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Yepsen: How are political strategists courting Iowans with their presidential campaigns? We'll examine that question tonight with the person some say authored the 08 campaign strategy for both sides. We'll also visit another of Iowa's unique communities, and we'll look behind the headlines. That's next. Funding for "The Iowa Journal" has been provided by "Friends," the Iowa Public Television Foundation, generations of families and friends who feel passionate about Iowa Public Television programs; and by: MidAmerican Energy Company, helping to harness renewable sources of electricity for Iowa customers through their investment in wind power. Information is available at midamericanenergy.com. MidAmerican Energy. Obsessively, relentlessly at your service. From river to river, border to border, this is "The Iowa Journal." Here is David Yepsen. Yepsen: Hello, welcome to "The Iowa Journal." the Iowa caucuses are set for the first Thursday in January, three days into the new year. Iowa political observers, which is just about everyone in the state, sense that caucus campaigning has changed from the days of folksy conduct, when many candidates spent nights in Iowans' guest rooms and stumped at local restaurants and watering holes. We'll explore the shifting political landscape just a little bit later. For now we're turning to Jeneane Beck for some insight into other front- page matters. Jeneane, good to have you with us. Beck: Thanks, Dave. Yepsen: Talk a little bit about the Germans who were here looking at wind energy. Beck: Well, there were representatives from about twelve dozen companies that were here this week being courted by Iowa. Right now Germany has the highest wind capacity in the world, but they expect the United States to overtake them in a year or two, and Iowa is front and center in maybe landing some of those manufacturing jobs that come with these. Because the parts are so big and bulky, you can't really ship a lot of this overseas, so you have to produce it here. And they're looking at Iowa and they think that our utilities have been the most friendly to them in the manufacturing and use of wind power here in the state. You know, we've already got three of the largest manufacturers in the world with locations in Iowa, and now you've got a new blade manufacturing plant opening in Newton, a wind turbine tower plant opening in Keokuk. So they're just looking to compete and want to be here, possibly. Yepsen: So is it possible that Iowa could become kind of a manufacturing hub for this equipment in the United States? Beck: It could. We're competing against the likes of California and Texas, who are also big into this game, and other states are definitely starting to bite at our heels and want to get a part of this. But Iowa is well on the way, and the one new competitor, apparently, I hear that's coming on the market is Detroit and places like that. As they're losing some of the auto jobs, they're looking to recruit wind energy jobs. So Iowa has to keep trying to stay at the forefront of this. Yepsen: Is there a sense from the people that you talk to that wind energy might enable Iowa to not have to build all those coal plants that are being talked about? There's a lot of controversy around these coal plants that are going -- that are planned for Iowa. Could wind energy eliminate the need for those? Beck: It might be able to help make us more self-sufficient. It looks like it would be difficult for us to ever export power -- you know, we're an importer of electricity right now -- and just the generation that it would require in the lines. But as I said, the renewable energy consultant from Germany said that the utility companies in Iowa have been the most receptive of any state she's ever been to the use of wind power. So it is possible that could be the wave of the future. Yepsen: Jeneane, thanks a lot for being with us today. Beck: Thanks, David. Yepsen: Not since 1988 have both the Republican and Democratic parties sought new presidential nominees in the same year. It's the first time since 1952 that neither a president nor a vice president has run in a presidential primary. Party nominations would seem to be wide open, especially in Iowa. The state's voters have traditionally embraced the responsibility to vet the candidates in Iowa's first-in-the- nation caucuses. Iowans like to give everyone a good look. For their part the candidates have swarmed to the state's cultural venues. Narrator: Each August, sweltering legions descend on Des Moines for the Iowa State Fair. This year among the big hogs and big hats were presidential aspirants. More than a few candidates rolled up their sleeves and sweated their way through the masses, looking for support and shade. Trailing the candidates were the national media. The motivation for candidates to spend time in Iowa is twofold: Iowa's caucuses are at the front of the line and have been since 1972; and those caucuses favor the candidates who are here. Before caucusing, Iowans want to be sure they know the candidate, so campaign commercials and mass mailings won't do. Caucus goers expect to meet the candidates several times. That takes time but, for