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February 2008

January 2008

Moderate McCain wins in Florida

Mccain Senator John McCain (R-AZ.) won a hard fought victory over former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney in the Florida Republican primary on Tuesday.

Receiving 36 percent of the vote, the victory puts McCain in the driver’s seat for the GOP nomination.  Mitt Romney finished second in the voting with 31 percent, and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani finished third with 14 percent.

Giuliani’s concession speech Tuesday night left supporters with the feeling of goodbye, and top aides have indicated that the mayor plans to drop out of the race and endorse John McCain.  Political pundits have speculated that Giuliani will be McCain’s choice for vice president.

The Republican candidates now shift their focus to Super Tuesday, when 21 states vote. 

McCain has tried to keep the focus of his campaign on foreign policy, considered his strength.  In contrast, Romney has stressed an economic message, highlighting his experience in business, running the Olympics, and achievements made as Governor of Massachusetts.


President Bush looking down the road, not in the rear view

BushPresident Bush delivered his final State of the Union Address Monday night and his focus was ever-forward, starting with the pro-active doctrine in fighting the war against terrorism.

"Some may deny the surge is working, but among the terrorists there is no doubt," he said. "Al-Qaida is on the run in Iraq, and this enemy will be defeated."

The President also issued a challenge to the government of Iran.  "Come clean about your nuclear intentions and past actions, stop your oppression at home, and cease your support for terror abroad," he said. "But above all, know this: American will confront those who threaten our troops, we will stand by our allies, and we will defend our vital interests in the Persian Gulf."

The president urged lawmakers to re-authorize a program that enables the government to secretly monitor communications of terror suspects abroad. 

Addressing concerns about the American economy, President Bush acknowledged the slowdown in economic growth.  He called on Congress to pass the economic stimulus package the administration worked out with Democratic and Republican leaders in the House.

"Americans can be confident about our economic growth," he said.

Showing a disdain for the kind of politics that voters have witnessed in South Carolina the President said, "In this election year, let us show our fellow Americans that we recognize our responsibilities and are determined to meet them." He continued, "And let us show them that Republicans and Democrats can compete for votes and compete for results at the same time."


Statement Concerning the Passing of Senator Richard Drake

It is with great sadness that we learn of the passing of Senator Richard Drake of Muscatine.  It was a great honor to have served with Dick.  He was a legendary and effective veteran legislator for 36 years in the House and Senate.  Dick was an American Patriot and graduate of the US Naval Academy, serving in WWII and Korea.  He was very active in Veterans affairs and an advocate of Iowa values.  Iowa can be proud to have received the benefit of his service to his country and our state.  We extend our condolences to his wife Shirley and their family.

Stewart Iverson, Chairman - Republican Party of Iowa


Has Global Warming Stopped?

According to veteran science writer and astrophysicist David Whitehouse, Mother Earth’s temperatures have held steady since 2001. 

Dr. Whitehouse's research reveals that global temperatures have remained statistically the same since 2001. Global warming has, in effect, temporarily or permanently ceased. 

The working hypothesis of global warming and what is commonly referred to as 'the greenhouse gas effect' does not stand the test of data when considering that global temperatures have remained flat.

While a small number of scientists have proposed some 'climate change' theories for the recent plateau in temperature, their explanations are inadequate, says Dr. Whitehouse.  “Something else is happening and it is vital that we find out what” or risk wasting billions of dollars on the wrong solutions.


Republican Party of Iowa Announces New Chairman

Iverson_3 The Republican State Central Committee is pleased to announce Stewart Iverson as the new Chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa.  Iverson was unanimously voted in as Chairman after Ray Hoffmann stepped down this morning so that he could focus more time on his growing restaurant business in Sioux City. Iverson will fill the remaining portion of Hoffmann’s term which expires in 2009.


“I look forward to the challenge of leading our party and working with our grassroots activists to achieve victory this fall,” said Iverson.  “We are the party of fiscal responsibility, commonsense government, and traditional family values, and I will work tirelessly to promote our party’s principles to the people of Iowa.”


Governor launches recruiting effort to put more people on government assistance

Iowa_flag At taxpayer expense, Governor Chet Culver has announced an advertising campaign designed to attract more families towards government dependence. 

The campaign, an attempt to enroll more families into the state’s HAWK-I health care program, will cost taxpayers $2.1 million.  With ad placement planned for radio, television, newspapers and billboards, Culver hopes more than 7,500 new enrollees go on the books by the end of the next fiscal year.

Inquiries to the Governor’s office about why taxes couldn’t be cut so families could obtain insurance independently have not yet been responded to.


Johnson County Republicans Excited About 2008

Johnson_county_republicans_2 IOWA CITY, IA. -- With enthusiasm carrying over from the Iowa Caucuses, the Johnson County Republican Central Committee held their first meeting of 2008 on January 14th in Iowa City.


Chairman Bill Keettel addressed a standing room only crowd in reviewing caucus results, indentifying new Central Committee members and introducing GOP candidates for office.


