Former Iowa Congressman Jim Leach, a Republican, took the podium last night at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, touting the attributes of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama. Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley, a Republican, says he’s disappointed Leach chose to endorse Obama so publicly.

Grassley says: "Obviously, he didn’t sway me and I still wonder why Jim Leach is doing this. I wish he weren’t. He gave a fabulous speech." Leach, a Davenport native who’s now a professor at Princeton, said Obama meets the needs of the moment and compared the Illinois senator to J.F.K.

Leach says he’s not leaving the Republican party, but is just asking others to ignore partisan divisions. Grassley says it’s clear Leach is still a Republican at heart. Grassley says, "He spoke an awful lot about good things about the Republican party, and Republican presidents, even mentioning Reagan in one of his examples, and I hope the American people, in particular the Democrat delegates, heard everything he said."

Grassley says it appears Leach based his support for Obama only on the foreign policy of the Bush administration, specifically Iraq.