Governor Tom Vilsack flew off to vacation in New Jersey on Sunday, but could he land a new role today? Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry is set to appear in Pittsburg Tuesday morning at a rally that begins at eight o’clock Iowa time, and sources indicate he’ll be revealing his choice for a runningmate. Pittsburg is Vilsack’s hometown, but in his last radio interview before leaving on vacation, Vilsack told Radio Iowa he would not talk about being interviewed for the job by Kerry. “It’s a process that he developed and his people developed and they developed in order to put him in a position to make the best decision for the nation, and I’m confident that he will,” Vilsack said. Vilsack is considered a long-shot pick, and the Governor insists he’s not been consumed by the swirl of speculation about the number two spot on the national ticket. “I have a job and I’m perfectly content with the job, and I’ve said this and I know it’s really hard for people to believe. I’m not really focused on all this. I am focused on my job and focused on electing John Kerry,” Vilsack said. “And here’s why I’m focused on it. I’m concerned about our education system. I’m concerned about 80 million people without health care. I talk to these folks from time to time and I see the pain and agony that they have. I’m concerned about the economy and the fact that jobs may be created but they’re not as good as the jobs we lost. We really have to transform the economy. We started that process in Iowa and I think it has to start across the country.” Vilsack spent Sunday campaigning with the Kerry entourage, and afterwards Vilsack evaluated Kerry’s campaign style. “His great strength is the degree to which he can connect with people one-one-one,” Vilsack said. “If you watch him work a crowd, talking to people, he looks ’em in the eye, he connects with them and they have a feeling that this guy is listening.” Vilsack says that ability to connect with people was evident during Kerry’s Sunday afternoon visit to the Field of Dreams. “He plays well and that’s important. He understands the value of that,” Vilsack said. “I’ll tell you, the kids gravitated to him at that ballpark, and that’s a good indication to me.” Vilsack’s known as a policy wonk, and during his travel time with Kerry on Sunday, Vilsack says the two talked about corn-based ethanol fuel and the use of the Mississippi River for both transportation and tourism. But Vilsack refused to say whether the two talked about his v-p choice. “Again, I don’t mean to be rude about this, but all those conversations need to come from Senator Kerry. It’s his process, his plan and his pick and he should be the one to talk about it.” Kerry’s campaign plane was reportedly inside a hanger all day yesterday, causing reporters on the campaign trail to speculate that it was being repainted so the name of Kerry’s runningmate could be added to the campaign logo. You can learn more about Vilsack’s past and his political career on Radio Iowa’s website — www.radioiowa.com.
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