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Jerry Crawford and Roxanne Conlin
(#3216)
December 17 , 2004

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IOWA PRESS #3216>>

Borg: DEMOCRATS LOOK UNDER THE HOOD. A CONVERSATION ABOUT THE PARTY'S FUTURE WITH DEMOCRATIC ACTIVISTS JERRY CRAWFORD AND ROXANNE CONLIN ON THIS EDITION OF "IOWA PRESS."

FUNDING FOR THIS PROGRAM WAS PROVIDED BY "FRIENDS," THE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION FOUNDATION; 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 17 EDITION OF "IOWA PRESS." HERE IS DEAN BORG.

Borg: DEMOCRATIC PARTY LEADERS ARE DOING SOME SOUL SEARCHING. ALTHOUGH THERE WERE SOME BRIGHT SPOTS IN THE PAST ELECTION, THEY DON'T OUTSHINE THE REPUBLICAN PRESIDENCY AND GAINS IN CONGRESS. SOME DEMOCRATS WANT MAJOR CHANGES IN THE PARTY'S IMAGE AND MESSAGE. OTHERS BLAME THE PROCESS FOR SELECTING A PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE AND, OF COURSE, THAT SPOTLIGHTS IOWA'S FIRST-IN-THE-NATION PRESIDENTIAL PREFERENCE CAUCUS, AS WELL AS THE NEW HAMPSHIRE PRIMARY. WELL, TODAY WE CALL ON TWO IOWA DEMOCRATIC PARTY INSIDERS WHO HAVE BEEN HIGH PROFILE IN PAST PARTY AFFAIRS AND WHO ARE NOW HELPING TO CHART THE PARTY'S FUTURE. ATTORNEY JERRY CRAWFORD IS A FORMER CHAIR OF POLK COUNTY'S DEMOCRATS. A YEAR AGO AT THIS TIME, HE WAS CHAIRING SENATOR JOHN KERRY'S IOWA CAUCUS CAMPAIGN. ATTORNEY ROXANNE CONLIN IS A PAST CHAIR OF THE IOWA DEMOCRATIC PARTY, A FORMER CANDIDATE FOR GOVERNOR, AND SHE COCHAIRED SENATOR JOHN EDWARDS' IOWA CAMPAIGN FOR THE DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL NOMINATION. BOTH ARE MEMBERS RIGHT NOW OF A DEMOCRATIC PARTY COMMISSION STUDYING THE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE NOMINATION PROCESS. WELCOME BACK TO "IOWA PRESS."

Crawford: THANK YOU, DEAN.

Conlin: THANK YOU.

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

Glover: MR. CRAWFORD, LET'S START WITH YOU. AS DEAN MENTIONED, YOU AND MS. CONLIN ARE ON A COMMISSION THAT'S GOING TO MAKE RECOMMENDATIONS ABOUT THE FUTURE OF IOWA'S CAUCUSES. IS THIS A SERIOUS THREAT TO IOWA'S STATUS, OR IS THIS JUST AN EVERY FOUR-YEAR FIGHT OVER WHO STARTS THE PROCESS?

Crawford: I THINK IT'S TOO SOON TO KNOW, MIKE, WHETHER IT'S A SERIOUS CHALLENGE. BUT CERTAINLY WE HAVE TO ASSUME THAT IT'S A SERIOUS CHALLENGE, AND WE HAVE TO PREPARE AS IF IT'S A SERIOUS CHALLENGE. IOWA HAS A VERY UNIQUE PLACE IN THE NOMINATION PROCESS. IT'S BEEN TERRIFIC FOR OUR STATE. AND I WOULD ARGUE -- AND I THINK THIS WILL BE THE DEFINING ISSUE -- THAT IOWA HAS BEEN TERRIFIC FOR THE PARTY AS WELL. IT OFFERS AN OPPORTUNITY FOR PEOPLE TO DO GENUINE RETAIL POLITICS IN A STATE WHERE MONEY WILL NOT DECIDE THE OUTCOME, AND I THINK THOSE ARE KEY ELEMENTS IN WHEREVER YOU LOOK TO START A NOMINATING PROCESS.

Glover: MS. CONLIN, AT THE END OF THE DAY WHEN THIS WHOLE PROCESS IS DONE AND YOU'VE MADE RECOMMENDATIONS, WILL IOWA BE FIRST?

Conlin: YES, WITHOUT QUESTION. I THINK THE REASON THAT IOWA WILL REMAIN FIRST IN THE NATION IS BECAUSE WE HAVE EARNED THAT STATUS. WE HAVE A GROUP OF DEMOCRATIC ACTIVISTS WHO ATTEND TO THIS PROCESS WHO TAKE SERIOUSLY THEIR RESPONSIBILITY, AND THERE'S JUST NO BETTER WAY AND NO BETTER PLACE TO START IT.

Glover: BUT CAN YOU MAKE THAT CASE?

Conlin: I HOPE SO. I THINK SO. CERTAINLY WE'RE GOING TO GIVE IT OUR BEST EFFORT. I SUPPOSE THAT EVERY STATE WHO IS REPRESENTED ON THIS COMMISSION WILL HAVE ONE VOTE FOR ITS STARTING THE PROCESS. BUT I THINK THAT WHEN WE LOOK AROUND, IT HAS TO START SOMEPLACE.

Glover: AND IS THE REAL THREAT FROM MICHIGAN?

Conlin: WELL, THEY SEEM TO BE VERY INTENSE ABOUT THEIR DESIRE TO BE THE FIRST IN THE NATION.

