Iowa’s governor told a small group of supporters early Thursday morning that he is jumping into the presidential race with “both feet.” Governor Tom Vilsack, who was in California where it was just after five o’clock in the morning, spoke with a select group of supporters in a telephone conference call at 7 a.m. Iowa Time.
“With the election on Tuesday, I think Americans sent a very clear message that they want a different, more hopeful and more secure direction for our country,” Vilsack said. “We actually got half the job done nationally. We took back the congress, but we need to take back the White House.”
Vilsack told his backers that he’d filed the necessary papers to create the “Vilsack for president” committee. “All right,” someone on the call said, then others cheered. “This is not an exploratory process,” Vilsack said. “We’re jumping in with both feet.”
Vilsack briefly mentioned his start in life as an orphan and his choice after college to move to Mount Pleasant and practice law with his wife’s father. Vilsack also addressed the perception that he is a long-shot to win the White House. “Many on the call may really wonder whether or not this is something that’s possible or can be done, whether I have the capacity to raise the resources and get the message across,” Vilsack said. “Obviously I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t believe it. Just as I believed I could do what a lot of folks thought was impossible in 1998, which was to become governor.”
As Vilsack went to close his comments to the folks assembled on the conference call, a dog barked in the home of one listener and a few moments later a baby which must have been held in the arms of another listener cooed down the line. Vilsack pledged to dedicate “every ounce of (his) energy” into running for president. “I believe I’m a proven winner. I’ve never lost an election. I was never expected to win an election I was involved in. I believe I’ve provided trusted and competant and innovative leadership as governor and I believe I can provide that as the next president of the United States,” Vilsack said. “I’m dead serious about this.”
The governor’s wife, Christie, thanked the folks on the call for their past support, and at the end Vilsack advisor Teresa Vilmain made a plea for the rather spartan campaign headquarters. “We have a banner. We have a couple folding chairs, but I wanted to have a light moment here. We could use a few tables and a few cleaning supplies, not to mention a few more chairs and garbage cans,” Vilmain told the Vilsack supporters. “This would be the ‘ask’ of the call…If you happened to be by the neighborhood, feel free to stop by with any left-over supplies, microwaves, refrigerators or desk tops. That would be great.”
You can hear the entire call, courtesy of WHO-TV, on the audio link below.