The two-hundred Democrats who gathered in a Des Moines restaurant this past Sunday morning got a preview of the message Governor Tom Vilsack is likely to use if he runs for president in 2008. Vilsack spoke just before 2004 Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, and Vilsack began his remarks with a Biblical reference. Vilsack said when Christ fed the five-thousand he removed “the fear of sharing” by making the meager bread and fish stretch to feed the multitude. “It is essential to a community, a functioning community, that we remove the fear of sharing,” Vilsack said. Vilsack said “when we do share, we are stronger for it, and all of us are better off.” Vilsack said he and his wife are “traveling around the country” to tell people there’s “power in the American community” and the Bush Administration is undermining that sense of community. Vilsack issued a litany of indictments against Bush and the Republicans who control Congress.Vilsack criticized the “No Child Left Behind” Act. He faulted Republicans for failing to ensure every American is covered by health insurance. He criticized Congress for failing to enact more reforms to ensure workers’ pension systems are solvent, and Vilsack lambasted what he called the “scheme” to “privatize” Social Security. Vilsack said Democrats could “set the table” for a great debate in 2008 because “Americans are growing weary” of Bush’s leadership. “That’s what elections are about. It’s about ensuring that we restore a sense and a purpose for the American community and in doing so, renew the American promise that is so vital to the experience of this country,” Vilsack said. Vilsack spoke for about seven minutes, then turned the microphone over to his wife, who he called a “strong-willed woman.” Christie Vilsack endorsed John Kerry for president in 2004, and she introduced Kerry to the crowd, without referring to Kerry as a potential candidate in 2008. “We stood with John Kerry in the last election, and I’m proud to stand here today and say ‘Welcome back, senator,'” was Christie Vilsack’s only reference to Kerry during her two-minute-long introduction.
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