Yepsen: MR. CRAWFORD, WHAT ABOUT THE ARGUMENT THAT THESE OTHER STATES MAKES, WHICH IS IOWA SHOULD NOT BE FIRST BECAUSE IOWA PICKS LOSERS? I MEAN THE HARD REALITY, MR. CRAWFORD, IS YOUR GUY LOST. HE WON IOWA AND IT WAS NO STOPPING HIM TO THE DEMOCRATIC NOMINATION, AND THEIR POINT IS NO SHOULD HAVE THAT KIND OF INFLUENCE. WHAT DO YOU SAY TO THAT?

Crawford: WELL, DAVID, FIRST OF ALL, TRUST ME, I'M AWARE OF HOW HARD THAT REALITY IS THAT OUR GUY LOST. BUT, YOU KNOW, THE PEOPLE OF IOWA DO NOT DECIDE WHO THE CANDIDATES FOR PRESIDENT WILL BE. THE PEOPLE OF IOWA DECIDE WHO AMONG THE CANDIDATES FOR PRESIDENT ARE THE BEST. AND IT REALLY DEFIES CONTEST TO MAKE A CASE THAT JOHN KERRY AND JOHN EDWARDS WEREN'T THE TWO BEST CANDIDATES THE PARTY HAD TO OFFER IN THIS PARTICULAR CYCLE. I PERSONALLY BELIEVE IT DEFIES COMMON SENSE TO ARGUE THAT AL GORE WASN'T THE BEST CANDIDATE THE PARTY HAD TO OFFER FOUR YEARS AGO. SO THAT'S REALLY THE QUESTION. FACED WITH THE CHOICE OF WHOMEVER IS ON THE TICKET -- WHOEVER IS RUNNING FOR THE NOMINATION THAT YEAR, DOES IOWA DO A GOOD JOB OF VETTING AND OF DRILLING DOWN TO THE BEST AVAILABLE, AND I THINK THE ANSWER IS CLEARLY YES.

Yepsen: MS. CONLIN, WHAT DO YOU SAY TO THE KERRY PEOPLE, LIKE MR. CRAWFORD, YOU BACKED JOHN EDWARDS. WHAT DO YOU SAY NOW; WE TOLD YOU SO?

Conlin: NO, NO, NO, NOT AT ALL. I THINK JOHN EDWARDS MADE A WONDERFUL CANDIDATE FOR VICE PRESIDENT. I THINK HE WOULD HAVE BEEN BETTER AT THE TOP OF THE TICKET OR I WOULDN'T HAVE SUPPORTED HIM WITH ALL OF MY HEART.

Yepsen: DO YOU THINK HE WOULD HAVE GOTTEN 120,000 MORE VOTES IN OHIO AND WE WOULDN'T BE HAVING THIS PROGRAM TODAY?

Conlin: I HAVE NO IDEA. BUT I THINK IT'S AT LEAST POSSIBLE, AND THAT'S WHAT I THOUGHT FROM THE BEGINNING. BUT NOW WHAT WE'RE LOOKING AT IS WHAT DO WE DO NEXT. THAT'S PART OF THE ROLE THAT JERRY AND I PLAY.

Glover: MS. CONLIN, JUST FOR A MOMENT TO ONCE AGAIN LOOK BACK OVER OUR SHOULDERS AS TO WHAT'S HAPPENED, DO YOU THINK FORMER IOWA DEMOCRATIC CHAIRMAN DAVID NAGEL HAS MADE THE POINT THAT IOWA DEMOCRATS MADE A FUNDAMENTAL MISTAKE IN THE LAST CYCLE BY TYING THEIR FUTURE TO THE FUTURE OF JOHN KERRY? DID THAT HAPPEN?

Conlin: OH, I DON'T THINK SO. I DON'T KNOW WHY DAVID THINKS THAT EITHER. WE DON'T TIE OUR FUTURE TO ANY SINGLE CANDIDATE. WE'RE A PART OF THE PROCESS. WHAT OUR JOB IS TO, FOR LACK OF A BETTER TERM, WINNOW THE FIELD. AND WE DO THAT VERY, VERY WELL. I MEAN I WAS SO IMPRESSED. YOU KNOW, I WENT ALL OVER THE STATE WITH JOHN EDWARDS. AND I SAT IN LIVING ROOMS AND THAT'S REALLY WHERE I SAT. THAT'S NOT A EUPHEMISM FOR SOME BIG HALL; IT'S LIVING ROOMS. AND PEOPLE ASKED QUESTIONS AND DEMANDED ANSWERS AND WERE UNSATISFIED UNLESS THEY GOT SPECIFIC ANSWERS TO THEIR QUESTIONS. IT WAS A REMARKABLE REVIEW OF WHAT IT'S LIKE TO RUN FOR PRESIDENT IN IOWA.

Crawford: THAT PROCESS HAS EVOLVED OVER TIME, THAT LEVEL OF CITIZEN PARTICIPATION, CITIZEN SOPHISTICATION. YOU KNOW, THE NATIONAL PRESS COMES HERE AND SEES IT WITH THEIR OWN EYES. YOU ALL, OF COURSE, HAVE GROWN UP WITH IT. THAT'S NOT SOMETHING IF YOU CHANGE THE CALENDAR AND SAID STATE "X" WILL BEGIN THE PROCESS NEXT TIME, THIS IS SOMETHING THAT'S EVOLVED IN IOWA OVER THE LAST THIRTY PLUS YEARS. IT DOESN'T JUST HAPPEN OVERNIGHT.

