Congressional candidate Christie Vilsack’s neverending search to find out what “Iowa values” are has taken her to 31 of the 39 counties in the new 4th Congressional District. She continues to avoid telling her would-be constituents where she stands on any issue. Instead, Vilsack wants the Democrats who attend her “listening tour” events to shape her campaign message when she runs against Congressman Steve King in 2012.
Vilsack spoke to a crowd of 30 Democrats in Spencer Friday. Her avoidance of the issues was clearly evident when she was asked about the size and cost of government. “When someone comes to you and says ‘We just have more government than we can afford’. What would your answer to that be?’” one attendee asked.
Vilsack deflected the question by telling the attendee he should answer it himself. “Well, I appreciate you asking the question but I’m trying not to answer questions right now because I’m trying to listen,” she replied. “So if you would answer your own question.”
The former Iowa First Lady also revealed that her campaign staff cuts her off when she starts to reveal her true beliefs. “If I start talking too much then Patrick or Mitchell back there will give me the high sign that I’m talking too much,” Vilsack told the Spencer crowd. “I’m not a candidate yet and I want my comments to reflect what I’m hearing from people. Answer your own question, or somebody else help him answer.”
It’s understandable that Vilsack’s campaign staff dislikes her occasional candor. Iowans want their politicians to be problem solvers. Vilsack but she admits she is not one. “I don’t have solutions, I guess that’s why I’m here,” Vilsack said. “So, if you want somebody who knows the answers, then I’m probably not the person you want, because I don’t have them.”
Vilsack is directing much of her “listening tour” discussions on economic development and entrepreneurship. She knows that her liberal stances are not in line with the heavily Republican district, so Vilsack plans to focus her campaign on agricultural issues and jobs. At virtually every stop, she has mentioned an algae plant in Shenandoah as an example of the future of agribusiness. She will be a big proponent of wind energy on the campaign trail and believes the future of manufacturing jobs in Iowa will be tied to renewable energy.
She also plans to portray herself as a moderate. Vilsack hopes conservative northwest Iowans will believe she is one of them. “I don’t believe that we’re that far apart,” Vilsack said. “There’s a lot that we have very much in common.” Vilsack, a lifelong Democrat, claimed that many of her friends in her hometown of Mount Pleasant were Republicans.
Christie Vilsack has completely avoiding talking about the abortion issue during her “listening tour”. She changes the subject when it is brought up. The former Iowa First Lady hopes northwest Iowans do not find out that she is a board member and former executive director of an umbrella group of abortion providers. She has also received an unwanted endorsement from the pro-abortion Emily’s List group.
Vilsack avoids talking about liberal beliefs, because she knows that a district that favors Republicans will not elect the true Christie Vilsack. Her listening tour is an ideology makeover. After she makes her candidacy official, Vilsack admits that her speeches will reflect what attendees have told her during her listening tour events. In other words, Christie Vilsack will tell 4th District voters exactly what she thinks they want to hear.
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