Former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack and his wife spoke to a crowd of about 60 Democrats in Winterset last night about Vilsack’s presidential campaign. Jim Nelson of Winterset likes Vilsack, but it’ll be at least six months before Nelson decides which candidate to back in the Iowa Caucuses. "Unfortunately, it’s probably who gets the most money is who’s going to win it," Nelson says.
But Pam Deichmann of Winterset, a member of the Madison County Democratic Party central committee, gives Vilsack "excellent" chances. "As it shakes out, then you begin to know if they can or not…and he’s jumped in there and made a point," Deichmann says. "…I’m not ready to think he can’t do it."
Robert Bell of Winterset has boarded the Vilsack for president bandwagon. "Once people get off of all of the fanfare with a couple of the other candidates, I think Tom’ll really show ’em up when it comes down to substance," Bell says. Patty Linius of Winterset was there to take the measure of Vilsack as a presidential candidate.
"The campaigns are just kind of beginning, so it’s really hard to decide," she says. "As our governor, I thought he did a wonderful job." Mary Jungst of Winterset has one thing in mind as she makes her decision about who to support for president in 2008. "Number one is to get our boys home, really. I mean, I think this has been very expensive lifewise and financial," she says. "And I don’t think we’ve gained a thing." Vilsack spent a good portion of his remarks talking about Iraq.
Vilsack says President Bush is sending the wrong message by announcing the U.S. will accept seven-thousand Iraqi immigrants into the United States as political refugees. "We’re sending a whole series of mixed messages. We’re sending a message that somehow you can solve a civil war with a military…That just does not happen. You can have to solve it politically and the only way you solve it politically is by forcing the Iraqis and the Arab Nations that have a stake in this and Iran to understand that they are at the cliff and they have to sit down at the table and work it out," Vilsack says.
Vilsack also spoke last night at a Warren County Democrats’ soup supper in Indianola. Vilsack and his wife will return to Iowa Friday for appearances that night in Fairfield and Ottumwa.