The former governor of New Hampshire says she’s confident Iowa and New Hampshire will retain their opening slots in the next presidential selection contest in 2008. Former New Hampshire Governor Jeanne Shaheen is now chair of democratic presidential candidate John Kerry’s national campaign, and she was in Des Moines last night, Shaheen says Iowa and New Hampshire play a very important role in selecting a president because the residents of the two states are very thoughtful about making their voting decision. Shaheen says the Democratic Party has over and over affirmed its support for Iowa and New Hampshire going first in the presidential selection process, and she expects a similar statement to emerge from the party’s convention this summer. Shaheen says Kerry clearly supports having Iowa and New Hampshire going early in the process. And Shaheen recalls Kerry’s comments the night he won Iowa Caucuses when Kerry, who had been trailing in the polls ’til the last moment, said “I love Iowa.” Shaheen, who spoke at a “Women for Kerry” event in Cedar Rapids earlier yesterday, says there may be a woman on the list of folks Kerry’s considering as a runningmate — but it isn’t her. Shaheen says Kerry shouldn’t choose another politician from the northeast to share the top of the ticket. She says the vice presidential selection process is “very deliberate and thoughtful.” A reporter asked Shaheen what Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack’s chances were for being named Kerry’s runningmate. Shaheen repeated her previous response, which prompted the reporter to say “That’s your answer and you’re sticking to it?” Shaheen replied “That’s it.” Vilsack was in Washington, D.C. Wednesday, but will not say whether he met privately with Kerry, who was also in D.C. on Wednesday. “You’ll have to ask Senator Kerry about his schedule,” Vilsack told statehouse reporters on Thursday.
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