Governor Vilsack’s out-of-state again this week. He’ll attend an “education symposium” in Charlotte, North Carolina from Wednesday through Friday with other governors.

Vilsack’s travel schedule is getting crowded with speaking engagements at Democratic party events in other states. But on Saturday night, Iowans got to hear the “stump speech,” and Vilsack began with a lengthy quote from a former Republican president. It’s something Teddy Roosevelt once said in tribute to those who act rather than those who criticize.

As he has elsewhere, Vilsack tries to get the party faithful engaged in reviving their party. “I want to challenge you when you leave here tonight to think about the word or words that you believe define the Democratic party,” Vilsack said. “I think we need to have a conversation in this country about the values that are important to Democrats and the value that I think is most important above all else is the value of community.”

Vilsack recounts a biblical story that Vilsack says shows Christ took the fear out of sharing. “And that’s what Democrats stand for — removing the fear of sharing because we know when we do individuals are better off and we are all better off,” Vilsack said. Vilsack also criticizes Republicans who control congress for proposing budget cuts in order to pay for hurricane relief, while preserving “tax cuts for the wealthy.”

Vilsack said that is “morally wrong.” For his Iowa audience, Vilsack went on to target Congressman Jim Nussle, the Iowa Republican who leads the U.S. House Budget Committee and is also running for governor.
“I would say simply this to Congressman Nussle: Congressman, I hope that you still have that bag that you used years ago in congress because we need you to use it one more time,” Vilsack said, to applause from the crowd of one-thousand Iowa Democrats. Nussle, you may recall, donned a paper bag during a speech on the House floor to call for unmasking the members of congress who had bounced checks at the House bank.

But the crowd applauded the loudest when Vilsack alluded to his own presidential aspirations, while attacking a key Republican strategist. “I was asked a question the other day which I found quite interesting. It was something like this…’Governor, if you were president tomorrow, what is the first thing that you would do?'” Vilsack said. “I didn’t hesitate. I said ‘I would show Karl Rove the door.'” Rove is the architect of President Bush’s victories and has been under investigation for allegedly leaking the name of a covert C-I-A agent to reporters in an attempt to discredit the woman’s husband.