Glover: THE POINT THAT WAS BEING RAISED IN MY QUESTION IS THAT NAGEL ARGUED THAT DEMOCRATS SHOULD HAVE PUSHED KERRY TO LOCK IN A PRIMARY CALENDAR EVEN BEFORE THE ELECTION. THEY CHOSE NOT TO DO SO AND, IN ESSENCE, TIED THEIR FUTURE TO HIS.

Crawford: NO, I DON'T THINK THAT THAT'S TRUE. I THINK THAT JOHN KERRY BECAME -- I KNOW THIS FROM DOING THE SAME THING WITH JOHN KERRY THAT ROXANNE DID WITH JOHN EDWARDS -- BECAME A HUGE FAN OF THE CAUCUS PROCESS. AND IMPORTANTLY, HE BECAME A HUGE FAN OF IT BEFORE CAUCUS NIGHT. JOHN EDWARDS IS GOING TO SUPPORT IOWA STARTING THE PROCESS NEXT TIME; YOU CAN BE SURE OF THAT.

Yepsen: MR. CRAWFORD, IF JOHN KERRY WAS SUCH A BIG SUPPORTER OF THE IOWA CAUCUSES, WHY DID HE NOT AGREE AT HIS NATIONAL CONVENTION TO PUT IT IN THE RULES? I MEAN HISTORICALLY ONE PARTY SETS ITS RULES AT ONE CONVENTION FOR THE NEXT. THAT'S WHAT REPUBLICANS HAVE DONE. THEIR '08 PROCESS IS LOCKED IN. WHY WOULDN'T JOHN KERRY BACK IOWA AT THE CONVENTION?

Crawford: BECAUSE AT ANY NATIONAL CONVENTION, YOU HAVE A LONG LIST OF CONFLICTS YOU'RE TRYING TO AVOID AS YOU PUT YOUR BEST FOOT FORWARD TO THE NATION. AND THE TRUTH IS THAT AVERAGE VOTERS NATIONWIDE DON'T HAVE ANY INTEREST IN PAYING ATTENTION TO INTRAPARTY BATTLES, AND THAT'S ESSENTIALLY WHAT THIS IS. AND SO IT'S THE KIND OF DECISION THAT GETS MADE TO TRY AND SHOWCASE YOUR CANDIDATE.

Yepsen: SO IT WASN'T A CASE OF ALL YOU KERRY PEOPLE WERE LOOKING FOR JOBS IN THE KERRY ADMINISTRATION OR TOM VILSACK WANTING TO BE VICE PRESIDENT THAT YOU LET HIM OFF THE HOOK ON THE IOWA CAUCUS QUESTION?

Crawford: WELL, I CAN ONLY SPEAK FOR MYSELF. I WAS NOT LOOKING FOR ANY NEW JOB. I CAN ASSURE YOU THAT.

Glover: MS. CONLIN, LET'S LOOK AT WHAT'S HAPPENING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE. REPUBLICANS HAVE SET A CALENDAR. DOES THAT HAVE AN IMPACT ON WHAT DEMOCRATS DO?

Conlin: YOU BET. I THINK THERE'S NO DOUBT ABOUT IT. FOR ONCE WE'RE GRATEFUL TO THE REPUBLICANS FOR WHAT THEY HAVE DONE. I THINK THAT GIVES US A LEG UP IN THE PROCESS BECAUSE WE HAVE TO -- I DON'T THINK THERE'S ANYONE WHO CAN ARGUE VERY FORCEFULLY FOR US STARTING THE PROCESS IN TWO DIFFERENT STATES. IT DOESN'T MAKE ANY SENSE. THERE'S NOT SYMMETRY THERE AND SO I SUSPECT THAT WILL BE VERY HELPFUL.

Glover: MR. CRAWFORD, BUT WON'T THE ARGUMENT BE IF SOME OTHER STATE COMES IN ON THE DEMOCRATIC SIDE AND TAKES OVER THE FIRST-IN-THE-NATION POSITION THAT REPUBLICANS WILL MOVE AS WELL?

Crawford: OH, I DON'T THINK SO. I THINK PRESIDENT BUSH LIKES IOWA JUST FINE, AND HE'S GOING TO HAVE A GREAT DEAL TO SAY ABOUT THE CONTINUING MANAGEMENT OF THE CALENDAR. AND I THINK ROXANNE IS RIGHT. THE FACT THAT THE NATIONAL PRESS CORPS -- AND YOU ALL HAVE HELPED SHAPED THIS ATTITUDE WITH THEM -- IS VERY COMFORTABLE COMING HERE TO BEGIN THE PROCESS AND GOING TO NEW HAMPSHIRE. THEY HAVE THEIR OWN CIRCLE OF ACQUAINTANCES THAT HAVE DEVELOPED OVER TIME, AND THEY'RE ALREADY GOING TO BE BACK FOR THE REPUBLICAN CONTEST. IT'S MUCH BETTER FOR THEM AS WELL.

Glover: ARE YOU SAYING IOWA IS GOING TO STAY FIRST BECAUSE THE PRESS DOESN'T WANT TO --

Crawford: I THINK THAT IT'S ONE FACTOR. THE NATIONAL PRESS'S ABILITY, AGAIN IN CONJUNCTION WITH YOUR OWN, TO CONVEY THE CONTENT OF THE CAMPAIGN IS VITAL TO THE PROCESS. IT'S A KEY COMPONENT OF THE PROCESS.

