Biden addresses impact of outside groups

Vice President Joe Biden was in Dubuque today, rallying with Congressman Bruce Braley (D-Waterloo, Iowa) who has been the target of campaign ads run by outside groups like the American Future Fund.  Here’s the key quote from the Radio Iowa story.

Biden told the crowd that if Braley loses, it sends the wrong message to conservative political organizations like the “American Future Fund” that have attacked Braley. 

“They will have made a point, and they will have made a point to other bright, young congressmen that if you screw around with us, we’ll come in with a couple million bucks at the end so that every other Democrat out there next time out will go, ‘Whoa, whoa, man.  I don’t know if I can handle that,’” Biden said.  Senator Tom Harkin, who was on stage with Biden, amplified the point, telling Biden: “You’ve got it.”

The weekend wrap-up

A bunch of newspapers have issued endorsements in the race for governor.  If you subscribe to an Iowa newspaper, turn to the editorial page and check for yourself.  Branstad got the endorsement of The Cedar Rapids Gazette last weekend, along with editorial page endorsements from The Dubuque Telegraph-Herald, The Fort Dodge Messenger and The Sioux City Journal this weekend.  Culver got the endorsements of The Des Moines Register, The Ottumwa Courier and The Mason City Globe-Gazette.

Two legislative leaders were on Iowa Press this weekend.  Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal (D-Council Bluffs) and House Minority Leader Kraig Paulsen (R-Hiawatha) say they were surprised by Farm Bureau opposition to the land and water legacy amendment; they don’t think the judicial retention will have much “up ballot” impact and they both think quicker disclosure of campaign donations is a good idea and do-able. Neither would offer specific predictions on House/Senate make-up in January.  And neither, by the way, have ideas to share about how they’d organize a constitutional convention if voters decide to have one.

Democrats have been raising money online to air this attack ad against Senator Grassley.  Meanwhile, Grassley’s campaign ridiculed Grassley opponent Roxanne Conlin for her “meager” fundraising report.

Vice President Biden is scheduled to headline a rally in Dubuque on Friday for Congressman Bruce Braley (D-Waterloo).  Details just released Sunday afternoon:

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The 2010 Jefferson-Jackson Day program (Audio)

“We aren’t going back,” Iowa Democratic Party chairwoman Sue Dvorsky just told the crowd as she concluded her opening remarks at 7:42 p.m.  There was a delay in the program’s launch this evening, due to a false alarm.  Party officials say 1400 tickets were sold for the 2010 Iowa Democratic Party’s Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner.  There are tables set for a little less than 1200, however.

The night’s cash haul?  “We have broken $300,00o,” Dvorsky announced to the crowd.

What follows is a live blog of the evening.

Congressman Bruce Braley (D-Waterloo) was the first elected official to speak.  I don’t recognize the music they played as Braley makes his way on stage.  (Braley staffer emailed to say it was “No Sleep ‘Til Brooklyn” by the Beastie Boys.  Braley grew up in Brooklyn, Iowa.)  “In 2006, we gave them hope.  In 2008, we gave them change and in 2010 we’re going to give them hell.  We’re just going to speak truth to lies and speak truth to fear and they’re going to think it’s hell when they’re listening to it,” Braley said to open his remarks.

Braley next said the pundits who are predicting November 2 will be “doomsday for Democrats” are wrong.  “We are at our best when we are standing together, fighting for what we believe in…and that’s why Democrats are going to win all over this state on November 2.”

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Braley, Lange on Iowa Press this weekend

Congressman Bruce Braley (D-Waterloo) and Republican challenger Ben Lange of Independence are the guests on this weekend’s edition of “Iowa Press.”  Watch the show, or read about what happened here.  

…”The biggest issue that’s facing voters in the first district is secret donors from outside the state of Iowa who are trying to buy this election for Ben Lange,” Braley says.

…The Iowa-based American Future Fund is running $800,000 worth of advertising attacking Braley’s votes on health care reform and on other issues. Lange says he is forbidden, by law, from coordinating with the American Future Fund, a group formed under special rules which allow it to avoid disclosing its donors.

“What I will continue to do is talk about the issues,” Lange says.  “My opponent doesn’t want to talk about the issues and I’ve said this is about the issues.  This is about his voting record.”

Corn PAC endorsements

The Iowa Corn Growers Association’s PAC has made 66 candidate endorsements.  The group endorsed both major party candidates running for governor, along with all five incumbents in Iowa’s congressional delegation. 

