Governor says Iowans won’t “jump to any conclusions” about Cain

I had to file for noon-time newscasts in the middle of the late-morning National Association of Manufacturers forum in Pella, so I was unable to live blog the last three candidates to speak.  Read the Radio Iowa story about the event, with comments from candidates Perry, Santorum, Bachmann, Paul & Gingrich, who participated.  Governor Branstad (who was one of the moderators) spoke with reporters after the event concluded:

…Governor Branstad suggested candidates Mitt Romney and Herman Cain made a mistake by skipping the event.\

“They missed out on the opportunity to address the number one issue in this campaign and that is creating jobs,” Branstad said. “…It was not a situation where (there were) a lot of gotcha questions, but it was really an open-ended opportunity to talk about reducing regulatory and tax burdens and revitalizing the American economy.”

Branstad told reporters he hasn’t closely followed recent revelations that Herman Cain’s previous employer paid cash settlements to two women who accused Cain of sexual harassment.

“Iowans are pretty fair-minded people and just because somebody makes an accusation and anybody that’s in a high-profile position (has) the potential to have people make these kind of accusations,” Branstad said. “I think Iowans will, you know, carefully look at the real situation and not jump to any conclusion.”

Perry gets Branstad’s praise, Huntsman gets an asterisk

Governor Terry Branstad, a man who has won six statewide races in Iowa, was asked for a little political analysis this morning at the end of his weekly statehouse news conference. 

When asked about the “strengths and weaknesses” of Sarah Palin, Paul Ryan and/or George Pataki as GOP presidential candidates, Branstad called them “all good people” who were welcome to his “advice and counsel.” 

Jon Huntsman said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week” that “in New Hampshire, they pick presidents. I know they pick something else in Iowa.”  Branstad was dismissive.  “He’s off on the wrong track and Jon Huntsman isn’t even an asterisk when you take a poll.”

Branstad was asked about Rick Perry’s debut as a national candidate and if Branstad believes there are people within the Obama Administrator who have committed treason.  “I think he did a tremendous job at the Iowa State Fair. I thought he was as relaxed and confident and at home at the Iowa State Fair as anybody I’ve ever seen and I’ve see a lot of ’em,” Branstad replied.  “…The only thing in Texas, they always say how big everything is and we tend to downplay and understate here, but I think he came across very well.”

When pressed about Perry’s treason comment, Branstad talked about the gold standard. 

“I think you’ve got to look at things in context,” Branstad told reporters. “I think that was probably the wrong choice of words, but the idea that somehow we’re going to correct the problems in this country by printing more money — I think people are very apprehensive about that…I think a lot of people think we ought to go back to the ‘Gold Standard’ considering the value of gold versus the value of the dollar. I’m not advocating it, so don’t jump to any conclusion, but I’m just telling you, look at where value is…Inflating the currency more, printing more money, I think Perry’s right about that. Printing more money, in my opinion, is not going to revitalize the American economy. It’s just going to make whatever we have less valuable.”

Christie not “feeling it” about 2012 field (audio)

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie just told a small group of reporters in Des Moines he may endorse a 2012 Republican presidential candidate.

“If someone has distinguished themselves in a way on the issues that I care about, that if I feel enthusiastic enough to endorse them, I will. Now, as was alluded to in one of the earlier questions, I’m not a half-way kind of guy, so if I’m going to get in and support someone I’m going to do it 100 percent and to get there, I have to feel that way about one of the people offering themselves for president and so if that moment comes, I certainly won’t keep it a secret, but I certainly am under no legal obligation to endorse anybody,” he said. “….If I felt it right now, I’d endorse somebody. I don’t.”

AUDIO: Full exchange about the presidential race, which starts at the 11-minute mark.

Christie was in Des Moines to give a speech at Governor Branstad’s Education Summit.  He’s headlining a fundraiser this evening for Congressman Steve King.  Twice during the news conference Christie said he had come to Iowa at Governor Branstad’s invitation rather than his own initiative.

Christie was asked if he had gotten any encouragement “during your short trip here” that would make him change his own mind about running for president in 2012.  “I don’t think there’s anything in particular that has happened since I landed here,” Christie paused to look at his watch, “about an hour and a half ago.”   He was also asked about 2016.

At the start of the news conference, Christie was asked about a lawsuit seeking documents about a meeting he had with Roger Ailes.  Here is Christie’s answer:

“I hear they’re dropping it now because we had no documents of communication between myself and Roger Ailes. The only document we had was an entry in my calendar about a dinner that I went to at Mr. Ailes’ home, which everybody already knew about, which Mr. Ailes had confirmed on the record. We’ve provided that calendar entry to the media organization that asked for it and told them that there are no other documents between me and Mr. Ailes at all and so my understanding is now from my staff is that they’ve been contacted and told that the suit is going to be dropped.” 

Branstad, Reynolds RSVP regrets

Neither Iowa Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds nor Governor Terry Branstad will attend Texas Governor Rick Perry’s “Day of Prayer and Fasting” in Houston on August 6.

“We are not making any plans to go,” Reynolds said this morning during a statehouse news conference. “…Just have a conflict of scheduling so don’t plan on going.”