Borg: MS. CONLIN, AS YOU AND JERRY CHART THE PARTY'S FUTURE, WHAT IS GOING TO BE THE EFFECT OF THE HOWARD DEAN INFLUENCE ON THE PARTY? IN OTHER WORDS: WHAT HE DID FOR THE PARTY; WHAT IOWA DID TO HIM; AND THEN A FOLLOW-ON ON HIS FUTURE.

Conlin: WELL, IOWA PROBABLY DID HIM A GREAT BIG FAVOR BY NOT RESPONDING AS WELL AS HE THOUGHT TO THE MESSAGE THAT HE WAS DELIVERING AND THEN, OF COURSE, THE REACTION -- HIS REACTION TO HIS FAILURE TO GENERATE THE KIND OF SUPPORT HE THOUGHT THAT HE HAD I THINK SEALED HIS ULTIMATE FATE. I DON'T KNOW WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN AT THE NATIONAL LEVEL.

Borg: BUT HE CHANGED SOME THINGS IN YOUR PARTY.

Conlin: IN VERY GOOD WAYS. HIS USE OF THE INTERNET, HIS REACHING OUT TO YOUNG PEOPLE, THOSE ARE VERY POSITIVE THINGS THAT I HOPE WILL BE ONGOING, THAT I SUSPECT WILL BE ONGOING. THAT'S SOMETHING THAT WE HAVE TO THANK HIM FOR.

Borg: MR. CRAWFORD -- GO AHEAD, DAVID.

Yepsen: I WANT TO FOLLOW UP ON DEAN'S EARLIER QUESTION. HOW DOES THIS WORK? I MEAN YOU HAVE -- YOU'RE HAVING A STUDY OF YOUR PROCESS, OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY PROCESS. WHAT HAPPENS? WHEN WILL YOU REPORT? WHO VOTES ON IT? WHEN WILL WE KNOW WHETHER IOWA IS FIRST OR NOT?

Conlin: AS I UNDERSTAND THE PROCESS, THE SUPPORTING MEMBER COMMISSION, THE FIRST MEETING IS SCHEDULED SOMETIME IN FEBRUARY, ALTHOUGH WE HAVEN'T BEEN NOTIFIED EXACTLY WHEN IN FEBRUARY. THERE WILL BE SOME PUBLIC HEARINGS AROUND THE COUNTRY TO TAKE THE OPINIONS AND LISTEN TO THE OPINIONS OF OTHER DEMOCRATIC ACTIVISTS AROUND THE COUNTRY, AND THEN WE REPORT AT THE END OF THE YEAR, AS I UNDERSTAND IT, TO THE DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE, WHO MAKES THE DECISION SHORTLY THEREAFTER.

Borg: MR. CRAWFORD, THE FOLLOW-ON QUESTION TO YOU IS CAN HOWARD DEAN CONTINUE TO HAVE INFLUENCE IN THE PARTY AND IN A FORMAL ROLE.

Crawford: YEAH, I THINK HE'S CHANGED THE PARTY FOR ALL TIME. I AGREE WITH ROXANNE. ON THE PLUS SIDE OF THE LEDGER, HE IS THE SINGLE, MOST IMPORTANT REASON THAT THE DEMOCRATS, FOR THE FIRST TIME IN OUR HISTORY AS A PARTY, RAISED AS MUCH, ACTUALLY A LITTLE BIT MORE, MONEY FOR THE GENERAL ELECTION THAN DID THE REPUBLICANS. HE GETS MORE CREDIT FOR THAT ANYONE. ON THE NEGATIVE SIDE OF THE LEDGER, THE LESSON HE LEARNED IN IOWA IS A LESSON WE NOW NEED TO LEARN AS A PARTY NATIONWIDE. HOWARD DEAN SENT IN THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS OF VOLUNTEERS INTO THE STATE OF IOWA TO WORK IN THE CAUCUS PROCESS. JOHN KERRY AND JOHN EDWARDS RECRUITED HUNDREDS AND THOUSANDS OF IOWANS TO WORK IN THEIR OWN NEIGHBORHOODS WITHIN THE CAUCUS CAMPAIGN, AND THAT PROVED EVER SO MUCH MORE EFFECTIVE. WE NEED TO LEARN THE SAME LESSON NATIONALLY AND EMPHASIZE, FOR EXAMPLE, IN OHIO, THE WAY THE REPUBLICANS DID THIS TIME, LOCAL ACTIVITY BY LOCAL PEOPLE. AND I THINK THAT IS A LESSON THAT HOWARD DEAN HELPED TEACH AS WELL.

Yepsen: MR. CRAWFORD, WHAT ARE THE OPTIONS FOR CHANGE? I MEAN IT STRIKES ME THAT WE'VE HAD THESE DISCUSSIONS IN AMERICAN POLITICS BEFORE. IOWA HAS TOO MUCH INFLUENCE. WE SHOULD CHANGE IT TO SOMETHING ELSE, BUT THE COUNTRY CAN'T SEEM TO AGREE ON WHAT THAT CHANGE OUGHT TO BE. NATIONAL PRIMARY, REGIONAL PRIMARY, ROTATING OTHER STATES, WHAT ARE THE OPTIONS IN FRONT OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY?