Read the ICGA’s news release below:

Iowa Corn Growers Association Announces Corn PAC Awards

Johnston, IA, September 1, 2010  –  Today, the Iowa Corn Growers Association  Political Action Committee (ICGA PAC) endorsed 66 candidates for the November 2010 elections, including 57 candidates for the Iowa State Senate and the Iowa House of Representatives.

The ICGA PAC established bipartisan support for Democrats and Republicans for the 2010 state and federal races, including 33 Democrats and 33 Republicans.
 
“Political decisions here in Iowa are critical to the future of farming,” said Bruce Rohwer, PAC chair. “PAC support is one tool we can use to help elect people who have supported corn growers’ policies and who have taken action on issues that matter to corn growers.”

ICGA PAC decisions are made through an objective analysis including candidate responses to our survey, voting records, letters and other quantified evidence of support.  The ICGA PAC committee members include farmers from across Iowa, with an equal balance of party affiliation to ensure decisions are based only on corn growers’ policies.

Endorsements for the 2010 federal election cycle include:
• Senator Grassley (R)
• Congressman Boswell (D)
• Congressman Braley (D)
• Congressman King (R)
• Congressman Latham (R)
• Congressman Loebsack (D)

The Iowa Corn Growers Political Action Committee (PAC) has endorsed both Terry Branstad (R) and Chet Culver (D) for the 2010 State of Iowa, Governor’s Race.

The Iowa Corn Growers PAC is also endorsing Bill Northey (R) for the 2010 Iowa Secretary of Agriculture race.

The Iowa Corn PAC endorsed 57 candidates for the Iowa State Senate and the Iowa House of Representatives for the 2010 election cycle.

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Braley responds to AFF ad

Congressman Bruce Braley (D-Waterloo) is running an ad to respond to an ad being run by the American Future Fund.  Braley’s ad has visuals of Willie Horton and Braley’s Republican opponent, Ben Lange.  The ad is running in two TV markets:  Cedar Rapids and the Quad Cities.

Here’s the script:

ANNCR: They’re back.

The folks behind the sleaziest ad in history – NOW backing Ben Lange…lying about Bruce Braley.

Truth is, Braley says New Yorkers should decide about building near Ground Zero…

…just as IOWANS should decide things HERE.

Big corporations are hitting Braley because he’d END tax breaks for those shipping jobs overseas.

Gutter politics fueled by corporate cash may work for Ben Lange.

But Bruce knows who HE works for.

TAG:
I’m Bruce Braley and I approve this message.

P.S.  Willie Horton was featured in a now-infamous 1998 campaign ad for George H.W. Bush, attacking Democrat Michael Dukakis.

King says no to debating Campbell

Bret Hayworth of The Sioux City Journal has the story.  Congressman Steve King (R-Kiron) will not debate Matt Campbell of Manning, the Democratic candidate in Iowa’s fifth congressional district.  Campbell confronted King at an event in Sioux City, asking if he’d debate.  King told Campbell: “You have not earned it.”

A check of King’s Twitter account shows he has posted nothing about the episode.  His last tweet was last Tuesday. UPDATE:  King issued a brief statement late this afternoon:

King Statement:

“I have long said I will debate if my opponent develops an issues based campaign.  Clearly he has not and his most recent ‘fraternity prank’ at Western Iowa Tech Community College is conclusive.  Any discussion in favor of a debate is therefore concluded.  There will be no debate.  I will continue to take my message to Iowans and make myself available to them for an honest and open exchange of opinions.”

Here’s a news release from Campbell’s campaign.

Tea Party member says Steve King should debate Campbell –King looks to avoid formal debate for 8th year in office
[SIOUX CITY, IA]—Matt Campbell earlier today asked Steve King at a town hall meeting at Western Iowa Tech in Sioux City whether he intends to participate in a live television debate for the first time since being elected to Congress.  Steve King has never formally debated an opponent since being elected and says Campbell has not “earned the right.”  Campbell is the Democratic nominee from Manning, Iowa who won a competitive June 8th primary by a convincing 76% to 24% margin.

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Braley targeted in new ad

The American Future Fund is following through on its plan to spend big $$$ in Iowa’s first congressional district.  Read today’s news release below.  Braley’s campaign spokeswoman responded here, calling the AFF a “shadowy group” and saying Braley took an oath to defend the Constitution, and that includes “fighting for religious freedom.”

AFF Launches TV Ad Blasting Bruce Braley’s Endorsement of Mosque Near Ground Zero
 
DCCC Vice Chair and Iowa Congressman insensitive and out-of-touch with Americans 
 
Des Moines, IA—Today, American Future Fund (AFF) launched a TV ad entitled “Mosque” in Iowa.  The 30-second ad highlights Congressman Bruce Braley’s support for a proposed Islamic mosque to be built two blocks from Ground Zero.