unknowns, time equals opportunity. Carter: I'm really glad to be back in Iowa. Narrator: In 1976 Jimmy Carter methodically worked his way through the state. We've got about 5 percent of the Democrats, and Carter is wiping them out. Narrator: Trailing only the "uncommitted" delegates, Carter's second place finish helped propel the relative unknown into the white house. Since those days, presidential aspirants have taken up residence, working the small-town diners and fraternal lodges, any wide spot in the road. It became conventional wisdom that a finish in the caucuses' first three places would make it worthwhile for the candidate to continue to compete in the primaries. The losers went home. The system provided a hard- working candidate the opportunity to make a mark. But the game has changed. Caucus and primary calendars have been moved forward and condensed. A large number of states traditionally hold primaries and caucuses on the same first Tuesday in March. This election cycle those dates moved one month earlier, to February 5, and it has siphoned some of the luster that once belonged to Iowa's caucus and New Hampshire's first- in-the-nation primary. In fact, Iowa Republicans may even have preempted their own caucus. Once just an August fund-raiser, the Iowa GOP's straw poll has become a serious political preference test in its own right. Stumping in temperatures near triple digits, the candidates unleashed the forces of barbeque, feting and feeding the faithful in hopes of garnering their vote in the preference poll. Some candidates declined to take part in the poll for fear of losing. Others cocooned themselves away from the crowds, while still others waded into the adoring throngs. Relative unknown Mike Huckabee brought his band, Capitol Offense, to the event. He finished second, separating himself from the lower tier of the field. While Huckabee's progress suggests the old formula can still work, the moneyed campaigns appear to be running outside the caucus tradition. Candidates still come to Iowa, but not for weeks at a time. They hop in and out as though they are campaigning in a general election. The well-funded campaigns look and feel more like presidential visits. Many of the events are staged to accommodate a single theme, and media access is controlled. Even so, there are more media in the state than ever before. Bloggers and websites are now part of the pack providing caucus goers with no shortage of information. Yet the 08 caucuses will be different. Yepsen: One of the political prophets who foretold much of the behavior of this year's election cycle's campaigns is Mark Halperin, author of the book "The Way to Win." Mr. Halperin is a former political director of ABC News and now serves as political analyst to both ABC and "Time Magazine." in addition to "The Way to Win," he has authored a new book: "The Undecided Voter's Guide To The Next President." Mark, thanks for being with us. Halperin: David, great to talk to you. Yepsen: Good to have you back in Iowa. Halperin: It's great to be here. Yepsen: Okay, let's talk about your books, "How To Win" -- how do you do that? "The Way To Win." Halperin: "The Way To Win" was based on long interviews with a lot of the strategists for Bill Clinton and for George W. Bush, including with Bill Clinton himself and Karl Rove, of course, who was the architect of President Bush's two wins. The premise was how did four straight elections get won? In the times in which we live when the rules are set by the environment, how did Bill Clinton win two presidential elections, how did George Bush win two presidential elections? And the tactics and strategies which seem to work, as you said, you look at this year's cycle of candidates and they seem to be picking and choosing from what seemed to work. The ones who have done the best, Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani, I think have shown they know the way to win best to date. Yepsen: You also -- your new book, "The Undecided Voter's Guide To The Next President," Interesting read. Why did you write that book? Halperin: Well, the last book, "The Way To Win," is about political strategy. It's about what makes the best presidential candidate. I want to try to help people, even in Iowa where there is so much information, maybe especially in Iowa, figure out who the best president would be. That's the right question. This isn't a game. This isn't a sporting event or some sort of competition for the sake of competition. Iowans and the rest of the country are trying to pick the best president. I wanted to put under one cover a chance for Iowans to read a book, compare the candidates side by side, read their life stories, and try to make the right choice for Iowa, for their families, and for the country. Yepsen: It strikes me, Mark, as sort of a memo that you might have written in your earlier incarnation as political director to the staff at ABC News: Here's the biography of a candidate; here's their strengths, their weaknesses, their points of vulnerability. Is that where you got the idea? Halperin: It's partly that but it's really more -- it's driven by two things. One is these are fascinating people. The front-runners, many of them did more outside of