Iowa Presidential Watch
Holding the Democrats accountable


March 1, 2006

 "I like to suggest life is the best choice — probably not the only choice, but the best choice," Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack (D) said.

"I have a very high opinion of UAE and Dubai in particular," Bill Clinton said. "They're trying to build a new Middle East — they really are."

''You and I both know how [Karl] Rove-style Republicans treat veterans who speak the truth," Sen. John Kerry said in urging financial support for Democrat veterans running for office.


J U S T   P O L I T I C S


Vilsack goes to Washington

Iowa’s Governor Tom Vilsack was in the national spotlight on his visit to Washington during the National Governor’s Conference. Vilsack is one of the potential Democrat presidential candidates. Most Iowan’s don’t think he has the heft to be president. Many believe that he is preening for the V.P. spot with Hillary Clinton. Here is what the Des Moines Register’s Washington Bureau Chief Jane Norman opened her column with:

It was a debut of sorts Tuesday for the governor of Iowa, as he delivered a speech at the National Press Club, televised live by C-SPAN and scrutinized by members of the national media always eager to take a look — and sometimes a swipe — at the newest crop of possible presidential candidates.

Vilsack was caught live saying that life is "probably not the only choice." Clearly, that will take a lot of follow up speeches to explain. Especially given the fact, that Vilsack told the story on the national stage about how his adoptive troubled mother frequently tried to commit suicide.

We can expect a lot more speeches about how Vilsack’s moral values have been shaped.

It is Vilsack’s compelling life story that has gained him national attention. It is the reason why -- when he offers his Communitarian approach to government -- he captivates an audience. It is also true that the solidly Midwestern Vilsack offers his party an attractive possibility in the Midwest battleground states.

However, Sen. Evan Bayh (IN) and the rising star of Sen. Barack Obama (IL) are also attractive Midwest choices. Then there is the problem that all of these choices are moderates. There is some question as to whether Hillary will need to mollify the liberal left of her party. If she does, there is presidential contender Russ Feingold (WI) who would fill the gotta-have-a-lefty billing and has a lot more electoral votes than the Iowa Governor.

Still in today’s media market, it is the story that sells and transcends boundaries.

Bush goes to Afghanistan

President Bush – on board Air Force One -- flew to Bagram air base, U.S. headquarters in Afghanistan. Bush then took other transportation to Afghan’s capitol, Kabul, where he met with President Hamid Karzai. Many speculated that the high security visit would come at the end of Bush’s trip to the region. However, Bush’s security chose to make it an early stop on the tour.

Bush was frequently pressed by news sources about the "dead or alive" quest for Osama bin Laden. Bush stated:

"I am confident he will be brought to justice," Bush said. "We've got U.S. forces on the hunt for not only bin Laden but anybody who plots and plans with bin Laden. There are Afghan forces on the hunt. … We've got Pakistan forces on the hunt."

Good & bad Catholics

The Washington Post reports on Catholic elected members of congress who have put together a statement that that hopes to end the labeling of 'good and bad catholic'.

55 House Democrats issued a joint statement yesterday on the central role that the Catholic faith plays in their public lives.

The signers said they were fed up with being labeled "good Catholics" or "bad Catholics" based on one issue -- abortion. They said their religion infuses their positions on many issues: poverty, war, health care and education.

"Some of us are pro-choice and some of us are pro-life," said Rep. William J. Pascrell Jr. (D-N.J.). "But we respect each other and we're going to defend each other, because we're all operating in good conscience."

The statement stressed that all of the Catholic Democrats share the goal of reducing the incidence of abortion.

"We envision a world in which every child belongs to a loving family and agree with the Catholic Church about the value of human life and the undesirability of abortion -- we do not celebrate its practice," the statement said. "Each of us is committed to reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies and creating an environment with policies that encourage pregnancies to be carried to term."

However, fellow Catholic Tom McClusky, acting vice president for government affairs at the Family Research Council, cried foul:

"What is at the core of being Catholic is the life issue, and that's something the pope has never strayed from," he said. "While other issues are important -- such as helping the poor, the death penalty, views on war -- these are things that aren't tenets of the Catholic Church."


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