Iowa republican gubernatorial candidate Jim Nussle spoke to the Des Moines Rotary Club today (Thursday) instead of attending the visit of President Bush. Nussle’s opponent, Democrat Chet Culver, says Nussle’s trying to distance himself from the President.

Nussle, who is a congressman, says that’s not so. Nussle says he made a commitment to the Rotary six months ago and wanted to keep the commitment. The program chair for Rotary, Joan Bolin, told the group she was pleased to see Nussle uphold his commitment, as it had been publicized for weeks. Bolin also turned down an offer from democrat Congressman Leonard Boswell to switch appearances with Nussle, so Nussle could see the President. Bolin says Culver attempted to cancel an appearance before the Rotary club and that caused problems.

Nussle says he has clearly stated his respect for the President to Culver. Nussle says Culver evidently was interested in asking him about his opinion on President Bush in their last debate, “but wasn’t interested in listening to the answer.” Nussle says he’s made it very clear he is a friend to President Bush and respects the decisions Bush has made in ethanol, agriculture and trade to help Iowa. Nussle says he’d be glad to have Bush return and campaign for him, and says Culver’s reaching for some issue to try and gain ground.

Nussle says he believes the issue is “desperate on their part” and says he’s never had so much advice from democrats on how to run a campaign. Nussle also talked about gay marriage and said he will sign a pledge to “protect traditional marriage.”
Nussle says gay marriage is becoming an issue in campaigns “as a result of activists judges that are changing the definition (of traditional marriage).” Nussle says he supports a constitutional amendment that defines marriage as between a man and a woman.

Nussle says he’d like to see his opponent, Culver, sign the pledge to protect “traditional marriage.” Nussle says Culver indicated during their debate that he was for traditional marriage. Nussle says Culver’s answer to a question from the Des Moines Register’s editorial board shows he’s evidently changed his position on gay marriage, “where he evidently has been duped by the liberal establishment.” Nussle says, “I believe it had become an issue, one that he ought to be clear about.”

Nussle was asked if he would support some sort of agreement that created a union for gays that was not called marriage. Nussle, says “No is the short answer, but I the issue that I think is before us today is protecting traditional marriage. That’s what’s under fire right now. And I would support a constitutional amendment to clearly define that traditional marriage being between a man and a woman in our constitution.”

Nussle did sign the pledge from the Iowa Christian Alliance to “Fight for Iowa’s families and Iowa values by fighting for an amendment to the Iowa Constitution clearly defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman.”