Excitement was in the air as the Chairman yielded the floor to the following candidates:  Steve Rathje for U.S. Senate, Peter Teahen for U.S. Congress, and Dr. Mariannette Miller-Meeks for U.S. Congress.


To review a list of upcoming GOP events or if you wish to participate in Johnson County Republican activities, please visit the JCRCC website at:  www.jcrepublicans.org.


Team Clinton loses big in South Carolina

The Bill Clinton strategy of being Hillary's hit man failed to pay off in the South Carolina primary, with Barak Obama routing Team Clinton in winning 55 percent of the vote.  The Clintons generated just 27 percent, John Edwards finished a very distant third with 18 percent.

ClintonrageConsidered by many to be a tremendous asset to Hillary's presidential campaign, the former President's attempts to cut down Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama was rejected by a majority of South Carolina voters.  Bill Clinton's angry rhetoric about voter suppression and remarks about a "fairy tale" Obama was viewed as over-the-top outside the state as well.

Former U.S. Senator Tom Daschle (D-SD.), called Bill Clinton's tactics, "not presidential," and said the former president is not in keeping with the image of a former president.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick J. Leahy (D-VT.), characterized Clinton's campaigning as, "glib cheap shots," telling reporters, "That's beneath the dignity of a former president."

Obama gained 25 convention delegates with the victory, Clinton won 12 and Edwards eight.  Overall, Clinton has 249 delegates, followed by Obama with 167 and Edwards with 58.

The candidates now turn their focus on 'Super Tuesday' where a number of delegate heavy states such as New York, California, and New Jersey come into play.  Those primaries take place on February 5th, with Hillary Clinton forecast as the favorite in all three of those states.


Press Release: Heartland Express, Inc. Reports Revenues and Earnings for the Fourth Quarter of 2007

Heartland_express_3 NORTH LIBERTY, IOWA -- Heartland Express, Inc. (Nasdaq: HTLD) announced today financial results for the quarter and year ended December 31, 2007.  Operating revenues for the quarter increased 4.1% to $152.8 million from $146.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2006.  Net income decreased 15.4% to $16.6 million from $19.6 million in the 2006 period. Earnings per share were $0.17 compared to $0.20 for the fourth quarter of 2006.  Operating income during the fourth quarter of 2007 was negatively impacted approximately $4.6 million or $0.03 per share due to an increase in fuel cost, net of fuel surcharge revenue. 

For the year ended December 31, 2007, operating revenues increased 3.5% to $591.9 million from $571.9 million during the same period in 2006.  Net income decreased 12.6% to $76.2 million from $87.2 million in the 2006 period. Earnings per share were $0.78 compared with $0.89 for the 2006 period.  Operating income for the year was negatively impacted by a $8.0 million decrease in gains on disposal of property and equipment. In addition, operating income for the year ended December 31, 2007 was negatively impacted approximately $10.5 million or $0.07 per share due to an increase in fuel cost, net of fuel surcharge revenue.          

For the quarter, Heartland Express, Inc. posted an operating ratio (operating expenses as a percentage of operating revenues) of 83.9% and a 10.9% net margin (net income as a percentage of operating revenues).  The Company reported an operating ratio of 81.3% and a 12.9% net margin for the year ended December 31, 2007. The Company ended the year with cash, cash equivalents, and short-term investments of $196.6 million, a $134.7 million decrease from the $331.3 million reported on December 31, 2006 due to the special $196.5 million dividend paid in 2007.  The Company’s balance sheet continues to be debt-free. 

The average age of the Company’s tractor fleet was 2.1 years at December 31, 2007 with the entire tractor fleet consisting of 2005 or newer model year International tractors. The average age of the Company’s trailer fleet was 3.8 years at December 31, 2007 with the entire trailer fleet consisting of 2002 or newer model year Wabash trailers.                      

During the quarter, Heartland Express declared a regular quarterly cash dividend.  The quarterly dividend of approximately $1.9 million at the rate of $0.02 per share was paid on January 3, 2008 to shareholders of record at the close of business on December 21, 2007.  The Company has now paid cash dividends of $224.6 million over the past eighteen consecutive quarters. Interest income decreased in the fourth quarter of 2007 and for the year ended December 31, 2007 primarily due to the payment of the special dividend. 

The Company purchased 1.3 million shares of its outstanding common stock during the year. Our strong cash position has allowed us to improve shareholder return with share repurchases and cash dividends without effecting growth opportunities. This repurchase of shares demonstrates the Board of Director’s confidence in the Company’s performance and future prospects.

On October 11, 2007, Forbes magazine named Heartland Express one of the “Best 200 Small Companies in America.”  The Company has been recognized sixteen times during its twenty one years as a public company, and has made the list the past six consecutive years. 

This press release may contain statements that might be considered as forward-looking statements or predictions of future operations.  Such statements are based on management’s belief or interpretation of information currently available.  These statements and assumptions involve certain risks and uncertainties.  Actual events may differ from these expectations as specified from time to time in filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.