politics than they've done inside of politics. They're successful in business and law, successful in the Olympics as a First Lady. So I wanted to tell those stories. But also again, I think, you know, if you go on the Internet, you read newspapers, you watch shows like this, you can get a lot of information about these candidates. What's difficult to find is a side-by-side comparison. So every chapter is about a candidate. They're not identical, but they're similar and they tell the story in a similar way. So you can say, I'm trying to choose between McCain and Romney or Obama and Clinton, whoever it is. You can think about them side by side and try to make that right choice. Yepsen: You're in Iowa. A lot of people watching this program are caucus goers. Let's talk about the two races. How do you see the Democratic race unfolding right now? Halperin: These races are not symmetrical. As you know, as we talked about before the show, on the Democratic side the race is becoming everything. All the campaigns are pushing all their chips into Iowa because if Senator Clinton is not stopped here, she's going to be the Democratic nominee, so this is the fight for Democrats. To stop Senator Clinton or not, that binary choice will tell the tale of whether she has a very easy path to nomination or a real struggle. I think the big three nationally -- Obama, Clinton, and Edwards -- are big here. And of course, Senator Edwards is stronger in Iowa than he is anywhere else, including nationally. And the Republican race, totally different. A big jumble. And I think while the result will be important, it won't be nearly as important as it is on the Democratic side. Yepsen: Let's focus on the Democrats for a moment. Is Iowa really a do or die proposition for John Edwards? If he doesn't win here, how does he continue on in the campaign? Halperin: It is. And if you talk to his advisors, as I'm sure you have, they make it clear it is do or die. He must win here not only because it's his strongest state but because if Senator Clinton is able to win here in what is in many ways her weakest state, she'll have the momentum that Iowa has provided in the past into New Hampshire and beyond. So I think it's do or die for Edwards, and it may well be do or die for Senator Obama as well. Senator Clinton has shown a lot more strength in New Hampshire than she has here. If she's able to win here, if he doesn't beat her here, I think he'd be in a lot of trouble as well. Yepsen: What's the dynamic of women in the Democratic party? Sixty-two percent of the likely Democratic caucus goers in our poll are women. Halperin: You can meet women anecdotally in Iowa and around the country who say, I don't like Hillary Clinton, I'd never vote for her. That's an easy find. But statistically in the broad pool, women will be a majority of the caucus attendees, and a lot of women will find it appealing to vote for their first woman president or potential president. You know, Senator Clinton has made a much more explicit appeal to gender than I thought she would, even before the recent debate flap where the question was, was she saying she was being attacked because she was a woman, even before that. And to this day -- I saw her this week in the Amana Colonies -- she is focused on making that appeal. It's not her sole appeal, but being the only woman in a crowded nomination fight, making that historic appeal to have the first woman president, I think it's a big benefit to her, and her opponents know that. Yepsen: Well, like we saw in the last debate, I mean there's sort of this piling on notion. How do the boys attack the girl here and get away with it? Halperin: It's hard to do. You know, you turn things on their head a little bit when you're talking about Hillary Clinton. She's strong on national security. She's seen as the strongest candidate. That has been a big source of her strength. You might have thought that the first female serious presidential candidate would have been vulnerable of these issues of national security and strength. So I think she can -- they can go after her a little bit. The challenge, though, is what to go after her on and to get her to make mistakes. The reason that debate caught everyone's attention, at least in the media circles in which we operate and political circles, is she'd made almost no mistakes. In that debate she made some. That gave these campaigns this -- the inspiration and sense that maybe we can -- maybe we can stop Hillary Clinton. And again, if it happens, it will happen here in Iowa. Yepsen: Barack Obama, if Hillary Clinton can be stopped, doesn't he have to be the one who stops her? Isn't he the one who has to win? Halperin: He's the most likely. I think, again, if John Edwards beats her here, whether Obama finishes second or third, I think all of them can go on to New Hampshire, and perhaps some of the other candidates as well at that point in the mix. I think Barack Obama's candidacy has caught the attention of Iowans the way it's caught people nationally. They find him exciting. The challenge for him is to convince Iowans that he's ready to be president. I write in "The Undecided Voter's Guide" about his history, about what has made him who he is and gotten