Crawford: YOU KNOW, I THINK THAT THAT'S THE SINGLE, MOST PERSUASIVE REASON AGAINST CHANGE. YOU KNOW, IT'S ONE THING TO SAY THE IOWA/NEW HAMPSHIRE PROCESS ISN'T PERFECT. THAT'S LIKE SAYING JOHN KERRY WASN'T A PERFECT CANDIDATE. OF COURSE NOT. NO ONE IS. NO PROCESS IS PERFECT. IT'S WHEN YOU PUT AN ALTERNATIVE NEXT TO IOWA/NEW HAMPSHIRE, AND YOU GET TO MEASURE THE POTENTIAL OF THAT ALTERNATIVE TO THE STATUS QUO THAT THE IOWA/NEW HAMPSHIRE MODEL LOOKS VERY STRONG. I WOULD SAY THIS, DAVID; I CAN SEE SOME WISDOM IN THE PARTY MOVING TOWARD A SITUATION WHERE AFTER IOWA AND NEW HAMPSHIRE, LOW COST, VERY RETAIL OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE CANDIDATES, WHERE AFTER THAT WE WOULD GO TO EITHER A LOTTERY OR ROTATING SYSTEM WHERE DIFFERENT REGIONS IN THE COUNTRY WOULD THEN TAKE THEIR TURN COMING NEXT.

Yepsen: MS. CONLIN, WHAT ABOUT ONE IDEA THAT HAS BEEN ADVANCED, WHICH IS SORT OF THE BIG BANG THAT WE HAVE, IOWA AND NEW HAMPSHIRE, SOUTH CAROLINA, AND MAYBE NEW MEXICO ALL GOING THE SAME DAY SO THAT YOU STILL HAVE IOWA AND NEW HAMPSHIRE FIRST BUT NO STATE HAS A DISPROPORTIONATE INFLUENCE ON ANOTHER. IS THAT AN OPTION FOR THE PARTY?

Conlin: I DON'T THINK THAT IT'S AN OPTION FOR THE PARTY BECAUSE WHAT THAT ELIMINATES IS THE RETAIL NATURE OF POLITICS IN IOWA AND NEW HAMPSHIRE, THE ONE-ON-ONE LOOKING IN THE EYES OF THE CANDIDATE THAT IS SO IMPORTANT TO SELECTING A DECENT HUMAN BEING.

Yepsen: WOULD THEY JUST HAVE TO DO RETAIL IN A COUPLE OTHER STATES AT THE SAME TIME?

Conlin: YOU CAN'T DO THAT, DAVID, AS YOU WELL KNOW. WE IN IOWA EXPECT THE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES TO BE HERE WITH US ON A VERY REGULAR BASIS SO THAT WE CAN LOOK AT THEM AND TALK TO THEM. SO I DON'T THINK THAT WORKS VERY WELL. PLUS, WE'VE GOT THE MONEY PROBLEM THEN.

Crawford: DAVID, IT'S NOT ALWAYS SO THAT THE PERSON WHO WINS THE IOWA CAUCUSES RUNS THE TABLE. IT DID HAPPEN THIS TIME BUT IT DOESN'T ALWAYS HAPPEN THAT WAY. WE'VE HAD NUMEROUS NOMINEES WHO DIDN'T WIN IN THE IOWA CAUCUSES CAUCUSES.

Yepsen: SO THEN IS ONE OPTION TO SPREAD THIS PROCESS OUT SO THAT YOU DON'T HAVE THIS BRUSH FIRE THAT STARTS SO THAT IT PUTS SOME DISTANCE BETWEEN IOWA AND NEW HAMPSHIRE, BETWEEN NEW HAMPSHIRE IN SUBSEQUENT CONTESTS? IS THAT AN OPTION?

Crawford: WELL, YOU KNOW, I THINK IT'S GOING TO BE DIFFERENT EVERY FOUR YEARS. I JUST DON'T BELIEVE THAT IT'S A TRUISM THAT IF YOU WIN IOWA, YOU WIN THE CONTEST. I DID THINK IN ADVANCE OF THE CAUCUSES THIS TIME THAT IF WE COULD MARSHAL A VICTORY FOR JOHN KERRY, HE WOULD WIN THE NOMINATION, BUT IT'S NOT ALWAYS SO. MICHAEL DUKAKIS IN '88 FINISHED THIRD HERE, WHICH IS WHAT WE NEEDED TO DO IN THAT CAMPAIGN IN ORDER TO BE NOMINATED.

Glover: MR. CRAWFORD, I'D LIKE TO LOOK FOR A SECOND AT THE DEMOCRATIC FIXATION ON THE PROCESS. I WAS SPEAKING WITH THE GOVERNOR THE OTHER DAY, AND HE POINTED OUT THAT DEMOCRATS HAVE ELECTED ONE PRESIDENT SINCE 1964 WITH THE MAJORITY OF THE VOTE OF AMERICANS AND THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY NEEDS TO BEGIN LOOKING AT THE MESSAGE IT'S OFFERING AND THE QUALITY OF CANDIDATES IT'S PUTTING FORWARD. SHOULDN'T YOU BE WORRIED MORE ABOUT YOUR PARTY'S MESSAGE AND THE QUALITY OF YOUR CANDIDATES THAN WHAT STATE STARTS THIS THING?

