Iowa’s First Lady is sending a letter to every democrat in the nation who’ll be attending the Democratic Convention in Boston in two weeks, asking democrats to bring a children’s book to Boston. Iowa First Lady Christie Vilsack is in charge of a book drive at the convention, and she launched the effort today by announcing her contribution, a book about a woman aviation pioneer and a famous First Lady. Mrs. Vilsack’s book recounts the true story of Amelia Earhardt’s trip for dinner at the White House, a night that ended with Earhardt giving Eleanor Roosevelt a ride in a plane. That book and all the books collected will be donated to Boston-area schools. She says that would be a nice way to thank the people of Boston for opening their city to the democratic guests.The Kerry campaign has asked Mrs. Vilsack to speak at the convention Tuesday night, and there was a bit of a dust-up yesterday when it became clear New York Senator and former First Lady Hillary Clinton would not be speaking, but the wife of Iowa’s governor would. She says there are a lot of people who are speaking and a lot who are not, and she says it’s not her call, so she has not opinion on it. She says she would love to hear Hillary Clinton speak. Mrs. Vilsack wrote her convention speech yesterday. It’s being reviewed by Kerry campaign speechwriters today. Mrs. Vilsack says it focuses on Midwestern values. She says she’s proud to continue to shine the light on the country. She says the Iowa Caucuses show Iowa has pretty good judgment in picking a democrat presidential candidate.Mrs. Vilsack says she’ll talk about how she first learned she was a democrat. She says when she was 10 years old her bike was covered with Kennedy-Johnson stickers, but she says she never dreamed she’d ever speak at the convention. Governor Vilsack was on the list of people John Kerry considered as a runningmate, and Mrs. Vilsack says she enjoyed seeing her husband’s name bandied about in the national press. She says she’s very proud that he was in it to the very end and says she’s “proud to be married to a rising star in the Democratic party.”In addition to her convention speech, on Monday night after the convention wraps up, Mrs. Vilsack will host a book party at the Boston Public Library featuring U.S. Senators who’ve written books, and Hillary Clinton is scheduled to be there. For the past four years Mrs. Vilsack has conducted a statewide literacy initiative which included giving school kids their own book to take home and read. Mrs. Vilsack says she’s too focused on being First Lady and campaigning for the Kerry campaign to think about whether she might run for office someday. Vilsack says she barely knows what she’ll be doing tomorrow, so she says she doesn’t know what she’ll be doing two years from now. She says she’s lived long enough to know that we shouldn’t even speculate what will happen 24 hours from now. Mrs. Vilsack’s brother, Tom, was killed in a traffic accident shortly before Tom Vilsack was elected governor and Christie’s father died in late 1998, before her husband was sworn into office.
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