Tom Vilsack presidential campaign, 2008

Infobox U.S. federal election campaign, 2008

campaign = U.S. presidential election, 2008
candidate = Tom Vilsack
Governor of Iowa (1999-2007)
cand_id = P80003262
fec_date = 2006-12-31
status = Withdrawn
affiliation = Democratic Party
headquarters = Des Moines, Iowa
key_people = Craig Varoga (Campaign Manager)
Shari Yost-Gold (National Finance Advisor)
receipts = 1.165
slogan =

After being considered as a potential Vice Presidential candidate for Senator John Kerry in the 2004 presidential election, former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack decided to begin a campaign for the Democratic Party nomination for President of the United States in 2008. On November 30, 2006 he became the second Democratic candidate to officially announce his intentions for a presidential run. Vilsack's campaign made a significant use of the internet during the short run, which ended on February 23, 2007 due to a lack of necessary funds. Vilsack promptly endorsed Senator Hillary Clinton for the presidency after his exit.

If he were elected, Vilsack would have been the first president born in Pennsylvania since James Buchanan, the first to come from Iowa since Herbert Hoover, the second Roman Catholic president following John F. Kennedy and the first president to be born in the 1950s. Vilsack ran one of the earliest presidential campaigns in the election cycle.

Early stages

At the close of his eight years as Governor of Iowa, Vilsack embarked on a campaigning tour for the Democratic gubernatorial candidates as the head of the centrist Democratic Leadership Council. While on the trail he mulled a presidential run and gauged possible support. Following the 2006 mid-term elections Vilsack was inspired by the results proclaiming that "Americans sent a clear message" that "they want leaders who share their values, understand their needs and respect their intelligence" and that as president he would "intend" to do this. On November 9 Vilsack filed with the FEC and announced his campaign team's intentions to "put together the building blocks needed to run a successful national presidential campaign" before his eventual formal announcement on November 30. [ cite news |first=Mike |last=Glover |authorlink=|coauthors=|title=Iowa's Vilsack to Run for President |url= |work= |publisher=San Francisco Chronicle |date=2006-11-08|accessdate=2008-07-22 ]

Campaign developments

Vilsack officially entered the race on November 30, 2006 at the planned venue of Mount Pleasant, Iowa stating that his campaign would center on the issues of energy independence, national security, and the nation's economy. He declared that his campaign would have "the courage to create change" in the "endless partisan debates" in Washington and decried the Bush Administration as a white house "whose first impulse is to divide and to conquer" fueling partisanship. The candidate also acknowledged himself as "the underdog and long shot" in light of the perceived shortcomings of his campaign: most notably that he remained largely unknown outside Iowa, which made it difficult for him to raise funds. [cite news |first=Mike |last=Glover |authorlink= |coauthors= |title= Vilsack Enters 2008 White House Race|url= |work= |publisher=Washington Post |date=2006-11-30 |accessdate=2008-07-22 ]

Following his entrance, Vilsack began December on a five-state campaigning tour beginning in his hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. While in Pittsburgh he addressed a local Democratic Committee reminiscing about his childhood in the city and how his adopted mother overcame alcoholism. Vilsack also discussed his plan for ending the war in Iraq by giving more control to the Iraqis asserting “It's their country, it's their future and they should be willing to fight for it and they certainly should be willing to die for it." He returned to Iowa for a fundraiser later in the week. [ cite news |first=Ramesh |last=Santanam |authorlink= |coauthors= |title= Vilsack's 5-State Tour Kicks Off '08 Run|url= |work= |publisher=Washington Post |date=2006-12-02 |accessdate=2008-07-22 ]