Crawford: YES. UNFORTUNATELY, THE PARTY HAS TO DO BOTH AT THE SAME TIME. BUT IN TERMS OF THE LEADERSHIP OF OUR PARTY, I COULDN'T AGREE MORE. YOU KNOW, I WAS IN WASHINGTON THE WEEK BEFORE LAST WITH THE GOVERNOR FOR THE DEMOCRATIC GOVERNOR'S ASSOCIATION HOLIDAY EVENT, AND I MARVELED AT HOW PEOPLE IN WASHINGTON, YOU KNOW, THE DAY AFTER THE ELECTION COMES, THE DEMOCRATS LOST, THEY'RE ON TO FOUR YEARS FROM NOW. AND I'M LIKE -- YOU KNOW, I'M STILL IN MOURNING, JUST TO BE PERFECTLY HONEST ABOUT IT, THE DEEP-AND-WOUND PHASE. BUT THERE'S A PROFESSIONAL GROUP OF PARTY ACTIVISTS ON BOTH SIDES WHO ARE JUST ONTO THE NEXT THING. I COULDN'T AGREE WITH THE GOVERNOR MORE. WE AS A PARTY NEED TO FOCUS NOT ON THE HORSE RACE OF '08 RIGHT NOW. FOR THE NEXT TWO YEARS WE NEED TO SOLIDLY FOCUS ON ISSUES AND IDEAS AND WHERE THE CONNECTION IS BETWEEN OUR PARTY, OUR PARTY LEADERSHIP, AND THE VOTERS IN THIS COUNTRY, HOW CAN WE IMPROVE THE GENERAL CONDITION. THAT'S WHY PEOPLE GET INTO POLITICS, OR AT LEAST IT SHOULD BE. NOT TO ALWAYS JUST BE WORRYING ABOUT THE NEXT CYCLE AND HOW DO YOU GAIN SOME PARTISAN ADVANTAGE.

Glover: MS. CONLIN, THE SAME QUESTION TO YOU. DO DEMOCRATS NEED TO BE WORRYING MORE ABOUT THE MESSAGE THEY'RE OFFERING AMERICANS AND LESS ABOUT WHERE THEY BEGIN THE PROCESS?

Conlin: I THINK OUR MESSAGE IS SOUND. I HAVE ALWAYS THOUGHT OUR MESSAGE IS SOUND: PEOPLE BEFORE PROFITS; WE CARE ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENT; WE CARE ABOUT THE CLEAN AIR AND CLEAN WATER. OUR MESSAGE IS FINE. OUR DELIVERY MIGHT NOT HAVE BEEN AS GOOD AS IT COULD HAVE BEEN, AND WE LET OURSELVES -- WE LET OUR MESSAGE BE CORRUPTED. WE LET OUR PEOPLE BE ATTACKED IN WAYS THAT WERE UNFAIR AND UNTRUE.

Yepsen: BUT DOESN'T THE -- MS. CONLIN, DOESN'T THE PROCESS MAKE IT DIFFICULT FOR A CENTRIST DEMOCRAT TO GET THE NOMINATION? WHEN YOU HAVE STARTED IN A STATE LIKE IOWA OR NEW HAMPSHIRE, WHICH CAN BE DOMINATED BY YOUR PARTY'S LEFT, THAT MAY BE FINE FOR YOU AS A LIBERAL BUT IT DOESN'T DO MUCH FOR YOU TO HELP GAIN VOTES IN THE SOUTH OR IN THE WEST OR HELP A CENTRIST CANDIDATE LIKE JOE LIEBERMAN. SO DOESN'T THE PROCESS DETERMINE THE MESSAGE AND THE CANDIDATE?

Conlin: WELL, YES, YOU'RE ENTIRELY CORRECT. THE PROCESS DOES AND SHOULD DETERMINE THE CANDIDATE AND THE MESSAGE, AND THERE'S NOTHING WRONG WITH OUR MESSAGE. THERE'S NOTHING WRONG WITH OUR MESSAGE AT ALL. WHAT'S WRONG IS OUR DELIVERY SYSTEM, PERHAPS. THE IDEA THAT LIBERAL AS A PEJORATIVE -- YOU JUST USED IT AS A PEJORATIVE -- PERHAPS IN THE NEXT FOUR YEARS WE CAN CORRECT THE MISINFORMATION.

Yepsen: HOW DO YOU DO THAT? THAT LIBERAL MESSAGE CAME UP ABOUT THREE MILLION VOTES SHORT THIS TIME.

Conlin: I THINK SO.

Yepsen: SO WHAT DO YOU DO ABOUT IT?

Conlin: I'M NOT SURE IT WAS THE LIBERAL MESSAGE THAT CAME UP SHORT, AND I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT, DAVID. THAT'S WHAT WE'RE GOING TO SPEND THE NEXT FOUR YEARS LOOKING AT, AND I THINK THAT WE'LL FIND A SOLUTION.

Glover: MR. CRAWFORD, ARE WE OVERSTATING THE PROBLEM? I MEAN EVERYONE -- BASICALLY JOHN KERRY CAME UP A FEW THOUSAND VOTES SHORT IN OHIO OR WE WOULDN'T BE HAVING THIS SHOW AT ALL. ARE WE OVERSTATING THE PROBLEM FACING DEMOCRATS? I MEAN DEMOCRATS LOST THE WHITE HOUSE, BUT YOU WERE RUNNING AGAINST A SITTING PRESIDENT IN WARTIME, A DIFFICULT TASK FOR ANY CHALLENGER. YOU LOST SOME SEATS THE CONGRESS, BUT IF YOU LOOK AROUND THE COUNTRY, DEMOCRATS DIDN'T HAVE THAT BAD A NIGHT. IN IOWA, YOU PICKED UP A LOT OF LEGISLATIVE SEATS. ARE WE OVERSTATING THE PROBLEMS FACING DEMOCRATS?

