Vice President Joe Biden headlines Governor Chet Culver’s re-election rally today in Cedar Rapids. If you are watching in person or online, please share your impressions in this thread. I will update the post later with more coverage of the event. Adam Sullivan is live-tweeting for Iowa Independent.
Yesterday the governor kicked off his campaign at Hoover High School in Des Moines, followed by stops in Ames, Marshalltown and Waterloo. Kathie Obradovich felt Culver’s speech “salvaged” the otherwise low-energy event in Des Moines. After the jump I’ve posted excerpts from Culver’s remarks, which his campaign released. He frames the race as a choice of going backwards “to policies that created this recession” or forward to continue the investments his administration has begun. Culver outlined some goals for the next five years, such as completing rebuilding efforts from the 2008 floods, “making quality pre-school available to every Iowa child whose parents want to take advantage of it,” pursuing stem cell research in Iowa, and “increasing the percentage of our energy production coming from alternative sources from 20% to at least 30%.” Culver chided Republicans who “just say no,” think corporate tax cuts are the answer for every problem and “continue to preach the failed doctrine of trickle down economics.”
In addition to the excerpts you’ll find below, the governor spoke up for protecting a woman’s right to make her own health-care decisions and against writing discrimination into the Iowa constitution. Later in Marshalltown, Culver noted that discrimination is “not the Iowa way […] We’ve always been at the front when it’s come to civil rights.”
Any comments about the governor’s race are welcome in this thread. Speaking of Republicans who want to take us backwards, Terry Branstad’s campaign started running a new ad today, which portrays the former governor as “the change we need now.” I’ll have more to say about Branstad’s campaign message in a different post, but for now I wonder whether he will get away with repeating his lie about Iowa running a “billion-dollar deficit.”
UPDATE: Um, what the heck? Someone get the governor a driver who won’t try to chase another driver down for a stupid reason.
John Deeth liveblogged the Biden event here. Kathie Obradovich tweeted here. Key points of Biden’s message: he’s known Chet Culver since he was seven years old and knows he has “the gumption to handle the job at this time.” Also, with Culver in charge “Iowa is better off than almost every other state in the nation … Iowa is still moving forward.” Biden praised Culver for being ahead of the curve in establishing the Power Fund in 2007:
“Government is not the answer but it can prime the pump and encourage the private sector.”
“45 out of  governors, Democrat and Republican, are sitting on their hands. Because of Chet’s leadership Iowa is better prepared.” […]
“What are Republicans FOR? Not a joke. Tell me one affirmative thing the Republican Party is for.”
Good question, Mr. Vice President. Biden also noted that the stimulus bill brought $3.3 billion to Iowa, and said Culver had used $4 billion in federal and state flood recovery money well. Biden said Iowa is on the upswing and has an unemployment rate well below the national average, which is “no accident, it’s because of Governor Chet Culver.”
SECOND UPDATE: Todd Dorman found Biden’s praise for Culver a bit over-the-top. Tom Beaumont’s story for the Des Moines Register is here. Kay Henderson’s liveblog for Radio Iowa is here. She’s captured more quotes from the vice president.
Excerpts from Governor Chet Culver’s speech at Hoover High School in Des Moines, May 17, 2010:
“Tested by floods, tornadoes, pandemics and recession. We are wiser because of the people with whom we have worked and the tragedies, pain and suffering we have witnessed together. The past four years have changed all of us Iowans, and have transformed our state, ultimately for the better.
“Every day I continue to be inspired by the Iowans I meet, and I have a better grasp of what’s possible and the experience to know how to get things done.
“A new day is dawning in Iowa, and our future is very bright! We are coming out of the darkness and the sunshine rays of a prosperous recovery are on the horizon.
“In sum, to be clear our goals for the next five years include:
Creating the conditions for unprecedented job growth by making Iowa the best connected, most modern state in America, and by completing the rebuilding effort from the 2008 floods, leading to career opportunities and economic development in every part of our state;
making quality pre-school available to every Iowa child whose parents want to take advantage of it;
pursuing groundbreaking stem cell and other medical research with the goal of finding breakthrough treatments and even cures for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Diabetes as well as for various forms of cancer.
expanding our commitment to energy independence by increasing the percentage of our energy production coming from alternative sources from 20% to at least 30%. We will also decrease our dependence of foreign energy sources by increasing energy efficiency in Iowa; and
expanding our already successful government reorganization efforts to include finding more efficiencies in state government, and helping our partners in local government and the schools increase their efficiencies as well.
“I would like to have the honor and privilege to lead our state to its destiny, and that’s why I stand before you and proudly announce my candidacy for Governor. I declare my candidacy on a record of action, tested by fire, and committed to reform, innovation and a clear vision for the future.
“Some, like my Republican opponents, just say No. They truly believe inaction is leadership. They advocate corporate income and property tax cuts as the solution to every problem. They continue to preach the failed doctrine of trickle down economics.
“Our approach is different. We will help our neighbors recover from one of the worst disasters in our nation’s history. Our help will stimulate growth on Main Street, not paper profits on Wall Street.
“Our opponents want to go backward and end these investments. They want to take us back to the failed economic policies of the Bush and Branstad eras. I want to continue forward, investing in growth policies to attract new industries and make Iowa’s economy stronger and more diverse.
“Our vision for our future is Iowa based, Iowa grown, Iowa built and all about Iowa jobs.
“There will be an unmistakable choice on Nov. 2. Will we continue to move forward or go backwards to policies that created this recession?
“I want to be your Governor, not for myself, but for the single mom in Sioux City working two jobs to make ends meet, the small businessman in Cedar Rapids still trying to get back on his feet after the floods, and the returning veteran in Ottumwa trying to put his life back together.
“I want to be your Governor to stand up for the little guy, not the powerful. ”