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If It's Vilsack Anecdotes You Want, It's Vilsack Anecdotes I've Got

Rumors that Tom Vilsack might be Obama's Secretary of Agriculture give me just the news peg I've been waiting for to get some mileage out of this Vilsack-ag anecdote (that my editors inexplicably didn't see fit to include in my David Axelrod profile). There was one major bone of contention between candidate Vilsack and consultant Axelrod during Vilsack's 1998 Iowa gubernatorial campaign. As Vilsack explained it to me:

I was absolutely in love with my idea that Iowa was going to become a "food capital," by which I meant we'd do more with crops--producing fuels and paper and things like that. I would consistently talk about "food capital" during the course of the campaign. Finally, one day David says to me, "Nobody knows what you're talking about." He had his people do a poll and they presented me with the findings that showed only like 8 percent of the people knew what the hell I was talking about when I said "food capital." But I kept talking about it anyway.

So there you have it. Combine the Vilsack for ag sec rumors with the ones that Axelrod might indeed wind up in an Obama White House, and I think we have our preview of the first major policy dispute in an Obama adminstration.

--Jason Zengerle