October 19, 2007

Ann Black at 515-697-1003
Mark Fetterhoff at 515-697-1021

Divided We Fail: Forum retools to health & financial security town hall event with Sen. John McCain & Gov. Mike Huckabee

Lack of Other Republican Candidate Confirmations for Sioux City Debate Changes Format to Individual “Candidate Forums on Health & Financial Security”

DES MOINES, IA--The Divided We Fail Forum on health and financial security issues set for next Thursday, October 25th from 7pm-8:30pm at Sioux City’s Orpheum Theater, will go on, but not as originally planned.

Event organizers today announced that lack of participation by a majority of the Republican Presidential Candidates who met forum guidelines has forced a change in the format from more of a debate-style with all candidates on stage to a Town Hall-style “Candidate Forum on Health & Financial Security” with Senator John McCain and former Governor Mike Huckabee.

“Frankly, we’re disappointed that most of the Republican candidates, including the supposed front-runners, have chosen to skip Sioux City and our Divided We Fail Forum on health and financial security issues,” said Bruce Koeppl, AARP Iowa State Director and Iowa Campaign Manager of Divided We Fail. “There’s really no excuse for these candidates to not want to talk about the top domestic issues in Western Iowa with our members, particularly since their campaigns were advised to save the date back in March and officially invited in July.”

Divided We Fail invited all of the Republican Presidential Candidates on July 2, 2007, and sent participation guidelines at that the time. The four criteria candidates needed to meet to be eligible to accept the invitation are to be an officially announced candidate, filing paperwork with the Federal Election Commission, employing at least one paid staffer in Iowa, and having an operable campaign office in the state.

Divided We Fail Senior Campaign Coordinator Pete Jeffries said, “The Divided We Fail issues of health and financial security are too important to be ignored, and that’s why we applaud Sen. McCain and Gov. Huckabee for their early confirmations and unwavering support for the Sioux City forum. The show will go on in a retooled format so Sen. McCain and Gov. Huckabee can still share their ideas and solutions on the challenges facing many Iowans and millions of Americans on health and financial security issues.”

While the forum no longer will be aired live or nationally on PBS, Iowa Public Television (IPTV) will to provide coverage of the Sioux City “Candidate Forums” to its statewide Iowa audience during its weekly “Iowa Journal” program. This new format also allows Sen. McCain and Gov. Huckabee to individually discuss the issues of health and financial security with Western Iowa caucus-goers for a total of 35 minutes. The format will include opening remarks, questions from moderator Dean Borg of IPTV, Sioux City Journal readers and those selected in the Orpheum Theater audience.

Nearly 1,300 tickets had been requested for the original event at the Orpheum and still will be honored at the door next Thursday night. To reserve your seat, please call 1-877-926-8300 or log onto

Koeppl added, “I think the campaigns who said no to our original forum in Sioux City are taking a huge risk since AARP members historically comprise one of every three caucus-goers – Republican or Democrat – come January and these voters want to hear the candidates discuss these top domestic issues of health and financial security. In fact, our latest AARP survey found that 82% of reliable Republican caucus-goers say that candidate participation in the Divided We Fail Forum in Sioux City was very or somewhat important before they go to the caucuses.”

During a statewide media teleconference, Divided We Fail officials paid particular thanks to Siouxland community, business and political leaders for their work so far, including the Sioux City Journal, the Siouxland Chamber of Commerce, Senator Ron Wieck, Representative Christopher Rants, State Republican Chair Ray Hoffmann, Woodbury Co. Republican Chair Kevin Alons, Sioux City Mayor Craig Berenstein and the Sioux City Council, which proclaimed October Divided We Fail Month in Sioux City.

“For the past six months, we have worked tirelessly with community leaders and the Republican Presidential campaigns to bring a first-class, nationally-televised Presidential Candidate Forum to Sioux City’s beautiful Orpheum Theater – an historic, first-time event for Western Iowa,” said Jeffries. “We’ve been overwhelmed and strengthened by the community’s warm welcome, enthusiasm and steadfast support. We certainly hope the great folks of Sioux City and the Siouxland region turnout on Thursday night so together we can engage Sen. McCain and Gov. Huckabee on the Divided We Fail issues of health and financial security.”

Divided We Fail hosted a similar event at the Iowa State Fair in August, which became the largest, multi-candidate event the day before the Iowa Straw Poll and received international news coverage. Gov. Huckabee also participated in that “Candidate Forums on Health & Financial Security.”



