIND THE NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND ACT, AND IT'S GOING TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE. PEOPLE ARE LEARNING TO READ AND WRITE AND ADD AND SUBTRACT. WE'VE GOT KIND OF A FLAW IN THE PIPELINE IN SOME PLACES WHERE THE ACCOUNTABILITY HASN'T KICKED IN SOON ENOUGH. SO WE'VE GOT SOME INTERMEDIATE MEASURES THAT I'D LIKE FOR CONGRESS TO SUPPORT ME ON SO THERE'S INTENSIVE READING ENMASS FOR JUNIOR HIGH AND HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS, BECAUSE WE'VE GOT TO SOLVE THESE PROBLEMS EARLY BEFORE THEY'RE TOO LATE AND MAKE SURE THAT THE WORK FORCE TRAINING PROGRAMS ARE RELEVANT. I THINK ONE OF THE INTERESTING THINGS FOR RURAL AMERICA IS GOING TO BE THE SPREAD OF BROADBAND TECHNOLOGY. IT'S GOING TO REALLY CHANGE MUCH OF THE WAY THAT EDUCATION CAN BE DELIVERED, OUR HEALTH CARE CAN BE DELIVERED. IT'S AN EXCITING OPPORTUNITY AND AN EXCITING MOMENT FOR PEOPLE WHO LIVE IN RURAL AMERICA. THE OBJECTIVE OF THIS ADMINISTRATION IS TO MAKE SURE THAT EVERY AMERICAN HAS ACCESS BY THE YEAR 2007 AND SHORTLY THEREAFTER HAVE MORE THAN JUST ONE DELIVERER OF BROADBAND, SO YOU'VE GOT CHOICE. RURAL AMERICA NEEDS JUST AS MUCH CHOICE AS URBAN AMERICA DOES IN ORDER FOR THE CONSUMERS TO BENEFIT. I SEE PEOPLE NODDING THEIR HEADS. AS LEADERS IN YOUR COMMUNITIES, THIS IS GOING TO BE A FANTASTIC OPPORTUNITY FOR YOU, AND THE GOVERNMENT'S JOB IS MAKE SURE THAT THE REGULATORY ENVIRONMENT IS SUCH AND THE TAXING ENVIRONMENT IS SUCH THAT BROADBAND SPREADS AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE ALL THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY. [ APPLAUSE ] LET ME TALK ABOUT ONE OTHER WAY TO MAKE SURE THE ECONOMIC ENVIRONMENT IN BOTH URBAN AND RURAL AMERICA REMAINS CONDUCIVE TO JOB GROWTH AND VITALITY, AND THAT IS THE TAX CODE HAS GOT TO BE FAIR. AND IN MY BUDGET, I PROPOSED A 10.7-PERCENT INCREASE TO MAKE SURE THAT TAX CHEATERS ARE FOUND, TO MAKE SURE THE IRS GETS AFTER THOSE WHO DON'T PAY TAXES, MAKE SURE THAT THE SYSTEM IS FAIR FOR THOSE OF US WHO DO PAY TAXES. WE WANT EVERYBODY PAYING THEIR FAIR SHARE. IF I'M GOING TO PAY IT, I WANT SOMEBODY ELSE TO PAY IT TOO IF THEY'RE OBLIGATED TO PAY. AND THAT'S WHY WE EXPECT THE IRS TO BE TOUGH, AND THEY NEED THE RESOURCES NECESSARY TO DO SO, AND WE'LL PROVIDE THEM. THE OTHER THING WE NEED TO DO ON THE TAX CODE IS THERE NEEDS TO BE CERTAINTY IN THE TAX CODE. IF YOU'RE A JOB CREATOR AND YOU'RE WORRIED ABOUT WHAT THE TAX CODE WILL LOOK LIKE NEXT YEAR, IT CREATES UNCERTAINTY. SEE, IT'S THE WORRY ABOUT WHETHER THE ENVIRONMENT IN WHICH YOU'LL BE TAXED CREATES ENOUGH UNCERTAINTY SO THERE'S A LACK OF CONFIDENCE ABOUT EXPANDING THE JOB BASE. A SMALL BUSINESSES OWNER NEEDS TO KNOW WITH CERTAINTY WHAT THE CODE WILL LOOK LIKE. AND THAT'S NOT THE WAY THE TAX CODE HAS BEEN STRUCTURED. THE TAX RELIEF THAT WE PASSED ABOUT -- TALKED ABOUT IS SCHEDULED TO GO AWAY. I CAN'T EXPLAIN IT VERY WELL, BUT THAT'S JUST THE WAY IT HAPPENS, TAX RELIEF TODAY AND NOT TAX RELIEF TOMORROW. AND WE NEED TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT, BECAUSE THERE NEEDS TO BE CERTAINTY IN THE CODE. FOR EXAMPLE, THE CHILD CREDIT WILL GO DOWN NEXT YEAR UNLESS CONGRESS MAKES THE TAX RELIEF PERMANENT. THAT MEANS IF YOU'VE GOT A CHILD, YOU'RE GOING TO PAY A TAX INCREASE. THAT'S WHAT THAT MEANS. THE MARRIAGE PENALTY, THAT WILL GO UP. ONCE AGAIN THE TAX CODE WILL SAY IT'S GREAT THAT YOU'RE MARRIED, BUT WE'RE GOING TO PENALIZE YOU FOR IT. THE 10-PERCENT BRACKET, WHICH HAS HELPED MILLIONS OF LOW-INCOME FAMILIES, WILL FADE AWAY. AND I THINK CONGRESS NEEDS TO MAKE IT PERMANENT. I THINK CONGRESS NEEDS TO MAKE ALL ASPECTS OF TAX RELIEF PERMANENT. SEE, I THINK THE UNCERTAINTY IN THE TAX CODE IS GOING TO MAKE IT DIFFICULT FOR US TO CONFIDENTLY MOVE OUT INTO THE 21ST CENTURY. NOW IS NOT THE TIME TO BE RAISING TAXES ON HARD-WORKING PEOPLE. WITH THIS ECONOMY GROWING STRONG AND GETTING STRONGER, WE DON'T NEED TO RAISE THE TAX BURDEN. [ APPLAUSE ] I HAD THE HONOR OF MEETING SOME OF YOUR FELLOW CITIZENS PRIOR TO COMING IN HERE. THERE ARE THREE EXAMPLES AND I HOPE THESE EXAMPLES WILL HELP PEOPLE UNDERSTAND WHY I'M INSISTENT ON MAKING THE TAX RELIEF PERMANENT. IT WILL HELP -- YOU SEE, I FULLY UNDERSTAND THAT WHEN THOSE OF US IN OFFICE TALK, WE TALK ABOUT NUMBERS AND WE TALK ABOUT THIS AND WE TALK ABOUT THAT AND THAT THEORY AND THIS THEORY. THE BEST THING TO TALK ABOUT IS HOW THE TAX RELIEF EFFECTS PEOPLE. TED STEWART IS WITH US. HE'S AN ENTREPRENEUR. HE OWNS A COMPANY CALLED ARCHITECTURAL ARTS. THEY DO CUSTOM MILL AND CABINETRY WORK IN DES MOINES, IOWA. HE IS WHAT WE CALL A SUBCHAPTER-S CORPORATION. THAT MEANS THEY PAY TAX AT THE INDIVIDUAL INCOME TAX LEVEL, SO WHEN YOU HEAR "TAX ON THE RICH," THAT'S HIS COMPANY. HE'S PART OF THAT TAX ON THE RICH PART. MOST NEW JOBS IN AMERICA ARE CREATED BY SMALL BUSINESSES. SEVENTY PERCENT OF NEW JOBS IN THIS COUNTRY ARE CREATED BY ENTREPRENEURS LIKE TED. TED HAS ADDED 20 WORKERS OVER THE PAST TWO YEARS. THAT'S A REALLY HEALTHY SIGN. WHEN YOU'VE GOT A GUY LIKE TED WHO IS AN ENTREPRENEUR WHO IS WILLING TO ADD WORKERS, IT'S A SIGN THAT THERE'S A VIBRANCY. HE SAID THAT WITHOUT THE TAX RELIEF, HE WOULDN'T HAVE HIRED AS MANY. SEE, THE TAX RELIEF WENT INTO TED'S SMALL BUSINESS COFFERS. THE INDIVIDUAL TAX CUTS -- WHEN THEY CUT THE INDIVIDUAL RATES, IT REALLY HELPED HIS BUSINESS. AND WITH THAT MONEY, HE HAD CONFIDENCE TO EXPAND. HE SAID TAKING TAX RELIEF AWAY FROM BUSINESSES LIKE TED'S MEANS THAT SMALL BUSINESSES WON'T BE ALLOWED TO GROW. HE SAID IT ALLOWS US TO GROW THE BUSINESS MORE QUICKLY. THAT'S WHAT TED SAID WHEN HE TALKED ABOUT THE TAX RELIEF. IT ALLOWS US TO GROW THE BUSINESS MORE QUICKLY, WHICH MEANS SOMEBODY IS MORE LIKELY TO FIND WORK. CONGRESS SHOULD NOT PENALIZE THE ENTREPRENEURIAL SPIRIT BY RAISING THE TAXES ON TED. [ APPLAUSE ] THE CHENOWITHS ARE WITH US, ROB AND MARCY, AND TWO OF THEIR FOUR CHILDREN, WHEREVER THEY ARE. THERE THEY ARE. I CAN SEE THEM SMILING. I PROMISED THE YOUNGEST SON THERE THAT I WOULDN'T SPEAK TOO LONG, AND I'VE ALREADY BROKEN THE PROMISE I GUESS. [ LAUGHTER ] THE LAD'S ABOUT TO DOZE OFF. THE CHENOWITHS SAVED $2,700 ON THEIR TAXES THIS YEAR BECAUSE OF THE CHILD CREDIT INCREASE. THAT'S A LOT MONEY FOR A FAMILY OF FOUR. A