Former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft is in Iowa, helping Republicans raise money. Ashcroft appeared at an ice cream social/fundraiser last (Wednesday) night in Des Moines. Ashcroft, a former Missouri Governor who also served as that state’s U.S. Senator, says he is not planning to run for president. “No way,” Ashcroft says of the idea. “I am a person who has retired from seeking public office, but I am interested in the way Iowa shapes the presidential elections and I’m here to help encourage the kind of debate and discussion of the issues that will help make sure the next president of the United States is a person who is strong on national defense and on the war on terror.” Ashcroft says it was an honor to serve in George Bush’s cabinet and he now wants to help steer the debate in the Republican Party over who should succeed him. Ashcroft says he has no regrets about calling an end to his political career. “I come as a neighbor now, not as a public official,” Ashcroft says of his trip to Iowa.