Chicago Sun-Times
The scoop from Washington

Gov. Tom Vilsack, Dem 2008 White House hopeful on Obama: "I don't fear anybody."


Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, a Democrat running for president lacks the pizzazz of his major rivals; at least thats how it seems to me and the reporter who politely asked him if he was bland.

"There are different types of charisma," Vilsack counseled, not all of the flashy Barack Obama variety. "There is a quiet charisma," he said, "that people look at and say, `this guy is genuine, he is authentic, he is real."

I could walk down Michigan Ave. with Vilsack and I doubt anyone would recognize him. There would be a stampede if I took the same stroll with the two big names mulling a presidential run--Dem senators Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton.

I asked Vilsack about Obama at a breakfast for reporters on Tuesday morning hosted by the Christian Science Monitor. He said he doesn't get excited about potential rivals.

"I don't fear anybody, if that's your question."

It was.

With his wife Christie sitting next to him, Vilsack offered his formula for not languishing at the second tier.

"You have to work longer, and you have to work smarter, and that's what we intend to do," Vilsack said.

Obama's achille heel is his lack of experience. Vilsack said experience is his strong suit and he will compete on the "innovative and creative" end.

Vilsack sees being president at the "CEO of America."

"Who would hire someone who did not have CEO experience."


Obama has no chance because he will not bring a new voting block to support him. Blacks will overwhelmingly vote for him but democrats already have the black vote in their hip pocket.

Am I hearing Gov. Tom Vilsack whistling in the dark?
What real "CEO of America" experience does he have in international relations and diplomacy?
What "CEO of America" experience did George W. Bush have in 2000? Where did it land us?

Tom Vilsack entered the race way too early and you know what happens to guys who enter the race too early, they exit early as well. Barack Obama is the best man for the job, the man may not have the political experience, but he has all of the credentials that a president needs. I don't know about Tom Vilsack, probably because I've never heard of him.

So are you saying that just because you have not heard of Gov. Vilsack that he is not qualified for the job? He had to enter early to get his name out there. If you look at the last two Democrats who actually won the White House (Clinton & Carter) They were relative unknowns at this point in the process too.

It's been famously said that nothing prepares you for the office of President. How could *any* job?

This whole "experience" question is interesting. What is it that people want? What experience did W. Bush have? Whatever experience it was, he didn't learn much from it. What experience did Bill Clinton have? He was a governor of Arkansas, a backwater state ranked only above Mississippi. But he must have learned a lot. (Besides, he was smart as hell.) You don't want a complete newbie to politics, but you do want someone whose general approach is sound, sensible, rational -- that acknowledges the world, its complexities, and tries to achieve a balance in there while pursuing something good. That's why Bill Clinton was so much better than W. That's why Obama will be so much better than anyone else, whenever he chooses to run.

We want someone who has exhibited the ability to learn from their experiences. It's called good judgment.

Maybe you've never heard of Gov.Vilsack because you think that anybody outside your state are not worthy of notice? Alot of people in this country would be better off if they really opened their eyes.

The type of experience Gov.Vilsack is exalting is not everything. Just ask the two term "experienced" former Governor of Texas.

Obama has the necessary experience of judgement, skill, intellect and intuition.

Obama Hussien used to be known as "Barry" is unelectable, he is be exposed in the national stage. Vilsac is more electable, but we havent elected an obese president since well Bill Clinton.

Obama has sveeral things in his favor. He also has several things against him.
In His Favor:
1) He is black as comment stated
2) He is smart/intelligent
3) He is a "media Darling"
4) He appears scandal free
5) He is a Senator

lets stop at five for now.

Working against him:
1) He is black and not all black will gravitate to him and many whites will shy away also. It should not make a difference if he is black or white or if there is a male or female running but it will and we have both in the race.
2) He is smart/intelligent and this is a two way street where unfortuately race may come into play. Again it shouldn't but it will.
3)He is currently a "media Darling" and people are getting tired of reading and seeing Obama this and Obama that etc.
4) He APPEARED scandal free until the land deal came to light and you can bet there will be more.
5) He is a Senator BUT only a bit less than a 2 year Senator who really has done nothing exceptionally outstanding in his term thus far.

He may make a great V.P candidate for whoever takes the Presidential nomination but it's too early for him to take the # 1 spot.

Tom Vilsac is qualified,
has experience running a state
government(like most of the
modern successful presidents),
and is educated outside the
narrow Ivy League school focus and
professors that give us the
same carbon copy candidates
that you cannot tell apart
whether they are Republicans or
Democrats(and I might add have
not been very good at solving
long range problems or planning).

Vilsac is a refreshing change.
I hope he does not get
watered down and ruined by all
the political campaign consultants and professional staff people
the so called experts and staffers who frequently give bad advice and cost the Democrats the general elections.

Tom Vilsac For President?
Category: News and Politics

No way America wants a screwin like Iowa got.

Tom vilsac for President... Think about it!

Lets ask Tom.. How many taxpayers on waiting lists for services while they go without help?Do you know?..Care? Or how about your accountability to the people of Iowa on health care.. Lets start with the over 600 people who filed complaints about malpractice in Iowa last year just to have them swept under the rug by Ann Mowery and The Iowa Board of Medical Examiners.You appointed and let write the launguage of the law, to help hide these mistakes.As well as any info they gather on the taxpayers dollar.[ Thats the kind of man that america wants.] do you have accountability when you let Cindy Jones do your lieing for you?


The President works for all of us right? Well lets see .Who would you want to hire, someone thats loaded with $$$ like our present guy, or someone like Vilsac. someone thats hungry,motivated and knows what its like to have nothing.."and still comes out on top"!!!1I dont know much but its time we get a real down to earth person in the white house."you go Tom"!!!!!!!!

Tom Vilsac is not really on my radar screen, although my best friend met him and loves him. Why can't I find his website?

Anyway I am not making a choice of whom to back until I see how they all react to Bush's upcoming war on Iran. Hillary will immediately back the war without asking the tough questions, and will be saying in three years if only she had known now what she is going to know then she wouldn't have voted for it now so don't blame her for the catastrophe that it will have become. Kucinich will get it right, but can he get it across? Edwards is positioning himself as Tough On Iran, and will probably fall into Bush's trap. Obama might get it right, but who knows? He is not tempered steel, not tested under fire. What will Vilsac do? I'd like to ask him, if I could find him.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on December 5, 2006 5:38 PM.

So long, Henry Hyde: Room in Capitol named for departing Illinois GOP lawmaker. was the previous entry in this blog.

Hillary Rodham Clinton picks Patti Solis Doyle--sister of Chicago alderman--as campaign manager. is the next entry in this blog.

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