Ag Policy Blog
Chris Clayton DTN Ag Policy Editor

Tuesday 04/22/14

Vilsack: I Don't Have Presidential Sizzle

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told fellow Iowans Tuesday that he doesn't have "the sizzle it takes" to run for president.

Jeffrey Ball, a columnist for the New Republic, asked Vilsack Tuesday if he would like to live at the White House someday. Ball interviewed Vilsack as part of a forum on climate change at Drake University cosponsored by the New Republic and the League of Women Voters. Vilsack said he loved his current job working with rural Americans, but he also talked about his brief presidential campaign before the 2008 election.

A former two-term governor of Iowa, Vilsack struggled to raise money. The secretary said he was running against "some big personalities" in 2008: then-Sens. Barack Obama, Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton. A labor leader assessed Vilsack's personality one day, the secretary explained.

"He said, 'You are really a good guy and you're a competent guy.' He says. 'But you don't have any sizzle.' " Vilsack "He's right. I don't have any sizzle. I'm a pretty steady guy. I used to say, I wasn't a rock star, but I was rock steady. I think in this climate, this day and age, you have to have a little sizzle. So, you know, I'm not thinking about the presidency. I'm honestly thinking about building the rural economy and the rural parts of this country because it is really good, decent people who live out there and they would like the opportunity to say to their grandkids that you can stay or you can come back. Right now, it often feels like they don't have that opportunity."

Posted at 7:27PM CDT 04/22/14 by Chris Clayton
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