YOUNG FAMILY OF FOUR CAN USE $2,700. IT HELPS THEM A LOT. HE SAID IT HELPED PAY FOR AUTO BILLS. WITH A FAMILY OF FOUR, YOU BETTER HAVE AN AUTOMOBILE THAT CAN RUN. HE SAID IT HELPED THEM TAKE A TRIP, WHICH IS GOOD. AND BY THE WAY, WHEN YOU TAKE THE TRIP, YOU MIGHT GO TO A MOTEL DURING THE TRIP, IN WHICH CASE THE PERSON AT THE MOTEL IS, YOU KNOW, RECEIVES SOME BUSINESS, WHICH MEANS THE PERSON WORKING AT THE HOTEL MIGHT MORE LIKELY KEEP HIS OR HER JOB. HE ALSO PUT MORE MONEY ASIDE IN HIS RETIREMENT PLAN AT WORK. HE'S BEGINNING TO DO HIS DUTY AS A CITIZEN TO SAVE FOR HIS FAMILY'S FUTURE. THE TAX RELIEF MATTERS. IF CONGRESS DOES NOT MAKE THE PARTS OF THE TAX CODE THAT ARE SET TO EXPIRE PERMANENT THIS YEAR, HIS TAXES WILL GO UP BY $1,300. THAT'S THE REALITY. SO WHEN YOU HEAR US ABOUT MAKING THE TAX CUTS PERMANENT, THINK ABOUT THE CHENOWITHS. BY NOT MAKING IT PERMANENT, WE'RE TAKING MONEY OUT OF THEIR POCKET. WE'RE MAKING IT HARDER FOR THEM TO RAISE THEIR CHILDREN. WE'RE MAKING IT HARDER FOR THIS GOOD FAMILY TO REALIZE ITS DREAMS. AND FINALLY, I MET JIM AND ANN SAGE FROM WATERLOO, IOWA. I REMEMBER THE TIME THAT CHUCK AND I WERE LAUGHING ABOUT THIS DURING THE 2000 CAUCUSES. I WAS GOING TO GIVE A SPEECH IN AN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL IN WATERLOO, AND IT WAS -- THEY HAD THE HEAT CRANKED UP PRETTY HIGH IN THE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL CAFETERIA. BY THE TIME I GOT THERE, SOME PEOPLE WERE PRETTY WOBBLY. [ LAUGHTER ] AND I GOT UP THERE AND STARTED TO SPEAKING, AND A LADY DROPPED OUT OVER THERE. [ LAUGHTER ] ABOUT A THIRD OF THE WAY THROUGH THE SPEECH, ANOTHER ONE HIT THE DECK. [ LAUGHTER ] I TRIED TO BLAME IT ON SENATOR GRASSLEY, BUT I WAS THE ONLY ONE TALKING AT THE TIME. [ LAUGHTER ] BUT ANYWAY, THESE GOOD FOLKS ARE FROM WATERLOO. THEY ARE A NINTH-GENERATION FARM FAMILY. NINTH GENERATION, THAT GOES WAY BACK IN IOWA HISTORY. HE WANTS HIS CHILDREN TO BE THE TENTH GENERATION TO FARM. IT'S A GREAT IOWA TRADITION AND IT'S A GREAT DAKOTA TRADITION. IT'S A GREAT MISSOURI TRADITION AMONG THE FARMERS AND A GREAT MINNESOTA TRADITION FOR FAMILIES TO TAKE OVER THE FARM. THAT'S WHAT THE SAGES WANT. AFTER ALL, IT'S THEIR ASSET, ISN'T IT. IT'S THEIR FARM. IT'S NOBODY ELSE'S FARM. THEY OUGHT TO BE ABLE TO LEAVE THEIR FARM TO WHOEVER THEY WANT TO LEAVE THE FARM TO WITHOUT THE INTERFERENCE OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. THE DEATH TAX IS BAD FOR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND RURAL AMERICA BECAUSE IT'S BAD FOR SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS AND FARMERS. WE PUT THE DEATH TAX ON ITS WAY TO EXTINCTION BUT, UNFORTUNATELY, IN THE YEAR 2011 IT COMES BACK TO LIFE. IT'S TIME TO PLAN -- IF YOU'RE INVOLVED WITH ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN RURAL AMERICA, YOU BETTER BE PLANNING ABOUT THINGS THAT WILL AFFECT ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN RURAL AMERICA. AND ONE OF THE THINGS THAT WILL AFFECT IT IS FOR THE DEATH TAX TO COME BACK TO LIFE. IT MAKES NO SENSE FOR THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO TAX A PERSON'S ASSETS TWICE, ONCE WHEN THEY'RE LIVING AND MAKING MONEY AND AFTER THEY DEPART. THE DEATH TAX IS BAD FOR RURAL AMERICA, AND CONGRESS NEEDS TO MAKE IT EXTINCT FOREVER. [ APPLAUSE ] I WANT TO THANK THE THREE FOLKS FOR JOINING US HERE AND LETTING ME USE THEIR STORIES AS EXAMPLES OF WHAT WILL HAPPEN, WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF CONGRESS DOESN'T DO THE RIGHT THING. LET ME CONCLUDE BY ALSO TALKING ABOUT A CONTRIBUTION THAT RURAL AMERICA MAKES THAT'S IMPORTANT FOR THE FUTURE OF OUR COUNTRY AS WELL. IT'S THE SPIRIT OF RURAL AMERICA. I OFTENTIMES TALK ABOUT THE NEED TO CHANGE THIS CULTURE OF OURS IN AMERICA FROM ONE THAT HAS SAID IF IT FEELS GOOD, WHY DON'T YOU JUST GO AHEAD AND DO IT AND IF YOU'VE GOT A PROBLEM, BLAME SOMEBODY ELSE... TO A CULTURE IN WHICH EACH OF US UNDERSTANDS WE'RE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DECISIONS WE MAKE IN LIFE. AND IT'S CHANGING. THE CULTURE IS CHANGING IN AMERICA. A LOT OF IT HAS TO DO WITH THE CULTURE OF RURAL AMERICA, THE CULTURE BASED UPON FAITH AND FAMILY. WHEN I SAY RESPONSIBILITY, HERE'S WHAT I MEAN. IF YOU'RE A MOTHER OR A FATHER, YOU'RE RESPONSIBLE FOR LOVING YOUR CHILD WITH ALL YOUR HEART. THAT'S YOUR RESPONSIBILITY. I THINK PEOPLE IN RURAL AMERICA UNDERSTAND THAT WELL. I THINK IT'S PART OF THE CULTURE OF RURAL AMERICA. IF YOU'RE IN RURAL AMERICA OR ANYWHERE IN AMERICA AND YOU'RE WORRIED ABOUT THE QUALITY OF THE EDUCATION IN WHICH YOU LIVE, YOU'RE RESPONSIBLE FOR DOING SOMETHING ABOUT IT. DON'T HOPE THE FARAWAY GOVERNMENT IN WASHINGTON SOLVES YOUR PROBLEM. DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. WORK WITH YOUR TEACHERS AND THANK YOUR TEACHERS AND GET INVOLVED SO THAT THE QUALITY OF THE EDUCATION IS WHAT YOU WANT IT TO BE. OF COURSE, YOU KNOW I'M GOING TO SAY THIS, BUT IF YOU'RE A CEO IN CORPORATE AMERICA, YOU'RE RESPONSIBLE FOR TELLING THE TRUTH. THAT'S PART OF WHAT I MEAN BY USHERING IN A RESPONSIBILITY ERA. YOU'RE RESPONSIBLE FOR TELLING THE TRUTH TO YOUR SHAREHOLDERS. YOU'RE RESPONSIBLE FOR TELLING THE TRUTH TO YOUR EMPLOYEES. YOU KNOW, OFTENTIMES YOU HEAR ME TALK ABOUT NEIGHBORLINESS IN RURAL AMERICA, NEIGHBORS CARING FOR NEIGHBORS. PART OF A RESPONSIBILITY ERA IS A NEIGHBOR LOVING YOUR NEIGHBOR JUST LIKE YOU'D LIKE TO BE LOVED YOURSELF. THAT'S PART OF THE RESPONSIBILITY ERA AS WELL. RURAL AMERICA PROVIDES SUCH STRENGTH TO THE AMERICAN CULTURE. IT'S A PART OF HELPING A CULTURE SHIFT TO THE BETTER SO THAT AMERICA CAN REALIZE ITS FULL POTENTIAL, EVERY CITIZEN CAN BE HOPEFUL ABOUT THEIR FUTURE. IT'S HAPPENING. IT'S HAPPENING IN THIS COUNTRY, AND I WANT TO THANK THOSE OF YOU WHO ARE PART OF MAKING SURE THAT THE ECONOMY IS STRONG IN RURAL AMERICA, FOR MAKING SURE THE SPIRIT OF -- THAT IMPORTANT PART OF OUR COUNTRY REMAINS VIBRANT AND HOPEFUL AND HEALTHY. WE'VE OVERCOME A LOT IN AMERICA. THE REASON WE HAVE IS BECAUSE THE PEOPLE OF THIS COUNTRY ARE FABULOUS PEOPLE. STRONG HEARTS, GOOD SOULS, AND HOPEFUL CHARACTERS. GOD BLESS YOU ALL. >> LIVE FROM THE STUDIOS OF IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION, THIS IS A SPECIAL EDITION OF "IOWA PRESS." HERE IS DEAN BORG.

