Governor Tom Vilsack, a potential Democratic presidential candidate in 2008, says American foreign policy must be dramatically revamped by the next president. A U.S./French collaboration helped bring about the cease fire in the Middle East, but Vilsack says President Bush’s foreign policy, in general, has isolated the U.S. in a dangerous way.

“We need a national security policy that understands that we have to work with nations, that we can’t take a unilateral approach to the rest of the world,” Vilsack says. Vilsack says “extremists” in Iran and Syria are emboldened by Bush’s “unfortunate” foreign policy.

Vilsack, as a governor, has not had the kind of security briefings and meetings with U.S. military commanders that members of the U.S. Senate who’re running for president have had. Vilsack has made a number of overseas trips during his tenure as governor, and Vilsack argues in speeches that he does not lack in foreign policy experience.

“The world has changed. We live in a global economy,” Vilsack says. “Governors, in fact, have a great deal to do with and are impacted by foreign policy decisions made by our national government and have to deal with the consequences of those decisions every day.”

In addition, during a weekend appearance at the Iowa State Fair, Vilsack told a crowd that moving America away from dependence on Middle East oil and toward use of domestically-produced alternative fuels is a national security issue. “To the extent that we become more secure, it obviously strengthens our economy and puts us in a better position to respond to crises around the world,” Vilsack says.

Arizona Senator John McCain, a Republican who ran for president in 2000 and may run again in 2008, is in Grinnell over the noon-hour speaking at a fundraiser for a local G-O-P candidate. McCain will visit the State Fair this afternoon before heading to Mason City to headline another local candidate’s fundraiser.