Former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack and his wife, Christie, have publicly endorsed Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Former Governor Vilsack calls Senator Clinton the candidate who can do the "hand-holding" necessary to restore U.S. credibility around the world.
"You know this country over the last six years has seen significant damage to its reputation abroad and I can tell you that there is no better person today prepared to be president of the United States from day one to begin repairing those relationships with world leaders," Vilsack said this morning during a news conference in Des Moines.
Just over a month ago, Vilsack ended his own campaign for the White House. "It was an easy transition. It wasn’t even a question. This is the person to be the next president of the United States," Vilsack said. "She is tried. She is tested and she is ready."
But Vilsack said his endorsement, in large part, was because Mrs. Clinton was one of just two nationally-prominent Democrats who were willing to help him raise campaign cash in 1998 when Vilsack ran his long-shot but ultimately successful first campaign for governor. "In politics, loyalty is a commodity that is rare," Vilsack said. "…I don’t forget those things and I don’t think we in politics should ever forget what people have done to help us."
Vilsack’s wife, Christie, also talked about loyalty and the long-time friendship Hillary Clinton had with her brother, Tom Bell, who died of a heart attack about a decade ago. Christie Vilsack’s brother and Hillary Rodham both worked for a congressional committee gathering evidence during the Watergate era. "I’ve learned a lot about loyalty in the last few months during Tom’s presidential run and that’s one reason why I’m here today," Christie Vilsack said.
Christie Vilsack called the former First Lady fearless. "One quality that draws me to Senator Clinton as a candidate for president is this idea of being a pioneer, daring to do something that other people find too daunting," Christie Vilsack said this morning. "At this time in our country’s history, we need a leader who is not afraid."
Christie Vilsack will be co-chair of Clinton’s Iowa campaign. Tom Vilsack will be a national co-chair. Vilsack, who ended his presidential campaign on February 23rd, had called on Congress to cut off funding for the war in Iraq and Senator
Clinton referred to that stand. "(Vilsack) stood up for ending the war in Iraq the right way, for telling the president: ‘You’re on the wrong course,’" Senator Clinton said this morning. "I’m not sure, Tom, we’re going to be able to change the president’s mind. We’re sure trying."
"Good luck," Vilsack said, and he started to chuckle. "Good luck is right," Clinton responded. "But I can tell you this…Tom Vilsack and I will campaign together around this country and make it clear that when I’m president, we will end the war in Iraq and begin to bring our troops home." You can hear the entire news conference by clicking on the audio link below.