Borg: GOOD EVENING. YOU'VE JUST SEEN THE ADDRESS BY PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH EARLIER TODAY AT THE "CAPITALIZING ON RURAL AMERICA" SYMPOSIUM IN DOWNTOWN DES MOINES. EARLIER THIS WEEK, OF COURSE, IN WASHINGTON D.C., THE PRESIDENT HELD THE THIRD PRIME TIME NEWS CONFERENCE OF HIS PRESIDENCY. THAT WAS DEVOTED ALMOST ENTIRELY, AS YOU RECALL, TO THE NATION'S WAR ON TERRORISM AND THE U.S. COMMITMENT IN IRAQ. THE NATION'S 2004 GENERAL ELECTION, IF YOU CAN BELIEVE IT, IS ONLY 169 DAYS AWAY NOW. AND IN VISITING DES MOINES TODAY, MR. BUSH IS REACHING OUT TO A STATE THAT HE NARROWLY LOST IN THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION FOUR YEARS AGO. FOR THAT PERSPECTIVE AND MORE, WE'RE GOING TO HEAR FROM "DES MOINES REGISTER" POLITICAL COLUMNIST DAVID YEPSEN, "RADIO IOWA" NEWS DIRECTOR KAY HENDERSON, "LEE NEWSPAPERS" CAPITAL BUREAU CHIEF TODD DORMAN, AND "KUNI PUBLIC RADIO" STATEHOUSE REPORTER JENEANE BECK. TODD, YOU WRITE FOR THE "QUAD CITIES TIMES," AMONG OTHER NEWSPAPERS IN IOWA, AS A PART OF THE LEAD CHAIN. WHAT'S THE LEAD TOMORROW?