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A week away

I’ve been away from the blog for a week.  A lot of political hay has been made in that time, from Tom Vilsack’s firing of a black USDA employee to campaign cash reports to a senate committee’s vote on Elena Kagan.

Here are some of the bales of political hay that I’ve missed, in no particular order:

Former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack, the US Ag Secretary, has a starring role in this week’s DC tempest.  Cedar Rapids Gazette columnist Todd Dorman has a link to the video of Vilsack’s apology for firing Shirley Sherrod.  Wonkette has been blogging about it.

Money, money, money.  Bleeding Heartland had a take on fundraising in the US Senate race and the five Iowa congressional races.  The Iowa Republican offered its analysis of the $$$ in the congressional races.  Blogger John Deeth did an analysis of fundraising in state legislative races.  The Des Moines Register’s Tom Beaumont reports on the fundraising in the Culver v Branstad race.  Hint:  the Democratic and Republican Governors Associations are spending mightily.  Politico’s Jonathan Martin reports potential ’12 presidential candidates are raising money, an indication of intentions down the road.

Senator Chuck Grassley voted no on Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan when her nomination came up in the US Senate Judiciary Committee.  Roxanne Conlin, Grassley’s Democratic opponent, issued this statement:

(Des Moines)—Senator Grassley continued to obstruct progress today as he voted against the confirmation of Elena Kagan to the U.S. Supreme Court.  Below is a statement from Democratic US Senate candidate Roxanne Conlin:
 
“Senator Grassley opposes Wall Street reform, he opposes extending unemployment benefits to thousands of jobless Iowans and now he opposes filling the Supreme Court vacancy despite decades of support for past nominations.  Senator Grassley’s failure to act on unemployment benefits is costing Iowans food and shelter.  He gave $700 billion to Wall Street but refused to hold them accountable and now he’s casting only his second vote against a Supreme Court nominee in his thirty years in the U.S. Senate.”

Grassley and Conlin, on what happens in Vegas & DC. 

The Iowa Taxpayers Association issued a news release with its take on the FY 2011 state budget the 2010 legislaure drafted.

The largest state employees’ union — AFSCME Council 61 — endorsed Governor Culver’s reelection bid.

Des Moines, IA – This Saturday, July 17th, at the AFSCME Iowa Council 61 PEOPLE Endorsement Conference, the PEOPLE Committee made the decision to endorse Chet Culver for Iowa’s Governor.
Governor Chet Culver received the nod from AFSCME due to his support of such programs as the State Employee Retirement Incentive Program (SEIRP) and efforts to reform state government through the massive reorganization that the state began this year.  Cuvler’s opponent, Terry Branstad, has a record that public employees remember that includes refusing to honor collective bargaining agreements bargained in good faith and contracting or attempting to contract out state services and jobs.  His current pledges concern AFSCME members as well, like his pledge to eliminate many of their jobs that are important to the operation of state government, and to drain the state treasury further by cutting corporate income taxes further at a time of tight budgets at all levels of government.

“Our members who worked under Terry Branstad remember the way in which he treated public employees during his rule, and our younger members are aware of his current pledges to cut them if he is elected.  With those options in front of AFSCME members, the choice was very clear to them,” said Danny Homan, President of AFSCME Iowa Council 61. “We need to continue to move forward under Chet Culver, not backward under Terry Branstad.”

In Iowa, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 61 represents 40,000 public employees including law enforcement and correctional officers, home health care and child care providers, firefighters, mental health workers, professional school staff, emergency responders, and many other workers.

The three Democrats and two Republicans in Iowa’s congressional delegation  agree on something. 

Iowa Congressmen Seek Presidential Approval of Disaster Declaration Request
House Members Act to Spur Relief for Iowans Impacted by Severe Weather

Washington, D.C.- House Members of the Iowa Congressional delegation today sent a letter to President Barack Obama asking that he quickly approve Gov. Chet Culver’s request for a disaster declaration for Iowa counties that have recently suffered significant damage from a severe weather system that began on June 1, 2010 and continues today.  The storm system has produced high winds, heavy rain, hail, thunderstorms, tornadoes and flooding which have caused extensive damage throughout the state. Gov. Culver submitted his official request for a disaster declaration to President Obama on July 6.

