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Iowa Politics Roundup: Forbes Plans to “Agitator,” Not Presidential Candidate PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Iowa Politics
Written by Lynn Campbell   
Friday, 27 August 2010 14:05

Steve ForbesFormer Republican presidential candidate Steve Forbes says he will not run for president in 2012, saying he's now an "agitator" and will "leave the exercising to others."

Forbes, who ran for president in 1996 and 2000, was the guest speaker August 25 at the Polk County Republicans' Robb Kelley Club Luncheon at the downtown Des Moines Marriott hotel. He said after the event that he is still examining the entire field of potential Republican candidates in 2012, although he did single out one potential candidate.

"I'm looking over the whole field, trying to learn more about candidates, potential candidates like Mitch Daniels, the governor of Indiana who has had a very good record over two terms," Forbes said. "So like Iowa, I'm looking to see who's out there."

Forbes, the editor-in-chief of business magazine Forbes as well as president and chief executive officer of its publisher, Forbes Inc., also said the Iowa caucuses remain important for Republican presidential hopefuls.

"And if you need a reminder, just wait until after November. You'll have a whole slew of people coming in, a good version of a stimulus," he said. "It's very hard to win the presidency unless you make a show in Iowa. I suppose it can be done, but it's a very formidable barrier, so I think most of those who want to do it will be here."

Forbes said the country is in a state of anxiety, with people worried about spending in Washington, D.C., and whether the economy will get back on track. He claimed the free market is not to blame for the world's financial woes and has been unfairly demonized instead of embraced as part of the solution.

He said free markets always work with the proper oversight. "You do need sensible laws, but it's sensible laws that provide guide rails, very different from what this government in Washington is doing today," he said.

Forbes later reiterated that government has an important role to play in making sure laws are updated as innovations come along, but that shouldn't mean stifling innovation.

"Unfortunately, the advocates of big, suffocating government always portray it as a choice between massive government regulation and anarchy," Forbes said. "No, it is not about those stark choices."

Forbes was in Iowa for several days. He signed copies of his new book How Capitalism Will Save Us, attended an event for the Iowa House Majority Fund with state Representative Steve Lukan (R-New Vienna), and spent time with state House candidate Darin Beck (R-Cedar Falls) and state Senate candidate Bill Dix (R-Shell Rock).

Forbes also attended several Iowa Christian Alliance events and met with Republican Second Congressional District candidate Mariannette Miller-Meeks, whom Forbes is endorsing.

Jobless Rate Sees Small Increase

Iowa Workforce Development (IWD) said August 20 that the state's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 6.8 percent in July, up slightly from June's 6.7 percent. The jobless rate was 6.1 percent a year ago.

"In contrast to the U.S. employment situation, Iowa's private sector hired at a strong enough pace in July to overcome the job losses on the government side," said IWD Director Elisabeth Buck. "Nonfarm jobs in the state have increased in six of the first seven months of 2010, which has managed to keep the recovery intact."

About 113,800 Iowa residents were looking for work in July. That's an increase of 700 from June and 11,600 from July 2009. The total number of working Iowans fell to 1,560,800 in July from 1,567,200 in June. The U.S. unemployment rate remained at 9.5 percent, which was slightly higher than the July 2009 rate of 9.4 percent.

The Iowa Policy Project (IPP) said the state's job picture was hurt by 1,300 state and federal jobs that were lost in July, in part due to early retirements in state government and the end of temporary federal census jobs.