Dorman: WELL, AS WE ALL KNOW, IT'S TAX DAY, AND WE HAVE A FEW HOURS LEFT IF ANY OF YOU HAVEN'T FILED. BEING TAX DAY, THE PRESIDENT CAME TO DES MOINES TO ARGUE, FIRST OF ALL, THAT THE TAX CUTS HE'S CHAMPIONED ARE HELPING THE ECONOMY GROW OUT THE DOLDRUMS. BUT AT THE SAME TIME, HE ALSO ARGUED VERY FORCEFULLY THAT THE UNITED STATES ISN'T ABOUT TO CUT AND RUN FROM IRAQ, THAT THEY'RE STAYING THE COURSE NO MATTER HOW TOUGH IT GETS. THOSE ARE TWO CORNERSTONES OF HIS REELECTION CAMPAIGN, AND IOWA IS GOING TO HAVE -- COULD HAVE A MAJOR SAY IN WHETHER HE SUCCEEDS.

Borg: SO THAT'S THE LEAD, TAX CUTS IS THE LEAD IN YOUR STORY AND REITERATING HIS CAMPAIGN THEMES. DAVE, YOU'RE WRITING A COLUMN TOMORROW. WHAT'S YOUR LEAD?

Yepsen: WELL, I THOUGHT IT WAS SUBDUED SPEECH. I DON'T THINK GEORGE BUSH GENERALLY GIVES A VERY GREAT SPEECH. IT'S NOT A GREAT ORDER BUT I THOUGHT IT WAS A VERY STRONG SPEECH. HE COMES TO IOWA, DEAN, TO DIG HIMSELF OUT OF A POLITICAL HOLE. AS YOU MENTIONED, HE LOST THE STATE NARROWLY IN 2000. THE POLLS SHOW THAT HE'S ANYWHERE FROM SEVEN TO TEN POINTS BEHIND HERE NOW. HE LET THE DEMOCRATS HAVE THE RUN OF THIS PLACE FOR SEVENTEEN MONTHS. HE'S GOT TO GET BACK IN THE GAME. AND HE ALSO NEEDS TO SAY SOME THINGS IN OTHER STATES IN RURAL AMERICA. IT ISN'T JUST ABOUT IOWA WHAT WAS GOING ON TODAY. RURAL VOTES ARE IMPORTANT STARTING IN NEW MEXICO THROUGH THE BORDER STATES, HERE IN THE UPPER MIDDLE WEST, OHIO, PENNSYLVANIA. THAT CONSTITUENCY IS GOING TO BE IMPORTANT IN THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE IN NOVEMBER.

Borg: KAY, DAVE HAS SAID THE TIMING IS STRATEGIC. SO THAT'S PROBABLY WHY THE THEMES WE'VE ALL HEARD BEFORE, THERE WASN'T ANY NEW MESSAGE TODAY THAT I HEARD. DID YOU?

Henderson: I DID NOT. IN TERMS OF FULL DISCLOSURE, MY THREE COLLEAGUES HERE AT THE TABLE DID ATTEND THE SPEECH. I CONSUMED IT IN MUCH THE SAME WAY MOST IOWANS DID; I HEARD IT ON THE RADIO. I'VE NOW WATCHED IT ON TELEVISION AND I'VE ALSO READ THE TRANSCRIPT. BUT BACK TO YOUR QUESTION, HE REALLY DIDN'T SOUND ANY NEW THEMES, BUT HE REALLY NEEDED TO COME TO IOWA IN PERSON. AS DAVID MENTIONED, HE'S BEHIND HERE IN THE POLLS. IOWA HAS BEEN IDENTIFIED BY THE BUSH AND KERRY CAMPAIGNS AS ONE OF THE 17 BATTLEGROUND STATES, A STATE WHICH EITHER CAMPAIGNS BELIEVE THEY CAN WIN. WITH AN ELECTION SHAPING UP TO PERHAPS BE AS RAZOR THIN AS THE 2000 ELECTION WAS, IOWA IS A KEY STATE. WE'RE GOING TO SEE GEORGE BUSH AGAIN. HE WASN'T HERE BEFORE PARTLY BECAUSE HE WAS -- IT WAS THE LEAD UP TO A WAR. ALSO BECAUSE HE DIDN'T WANT TO COME TO THE STAGE ON WHICH DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATES WERE CAMPAIGNING AND ATTACKING HIM AND BASICALLY SORT OF LEGITIMIZING THEIR COMPLAINTS OF HIM BY APPEARING AND COUNTERING THOSE ARGUMENTS IN PERSON ON THE IOWA STAGE. SO NOW HE CAME TODAY AND MADE AN IMPORTANT STATEMENT. HE'S HERE IN PERSON AS OPPOSED TO IN ALL THESE CAMPAIGN ADS THAT FOLKS ARE SEEING ON THE TELEVISION.

Beck: WHAT I THOUGHT WAS INTERESTING TOO ABOUT THIS VISIT IS HE UNDERSTANDS, I THINK, THE HOLE HE MUST DIG HIMSELF OUT OF. WHILE HE TALKED ABOUT TAX POLICY, AND THAT'S WHAT HE WANTED TO TALK ABOUT TODAY ON TAX FILING DEADLINE, HE ALSO TALKED ABOUT IRAQ VERY CLEAR AND UNDERSTANDING THAT THAT'S WHAT'S IN THE NEWS RIGHT NOW AND THAT PEOPLE ARE SEEING THE DEATH TOLL INCREASE OVER THE LAST COUPLE OF WEEKS AND WAS UNDERSTANDING THAT WE HAD LOST AN IOWAN LAST WEEK AND THAT THAT IOWAN HAD BEEN BURIED SHORTLY BEFORE HIS SPEECH. SO HE TOUCHED ON THE DEATH OF BEN CARMEN FROM JEFFERSON AND TALKED ABOUT THE NEED TO STAY THE COURSE IN IRAQ AND THAT THIS PERSON WOULD NOT DIE IN VAIN, THAT WE WOULD HAVE ACTION THERE. SO I THINK HE'S VERY AWARE OF WHAT HE NEEDS TO TALK ABOUT TO WIN.

Borg: WE'RE SAID THAT HE TOUCHED ON KEY CAMPAIGN THEMES. ARE THERE SOME, THOUGH, THAT WILL RESONATE OR SOMETHING ABOUT THE VISIT TODAY THAT ANY OF YOU CAN IDENTIFY AS RESONATING PARTICULARLY WELL WITH IOWANS?

Yepsen: I THINK THE WHOLE PACKAGE. FIRST OF ALL, DEAN, THIS SPEECH, LIKE ALL OF PRESIDENT BUSH'S SPEECHES AND ALL OF JOHN KERRY'S SPEECHES RIGHT NOW, ARE NOT AIMED AT EVERYBODY. THEY'RE AIMED AT ABOUT 10 TO 20 PERCENT OF THE ELECTORATE THAT'S UNDECIDED. THE PEOPLE WHO DON'T LIKE PRESIDENT BUSH, THEY'RE GOING TO LOOK AT THIS SPEECH AND THEY'RE NOT GOING TO BE HAPPY WITH IT. AND THE PEOPLE WHO LIKE HIM, THEY'RE GOING TO LOOK AT THIS SPEECH AND THEY'RE GOING TO LOVE IT. IT'S THE VOTER IN THE MIDDLE, 10 TO 20 PERCENT OF THE ELECTORATE THAT'S A SWING VOTER, A TOSSUP VOTER. AND THIS SPEECH, FOR THOSE WHO STAYED WITH THE WHOLE THING, WAS, I THOUGHT, A PRETTY GOOD RECITATION OF THE BOOK OF BUSH. YOU GOT A DESCRIPTION OF WHERE HE IS ON IRAQ, ON TAX POLICY, ON A WHOLE HOST OF ISSUES. IT WASN'T A BIG POLICY SPEECH. IT WASN'T A FARM SPEECH WITH A LOT OF TALK ABOUT CROP SUBSIDIES AND ALL THAT. IT WAS JUST A NICE OVERVIEW BY THE PRESIDENT OF WHERE HE IS AND WHERE HE WANTS TO GO.

