Governor Tom Vilsack got two phone calls at home last night from presidential candidates courting his support. Massachusetts Senator John Kerrey and Vermont Governor Howard Dean telephoned Iowa’s Governor, who endorsed Gore in 2000 after he’d won the nomination. Vilsack says the two wanted to make sure he knew Al Gore wasn’t running. Gore announced yesterday that he would not run for president in 2004, a move that makes Iowa’s first-in-the-nation Caucuses even more important for candidates. Vilsack is praising Gore for deciding not to run.Vilsack says Gore was right when he said a Gore versus Bush re-match would focus the 2004 campaign debate on the past rather than the future. Vilsack says campaigns should always be about the future, and Gore has done the country and the Democratic party a favor.Vilsack says Gore’s decision creates a wide open field in Iowa, and gives Iowans a chance to shape the national political debate. Vilsack says he hasn’t decided whether he’ll stay neutral or endorse a candidate in 2004. His wife, Christie, endorsed Gore early in the race last time around, and the Governor jokes that last night, the candidates were disappointed his wife wasn’t home so they could court her support.
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