In mid-December 2006 Vilsack received media attention after completing interviews with two major magazine publications. First he was interviewed by "U.S. News and World Report". During the interview he explained why he decided against forming an exploratory committee like many of his Democratic rivals, on the principle that he had "to get to work." He detailed his plan to use his campaign to take "people to a different place that they need to get to" particularly on the issue of "energy security" which he felt addressed the issues of global warming and national security. He discussed his plan for success in the Iraq Theater of the war on terrorism aiming to concentrate American forces away from the southern and central regions of the nation to the north. He stated that political reconciliation must be refocused to the "building [of] local governance" rather than spending "all the time on the national government." He affirmed his strategy to win the Iowa caucus by "having a more compelling vision for the future of" the country that people in his state know he is "capable of accomplishing." [ cite news |first=Will |last=Sullivan |authorlink= |coauthors= |title= Hawkeye Long Shot|url= |work= |publisher=U.S. News and World Report |date=2006-12-17 |accessdate=2008-07-22 ] Next Vilsack was asked some questions by "Rolling Stone" about his campaign. He made a distinction between "judgment" and "experience" noting the importance of the former. On Iraq, Vilsack attacked the surge plan of Republican presidential candidate Senator John McCain as "making a big mistake bigger by putting even more troops into Iraq" that the military does "not have the capacity" for. He discounted the importance of name recognition as a candidate explaining that "people don’t have to remember my name, they only have to remember the first letter which is V. It stands for vision, it stands for victory, it stands for Vilsack." Later in the interview he expressed his satisfaction with frontrunner Senator Hillary Clinton labeling himself as a "big fan of Senator Clinton." [ cite news |first= |last= |authorlink= |coauthors= |title=I’m Tom Vilsack! Who the Hell Are You? |url= |work= |publisher=Rolling Stone |date=2006-12-21 |accessdate=2008-07-22 ]

Vilsack embarked on a campaign tour of the first primary state of New Hampshire in January 2007. First he met with middle school students where he discussion his plans for rebuilding Iraq, dismissing his Democratic rival's calls for "capping" the number of troops in the nation stating "we've got to be taking troops out of Iraq." Next he visited with employees of the nonprofit Granite State Independent Living group where he discussed his frustration with the limitations of public funds because of the government's "spending [of] billions of dollars to reconstruct a country halfway around the world." [ cite news |first=Holly |last=Ramer |authorlink= |coauthors= |title= Vilsack Argues for Iraq Troop sic|With|drawl|nolink=1 |url= |work= |publisher=Washington Post |date=2007-01-19 |accessdate=2008-07-22 ] On a return to Iowa later in the month, Vilsack reiterated his opposition to the "capping" terminology on the war in Iraq, likening it to "staying the course." He stated that troop capping "reflects the continuation of a failed policy" and that America "ought to be...aggressively redeploying troops out of Iraq." [ cite news |first=Mike |last=Glover |authorlink= |coauthors= |title= Vilsack Reiterates Troop Cap Opposition |url= |work= |publisher=Washington Post |date=2007-01-26 |accessdate=2008-07-22 ]

On February 15 before a planned appearance on the "Tonight Show" with Jay Leno, Vilsack visited the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco where he gave a speech about energy. He explained that his campaign remained carbon neutral by purchasing carbon credits for any emissions left by any campaign activities. [ cite news |first=Stafford |last=Williamson |authorlink= |coauthors= |title= Danger in Too Distant Deadlines for Ethanol, Biobutanol, Biodiesel,Biomass and Alternative Energy |url= |work= |publisher=DaoChi Energy of Arizona |date=2007-02-20 |accessdate=2008-07-22 ] Later in the day Vilsack went to Los Angeles for the "Tonight Show" where he joked about his relative obscurity. In response to a question about Leno's occasional joking about the candidate, Vilsack remarked that he was okay with the joking because "when you are just below the margin of error in polls, anything anybody says about you is important." Vilsack stated that he hoped his appearance on the tonight show would decrease the discrepancy on name recognition between him and his fellow Democratic rivals. [ cite news |first= |last= |authorlink= |coauthors= |title= Vilsack's Tonight Show Appearance |url= |work= |publisher=Associated Press |date=2007-02-16 |accessdate=2008-07-22 ]