Borg: I'M GLAD YOU MENTIONED THAT, DAVE. I MADE -- AS I LISTENED TO THE SPEECH IN PERSON TODAY AND THEN REITERATED AS I WATCHED IT A FEW MINUTES AGO, HE WAS HERE FOR A RURAL AMERICA THEME, BUT HE TOUCHED ON LEGAL REFORM, AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE, AN ENERGY PLAN, MENTIONED ETHANOL THERE, TRADE POLICY, BIG ON TRADE POLICY, AND WE'LL TALK MORE ABOUT THAT. HE SAID THEY WERE GOING TO RESIST RESTRICTIONS ON TRADE AND TREAT -- AMERICA WANTS TO BE TREATED THE WAY THAT WE TREAT THEM AND OPEN OUR MARKETS AND NOT TO HAVE CLOSED MARKETS WHERE WE BUY PRODUCTS FROM OTHER COUNTRIES. NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND ALSO GOT A MENTION THERE IN PASSING. BROADBAND TECHNOLOGY. I DON'T KNOW HOW MUCH THAT RESONATES IN THE COUNTRYSIDE. MAYBE A GREAT DEAL. CERTAINTY ON TAX CODE AND MAKE THE TAX CUTS PERMANENT. NOW, THE TAX CUTS PERMANENT, THAT'S, TODD, A MAINSTAY OF THE DEMOCRATIC CAMPAIGN. JOHN KERRY IS SAYING I WILL RESCIND THOSE TAX CUTS. AND BUSH SPENT A LOT OF TIME TODAY DEFENDING THEM.

Dorman: WELL, HE SPENT A LOT OF TIME TRYING TO DISPEL THE DOUBTS THAT DEMOCRATS HAVE PLANTED WITH REGARD TO THOSE TAX CUTS. THE KERRY CAMPAIGN CONTINUALLY SAYS THESE TAX CUTS BENEFIT WEALTHY PEOPLE. WELL, THE PRESIDENT TODAY HAD EXAMPLES OF AVERAGE, EVERYDAY IOWANS WHO AREN'T NECESSARILY WEALTHY PEOPLE, WHO HAVE BENEFITTED FROM THESE TAX CUTS, AND THAT'S A KEY ELECTION DIFFERENCE. DO YOU BELIEVE JOHN KERRY WHEN HE SAYS THAT TAX CUTS OUGHT TO BE AIMED AT MIDDLE CLASS PEOPLE AND THAT THE TAX CUTS FOR WEALTHY PEOPLE SHOULD BE CURTAILED, OR DO YOU BELIEVE THE PRESIDENT THAT EVERYONE IS BENEFITING FROM THESE TAX CUTS AND THAT THE ECONOMY IS GROWING STRONGER BECAUSE OF THEM?

Beck: WHAT MIGHT HAVE SEEMED INTERESTING IS, IF VOTERS SAW THIS TODAY AS THEY WERE TURNING IN THEIR TAX FORMS, IF THEY HEARD THE PRESIDENT SAY, WELL, IF THE TAX CUTS AREN'T MADE PERMANENT, THAT CHILD TAX CREDIT IS GOING TO DECREASE. AND IF WE DON'T MAKE THESE TAX CUTS PERMANENT, THE MARRIAGE TAX PENALTY WILL RETURN. AND AS, YOU KNOW, AN AVERAGE IOWAN FILER, THAT MAY MAKE A DIFFERENCE TO THEM. THAT MIGHT HIT HOME.

Borg: THE INHERITANCE TAX --

Yepsen: I THINK EVERY ONE OF THOSE ISSUES THAT YOU MENTIONED HAS A UNIQUE WRINKLE IN RURAL IOWA. FOR EXAMPLE, THE TRADE ISSUE, BUSH CLEARLY PUT A MARKER DOWN THERE. HE DIDN'T TALK ABOUT JOHN KERRY IN THIS SPEECH BECAUSE IT WASN'T A CAMPAIGN SPEECH. IT WAS A PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH. HE TALKED ABOUT ECONOMIC NATIONALISM. THERE'S GOING TO BE A DEBATE IN THIS COUNTRY IN THIS CAMPAIGN OVER TRADE: OUTSOURCING OF JOBS; HOW DO WE SOLVE THAT PROBLEM? I THOUGHT THE PRESIDENT WAS VERY FORCEFUL IN SORT OF LAYING DOWN A MARKER HERE THAT IN RURAL AMERICA, THIS IS A PLACE WHERE WE SELL STUFF OVERSEAS. IF YOU WANT TO START A TRADE WAR IN THIS COUNTRY, RURAL AMERICA IS GOING TO BE THE FIRST PLACE TO LOSE.

Henderson: THE OTHER INTERESTING POINT IN THE SPEECH IN WHICH RECEIVED ONE OF THE LOUDEST BURSTS OF APPLAUSE IS WHEN HE TALKED ABOUT HEALTH CARE. THE DEMOCRATS SPENT A WHOLE YEAR TALKING ABOUT HOW OUR HEALTH CARE SYSTEM WAS BROKEN AND GOVERNMENT NEEDED TO STEP IN AND FIX IT. BUSH GOT HUGE APPLAUSE, IN THAT AUDIENCE OF BANKERS AND FOLKS WHO ARE INTERESTED IN RURAL AMERICA, WHEN HE SAID WE DON'T NEED GOVERNMENT-RUN HEALTH CARE. THAT WAS A HUGE POINT FOR HIM TO MAKE AND A POINT THAT HE'S GOING TO REPEATEDLY MAKE AS HE SETS A COURSE THAT IS DIFFERENT FROM JOHN KERRY IN THE COMING MONTHS.

Yepsen: JUST TO BE ACCURATE HERE, DEAN, JOHN KERRY DOES SUPPORT SOME TAX CUTS FOR PEOPLE BELOW $200,000 A YEAR. JUST TO MAKE SURE WE'RE CLEAR ABOUT THAT.

Borg: THAT'S RIGHT. TODD, I'M GOING TO ASK YOU HOW THIS IS GOING TO RESONATE WITH IOWANS. THE PRESIDENT MENTIONED THE RELATIVELY LOW UNEMPLOYMENT RATE IN IOWA. I THINK IT WAS 4.1 PERCENT IS WHAT HE SAID. BUT THEN HE SAID, "YOU'RE DOING WELL." DO YOU THINK IOWANS THINK THEY'RE DOING WELL?