Crawford: YES, I THINK SO AND I THINK THAT WE OVERSTATE THE PROBLEM IF WE SAY THERE WAS SOMETHING WRONG WITH JOHN KERRY'S MESSAGE. ANYBODY WHO WATCHED JOHN KERRY'S CLOSING RUSH IN THE IOWA CAUCUSES, HIS SPEECH AT THE DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTION, OR HIS PERFORMANCE IN THREE OUT OF THREE DEBATES KNOWS THE MESSENGER WAS JUST FINE, THANK YOU VERY MUCH. THE TRUTH IS THAT THOSE OF US COLLECTIVELY WHO RAN THAT CAMPAIGN DISSERVED HIM. WE DID A DISASTROUS JOB AND WE DID IT NOT AT THE END, BUT BACK AROUND APRIL FIRST WHEN WE SEWED UP THE NOMINATION. WE HAD FOUR MONTHS BEFORE THE DEMOCRATIC NOMINATION TO INTRODUCE HIM EFFECTIVELY TO THIS COUNTRY. AND WHEN YOU LOOKED AHEAD, YOU KNEW THAT KARL ROVE WILL DO WHAT HE'S DONE HIS ENTIRE LIFE IN THE BUSINESS. HE WILL VICIOUSLY ATTACK HIS OPPONENT. VICIOUS ATTACKS WORK ONLY IN A VACUUM. WE COULD HAVE ELIMINATED THAT VACUUM BY VERY PRECISELY INTRODUCING KERRY'S THREE INITIATIVES FOR THIS COUNTRY TO THE PEOPLE, AND THEN THAT NEGATIVE WOULD HAVE BOUNCED OFF MORE. IT WOULD HAVE CHANGED THE OUTCOME.

Borg: IS THAT WHAT YOU MEANT, MS. CONLIN, WHEN YOU SAID HOW WE FAILED AND HOW WE DELIVERED THE MESSAGE?

Conlin: YES, ABSOLUTELY. ABSOLUTELY. WHEN YOU ASK PEOPLE WHAT THEY CARE ABOUT, WHAT THEY CARE ABOUT IS WHAT DEMOCRATS CARE ABOUT. WHAT MATTERS TO THEM IS WHAT MATTERS TO THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY. THAT WE HAVE FAILED TO CONVINCE THE MAJORITY OF PEOPLE IN THIS NATION THAT WE ARE THE PARTY THAT SPEAKS TO THEIR NEEDS IS OUR FAULT.

Yepsen: MR. CRAWFORD, ARE YOU PREPARED AS A JOHN KERRY BACKER TO GO TO YOUR COLLEAGUES ON THIS RULES COMMITTEE AND SAY, IN EFFECT, IT WASN'T IOWA THAT LOST THIS ELECTION, IT WASN'T NEW HAMPSHIRE THAT LOST THIS ELECTION, IT WAS JOHN KERRY'S MISTAKES? YOU WERE ASLEEP DURING THE SUMMER: HE WENT WIND SURFING; THE 87 BILLION THAT HE VOTED FOR BEFORE HE VOTED AGAINST IT; I MEAN THOSE WERE MISTAKES THAT JOHN KERRY MADE. SO ARE YOU PREPARED AS A KERRY SUPPORTER, AND A FAIRLY PROMINENT ONE, TO GO TO YOUR PARTY AND SAY IT WASN'T IOWA, IT WAS MY CANDIDATE?

Crawford: YOU KNOW, ONE OF MY FIRST JOBS IN POLITICS WAS WORKING FOR HUBERT HUMPHREY, AND WE'D GO AROUND MINNESOTA AND THE MIDWEST. AND INEVITABLY PEOPLE WOULD SAY, "HOW'S MURIEL?" AND HUBERT, WITH THAT TWINKLE IN HIS EYE, WOULD SAY, "COMPARED TO WHO?" WHEN THEY SAY WAS JOHN KERRY A FLOOD CANDIDATE, I SAY COMPARED TO WHO. I BELIEVE THAT THE IOWA CAUCUSES PRODUCED TWO STRONG LEADERS FOR OUR PARTY AND ITS CAUSE IN THIS CYCLE AND WE NOMINATED THEM. IT'S PRETTY HARD TO ARGUE AGAINST THAT. AND I THINK YOU HAVE TO BE VERY SHORTSIGHTED TO ARGUE THAT IT WAS IOWA'S FAULT.

Glover: MS. CONLIN, SPEAKING OF LEADERSHIP, THERE'S A LEADERSHIP STRUGGLE WITHIN THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY RIGHT NOW OVER WHO'S GOING TO REPLACE TERRY MCAULIFFE AS CHAIR OF THE DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE. THE GOVERNOR OF IOWA AT ONE TIME WAS THOUGHT OF AS A CANDIDATE. HOWARD DEAN WAS THOUGHT OF AS A CANDIDATE, AND THERE'S A BUNCH OF CANDIDATES. WHO'S GOING TO BE THE NEXT DNC CHAIR?

Conlin: I DON'T HAVE A CLUE.

Glover: DOES IT MATTER?

Conlin: IT PROBABLY MATTERS. IT PROBABLY MATTERS IN TERMS OF THE DIRECTION THAT WE TAKE, BUT THE POSITION OF PARTY CHAIR IS THE TECHNICAL POSITION. WHAT WE NEED IS A LEADER. WHAT WE NEED IS SOMEONE WHO WILL HELP US TO CHOOSE THE NEXT PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE.

Glover: MR. CRAWFORD, THAT'S THE NEXT QUESTION. WHO RIGHT NOW IS THE LEADER OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY? WHO SHOULD WE IN THE MEDIA LOOK TO AS A SPOKESPERSON, THE FACE ON THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY?

