Wowza! Grassley and Conlin on TV, together, tonight

Republican Senator Chuck Grassley and Roxanne Conlin, the Democratic Party’s nominee for Iowa’s U.S. Senate seat, are the guests on this weekend’s edition of “Iowa Press.”  IPTV has the show up on its website if you’d like to watch.

Here’s one Radio Iowa story of the event, about health care, and another, about jobs and the economy.   Rod Boshart of The Cedar Rapids Gazette wrote this story.  Here’s Jennifer Jacobs’ take for The Des Moines Register.

After the show’s taping Grassley suggested Conlin would “put $10 million into this campaign.”

“I feel very good about my chances of reelection, but I’m telling you that I’m up against a very wealthy opponent and a person that has two pots of money to draw from,” Grassley told reporters.  Grassley suggested Conlin, who is a lawyer, would be getting more support from the nation’s trial lawyers. 

“That has not been bled dry for sure,” according to Grassley.  “I mean, some of those people end up with billions dollars worth of net worth, you know, so writing a $2400 check doesn’t mean very much to those people and then her own personal wealth. And I don’t mind anybody having personal wealth.  She worked hard for it.  She deserves it, but she said she’s going to put $10 million into this campaign and if she decides to do that, I’m behind the eight ball right now.”

Conlin, during her chat with reporters, was asked if she intended to invest $10 million of her own money in her race.  “No, I don’t plan to do that,” Conlin said, laughing.  “I do believe in my effort and I have put some money in and I’m going to put more money in, but we don’t have $10 million for me to put into this race.”

A reporter followed up with a question: “Can you tell us how much of your own money you’re going to spend?”

“I’m not sure,” Conlin answered. “Senator Grassley could put several million of his own money in, too, were he to choose to do that, but of course he has access to the PAC money and the lobbyists’ money to finance his campaign.”

Grassley, a five-term senator who is seeking a sixth term this November, projected an aggressive posture on the “Iowa Press” set.  Conlin was the first of the two escorted into the studio.  Grassley walked in after Conlin was seated at the interview stable.  He make eye contact with Conlin as he bent over to shake her hand, then took his seat and never looked at her again.

After the program was taped, Grassley and then Conlin stepped behind a lectern stationed in IPTV’s lobby to speak separately with the reporters who had gathered to watch the Grassley-Conlin twin bill.  

I was one of the reporters in the studio for the taping of today’s “Iowa Press” show, and during the news conference with Grassley I asked:  “Senator, I know Dean, Mike and I are very compelling figures, but you never once looked at Roxanne Conlin during the entirety of the show.  What were you signalling with that body language?”

“Nothing,” Grassley said in reply.

Lynn Campbell of then asked another question.  “Senator, how confident are you about your reelection this November and how would you describe the challenge from Ms. Conlin versus the other five elections you’ve faced?”

Grassley said this to Campbell:  “I’ll have you repeat the question.” 

Then Grassley directed his comments back to me:  “I wish you had told me because I would have been very happy to look at her.  She’s a very nice looking woman.  She’s very intelligent.  I have nothing against looking at her, but I thought I ought to concentrate on the people who were asking the questions because from your body language I learned a lot.”

The assembly of reporters laughed.

Joyce Russell of Iowa Public Radio interjected:  “What did you learn?”  There was more laughter. 

Grassley said he’d watched the interaction on the set between the reporters to see when he had a chance to answer a question and when a follow-up was coming his way. 

Conlin complained during the show’s taping that Grassley hadn’t agreed to do more “debates” or forums with her.  After the show, Grassley told Conlin he had agreed to do an hour-long debate on WHO Radio.

“FOX News Radio?” Conlin said in response, then the two candidates began to shake hands with moderator Dean Borg, AP reporter Mike Glover and others in the studio before exiting for the post-game news conferences.

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About O.Kay Henderson

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