 July 2, 2007

 CONTACT: Ann Black, AARP, 515-697-1003 or Jennifer Konfrst, IPTV, 515-242-3146

AARP, IPTV Announce 2008 Presidential Candidates Forums in Davenport and Sioux City

                                                               PBS’ Judy Woodruff to Moderate the Domestic Issues-Focused Events

Des Moines, Iowa – AARP and statewide Iowa Public Television (IPTV) today announced two Presidential Candidate forums focused on the issues of health care and financial security on Sept. 20 in Davenport and Oct. 25 in Sioux City.

The forums will be broadcast live on statewide IPTV from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. (CT) both nights, and will be aired on PBS stations across the country, including Vegas PBS and New Hampshire Public Television (NHPTV).  PBS correspondent and anchor Judy Woodruff will moderate the 90-minute discussions.

The Adler Theater in Davenport will be the site for the Sept. 20 forum with the Democratic candidates and the Orpheum Theater in Sioux City will be the site for the Oct. 25 Republican candidate forum.

As part of the national Divided We Fail effort, AARP is working with Iowa-based businesses, labor groups and consumer organizations to raise awareness with the public, the media, presidential candidates and elected officials on health care and financial security issues.

“We are pleased to team up with Iowa Public Television to bring 2008 Presidential candidates’ focus on the critical domestic issues of health care and financial security for current and future generations,” said AARP Iowa Divided We Fail Campaign Manager Bruce Koeppl.

"At Iowa Public Television, we're proud to continue our long tradition of educating and informing Iowans in all parts of our state with information that is relevant, timely, and of the highest quality,” said Daniel K. Miller, Executive Director and General Manager of Iowa Public Television.   “We are confident these Presidential forums in Davenport and Sioux City will help Iowans become more informed in the months leading up to the Iowa Caucuses.  We're especially proud that the Newshour's Judy Woodruff will be joining the coverage and that we'll be distributing it nationwide,”  Miller said.

As senior Correspondent and Editor of 2008 Political Coverage for PBS’ “The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer,” Judy Woodruff brings decades of ground-breaking reporting experience to audiences, sharing seasoned insights and experiences. Prior to joining PBS, Woodruff served as anchor of CNN’s weekday political program, “Inside Politics,” and as NBC News White House correspondent from 1977 to 1982.

Both the Democratic and Republican forums will be free and open to all, however, tickets will be required for attendance.  More information on tickets will be available starting Aug. 1 at and at  All Iowans are invited to get involved with the forums by emailing questions for consideration by Sept. 1.  Questions should be sent to

Divided We Fail is currently conducting approximately 100 Town Hall Conversations across Iowa and in the other early primary and caucus states on the issues of health care and financial security. Findings from the town hall conversations will be shared with the 2008 Presidential candidates in advance of the Sept. 20 and Oct. 25 forums.

The growing list of Iowa Divided We Fail team members includes: AARP, former Governor Terry Branstad, Communications Workers of America, DeWaay Capital Management, Des Moines University, Easter Seals, Iowa Association of Homes & Services for the Aging, Iowa Caregivers Association, Iowa Credit Union League, Iowa Health Care Association, Long-Term Care Guild of Des Moines, Qwest Communications, SEIU Iowa, and Wells’ Dairy Inc.  For more information, go to

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About AARP

AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization that helps people 50+ have independence, choice and control in ways that are beneficial and affordable to them and society as a whole. We produce AARP The Magazine, published bimonthly; AARP Bulletin, our monthly newspaper; AARP Segunda Juventud, our bimonthly magazine in Spanish and English; NRTA Live & Learn, our quarterly newsletter for 50 + educators; and our website, AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. We have staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

About IPTV

Iowa Public Television is Iowa's statewide public broadcasting network. IPTV provides quality, noncommercial programming to make a difference in the lives of Iowans. As one of the last locally controlled media enterprises in the state, IPTV is committed to telling Iowa's stories like no one else can. Our mission to educate, inform, enrich, and inspire Iowans enables IPTV to present an unequaled array of programs of lasting value to Iowans regardless of where they live or what they can afford. More than one million viewers a week turn to IPTV for programming that reflects a range of interests for Iowans in all demographic categories. Iowa Public Television stations include: Channel 11, Des Moines; Channel 12, Iowa City; Channel 21, Fort Dodge; Channel 24, Mason City; Channel 27, Sioux City; Channel 32, Waterloo; Channel 32, Council Bluffs; Channel 36, Davenport; Channel 36, Red Oak. IPTV-Digital stations include: Channel 11.1, Des Moines; Channel 12.1, Iowa City; Channel 21.1, Fort Dodge; Channel 24.1, Mason City; Channel 27.1, Sioux City; Channel 32.1, Waterloo; Channel 32.1, Council Bluffs; Channel 36.1, Red Oak; Channel 36.1, Davenport (coming soon).

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