This is a partial transcript from "On the Record" with Greta Van Susteren, July 27, 2004 that has been edited for clarity.
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GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: Republicans say the attacks have already begun, but who has fired the first shot. Democrats say, Republicans were behind Monday's "Boston Herald" hit piece on Iowa's first lady, Christie Vilsack (search). The article says Vilsack wrote a column 10 years ago, saying she had trouble understanding African-Americans' version of English.
Christie Vilsack joins us from the FleetCenter where she has just addressed Democrats and she's joined by her husband, Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack (search).
Mrs. Vilsack, since we're on the topic of Mrs. Heinz Kerry (search), whom my male colleagues have sort of jabbed a little bit in her speech, and the women have responded, accordingly, defending her — so it's time to talk more about the women.
You're getting heat. What did you write 10 years ago and what did you mean?
CHRISTIE VILSACK, FIRST LADY OF IOWA: Well, I wrote a column about tolerance, basically, and I was poking a little fun at myself for having a hard time with language. But basically in my career, I've taught bilingual education and I've spent my whole career talking to my eighth and ninth graders about tolerance and understanding, as well as my children.
So, you know, I was just writing about what I teach and how I live.
VAN SUSTEREN: Governor, do you think that this was — this article in the "Herald" — was this a possible attack from the Republican Party, or do you think this is just the media digging up everything they can about everyone who's speaking, every candidate? Republicans will probably get it, too, at the end of August.
GOV. TOM VILSACK, D-IOWA: Well, I tell you, I don't think there is any question about the fact that it was a Republican planted story. But you know, I'm really disappointed and actually a little bit upset about this. There's really no reason for this. In American politics today, in my state today, it shouldn't be about tearing folks down, it shouldn't be about taking things out of context.
The Christie Vilsack that I know and love and the Christie Vilsack that Iowans know and, love is a compassionate, tolerant, understanding person. It's fairly clear that that's who she is.
What we ought to be talking about are the serious problems facing this nation, issues concerning employment levels, healthcare security, homeland security, America's standing in the world. That's what we ought to be talking about. And when you don't have a record to run on, and you have no vision for the next four years, I guess, you resort to attacks. It's unfortunate, but we're going to continue to look for more hopeful, stronger, better, more respected America — that's what we're going to talk about in this convention.
VAN SUSTEREN: Mrs. Vilsack, prior to the caucus, you came out and endorsed Sen. Kerry, probably way ahead of everybody else when people thought it was going to be Gov. Dean who's going to steal the caucuses in Ohio, or in Iowa, rather.
Why did you come out and endorse him? What was it about him that made you do that?
C. VILSACK: Well, there are a lot of policies, certainly. I'm a public education person, a teacher for 30 years. But I also look for those intangibles that may be don't have to do with policy, but have to do with character. And what I noticed first about him was his inclusiveness and the fact that he invited everyone into a conversation. And I thought that was really important. And I think that's something we stand for as Democrats, and that's one reason why I supported him.
My endorsement was more just talking back to the people of Iowa, and saying, This is what I heard you say and this is what I'm hearing you say in private conversations that you think John Kerry is the best man for this time. And I wanted them to hear what I was hearing a lot of Iowans saying because they weren't hearing it and reading it in the press.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, thank you both — I appreciate it. Get back to your hotels. It's raining — I'm just warning you.
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