Governor Vilsack, the first Democrat to announce he’s running for president, has found an unlikely ally of sorts — Republican Senator Chuck Grassley. Grassley says he did not watch Vilsack’s appearance Monday night on a national cable TV show as he forgot about it, but Grassley says Iowa’s outgoing chief executive certainly has a good shot at becoming the nation’s leader.
Grassley says “He’s not known very well now. He could become known. I remember Jimmy Carter wasn’t very well known when he ran for president but he lived in Iowa for two years, got 20-percent of the vote in the Iowa caucuses and it catapulted him into being president.” Grassley says Vilsack has gotten some bad press since he recently declared his intentions to seek the White House, press Grassley says Vilsack doesn’t deserve.
Grassley says “I keep reading in Iowa newspapers about how this is a problem for him or that’s a problem for him. I would simply say to those newspapers, ‘Why don’t you lay off the guy? Give him a chance to campaign for six months and then make a judgment about whether or not he’s got a chance to be president.'”
Grassley clarifies his political position and says he does -not- want Vilsack to win in 2008. Grassley says “I want somebody that’s more conservative to be president but I still think that we as Iowans ought to be proud that we’ve got one of our own that’s running for president and one that is a candidate for president who has some presence as he appears, which means that, maybe over a period of time, people will learn to love him.”