him to this point. He needs to convince people of two things, and so far I don't think he's closed the sale. One is that he's ready to be president from day one. Older caucus goers may be a little skeptical of that, of such a young man and a young looking man. The other thing is what I say in the book is what Jesse Jackson calls the paralysis of analysis. This is an intellectual guy, a Harvard Law School graduate, a former professor. I think sometimes he's more interested in talking about ideas than he is in seeming like a man of action, and I think Iowans are looking for someone in this some job who's ready to go in and be decisive. He needs to close the sale on that as well. Yepsen: One of the wild card questions in this caucus fight here in Iowa is, are the -- the large number of younger voters that are attracted to Barack Obama, big crowd, you've seen them, you see them all over the country. Do you think those people are going to be so inspired that they'll vote for him, that they'll go out and caucus for him? He's a wild card. What's going to happen? Halperin: The Obama strategists in Iowa and in Chicago where the campaign is based have said from the beginning, if this caucus electorate is the traditional caucus electorate, barack Obama won't win. He has to bring in new people, particularly younger people. They certainly show up at his events. Will they caucus, particularly on January 3 when a lot of them will be -- if they're college students, will be on holiday? We will see. That will tell the tale of whether he's in this or not. It is difficult, as you know, to get anyone out to the caucuses, and it's difficult to get young people to vote in a traditional primary, let alone in a caucus. So that is the challenge, but he certainly is inspirational. He certainly has inspired a lot of people, and he certainly has smart strategists who know the way the caucuses work, the mechanics, and they're doing their best to change that caucus electorate. Yepsen: In our last poll of likely caucus goers, we found only 2 percent of them were under age 25, so he's clearly going to have to get a hoard of new people here. The caucus day itself will play an impact on this. I mean you're right, they are on break but the Obama people tell me, well, that's great because a lot of them will be back home in Iowa and we'll get them to caucus in their home towns as opposed to in their college towns. Halperin: Dispersed all over and, of course, with that 15-percent threshold rule that the Democrats have, having people in lots of different places is better than having them all in Ames and Iowa City. We'll see, though. You know, getting people to caucus, as Howard Dean found, as others have found, is not the easiest thing in the world. I would love for people to be inspired by candidates on both sides and have an overwhelming turnout. I think it would be good for Iowa to send a message to the country that we take this seriously, not only do the activist take it seriously but a broader electorate to go out and caucus, that would be fantastic for Iowa, I think fantastic for the process. Yepsen: Let's turn our attention to the Republican race for a minute. You mentioned it was a jumble. In addition to first woman and first African American with serious chances of winning, you've got the first Mormon with a serious chance since his father, George Romney, ran. I'm talking about Mitt Romney. What's the effect of his Mormonism going to be on this race? Halperin: I'd also add in the first Italian American with Rudy Giuliani, another potential first. You know, one of the things I'm disappointed in -- and I found this when I was writing "The Undecided Voter's Guide" -- is there's still a lot of prejudice against Mormons in this country. Pollsters find consistently that up to a third of Americans say they wouldn't vote for a Mormon or they'd have real reservations about it. That disappoints me. If you read about Mitt Romney's life, see the incredible things he's accomplished, how well thought of he has been, his success in public life and in private life, I think people should be evaluating him based on that. I think there's clearly some Iowans who will not vote for him for that reason. That's unfortunate but he's doing his best to overcome it. And as Iowans know better than probably any other state, he's got an incredible family that are working really hard for him. He's trying to show people that he's got a family like any other. They're close-knit, they're God fearing, and they are in this because they care about America. I hope that by the end what we've seen in the polls and what we've picked up a little anecdotally won't be decisive, that Mitt Romney will be evaluated not on his religion. Yepsen: Let's look at the November '08 election. Isn't it going to be a Democratic year? I mean it feels like it right now. The Democrats did well in '06. Their crowd sizes are bigger. What's your take on what we're going to see in November, or is it too early? Halperin: You know, the great political philosopher, Yogi Berra, says prediction is difficult, especially about the future. So I don't usually want to predict about anything, even the upcoming race, let alone a year from now. But I will say that