It’s the day before my flight to Boston and I’ve been running around like crazy trying to wrap up loose ends on the news side and personal side, like getting to this afternoon’s hair cut appointment that I had had to reschedule FOUR TIMES in the past week because of news events. (First it was a news director’s meeting in Wisconsin on the 14th, then it was President Bush in Cedar Rapids on Tuesday…you get the idea, so I’ll quit that rant.)
Today started with the taping of that Iowa Public Television show I’m invited on (it’s called Iowa Press, and it airs on Friday nights and Sunday at noon). The guests were Rob Tully, who was chairman of the Iowa Democratic Party in 2000 and Steve Roberts, a former Republican Party of Iowa chairman who has been on the Republican National Committee for a couple of decades. Anyway, both men said the four-day-long political convention is “silly.” Roberts said a two-day convention would be adequate since with the outcome certain, the events have become little more than a campaign ommercial. “Unfortunately some of the powers that be at the national level that run these conventions think they’re putting on a great show and the public is going to love it,” Robert said. Tully offered similar sentiments (warning: silly quote dead ahead) “The four day convention to me is kind of silly because to me as going through it in 2000, you know a couple of days were just like ‘Oh boy (yawn) who’s this person? This person’s from Rhode Island and they’re a city councilman?'” He says the conventions should “get right down to the president and vice president and let’s get movin’.”
Other highlights of the show included Roberts revealing he’s seen Fahrenheit 9/11 (remember, he’s the Republican) and Tully (the democrat) saying if Kerry isn’t elected this fall, then Governor Tom Vilsack won’t be leaving for a job in a Kerry administration and Vilsack then should think about running for a third term. (Connect the dots on that one.)
My next news event occured outdoors, in the rain, over the noonhour. The Principal Financial folks threw a big bash to mark the beginning of construction on the Riverwalk renovations they’re bankrolling in downtown Des Moines. Governor Tom Vilsack and the other dignitaries held golf umbrellas in one hand and a microphone in the other as they addressed the sprinkling of people gathered outside on the west bank of the Des Moines River (note use of sprinkling in story about an event in the rain). After brief remarks, Vilsack, Principal CEO Barry Griswell, the Mayor of Des Moines and a top guy from the U-S Army Corps of Engineers picked up chainsaws and sawed through railroad ties set up for the event. I guess the significance is they’re getting rid of some railroad ties to do the spruce up job. Anyway, for those keeping score, the Mayor of Des Moines sawed through his tie first; Vilsack was the last to make the cut (is that a nice pun or what?).
After getting soaked at that event, I spent a couple of hours in the Radio Iowa newsroom drying out and writing stories, then dashed off to Iowa Democratic Party HQ at three to chat with the party’s spokesman about the convention in Boston (hear part of that interview tomorrow morning on Radio Iowa). Then, it was a mad dash to get to my hair appointment on time. I do have to admit I missed Governor Tom Vilsack’s news conference at 4:15, but KUNI statehouse bureau chief Jeneane Beck covered for us, and reports Vilsack basically said what he had said during an interview Jeneane, Richard Lee & I did with him in the rain at 12:30.
Well, once I got back to the office I edited and wrote the special convention preview package you’ll hear on Radio Iowa Friday morning. I mentioned this blog at the end of the package, so if you’re here because you heard that, welcome. If you stumbled on this by accident, welcome.
I will stumble into my hotel in Boston at about midnight on Friday and will post a ramble as soon as I can.