Vilsack officially withdrew from the race on February 23 stating that the crowded field of Democratic candidates made it impossible for him to raise enough money to continue his campaign. He summed up his campaign explaining that he "came up against something for the first time in [his] life that hard work and effort couldn’t overcome." Vilsack lambasted the current presidential process explaining that it had been overrun by money. He left the race proclaiming that "It is money and only money that is the reason we are leaving today." During the campaign Vilsack reported earning $1.1 million and ended the campaign with only $396,000 cash on hand. [ cite news |first=Jeff |last=Zeleny |authorlink= |coauthors= |title= Vilsack Withdraws From Presidential Race |url= |work= |publisher=New York Times |date=2007-02-23 |accessdate=2008-07-22 ]


Rasmussen reports showed on December 18, 2006 that Tom Vilsack led former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee in a head to head matchup by a margin of 37% to 29%. Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani led Vilsack by 56% to 28%. [ cite news |first= |last= |authorlink= |coauthors= |title= Giuliani 56%; Vilsack 28%|url= |work= |publisher=Rasmussen Reports |date=2006-12-28 |accessdate=2008-07-22 ] In February 2007 prior to Vilsack's withdrawal, the candidate trailed Republican Senator John McCain in a head to head matchup by a margin of 50% to 22% . In a separate poll by Rasmussen Vilsack was viewed favorable by 21% of the electorate and unfavorable by 21%. 58% of voters did not have enough information about Vilsack to have an opinion. On ideology, 19% of voters considered Vilsack a moderate, 9% considered him a liberal and 7% considered him a conservative. A majority 65% of respondents could not describe Vilsack's political stands. [ cite news |first= |last= |authorlink= |coauthors= |title= Vilsack Losing Ground, Withdraws from Presidential Race |url= |work= |publisher=Rasmussen Reports |date=2007-02-23 |accessdate=2008-07-22 ]

According to Gallup, Vilsack stood at 1% in November and December 2006 among the field of other Democrats. By January 2007 he stood at 0% where he remained until his withdrawal in February. [ cite news |first=Jeffrey |last=Jones |authorlink= |coauthors= |title=Clinton, Giuliani Lengthen Leads in Presidential Nomination Trial Heats |url= |work= |publisher=Gallup |date=2007-02-14 |accessdate=2008-07-22 ]


After withdrawing from the race, Vilsack endorsed Senator Hillary Clinton for the presidency on March 25, 2007 hoping to gain traction for the candidate in Iowa. He gave his rationale by identifying Clinton as the candidate with "the best ideas, the most energy, and the values and vision to lead our country." Shortly after the endorsement, Clinton named Vilsack's wife Christie as the co-chairman of her campaign in Iowa. [ cite news |first= |last= |authorlink= |coauthors= |title= Clinton Gains Endorsement from Vilsack |url=,2933,260688,00.html |work= |publisher=Fox News |date=2007-03-23 |accessdate=2008-07-22 ] The Clinton campaign announced they would help Vilsack pay off the $400,000 debt accumulated by the Vilsack campaign. [ cite news |first= |last= |authorlink= |coauthors= |title= Sen. Clinton to Pay Off Vilsack's Campaign Debt |url= |work= |publisher=KCCI Des Moines |date=2007-03-27 |accessdate=2008-07-22 ] Tom Vilsack campaigned for Clinton around the nation and served as a national co-chairman and advisor trying to help her win the early Caucus state of Iowa, which she ultimately finished in third place behind Senator Barack Obama and former Senator John Edwards. [ cite news |first=Thomas |last=Beaumont |authorlink= |coauthors= |title= Vilsack preps Clinton for Iowa |url= |work= |publisher=Des Moines Register |date=2007-05-28 |accessdate=2008-07-22 ] Following Hillary Clinton's withdrawal, Vilsack endorsed Barack Obama for the presidency on July 15, 2008 calling Obama the "only" candidate in the race for voters who want to change "the tone in Washington "against "partisanship" and are "about solving the problems of America." [ cite news |first= |last= |authorlink= |coauthors= |title= Obama Gains Vilsack's Support|url= |work= |publisher=WHO TV |date=2008-07-17 |accessdate=2008-07-22 ]


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