Dorman: I THINK SOME IOWANS THINK THEY'RE DOING WELL. THERE ARE SECTORS OF THE IOWA ECONOMY THAT AREN'T DOING SO WELL, AND THE TRADE ISSUE CUTS IOWA IN HALF ALONG SOME OF THOSE LINES. YOU'VE GOT THE MANUFACTURING SECTOR THAT HASN'T DONE SO WELL IN IOWA, AND TRADE IS A HOT ISSUE FOR FOLKS THAT ARE INVOLVED IN MANUFACTURING. BUT THE AGRICULTURE SECTOR, WE CAN AGREE WITH THE PRESIDENT THAT FREE TRADE IS VERY IMPORTANT. IT'S -- IOWA IS PROBABLY DOING -- HISTORICALLY DOES A LITTLE BIT BETTER THAN SOME STATES WHEN THE ECONOMY GOES DOWN, BUT IOWA IS ALSO FAR SLOWER TO RECOVER SOMETIMES WHEN THE ECONOMY STARTS TO COME BACK.

Yepsen: THE POLLING ON THIS ISSUE, DEAN, SHOWS IOWANS ARE LIKE THE REST OF THE COUNTRY, PRETTY EVENLY DIVIDED BETWEEN PEOPLE WHO THINK THINGS ARE HEADED IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION VERSUS PEOPLE WHO THINK THINGS AREA HEADED IN THE WRONG DIRECTION. ONE THING THAT'S GOING ON IN IOWA, DEAN, AND IT'S GOING ON ALL OVER THE COUNTRY NOW IS, WHILE THE ECONOMY IS STARTING TO GET BETTER AND EVEN SOME PEOPLE ARE FEELING BETTER ABOUT THE ECONOMY, IT'S ALL GETTING ECLIPSED BY IRAQ. AND I WAS STRUCK IN THIS SPEECH -- WE'VE MENTIONED HERE TONIGHT THE PRESIDENT'S COMMENTS ABOUT BEN CARMEN, THE MARINE FROM MY HOMETOWN OF JEFFERSON WHO WAS KILLED IN IRAQ, I THOUGHT THE PRESIDENT WAS VISIBLY MOVED IN THAT SPEECH IN TALKING ABOUT THAT ISSUE AND WHAT IT MEANS AND WHAT BEN'S DAD HAD SAID ABOUT DYING FOR YOUR COUNTRY AND SERVING YOUR COUNTRY. IT'S INTERESTING TO ME THAT WE'RE ALL TALKING ABOUT THE VARIOUS PIECES OF THIS SPEECH. ONE OF THE THINGS I'VE LEARNED TO COVER IN POLITICS, DEAN, IS YOU WANT TO WATCH WHAT OUR BRETHREN IN THE COMMERCIAL TELEVISION STATIONS DO ON THEIR SIX AND TEN O'CLOCK NEWS. MOST VOTERS WILL NOT SEE THIS SPEECH. MOST VOTERS WILL NOT HEAR THE WHOLE SPEECH ON THE RADIO OR READ IT IN MY NEWSPAPER, BUT THEY WILL SEE CLIPS OF IT ON THE TELEVISION NEWS. HERE IN THE DES MOINES MEDIA MARKET, CHANNEL 8 NEWS, THEIR BIG PART OF THIS SPEECH WERE HIS COMMENTS ABOUT BEN CARMEN AND IRAQ. SO THAT WAS SORT OF THE MESSAGE THAT WAS PUNCHING THROUGH HERE IN THIS TOWN.

Borg: AND JUST TO UNDERSCORE WHAT YOU SAID, THAT COMES AT A TIME WHEN HIS APPROVAL RATING ON HANDLING IRAQ IS SLIPPING, AND YET YOU'RE SAYING HE SHOWED COMPASSION.

Yepsen: I THINK SHOWED COMPASSION, HE SHOWED STRENGTH, HE SHOWED RESOLVE. HE DID A MUCH BETTER JOB HERE THAN I THINK HE DID AT HIS PRESS CONFERENCE A COUPLE DAYS AGO --

Henderson: ABSOLUTELY.

Yepsen: -- ON THE SAME QUESTION, BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT'S ON PEOPLE'S MINDS. WE MAY BE IN RURAL AMERICA, THIS MAY HAVE BEEN A RURAL SPEECH, BUT PEOPLE HERE ARE WORRIED ABOUT IRAQ AND BUSH HAD TO SPEAK TO THAT AND I THOUGHT HE DID SO.

Henderson: THE OTHER THING PEOPLE ARE WORRIED ABOUT ECONOMICALLY IS GASOLINE. THE PRICE OF GASOLINE HAS GONE THROUGH THE ROOF, AND FARMERS USE GASOLINE TO PLANT A CROP. THEY USE IT TO HARVEST A CROP. FOLKS IN THIS STATE ARE REAL WORRIED ABOUT GASOLINE, BE THEY FARMERS OR NOT. IT WAS INTERESTING THAT IN THIS SPEECH, HE REALLY DIDN'T SPEND A LOT OF TIME TALKING ABOUT GASOLINE, AND THERE WAS NOT THE OBLIGATORY RAH-RAH-RAH ABOUT WHAT A GREAT THING ETHANOL IS. SO THAT WAS SOMETHING THAT I SAW IN THE SPEECH THAT WAS REALLY MISSING. THAT IS SOMETHING THAT'S ON THE MINDS OF CONSUMERS ALL ACROSS THE COUNTRY.

Yepsen: BUT HE DID MENTION ENERGY.

Henderson: HE MENTIONED IT BUT HE DIDN'T SPEND A LOT OF TIME TALKING -- HE WAS MORE FOCUSED ON THE MECHANICS OF PASSING A BILL THROUGH CONGRESS THAN SAYING, "HEY, I KNOW WHEN YOU GO TO THE GAS STATION AND YOU FILL UP, YOU ARE GETTING STICKER SHOCK FROM THAT PRICE." HE WAS TALKING ABOUT THE MECHANICS OF PASSING POLICY THAT WAS SORT OF NEBULOUS AND NOT WELL DESCRIBED IN THE SPEECH.

Borg: JENEANE, WE'VE ALREADY SAID WHAT A BATTLEGROUND IOWA IS AND WILL CONTINUE TO BE AS WE COME UP TO THE NOVEMBER ELECTIONS. THERE WERE SOME DEMOCRATS IN THE AUDIENCE. IN FACT, THE PRESIDENT ACKNOWLEDGED TOM HARKIN THERE. WAS THERE ANY REACTION AFTERWARDS FROM DEMOCRATS?

Beck: WELL, WE DID GET PRESS RELEASES FROM BOTH SENATOR TOM HARKIN AND IOWA CONGRESSMAN LEONARD BOSWELL. CONGRESSMAN BOSWELL HAD A NEWS CONFERENCE -- OR AN EVENT BEFOREHAND, BASHING THE PRESIDENT ON JOB LOSSES. THEN HE, AS TODD MENTIONED, WENT TO THE AIRPORT AND GREETED THE PRESIDENT. SO, YOU KNOW, THEY LIKE TO HAVE THEIR PICTURE TAKEN WITH HIM, BUT THEY ALSO WANT TO BASH HIM AFTERWARDS. SENATOR HARKIN WAS ALSO AT THE EVENT AND DID HAND OUT PRESS RELEASES TO THOSE OF US THAT WERE THERE SAYING, YEAH, HE'S TALKING ABOUT RURAL AMERICA AND I'M GLAD HE IS, BUT HERE ARE THE OTHER THINGS I'D LIKE HIM TO ENUMERATE: I'D LIKE HIM TO BE MORE SPECIFIC ABOUT AN ENERGY POLICY AND ABOUT JOBS IN RURAL AMERICA AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT. BUT I DIDN'T SEE A LOT OF NEGATIVITY AFTERWARDS.

