by Steven Ertelt
November 9, 2006
Des Moines, IA (LifeNews.com) — Democratic Governor Tom Vilsack of Iowa has wasted little time following the elections to declare his intention to seek his party’s presidential nomination in 2008. Vilsack, who backs abortion, filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission on Thursday to allow him to begin fundraising and campaigning.
Vilsack is the first Democratic to officially declare a presidential bid though pro-abortion Delaware Sen. Joe Biden has informally indicated he will run as well.
He indicated he would begin a multistate tour through New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Nevada and South Carolina starting November 30 and would open a campaign headquarters in Iowa, the location of the first presidential caucus.
"Americans sent a clear message on Tuesday," Vilsack said in a statement to the Associated Press about his candidacy.
"They want leaders who share their values, understand their needs and respect their intelligence," he said. "That’s what I’ve done as governor of Iowa and that’s what I intend to do as president."
However, one of those values the Iowa governor holds is not valuing the sanctity of human life.
Vilsack upset the pro-life community when he voted legislation that would have required abortion businesses to provide women with factual information about abortion risks and alternatives prior to performing one.
Women who regret their abortions frequently say that abortion practitioners did not provide them adequate information beforehand that may have changed their minds had they had it available.
He also ridiculed a bill that would protect pregnant women and their unborn children — such as Laci Peterson and her son Conner — from acts of violence. It would have allowed two charges for two deaths such as the charges Scott Peterson faced in that case.
"I’m not quite sure why we’re doing this other than this is the political season and it’s time for political bills,” Vilsack said.
House Speaker Christopher Rants said at the time that he couldn’t understand why the governor would accuse lawmakers, who approved the bill on a bipartisan basis, of playing games when they simply want to protect pregnant women and their children from cruel acts of violence.
"For people who feel strongly about this, I can assure you there is no game being played with that,” Rants told the Quad City paper.
House lawmakers voted 63-36 in favor of the bill, while members of the state Senate backed it on a 33-19 vote.
In March 2004, Vilsack also came under fire for opposing a measure to stop taxpayer funding for abortions at the University of Iowa’s hospital on unborn babies diagnosed with physical or mental disabilities.
"We should not be targeting and funding the killing of people with defects," Kim Gordon, executive director of Right to Life of Iowa, told LifeNews.com at the time.
But Vilsack appeared to back the abortion funding.
"We should not be in a position to interfere in that very difficult and personal choice, and the relationship between a woman and her doctor,’’ he said. "If that’s what this legislation does, obviously, I’m going to have deep concerns about that.’’
Vilsack has raised money to promote abortion and was one of four governors to lend his name to a NARAL fundraising letter opposing President Bush because of his pro-life position.
A CNN poll conducted earlier this month found Vilsack will have to do some work to boost his standings among Democrats nationally.
The survey found pro-abortion Illinois Sen. Barak Obama has moved into second place behind New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, another abortion advocate, among the candidates Democrats favor for president in 2008.
Clinton led all potential candidates with 28 percent support among Democrats. Obama is second with support from 17 percent of registered Democrats.
Former presidential candidate Al Gore has the support of 13 percent as does former vice-presidential nominee John Edwards. Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry has the backing of 12 percent, but the poll was conducted before a recent incident in which he is accused of belittling American troops in Iraq.
All of the Democrats, including the rest of the potential candidates who received two percent or less, including Vilsack, favor abortion.
Looking at possible Republican presidential candidates, Sen. John McCain leads in the poll with 29 percent support from GOPers, gaining 6 from the September survey, while former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani is second with 27 percent.
Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich has 12 percent and is the only other potential candidate in double digits.
Duncan Hunter, a pro-life congressman from California, is the only announced Republican candidate thus far.