Crawford: WELL, FIRST OF ALL, ON THE QUESTION OF DNC CHAIR, IF I HAD TO BET A QUARTER TODAY, I WOULD BET THAT TERRY MCAULIFFE WILL BE THE NEXT CHAIR OF THE DNC. I WOULDN'T BE THE LEAST BIT SURPRISED IF PEOPLE DECIDED, AFTER LOOKING AT THE VAST ARRAY OF CANDIDATES, TO MAYBE ASK TERRY TO CONTINUE FOR, SAY, ONE MORE YEAR. I THINK THAT THAT'S A VERY DISTINCT POSSIBILITY. AS FAR AS WHO YOU LOOK TO FOR SPOKESMAN OF THE PARTY, YOU'RE GOING TO LOOK TO A COLLECTION OF SPOKESPEOPLE. AND BACK TO MY EARLIER POINT THAT WE SHOULD BE FOCUSING ON IDEAS AND ISSUES, I THINK THAT'S PERFECT. WE HAVE TALENTED GOVERNORS. WE HAVE TALENTED MAYORS. I DON'T THINK THERE'S ANY DOUBT THAT PEOPLE OUTSIDE WASHINGTON ARE GOING TO BECOME MORE IMPORTANT AS THE MESSENGER.

Yepsen: MS. CONLIN, WE'VE ONLY GOT A MINUTE LEFT. I WANT TO GO BACK TO THIS CALENDAR AND THIS PROCESS BUSINESS. THIS WHOLE QUESTION STARTED BECAUSE MICHIGAN WAS UPSET FOUR YEARS AGO, SAYING BIG STATES ARE CUT OUT OF THIS PROCESS. THIS TIME OHIO IS WHERE THE SELECTION WAS LOST. YOU'VE BEEN IN A LOT OF NEGOTIATIONS. WHAT CAN IOWA OFFER BIG STATES LIKE OHIO THAT YOU HAVE TO HAVE TO WIN THE WHITE HOUSE TO GET THEM HAPPY, TO HELP WITH THE BIGGER PICTURE? IS THERE SOMETHING YOU CAN PUT ON THE TABLE TO CUT THESE BIG STATES INTO THIS NOMINATION PROCESS AT THE BEGINNING?

Conlin: I'M NOT SURE THAT THERE IS ANYTHING THAT WE WANT TO PUT ON THE TABLE TO CUT BIG STATES IN, IN THE WAY THAT YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT, BECAUSE I THINK THAT IOWA'S STRENGTH IS AFFECTED. IT'S A SMALL STATE THAT YOU CAN GO FROM COUNTY TO COUNTY AND TOWN TO TOWN.

Yepsen: EXCUSE ME, WOULDN'T THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY BE BETTER OFF STARTING ITS '08 NOMINATION CONTEST IN OHIO?

Conlin: OH, ABSOLUTELY NOT.

Yepsen: YOU DON'T NEED TO DO MUCH PARTY BUILDING HERE. IT SEEMS TO ME YOU'VE GOT A LOT TO DO IN OHIO.

Conlin: THAT'S ENTIRELY CORRECT AND OHIOANS SHOULD DO PARTY BUILDING IN OHIO. WE'LL DO IOWA.

Crawford: DAVID, I THINK YOU'VE RAISED AN INTERESTING QUESTION, AND I THINK I KNOW AT LEAST ONE OF THE SOLUTIONS. IT'S EDUCATIONAL. AND IT'S GOING TO BE VERY IMPORTANT FOR ROXANNE AND MYSELF TO TAKE WAYNE FORD AND MARY CAMPOS TO SOME OF THESE MEETINGS, WHO HOST THE BROWN-BLACK COALITION FORUM, WHICH TURNED OUT TO BE ONE OF THE DEFINING MOMENTS IN THE CAUCUS CAMPAIGN, TO TAKE AKO SAMAD TO SOME OF THESE MEETINGS, FOR PEOPLE TO UNDERSTAND WE DO HAVE CULTURAL DIVERSITY IN IOWA AND THAT IT PLAYS A KEY ROLE IN THE PROCESS. THAT WILL GO A LONG WAY.

Yepsen: WHAT DOES IT DO FOR IOWA?

Crawford: WELL, IT TAKES AWAY A MEANINGFUL ARGUMENT THAT THERE IS NO DIVERSITY IN OUR STATE OR THAT WE DON'T PAY ATTENTION TO THOSE ISSUES.

Borg: THANK YOU VERY MUCH. WE'RE OUT OF TIME. WE'LL HAVE YOU BACK AFTER YOU HAVE DECIDED THESE THINGS AND SEE WHAT YOU SAY THEN. ON OUR NEXT EDITION OF "IOWA PRESS," WE TURN TO HIGHER EDUCATION IN IOWA. IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY PRESIDENT GREG GEOFFROY WILL BE HERE TO DISCUSS CHANGING ROLES AND ADJUSTMENTS TO SHARPLY CONSTRICTED APPROPRIATIONS AND OTHER MATTERS. THAT'S NEXT WEEKEND, REGULAR TIMES: FRIDAY, 7:30; SUNDAY AT NOON. AND THAT'S IT FOR THIS WEEKEND'S EDITION OF "IOWA PRESS." I'M DEAN BORG. THANKS FOR JOINING US TODAY. CAPTIONS BY: MIDWEST CAPTIONING DES MOINES, IOWA FUNDING FOR THIS PROGRAM WAS PROVIDED BY "FRIENDS," THE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION FOUNDATION; AND BY THE IOWA BANKERS ASSOCIATION... FOR PERSONAL, BUSINESS, AND COMMERCIAL NEEDS, IOWA BANKS HELP IOWANS REACH THEIR FINANCIAL GOALS.