NDN 2006 Annual Meeting
"What Comes Next: A New Politics for America," June 22-23, 2006            Main
June 23, 2006-After his speech to the NDN 2006 Annual Meeting Gov. Tom Vilsack (D-IA) spoke with attendees and answered reporters' questions.  (Top, to his immediate right, is communications director Rodell Molineau).  (back)

On 2006:  It's not just about winning elections, it's about governing.  If you want to govern, then it would be great if you could have 50 percent or more of the popular vote or the people's support.

So many of the innovations, so many of the creative thought [sic] is coming from state legislatures and governors.  Interesting what's happening in this city.  The concerns of ordinary folks really aren't being addressed here.  There's not much action that I can see.  What major bills have been passed?  There's not much action.  The action is in state legislatures, the action's in governors' offices.  So I think it's appropriate obviously we work hard to take the House and Senate; for sure we need to do that.  But let's not forget the importance of governors' races and state legislatures.

On Iraq:  I would not have been supportive of a date certain withdrawal plan.  As I've said before, I think it's important for the Iraqis to assume responsibility; I think it's important for them to have a functioning economy; I think it's important for them to have a police force that provides some stability and and army that's logistically supported.  I think there is opportunity here with the natural resources that this country has to maybe establish a beachhead of a market-based economy and a democratic government, which I think is important, but it starts with whether or not the Iraqis understand and appreciate it's their responsibility to keep themselves safe.  The first thing I would say that we do is to send a strong message to them that we've been patient, but they need to begin assuming more of the responsibility and we need to see indications of that.  If we don't see indications of that then maybe we take a different course.

On his recent trip to New Hampshire:  Well one thing that I learned, there's this heavy, and this is true in Iowa as well, an acknowledgment of civic responsibility.  And it's a really inspiring thing to listen to people who are so interested in the future of this country and are willing to study and to be thoughtful about candidates and candidates' positions, and who study the issues and who become specialists in issues.  The seriousness of the questions that I was asked, the scope of the questions I was asked was very similar to what Iowans would ask, and so it's reassuring and inspiring.  It's predictable--there are concerns about the economy, there are concerns about energy policy, there are concerns about health care and the lack of a comprehensive approach from the national government...  So it reinforced the things that I've been talking about.

Former Gov. Mark Warner
Sen. Joe Biden
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton
Gov. Tom Vilsack
Prof. Allan Lichtman
Copyright © 2006  Eric M. Appleman/Democracy in Action