Yepsen: I THOUGHT YOU SAW SOME -- THERE WERE DEMONSTRATORS, PROTESTERS. THERE'S ALWAYS SORT OF THAT CIRCUS THAT SURROUNDS ANY PRESIDENT WHEN HE MOVES AROUND THE COUNTRY. I THOUGHT IT WAS -- THE DEMOCRATS WERE SORT OF OFF-KEY IN THIS WHOLE THING. THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES COMES TO YOUR STATE FOR A PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH, AND THEY'RE COMPLAINING ABOUT THE PARTISANSHIP. THE ACCUSATION WAS BEING MADE THAT THE TAXPAYERS PAID FOR THIS TRIP. WELL, OF COURSE THEY DID. THEY ALWAYS PAY FOR PRESIDENTIAL TRIPS AND THE PRESIDENT'S SECURITY. I NOTED YOU SURE DIDN'T HEAR THE DEMOCRATS IN 1993 COMPLAINING WHEN BILL CLINTON CAME TO IOWA FOR A RURAL SUMMIT. IT'S FUNNY HOW THEY'RE COMPLAINING ABOUT BUSH NOW.

Dorman: WELL, THE PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE DIDN'T OFFER ANYTHING NEW AND, FRANKLY, THE DEMOCRATIC ATTACKS WERE FAIRLY STALE. I MEAN IT WAS ATTACKS ON THE SAME SUBJECTS THEY'VE BEEN ATTACKING HIM ON FOR MONTHS.

Borg: IT WAS A NICE TIME TO GET A PLATFORM TO SAY SOMETHING ON, TODD.

Yepsen: BUT, YOU KNOW, THIS WAS THE THING, I DIDN'T THINK IT WAS A POLICY SPEECH OR A FARM SPEECH. I THINK YOU REALLY DID SEE A BIT OF A DIFFERENCE IN STYLES HERE BETWEEN PRESIDENT BUSH AND JOHN KERRY, A GUY WHO A LOT OF US HAVE SEEN A LOT HERE IN THE LAST YEAR. JOHN KERRY'S SPEECHES ARE FULL OF DETAILS AND ALMOST TOO MUCH SO, AND THEY BECOME PROPHECORIAL LECTURES. AND BUSH WAS MUCH MORE CONVERSATIONAL. I THINK THAT, YOU KNOW, THE QUESTION IN MANY OF THESE ELECTIONS IS REALLY WHO COMES OFF AS WARMER AND MORE LIKABLE. AND AS I LOOKED AT THIS SPEECH TODAY AND COMPARED IT TO WHAT I SAW OF SOME OF JOHN KERRY'S, I THINK BUSH WINS ON THE LIKABILITY FACTOR OVER JOHN KERRY.

Borg: I NOTICED, AS I SAW JUST A FEW MOMENTS AGO, SOMETHING I HADN'T NOTICED LIVE THIS MORNING -- OR AT NOON, AND THAT IS HE USED THE MEDICARE LEGISLATION THAT WAS PASSED TO MAKE SOME POINTS ABOUT HELPING RURAL HOSPITALS AND APPLIED THAT, JENEANE, TO RURAL AMERICA AND THE FACT THAT HEALTH CARE HAS TO BE AFFORDABLE IN RURAL AMERICA IN ORDER FOR RURAL AMERICA TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF REVITALIZATION.

Beck: AND MAYBE THAT'S WHY WE DIDN'T SEE AS MANY DEMOCRATS ARGUING OR BASHING HIM AFTERWARDS IS BECAUSE ONE OF THE THINGS THAT BILL DID WAS TRY TO BOOST REIMBURSEMENTS FOR DOCTORS IN RURAL AREAS. AND THAT'S BEEN A LONG COMPLAINT OF IOWA THAT WE RANK 50TH IN THE NATION IN MEDICARE REIMBURSEMENT, WHICH IS HARD FOR, THEN, RURAL HOSPITALS TO STAY OPEN OR TO PROVIDE ADVANCED SERVICES OR SPECIALTIES IF THEY JUST CAN'T PAY DOCTORS THE MONEY TO COME THERE.

Beck: I KNOW THAT YOU DON'T ALL PLAN HIS CAMPAIGN OR THAT OF JOHN KERRY, BUT WHAT DO YOU THINK THAT WE MIGHT ANTICIPATE NOW IN THE WAY OF PRESIDENTIAL VISITS TO IOWA, AND WHEN WILL JOHN KERRY BE BACK AGAIN, JUST IF YOU WERE LOOKING INTO YOUR CRYSTAL BALL AND TRYING TO PROGNOSTICATE? KAY?

Henderson: WOW. [ LAUGHTER ]

Henderson: I THINK THAT THE PRESIDENT WILL RETURN SOON. I THINK JOHN KERRY WILL RETURN HERE SOON. AS DAVID SAID, THE POLLS SHOW THE PRESIDENT HAS A LITTLE BIT OF HOLE TO DIG OUT. JOHN KERRY WANTS TO HOLD HIM OFF HERE, SO I THINK THIS WILL BE A COMPETITIVE STATE. UNLESS THE POLLS DRAMATICALLY CHANGE, THEY'LL BOTH BE HERE CAMPAIGNING. ONE OF THE INTERESTING THINGS ABOUT THIS VISIT TODAY WAS THAT AFTER THE NEW HAMPSHIRE PRIMARY, BUSH WENT THERE THE NEXT WEEK. AFTER SOUTH CAROLINA, BUSH WENT THERE THE NEXT WEEK. HE DIDN'T COME TO IOWA AFTER THE CAUCUSES, AND IT HAD A LOT OF IOWA REPUBLICANS KIND OF SHAKING THEIR HEADS AND WONDERING WHY HASN'T HE COME HERE.

Borg: YEAH, WHY WAS THAT?

Henderson: WELL, IT WAS JUST A DECISION THAT WAS MADE INTERNALLY IN THE WHITE HOUSE. I CAN'T TELL YOU WHY AND THERE ARE IOWA REPUBLICANS WHO ARE A LITTLE MIFFED ABOUT IT.