Statements of Congressmen Braley, King, Boswell, Latham and Loebsack follow:

“In recent weeks and months, severe weather has taken a serious toll on communities across the state of Iowa,” said Braley. “It is critical now, just as it was following the floods of 2008, for the federal government to respond quickly and efficiently to give our communities the tools they need to recover. I look forward to working with President Obama, Governor Culver and my colleagues here in Washington to make sure Iowa’s small towns and families aren’t hung out to dry.”

 “Iowa has been hit hard by the severe weather systems that have moved through our state, and the people who have been affected expect a swift and efficient response,” said King. “In Cherokee County, for example, the waters exceeded the 1993 flood levels. There is no doubt that the request for federal help to these areas is appropriate and I look forward to continuing to work with Governor Culver, the members of Iowa’s Congressional delegation and President Obama to ensure that this assistance is approved quickly.”

“For the second time in two years, flood waters have ravaged homes, farmland and businesses across the state,” said Congressman Leonard Boswell. “I support Governor Culver’s request for presidential disaster declarations for several Iowa counties that have been impacted by the flooding. Many Iowans are still trying to recover and rebuild from the floods of 2008 and this summer’s weather has set them further behind. I encourage the President to issue these declarations in order to help Iowa’s families and small businesses get back on their feet.”

“The severe weather that has recently struck throughout Iowa requires a coordinated and efficient response,” said Congressman Latham. “Iowans are no strangers to severe weather and I have no doubt that the impacted communities will come back stronger than ever. However there is a legitimate need for federal help, and I’ll do everything I can to work with my colleagues to make sure that need is met.”

“Iowa has struggled since the Floods of 2008, and the current flooding is hurting our state’s ongoing recovery efforts,” said Loebsack. “I support this request to help affected residents, businesses, and farmers and look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues to ensure that this is handled in a timely manner. Iowans are in trouble and we must assure them that help is on the way.”

The text of the letter follows:

July 20, 2010

The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States
The White House
Washington, D.C.

Dear Mr. President,

We respectfully request that you grant the request made July 6, 2010 by Iowa Governor Chet Culver for a declaration of a major disaster for the State of Iowa as a result of damages from a severe weather system that produced high winds, heavy rain, hail, thunderstorms, flooding and tornadoes beginning June 1, 2010 and continuing. Governor Culver has determined that this incident is of such severity and magnitude that effective response is beyond the capabilities of the State and affected local governments and that supplementary Federal assistance is needed.

We thank you for your prompt consideration of this request.

Sincerely,

Steve King
Leonard Boswell
Tom Latham
Bruce Braley
Dave Loebsack

Governor Culver says a lot of people have I-JOBS jobsDave Price of WHO-TV reports there’s no way of knowing how many I-JOBS jobs there are.

Are they drinking Bohea, Singlo, Congou, Souchon, or Hyson? (Those are the types of tea dumped during the original Boston Tea Party in 1773.)

Washington D.C.- Congressman Steve King (R-IA) today issued the following statement announcing his decision to join the newly-formed  House Tea Party Caucus. The House Tea Party Caucus, which will be chaired by Rep. Michele Bachmann, was approved by the House Administration Committee on Friday afternoon. The caucus will focus on injecting the American people’s desire for fiscal responsibility, fidelity to the United States Constitution, and limited government into policy formation.
 
“America’s Tea Party organizations believe that Washington’s policymakers are ignoring the public’s demand for a limited government that is fiscally sound and that adheres to the principles of the Constitution,” said King. “The forced passage of the unconstitutional Obamacare bill over the objections of the American people shows that this belief is well founded.  As the new majority-makers in American politics, the views of the Tea Parties deserve a Congressional forum.  Rep. Bachmann should be commended for making sure that Tea Party voices extend from town-hall meetings to the halls of Congress.”

Hot, hot, hot! Feels like 111 degrees

According to KCCI-TV’s website, it is currently 93 degrees in Des Moines, Iowa, but the “heat index” or “feels like” temperature is 111 degrees.  I am quite content inside my air conditioned, windowless Radio Iowa office as I type this at 2 p.m.

A variety of political stories has cropped up over the past few days.  

  • Tea Party tempest: a billboard goes up in Mason City; then it gets papered over.  Congressman Bruce Braley (D-Waterloo, Iowa) is scheduled to be on The Ed Show on MSNBC this afternoon to talk about it.
  • Financial reform bill:  Grassley said Tuesday he doesn’t know how he’ll vote, then today Grassley announced he’ll vote no on financial reform.

Statement by Senator Chuck Grassley  

I’ll vote against the conference report because of concerns about changes made to the Senate bill, which I supported.

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