Vilsack takes the T-Paw challenge

Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty offered up a “prize” during last night’s debate in Ames to anyone who could “find Barack Obama’s specific plans” on the “most pressing financial issues of our country.”

Pawlenty’s prize? “I will come to your house and cook you dinner or, if you prefer, I’ll come to your house and mow your lawn.”

I just talked with U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack, the former Iowa governor who has just moved to Ames, Iowa. Vilsack said he could “very easily” win Pawlenty’s prize.

“I don’t have much of a lawn for Tim to mow,” Vilsack said, “but dinner would be fine.”

Here is Vilsack’s entry for T-Paw’s contest:

“It’s simply stated this way: a government that spends less, but invests resources wisely to grow the economy. The economy is one that creates, makes and innovates products that the rest of the world wants and so therefore we export, creating wealth and jobs in this country. And the proof of this formula that it works is agriculture.

“Farmers, with less debt (and) investments in research, have led to extraordinary productivity gains…We’re able to produce new products…as well as exporting grains and livestock to the rest of the world. We’ve created $135 billion of economic activity this year, which is a record in agricultural exports. Every billion dollars of sales generates 8400 jobs.

“And the president has been focused on trying to create that same formula in manufacturing which is why we’ve seen manufacturing job growth over the course of the last 15, 16 months. The auto industry is a good example of things that are coming back.”

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About O.Kay Henderson

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