Former Iowa governor says Biden has ‘heart of a president’

Former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack - AP image

In endorsing Democrat Joe Biden for president on Saturday, former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack said, above all, the former vice president’s personal losses give him “the capacity to comfort” and “the need to heal” a divided nation.

Posted: Nov 24, 2019 9:15 AM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — In endorsing Democrat Joe Biden for president on Saturday, former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack said, above all, the former vice president’s personal losses give him “the capacity to comfort” and “the need to heal” a divided nation.

Vilsack, who served eight years in the Obama administration with Biden as secretary of agriculture, said during a morning rally in Des Moines that Biden could step into the office with an immediate command of domestic and global issues at a time when events demand “you can’t be a rookie in this business. You’ve got to be a pro.”

More fundamentally, the death of Biden’s first wife and infant daughter in a car accident in 1972 and his son Beau’s death from cancer in 2015 have given Biden a deep sense of suffering important to understanding the day-to-day struggles, and personal pain, of many Americans.

He is “a man with empathy, and a man who has the heart of a president,” said Vilsack, who noted Biden’s outreach after Vilsack’s six-year old granddaughter died in 2017 from complications of influenza.

The endorsement comes as Biden has slipped from being the early favorite in Iowa last spring to trailing newcomers, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

Biden is embarking on an eight-day bus tour next week, in hopes of sparking momentum with fewer than two months until the caucuses.

Vilsack was cheered by the more than 300 who attended the morning rally at an event hall in Des Moines. It’s been 18 years since he won reelection, and he remains the only Democrat reelected Iowa governor in more than 50 years.

The centrist Midwesterner, who shares Pennsylvania roots with Biden, was twice on Democrats’ short list for presidential running mate, in 2004 and 2016.

Later on Saturday, lamenting the lack of compromise in Washington, Biden criticized Democrats who would circumvent collaboration, and inadvertently overlooked Obama’s own moves to get around the Republican-led Congress when he was in office.

“You hear Democrats saying, when I get elected I’m going to by executive order do the following,” Biden told about 100 Democrats in small-town Knoxville. “Executive orders are basically menus to abuse the power of the presidency.”

Obama, whom Biden claims having had a close working relationship with, became prolific in issuing executive orders, in 2014 announcing in frustration, “I’ve got a pen, and I’ve got a phone.”

Asked by a voter at a campaign stop in Winterset, Iowa, on Friday evening, Biden described several prominent women he’d consider, were he to win the 2020 nomination.

"I could start naming people, but the press will think that’s who I picked," Biden said, noting it was premature.

Still, he went on to suggest Stacey Abrams, who ran for Georgia governor last year, calling her “the woman who should have been the governor of Georgia.”

Likewise, he suggested, without giving their names, that he would consider former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates and the two senators from New Hampshire, Maggie Hassan and Jeanne Shaheen.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

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Reported Deaths: 8661
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Ramsey63444980
Dakota57071526
Anoka54052520
Washington33690331
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St. Louis23735361
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Wright21388171
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Clay1025399
Rice9985131
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Crow Wing9518109
Chisago837263
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Beltrami658079
Mower645541
Douglas629190
Goodhue619985
Itasca618885
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Steele585825
Isanti573074
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Iowa Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 474151

Reported Deaths: 6785
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk74657729
Linn29194394
Scott24733274
Black Hawk20335358
Woodbury19207244
Johnson17988100
Dubuque15834229
Pottawattamie14276200
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Story1288551
Warren774296
Cerro Gordo6951110
Webster6950111
Clinton6929101
Des Moines667594
Marshall641885
Muscatine6352113
Wapello5936137
Jasper578279
Lee565689
Sioux565676
Marion508191
Buena Vista491746
Plymouth463487
Henry389847
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Washington366856
Benton359257
Bremer357168
Boone350937
Carroll346353
Crawford339347
Mahaska322856
Dickinson301052
Clay279133
Buchanan279039
Jackson273546
Kossuth271873
Hardin270249
Tama264976
Fayette260649
Delaware258546
Cedar249526
Page249328
Wright243645
Hamilton233954
Winneshiek233338
Floyd221845
Harrison217777
Madison216925
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Poweshiek211741
Iowa208029
Butler206638
Cass201557
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Mills199929
Allamakee194753
Cherokee193844
Lyon192941
Hancock187639
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Shelby178439
Louisa171052
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Emmet167146
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Osceola94017
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