you ask Republicans what's happened to the party, what's going on with the Republican brand, they'll tell you whoever we nominate, whoever the Democrats nominate, Democrats will be favored. But remember, this is a pretty divided country. I think most of the red states will stay red, most of the blue states will stay blue, both parties starting with about 220 electoral votes. Iowa will be a swing state, as it's been, and that's where the presidency will be decided. But I think you're going to see pretty much of a razor's edge, a close election, and I wouldn't count the Republicans out, particularly if they end up making the right choice about a nominee and perhaps the Democrats make a mistake. Yepsen: We've only got a couple minutes left, Mark. You are in Iowa. The story -- there's a never-ending story about will these caucuses remain first. This process is in turmoil. How do you see the nominating process changing? Is this really the last year we're going to see these caucuses be important? Halperin: The death and the obituary of the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary have been written before. I think first in the nation will matter this time, whatever the calendar -- however it settles out. I think Iowa and New Hampshire will be the most two -- two most influential states, and we'll just have to see. It's very hard to change the system. There's so many different parties involved national and at the state level. I think that the best thing Iowans can do, as I said before, turn out in large number at the caucuses and show people that this isn't an inside process but a broad process and that people going to town meetings and reading "The Register" and taking everything seriously extends to turning out on caucus night. Yepsen: Is Congress going to get into this? There are bills to create regional primaries. I mean it's pretty clear the states can't sort this out. Halperin: I think they will. But I don't know how much congress can do because, again, these are party functions in some states as they are in Iowa. There are state responsibilities for elections. We have a federal system with a lot of deference by the federal government to the states. So it's going to take a lot of leadership. I think President Bush made a mistake by not showing leadership on this, because he wasn't running for election, Dick Cheney wasn't running for president. So you had two guys who didn't have a direct interest in the future. Iowa and New Hampshire have a lot of support amongst presidential candidates, and that's been your big support this time. We'll have to see four years from now, but I'd bet on Iowa and New Hampshire, particularly if you do a good job in 2008. Yepsen: Won't the sitting president decide how his or her party is going to do their nominating process? Halperin: I think they will but they tend -- as we've seen in the past, elected presidents who are facing reelection, they like Iowa and New Hampshire. They don't want to take a risk, so they tend to support the status quo. That's good for Iowans but it still builds up this anger on the part of Michigan and other states. Yepsen: Mark, we're out of time. Halperin: Okay. Yepsen: Thanks for your time in coming out here and being with us. Halperin: Thank you, David. Yepsen: It's good to see you again. Halperin: It's great to see you. Yepsen: If you know anything about Dutch history, you know that Orange City's name announces its heritage. The western Iowa town was named for William the Silent, Count of Nassau, Prince of Orange, and Count of Holland, and that's all one person. Today Orange City and Sioux County are both growing, unlike many other areas in Iowa. Our "out and about" correspondent, Dan Kaercher, explains that while Orange City may seem "quaint," it's building on its past for the future. Kaercher: Make no mistake about it; Orange City is a town with a heritage. From the chamber of commerce building to one of their largest employers, to the downtown storefronts and their yard art, this town wants to make sure visitors get in touch with their inner Dutch. Vogel: Everybody is Dutch in Orange City, especially at tulip festival. The Dutch heritage is just a neat aspect of Orange City. Kaercher: According to the chamber of commerce, tourism makes up about one-fourth of Orange City's economy. Every spring their three-day tulip festival draws more than 100,000 visitors to this town of 6,000. Vogel: I think it's brought a real spirit of volunteerism within the community as well, and I think it's unique in that it's something that brings us all together and helps us work together, and not only Tulip Festival but a lot of other projects around the community as well. Kaercher: As you might guess from the ritual of street cleaning, part of the Dutch heritage is a pride in keeping things tidy. Vander Wel: When people come to Orange City and they say I'd like you to give us a tour or something and then after I've given the tour, now take us to the bad part of Orange City. There is none. People clean up everything here. If your neighbor is gone and the grass has gotten too long, we mow it for them, otherwise the city does. So we take care of our properties. Kaercher: People who like things good and tidy