Former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsak Supports Obama, Addresses Unity of Democratic Party

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This is a rush transcript from "Your World With Neil Cavuto," August 7, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: All right, well, fair and balanced now, we're getting reaction from former Iowa Governor and presidential candidate Tom Vilsack, an Obama supporter.

Governor, very good to have you.


Video: Watch Neil's interview with Tom Vilsack

CAVUTO: What do you make of this?


VILSACK: Well, I don't think there is any question we're going to have a unified convention. Senator Obama and Senator Clinton have been conversing. Senator Clinton has supported Senator Obama. She's campaigned with him.

This week, she's going to go to Nevada and to Florida to campaign on her own for Senator Obama. There's no question what's going to happen at the convention. We're going to leave Denver unified. We know what's at stake, the future of the country. And we think an Obama presidency bodes much better for the country than a McCain presidency.

CAVUTO: Here's the rap, though, Governor. This group, others that are, let's say, disenchanted Democrats have been saying that they're not happy with — with this whole process. They're not happy that it's very possible Hillary Clinton's name will not be placed in nomination, if for no other reason than a formality, and that she seems to be being shoved aside.

Is that true?

VILSACK: Well, I don't believe it is.

I don't think there is any question that Senator Clinton will have an opportunity to be at the convention and have a — an integral role in the convention and at the convention. People like myself, who were supporting her during the primary process, have listened to her. And she is directing us to support Senator Obama, which we are happy to do.

When you look at what's at stake here, I think Democrats, in particular, need to understand what is at stake. And a McCain presidency, in my view, would not be what's best for the country. Senator Obama has laid out a very aggressive plan in energy, tax policy, education, health care, and a different relationship with foreign countries, which is very much needed.

CAVUTO: Then, let me ask you this, Governor, if you don't mind.

Then, why doesn't she emphatically say that, tell these groups, PUMA, you know, a party unity group, look, you've got to stop this; it's close, but no cigar; it looks like Barack Obama; you can't be placing my name in nomination; you can't be threatening to say that I could win this thing; you're just disrupting this whole class here?

She has not said that.

VILSACK: Well, you know, in this business, Neil, I think, actions speak louder than words.

And the actions of Senator Clinton, this week and in the past month, have indicated, unequivocally, that she is in support of Senator Obama's candidacy and she will do everything she can to make sure he's the next president.

CAVUTO: Do you think, though, that you've gotten the same sentiment out of her husband? Bill Clinton kind of has had this sort of weird response to Barack Obama every time his name is mentioned, recently saying that no one can ever be ready for the presidency when asked whether Barack Obama is.

VILSACK: Well, I...

CAVUTO: What do you make of that?

VILSACK: I spent the last seven or eight days with President Clinton on his trip to Africa. And I can tell you, in private conversation and in public conversation, there is no question that President Clinton is supporting Senator Obama, intends to vote for Senator Obama, and understands that the nation's future will be better in his hands than in Senator McCain's hands.

CAVUTO: But, you know, if I feel that way, Governor, than I'm going to say, this guy, he beat my wife, but he is a damn good candidate. He would make a damn good president. I stand by him.

But, instead, the strongest thing he said is, well, you know, no one's ever ready to be president. That's — that's kind of damning praise.

VILSACK: Well...


VILSACK: ... it's a big job. And I think he's right about that. He's probably in a better position than I would be — and maybe even you would be — to be able to make that comment. I mean, he's been president for two terms, and he understands the rigors of that job.

CAVUTO: But you must know, Governor, how that sounds, right?

VILSACK: Well, bottom line, he intends to support Senator Obama. He will do what is necessary and what he is asked to do to support Senator Obama. And Senator Clinton is clearly going to do that, and Clinton supporters are going to do that.

At the end of the day...

CAVUTO: Well, to those Clinton supporters, Governor — if you don't mind — we just heard from a guy who's very concerned about the Barack Obama that has emerged post-winning this nomination. And that is a guy who flip-flops on FISA, on drilling, on — on — on so many other issues. They're concerned that he's showing his true colors here. And they don't like it, and they don't like him.

What do you say to that?

VILSACK: Well, I say two words: Supreme Court. That's at stake here.

I say the need for an aggressive energy policy that doesn't placate the needs of oil companies, but placates the needs of American families, which is what Senator Obama has put forward. I talk about health care, expanding health care to all Americans. Senator McCain has not indicated a willingness to do that at this point.

A new relationship between America and the rest of the world, which Senator Obama has outlined, a different approach in Iraq, I mean, there is a lot at stake here. And, as Clinton supporters, former Clinton supporters begin to realize what's at stake, I think you're going to see a lot of those folks who are concerned, upset gradually move to the Obama column. Many have already done that.

And a number of new voters, which Senator Obama has brought into the party, have indicated a new energy and a new excitement for the changes he's going to bring. So, I don't have any doubt in my mind that Senator Obama's going to be the next president of the United States, and I think we're going to have a great convention, and I look forward to being there.

CAVUTO: Governor Vilsack, a pleasure. Thank you, sir.

VILSACK: You bet. Thank you.

CAVUTO: All right.

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