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May 5th, 2011

Vilsack: “What values do Iowans care about?”

By Kevin Hall

Although she grew up in Iowa and was the state’s First Lady for eight years, Christie Vilsack apparently does not know what values are important to Iowans.  Perhaps more importantly, Vilsack refuses to tell people what her values are.  Throughout the first two days of a “Listening Tour” through Iowa’s new 4th Congressional District, Vilsack has repeatedly asked people, “What would you say are some of our core values?”  It’s a question the former First Lady should already know the answer to.

The incessant repetitiveness of the “values” question is a sharp contrast to Congressman Steve King, the man she is considering running against.  Whether or not people agree with King, it is clear what his values are and where he stands on the issues.  Vilsack seems to prefer to let other people tell her which values are important.  “I need to get to know you before I can tell you how I would represent you,” she told a crowd of seven attendees in Carroll.  (SEE THE VIDEO BELOW)

The former First Lady plans to move to Ames so that she can give the Democrats a high profile challenger to Steve King in 2012.  She is touring all 39 counties in the new district as a way to learn more about an area of the state she has never lived in.   Instead of making speeches and telling her would-be constituents where she stands on the issues, Vilsack is chatting, asking questions and taking notes.

Over and over, she drives the conversations back to her “Iowa values” question.  Unfortunately, no one answered “punctuality”.  She was 23 minutes late for her first event Wednesday morning, blaming her late arrival in Carroll on “Des Moines traffic”.  Vilsack was also a few minutes late for both of her other events Wednesday.  The lone attendee for the Audubon stop, the county chair of the party, didn’t seem to mind.

At one point during the Carroll visit, an attendee was discussing immigration with her.  Vilsack changed the subject. “We can have that conversation, and that goes back to values, if you don’t mind me switching back to that.  Tell me some other values.”  During her final stop of the day in Harlan, she was told the U.S. should do more offshore drilling to reduce gas prices.  Vilsack immediately changed the subject again.

Perhaps the former First Lady continues to ask the “values” question, because she knows her values differ greatly from those she hopes to serve.  Northwest Iowa is the most conservative part of the state, and full of pro-life evangelicals.  Vilsack has spent the last few years as the executive director of The Iowa Institute, an organization closely aligned with Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers.

Vilsack will be able to raise a lot of money for her campaign against Steve King.  However, most of it will likely come from wealthy out-of-state donors.  At some point, she will have to answer the question, “Whose values will you represent, Iowans or liberal lobbyists?”

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About the Author

Kevin Hall
Kevin Hall brings almost two decades of journalistic experience to TheIowaRepublican. Starting in college as a radio broadcaster, Hall eventually became a television anchor/reporter for stations in North Carolina, Missouri, and Iowa. During the 2007 caucus cycle, Hall changed careers and joined the political realm. He was the northwest Iowa field director for Fred Thompson's presidential campaign. Hall helped Terry Branstad return to the governor's office by organizing southwest Iowa for Branstad's 2010 campaign. Hall serves as a reporter/columnist for

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