also have access to fresh paint anytime in Orange City. It's the home of Diamond Vogel Paints. Inside the factory, we found some high-tech powdered paint and lots of people cleaning up. Outside front and center, visitors can tour a life-sized windmill, built by the company's Dutch founder. This old mill has the traditional layout with a work space in the back and a tiny one- room living area up front. The Sioux County Historical Society and Orange City Heritage Center is another great place to delve into Dutch history, plus the story of how this area was developed. Both the old mill and the Heritage Center are open by appointment, so call ahead if you want to visit. Education was also important to the early settlers. Northwestern College, the town's Christian liberal arts school, first opened its doors 125 years ago as a classical school for ministers. Beeson: I think Northwestern adds a lot to Orange City. One of the things in small-town Iowa, I think having a college campus in your town just adds a whole lot of cultural life. The athletic dimension is another. Many people in our community love to follow Red Raider sports. The opportunity to hear music groups and see theater productions, see artwork, so just a vibrant type of presence that many towns don't have. Korver: For a small town, they say you have to have some innovators, and we have those people. Kaercher: Deb Korver is one of Orange City's innovators. She and her husband once owned MedTec, now called Civco, which manufactures equipment to help cancer patients. Now the couple travels the globe, but they've built a distinctive campus of restaurants back home in Orange City. There's the casual Hemingway's, a Florida Keys - style sports bar. And next to it, there's the antiques-filled Blue Mountain Grill, with a completely different menu. But the most unusual restaurant is upstairs, the Blue Mountain Passport Club. It's filled with museum-worthy with art, antiques, and artifacts from six continents, including some trilobite fossils that even have the Smithsonian in awe. There's also a touch of Europe, a separate cigar- smoking room with a humidor, and an award-winning wine collection. But it's not just the atmosphere that makes these restaurants unique, it's also the food. Korver: We have two chefs that are graduates of Le Cordon Bleu, which is a little unusual for a small town in Iowa to have that kind of caliber of a culinary experience. Kaercher: So with high-caliber culinary experiences, high-tech businesses, and higher education, Orange City shows it's not just a town with a past. Its windmill gears are oiled and ready to take on the future. Yepsen: Dan, tell us a little bit more about Orange City. Kaercher: Well, just what a phenomenal community. And as you said, what a great example of a small town that works here in the state, both literally and figuratively. Great employers, growing population, and then a fun place to visit because of the way they work together to preserve their Dutch heritage. Yepsen: It's a great role model for the rest of the state, I've always said. Kaercher: Exactly. Yepsen: Tell us more about what's out and about in Iowa. Kaercher: Well, as you well know, it's caucus time in Iowa, David. So American Presidents Life Portraits by noted artist Chas Fagan of north Carolina is on exhibit at the State Capitol building through January 7, when all will be revealed by then. But a great time to visit those presidents, figuratively in terms of their portraits, at the capitol through January 7. Also, up in Perry, another portrait type exhibit. National Geographic got together more than 50 color and black and white world-class photos from the last one hundred years. They teamed up with the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, and that exhibit runs November 13 through December 31 at Perry's Carnegie Library and Museum. Yepsen: That's a lovely restoration they've done at that museum. Kaercher: Phenomenal. Yepsen: It's just gorgeous. Kaercher: Wonderful. And then just a reminder, tomorrow is -- or Sunday, excuse me, is Veterans Day. A lot of people have Monday off. There will be observances all over the state. What a great time to attend a local observance and pay tribute to these great men and women who have done so much to defend our freedom. Yepsen: And as you always say, call ahead. Kaercher: Call ahead for the two events that I just mentioned. Iptv.org has links. And for ideas all over the state this weekend, traveliowa.com. Yepsen: Okay, great. Thanks a lot, Dan. Kaercher: Thank you. Yepsen: That wraps up this edition. Join us for the next "Iowa journal," when we examine the growing challenges facing Iowa's workforce. Until then, I'm David Yepsen. Good night. Funding for "The Iowa Journal" has been provided by "Friends," the Iowa Public Television Foundation, generations of families and friends who feel passionate about Iowa Public Television programs; and by: MidAmerican Energy Company, helping to harness renewable sources of electricity for Iowa customers through their investment in wind power. Information is available at midamericanenergy.com. MidAmerican Energy. Obsessively, relentlessly at your service.
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