September 6th, 2007
05:15 PM ET
15 years ago

Senior Thompson aide no fan of Iowa's ethanol

Thompson made his presidential candidate debut in Iowa Thursday.

DES MOINES, Iowa (CNN) - Former Sen. Fred Thompson chose Iowa Thursday to kick-off his bid for the White House, but at least one of his top aides has recently expressed frustration with the Hawkeye State's influence in the presidential nominating process.

"It's time to put America first and make Iowa go last," Karen Hanretty wrote in the Hill's pundits blog on August 10. She recently joined Thompson's presidential campaign as deputy communications director.

Hanretty's primary beef with Iowa lies in the "politics of ethanol," as she puts it.

"Imagine there’s no first-in-the-nation Iowa caucus," she wrote about the state's unique status as being the first to cast a vote in the presidential nominating process. "No need to pander to corn farmers. No politicizing ethanol for votes. No pressure to support hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer-funded ethanol subsidies."

She also goes on to cite two columnists, one from each end of the political spectrum, who criticize ethanol subsidies.

A senior Thompson campaign aide told CNN that political opponents were spreading word of Hanretty’s blog posting, but played down its significance noting that staffers routinely have views different than that of their bosses.

"What matters is that Fred respects Iowa's traditional role,” the senior aide said. “He is the candidate."

- CNN Iowa Producer Chris Welch

Filed under: Fred Thompson • Iowa
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. J Houston, TX

    She's right. Ethanol is a joke. Negative energy process. You burn more oil to make ethanol than you save when you put it in a car.

    September 6, 2007 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  2. Dan, TX

    Ethanol from corn grain is temporary. Ethanol (or some other derivative) from cellulose does have real potential for intermediate profitability. More likely derivatives from cellulosic breakdown would be use for synfuel synthesis – actual gasoline derived from organic breakdown products of cellulose. These are all intermediate solutions to transportation fuels. A 30-fold decrease in solar PV costs coupled with a 10-fold reduction in battery weight will let us go to electric cars with no new carbon burning. But we probably are decades away. Cellulosic ethanol or other biofuel is a good intermediate step and we are 10 to 20 years from that. Biofuel from cellulose will be cheaper than fossil fuels within 10 years. But there still won't be enough fuel without conservation.

    September 6, 2007 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  3. Greg, Oceanside CA

    I totally agree. The order of pimaries should rotate so that it's not always the same two states that determine the candidates.
    Ethanol is overrated.

    September 6, 2007 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  4. Rodney Dallas TX

    America....the only nation with 20 wannabees and zero gonnabees.

    September 6, 2007 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  5. M. Winters, Mesa, AZ

    When Iowa more favorably represented the US population as a whole the "first-in-the-nation concept" had validity. Not any longer. Today a hand full of rural corn farmers "dictate" who the likely party nominees will be. Given todays national demographics this is a classic case of "The tail wagging the dog" since Iowa is not a true representation of America's Heartland any longer.

    September 6, 2007 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  6. David, Jackson WY

    I would rather have the good people of Iowa have a bigger role in helping to select the next President then a state like Oregon or Massachusetts!

    September 6, 2007 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  7. Joe S., Tampa, FL

    I agree with his aid. There is too much focus on Iowa. I live in Florida, who has recently changed their primary voting date to be more competitive with other state's primaries. I think it is ridiculous. All states should have their primary elections on the same day or at least in the same month.

    September 6, 2007 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  8. karl rudolf

    Who does he think he is? Well, he is tall, somewhat handsome, has a deep voice, and appears to be somewhat articulate. Well, what else do we expect from the "most powerful man in the world"?

    September 6, 2007 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  9. Nathan, Des Moines, IA

    I would love to hear what the perception of a "true representation of America's Heartland" is. Anyway, instead of downplaying the comments of this aide, why didn't Thompson use the chance to discuss how he'd change the current subsidy system? Most people here agree that current subsidies favor large farms...I know I'd like to hear what he's going to do to affect change.

    September 6, 2007 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  10. C.LyOns, New York NY

    Ethanol is not the will drive up the price of food, strain the resource, and ulitmately lead to teh same corruption seen in the oil industry....

    September 6, 2007 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  11. Tyler, Ames, IA

    Any insinuation that Iowa doesn't represent the heartland and nation as a whole should be rethought. Iowa went Red in 2004 and Blue in 2006, electing a Democratic governor with a strong majority.

    September 7, 2007 02:23 am at 2:23 am |
  12. Robin, Elkhart Indiana

    Oh, that's a real good way to make friends! One would think that a candidates staff would want to keep the nice face till the primary is over. How many votes did you lose and do you still have a job, Ms Hanretty?

    September 7, 2007 08:14 am at 8:14 am |
  13. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I personally don't mind Iowa being first with their caucus. I would like the caucuses and primaries to start in March of the election year and to have them all closer together so that great states like New Jersey can have more of a say.

    Corn based ethanol is over-rated. It doesn't have the energy that other materials that could be turned into ethanol do. Check out Consumer Reports study showing lower fuel milage with E-85. There are several other options that have been discussed in various places; possible sources that are not food sources for people and animals.

    September 7, 2007 08:40 am at 8:40 am |