Yepsen: THE ANSWER WE GOT WAS, WELL, HE WAS PREPARING FOR THE STATE OF THE UNION. WELL, THAT'S A SPEECH. PRESIDENT BUSH'S CAMPAIGN HAS BEEN PRETTY INEPT IN THIS STATE AND IN MANY WAYS AROUND THE COUNTRY. DURING THIS LAST YEAR, THEY HAVE NOT HAD A WHOLE LOT OF GOOD NEWS, EITHER IN THE WAR OR THE STUFF OF THEIR OWN MAKING. TO ALLOW THE DEMOCRATS TO HAVE FREE RUN OF THIS STATE FOR SEVENTEEN MONTHS WAS A MISTAKE. IT'S A LESSON THAT THEY LEARNED FROM MICHAEL DUKAKIS IN 1988. IN POLITICS, A CHARGE UNANSWERED IS A CHARGE AFFIRMED. IN IOWA, I HAD A REPUBLICAN TELL ME THAT THERE'S PROBABLY BEEN ABOUT 50,000 RATING POINTS OF TELEVISION COMMERCIALS DUMPED ON BUSH'S HEAD IN THE LAST YEAR WITH ALL THESE DEMOCRATIC ADS. WHO DO THESE DEMOCRATS RUN THESE ADS AGAINST? MOST OF THE TIME IT WAS AGAINST PRESIDENT BUSH. THAT HAS A RESIDUAL EFFECT ON PEOPLE WHO DON'T GO TO CAUCUSES, THESE SWING VOTERS I'VE TALKED ABOUT TONIGHT, AND BUSH JUST DID NOT RESPOND. SO I THINK HE'LL BE BACK. I THINK WHAT WILL HAPPEN IS THEY'RE GOING TO PLAY THIS STRING OUT THROUGH THE SUMMER AND SEE HOW THE POLLS ARE AFTER LABOR DAY. IF PRESIDENT BUSH HASN'T MOVED UP SOME IN THE POLLS IN IOWA, I THINK THEY'LL WRITE IT OFF. REPUBLICANS HAVE NOT CARRIED THIS STATE IN A PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION SINCE 1984, DEAN.

Borg: ANY COMMENT, TODD, ON WHAT WE'VE JUST BEEN TALKING ABOUT, ON THE STAGE OF THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN AND WHEN WE MIGHT SEE THE CANDIDATES BACK HERE? OR ANOTHER STAGE HERE TOO IS THE ROLE THAT SENATOR CHUCK GRASSLEY MIGHT PLAY IN THE OVERALL PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN ON BEHALF OF PRESIDENT BUSH.

Dorman: WELL, I THINK THE GOOD THING FOR PRESIDENT BUSH WITH REGARD TO CHUCK GRASSLEY IS THAT CHUCK GRASSLEY DOESN'T HAVE A HEFTY RACE ON HIS HANDS, TO BE POLITE. SO CHUCK GRASSLEY WILL BE FREE TO SPEND HIS RESOURCES AND HIS TIME CAMPAIGNING FOR OTHER REPUBLICANS, INCLUDING THE PRESIDENT.

Borg: HE HASN'T BEEN NOTED FOR DOING THAT IN THE PAST, IF I REMEMBER CORRECTLY; BUT CORRECT ME IF I'M WRONG. CHUCK GRASSLEY LOOKS OUT FOR CHUCK GRASSLEY. Grassley: WELL, I THINK CHUCK GRASSLEY MAY BE WELL TAKEN CARE OF ALREADY, SO CHUCK MAY BE ABLE TO LOOK OUT FOR SOMEBODY ELSE THIS TIME AROUND. BUT YOU'RE RIGHT, THAT HAS BEEN THE CASE IN THE PAST.

Yepsen: I DON'T SEE WHERE GRASSLEY CAMPAIGNING FOR BUSH OR TOM VILSACK CAMPAIGNING FOR JOHN KERRY, WHERE THAT MAKES A LOT OF DIFFERENCE. WE SAW DURING THE CAUCUSES, ENDORSEMENT POLITICS HAVE VERY LIMITED VALUE. A VOTE FOR PRESIDENT IS A DEEPLY PERSONAL DECISION. THE FACT CHUCK GRASSLEY MAY GO OUT AND CAMPAIGN FOR GEORGE BUSH, I DON'T THINK WE HAVE REVERSE COATTAILS HERE IN THIS STATE.

Beck: THE ONE SIDE TO THAT THAT I WOULD MENTION, THOUGH, IS THAT YESTERDAY THE VICE PRESIDENT -- VICE PRESIDENT HOPEFUL, POSSIBLY WE COULD CALL HIM, TOM VILSACK, HAD A CONFERENCE CALL WITH REPORTERS ABOUT JOHN KERRY AND QUESTIONING PRESIDENT BUSH'S POLICIES ON IRAQ. STATIONS OR NEWSPAPERS THAT WOULDN'T TYPICALLY PICK UP THOSE CONFERENCE CALLS SUDDENLY DO PICK THEM UP BECAUSE TOM VILSACK IS INVOLVED. SO THERE IS SOMETIMES A BUMP BY HAVING AN IOWAN INVOLVED IN YOUR CAMPAIGN. SO IN THAT SENSE, IF CHUCK GRASSLEY WAS DOING THESE CONFERENCE CALLS NATIONALLY, POSSIBLY IOWANS WOULD PICK UP THOSE AND SEE THEM IN THEIR NEWSPAPERS OR HEAR IT ON THE RADIO.

Henderson: YOU KNOW, IF I WERE REPUBLICANS, I'D WANT GEORGE BUSH TO COME HERE AND CAMPAIGN. ONE OF THE PROBLEMS THEY HAVE IN THIS ELECTION CYCLE IS THIS IS KIND OF A BORING ELECTION IF YOU GET PAST THE PRESIDENTIAL POLITICS. IN IOWA, IT'S A BORING ELECTION AND REPUBLICANS NEED TO BE MOTIVATED TO TURN OUT. SO THEY NEED A CONTEST AT THE TOP OF THE TICKET TO MOTIVATE THEM. CONVERSELY, SAME THING ON THE DEMOCRATIC SIDE. THERE'S NOT MUCH GOING ON. YOU WANT A GOOD, COMPETITIVE DEMOCRATIC AT THE TOP OF THE TICKET.

Borg: FINAL WORD, DAVE?

Yepsen: BUT THE INTENSITY FACTOR ON THE DEMOCRATIC SIDE IS MUCH STRONGER. KAY IS RIGHT. BUSH NEEDS TO BE HERE TO FIRE UP HIS BASE, AS WELL AS GO FOR THOSE SWING VOTERS. DEMOCRATS ARE ANGRY. WE'VE TALKED ABOUT IT HERE ON THIS PROGRAM BEFORE. THE ENERGY INSIDE THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY IS MUCH LARGER THAN THAT INSIDE THE REPUBLICAN PARTY.

Borg: THANKS FOR YOUR INSIGHTS. TWO PROGRAM REMINDERS: YOU CAN SEE A REBROADCAST OF TODAY'S SYMPOSIUM, "CAPITALIZING ON RURAL AMERICA," WITH HARVARD LAW PROFESSOR ARTHUR MILLER, ON IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION ON SUNDAY, APRIL 25. THAT WILL BE AT 4:00 IN THE AFTERNOON. TOMORROW ON "IOWA PRESS," WE'RE GOING TO BE ON THE SAME TOPIC, FOCUSING ON SOLUTIONS TO RURAL AMERICA'S PROBLEMS. JOINING US ARE DR. ERNESTO SIROLLI, OF THE SIROLLI INSTITUTE, AND IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY'S DR. CORNELIA BUTLER FLORA. BOTH HAVE BEEN PROFESSIONALLY INVOLVED IN REDEVELOPING RURAL AMERICA. THA "IOWA PRESS" BROADCAST SEEN AT 7:30 TOMORROW NIGHT, SUNDAY AT NOON. WELL, THAT'S IT FOR THIS THURSDAY'S SPECIAL LIVE EDITION OF "IOWA PRESS." I'M DEAN BORG. THANKS FOR JOINING US. 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.