Attack Dog Vilsack

Former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack was in New York City yesterday to introduce Hillary Clinton at a NYC fundraiser.  He took a turn on a New York television station and took a few shots at former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.  Vilsack mentioned Giuliani’s "multiple marriages" and references Giuliani’s strained relationships with his children in the interview.

Watch it here.

Vilsack’s statements would no doubt be classified as "negative" by the Giuliani campaign, if the Giuliani folks were making comments on this episode (which they’re not).  Adding more context to this flap is Vilsack’s tirade against Barack Obama in July during the whole squabble over whether Obama and/or Clinton would or would not talk to dictators if either is elected president.  "It’s not the Iowa way," Vilsack said, accusing Obama of engaging in "negative politics" in his verbal tussle with Clinton. 

Vilsack’s willingness to mention Giuliani’s foibles is in direct contrast to HRC’s answer to a question I posed to her by phone yesterday.  As you can see from the transcript below, she did not mention Giuliani by name, calling him "my Republican opponent" instead.  And she made no mention of his "multiple marriages" either.

Henderson: "Much has been made of this Giuliani versus Clinton dust-up over  What are your thoughts on this episode which seems to be a prelude to a general election campaign before either of you are your party’s nominee?" 

Clinton: "Well, I can only speak for myself of course and I have been very supportive and admiring of General Petraeus and the men and women who he serves and commands.  I’ve said it on many occasions going back a good number of years certainly did so in the senate hearing when he appeared before me, but I fundamentally disagree with my Republican opponent and with the president about the direction we should be pursuing in Iraq and I have been outspoken about that.  I gave, as you know, a long speech setting forth my ideas about what we should be doing and I believe that we need to stay focused on what the real issue is — how do we begin to withdraw our troops and end our involvement in the middle of this Iraqi civil war?"

UPDATE:  Clinton was just asked on CNN about Vilsack’s comments.  Her response:  "I’m not engaging in any of that," she said during a live interview on CNN.  "…You know, there’ll be plenty of time for politics." She talked about staying on a "positive agenda" and ended with this:  "I’d like to see us stay focused on what matters to the American people." 

UPDATE II:  Clinton just held a conference call with Iowa reporters to criticize President Bush’s vow to veto the SCHIP bill.

Henderson:  "Senator Clinton, I just saw your interview on CNN in which you said you’re trying to focus on a positive agenda.  Have you told Governor Vilsack privately that you don’t appreciate his negative comments that were made in New York on that television station yesterday in regards to Mr. Giuliani?"

Clinton:  "I think he’s more than capable of speaking for himself," she replied.

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.


  1. Interesting watch – thanks for the info. I guess none of it surprises me at this point. Crazy…
    Tom G.

  2. Vilsack needs to shut his mouth and go home.

  3. Thanks much for sharing. I guess as crazy as this gets, it really doesn’t seem to surprise me so much any more either.

  4. No matter what happens, I don’t believe that we get the best candidates to the table for the highest of positions.