The politics of the state universities

The top two leaders of the Board of Regents — the nine-member board which governs the University of Iowa, Iowa State University & the University of Northern Iowa — have submitted their resignations. Republican Governor Terry Branstad had asked Regents president David Miles to resign so he could appoint his own person to lead the board.  Miles resisted, but has now resigned.

Read the resignation letter from Miles below:

July 11, 2011

Fellow Regents:

As you are aware, in May Governor Branstad called me to ask that I resign as president of the

Iowa Board of Regents rather than serve out my statutory term to April 30, 2012. A couple of days later he made the same request of president pro tem Jack Evans.

Jack and I visited, and because the president and president pro tem are elected to two year terms by the Board and do not serve at the pleasure of the Governor, we respectfully declined to act on the Governor’s unprecedented request. We believe this to be an important principle.

[Read more…]

Branstad says Gingrich is “in real trouble”

Governor Terry Branstad is the guest on this weekend’s Iowa Press on IPTV and he offered his analysis of the latest news from the presidential campaign trail.

“I think his campaign’s in real trouble,” Branstad said of Newt Gingrich. “Obviously he got off to a bad start and then he took a big vacation and I think that was a big mistake and now I think a lot of the staff has just kind of had it…Whether this is the end for the campaign or not, I don’t know, but it doesn’t look very good.”

Gingrich has been on a two-week cruise to the Greek Islands. “I think you do a cruise to the Greek Islands after the campaign’s over, not before,” Branstad said, laughing. Branstad, as you may remember, took his wife on a trip to Paris in November, after he won his fifth term.

Branstad noted Gingrich drew “some pretty good crowds” in Iowa shortly after he formally launched his campaign, even amidst the thrashing Gingrich was getting for criticizing the Paul Ryan plan (along with the revelation that Gingrich had a $250,000 to $500,000 line of credit at Tiffany’s).

“If he really wanted to sustain, get things back on track he should have stayed with it and not taken an extended vacation,” Branstad said.  “…I think he missed the opportunity, obviously.”

Branstad says come on in, the water’s fine (audio)

Governor Terry Branstad today used his weekly statehouse news conference to prod the Republican presidential candidates to come campaign in Iowa.

AUDIO: 20 min

Branstad says Iowa’s Caucuses are “wide open for all candidates.”

Iowa’s governor, lieutenant governor react to bin Laden’s death (audio)

Governor Terry Branstad issued a written statement this morning.

(DES MOINES) – Gov. Terry E. Branstad today released the following statement on the death of Osama bin Laden:

“I am proud of our president, and our troops, who never lost their resolve in finding Osama bin Laden and bringing him to justice. While the world is no longer nervously looking over its shoulder for this ruthless murderer, Iowans must remain vigilant in our support of the nearly 3,000 Iowa National Guard members deployed overseas. Our thoughts, prayers and support are with our brave men and women who remain in harm’s way.”

The governor released the statement from North Carolina, where he is attending a meeting of the National Governors Association.

Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds began her media briefing with statehouse reporters this morning by talking about bin Laden’s death.  Listen to the entire

AUDIO: News conference 12 min

Iowans for Tax Relief issues statement

After a week of speculation, Iowans for Tax Relief founder David Stanley has issued a written statement about the departure of most of the ITR staff (president, vice president, statehouse lobbyist, development director).  Read Stanley’s written statement — in the form of the group’s weekly newsletter — below:

Big Opportunities for Taxpayers

By Dave Stanley
Chairman, Iowans for Tax Relief

What Next?
Iowans for Tax Relief is working hard to win more victories for all Iowa taxpayers in the closing weeks of this 2011 Legislative Session. We are going full speed ahead, not distracted by recent resignations of some employees or by fantastic speculations of our opponents and news media.
Staying on Course. For 32 years ITR has stayed on course, through staff changes and many ups and downs. ITR is respected and effective because we persevere, tell the truth, keep our word, and are consistent and dependable. Our principles and goals remain the same: limited government; lower taxes, spending, and debt; economic growth with more good jobs; and opportunity for all people. All this will not change.
Our strong volunteer leadership team and our outstanding 10 staff members are stepping up. We will gradually increase our staff as we find the right person for the right job.

Our Lobbying Team. Dr. Don Racheter, 30-year ITR Board leader and expert on Iowa government and politics, will lobby for ITR in Des Moines during the rest of this Legislative Session. Don is taking a short-term leave of absence from his position as President of Public Interest Institute. ITR’s two part-time contract lobbyists continue their helpful assistance.
And our members are still our best lobbyists! Lawmakers listen to ITR — and the high taxers and big spenders fear ITR — because our members speak up strongly for our principles.
[Read more…]

Applicants for opening on Iowa Court of Appeals

Twenty-six individuals have applied for the opening on the Iowa Supreme Court. That opening was created when Governor Branstad appointed Appeals Court Judge Edward Mansfield to the Iowa Supreme Court on February 23, 2011. 

Read the 26 names.  The wife of State Auditor Dave Vaudt is among the applicants.  One of the six who were nominated in January but not chosen in February to serve on the Iowa Supreme Court applied.  The one of the six would be Michael Mullins, a district court judge from Washington, Iowa.