On the eve of Democratic presidential candidate Barak Obama’s arrival on the Iowa political stage, former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack is not only declaring that he will win the 2008 Iowa Caucuses, but Vilsack’s dismissing the idea his current showing in polls and in fundraising tallies will doom his candidacy.
"I’m confident with the work that’s being done on the ground, in the field — between myself and (his wife) Christie, we will win the Iowa Caucus," Vilsack told reporters during a late-morning telephone conference call. According to Vilsack, over one-thousand Iowans have "signed on the dotted line" and promised to back him in their precinct meetings next year.
Vilsack contends no other Democratic candidate can make the claim of having that kind of grassroots network of supporters at this point in the campaign, and no other candidate has "fully-staffed" field offices open in seven of Iowa’s largest cities.
"No other campaign has that kind of organizational structure and no other campaign can give you a list of over a thousand supporters," Vilsack said. Most polls in Iowa have shown Vilsack running behind rivals John Edwards, Hillary Clinton and new entrant Barak Obama. Staffers for each of those other candidates have been talking about raising millions upon millions for their campaigns, while Vilsack’s fundraising goals remain quite modest by comparison.
"We clearly will not have to raise as much money as some of the other folks in this field. Howard Dean raised and spent over $48 million through the Iowa Caucuses in 2004 and obviously didn’t succeed," Vilsack said. "It really is not about money. It is about organization and structure and hard work." As he has before, Vilsack today told reporters he will not be "satisfied" with anything less than a win in the Iowa Caucuses.
"But I have to earn it. There’s no question about it and so do all the other candidates. That’s why I’m looking forward to forums and debates," Vilsack said. "I think as you see I get the opportunity to be on the same stage as folks, I think you’re going to continue to see continued and growing support in Iowa." Vilsack describes the battle for the Democratic presidential nomination as "very, very competitive," but he touts his call on congress to stop funding the war in Iraq as a turning point.
"I think people will…realize that I’m righter on the war, more right than the rest of the Democratic field," Vilsack said. Illinois Senator Barak Obama will formally announce he’s running for president Saturday in Springfield, Illinois, then Obama will make his way to Iowa for stops in Cedar Rapids and Waterloo on Saturday evening and in Ames on Sunday.