Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Jonathon Sharkey arrested on 2 felony warrants

We may have to wait until 2010 for a vampire governor.

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Jonathon "The Impaler" Sharkey, who announced in Princeton Jan. 13 that he was running for governor, was arrested at his Princeton apartment about 8:30 Monday evening.

Princeton officer Todd Frederick initiated a search yesterday afternoon that led to the discovery of two active felony warrants from Marion County (Indianapolis) in Indiana.

The 2005 warrants were issued in May for stalking and in September for escape on a $100,000 bond.

Sharkey is being held in the Mille Lacs County Jail in Milaca and Indiana authorities have indicated they will come to pick him up, said Princeton Police Chief Dave Warneke Tuesday morning. (Source: Princeton Union-Eagle, Jan. 31, 2006)
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Hatch flip-flop of the week, #11

Flip-Flop of the Week: Volume 1, Issue 11

Mike Hatch Flip-Flops On Deregulation

“Hatch says that deregulation increases the potential for abuse and therefore necessitates aggressive regulation. He also believes the country has made a ‘grave mistake’ by initiating deregulation so dramatically. ‘When I came in here three years ago, I was a free trader,’ he says. ‘I’m three years older now.’” (Eben Shapiro, “Is Mike Hatch Too Tough?” Minneapolis-St Paul CityBusiness, May 28, 1986)

Pawlenty's 2005 numbers

$808,371 raised, $721,163 cash on hand

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For 2005 the Pawlenty for Governor Committee reported receipts totaling $808,371 and finished the year with $721,163 cash on hand. The contributions received set a record for money raised from contributors by candidates for governor or incumbent governors in a year leading up to an election, since the current campaign finance system was enacted.

"Minnesotans across the state are supporting my agenda of bringing accountability to state government and these results reflect that. I really appreciate their support, it's very encouraging," Governor Pawlenty said. (Source: Pawlenty for Governor Press Release, Jan. 31, 2006)
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Pawlenty and the "puck"

Gov. Pawlenty laughs off his mispronunciation of the word "puck" at the Wild home opener this season.

Click here for the video.

Once again, you'd never see Hatch, Doran or any of the rest of the field like this on TV.

Dayton to support filibuster

Sen. Dayton will be voting for a filibuster on Alito today.

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Sen. Mark Dayton will vote in favor of a Democratic filibuster of Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito.

That's according to his spokeswoman, Semonti (sim-MONT'-ee) Mustaphi (mus-STAHF'-ee). The vote is expected this afternoon.

But senators from both parties expect Alito to easily reach the 60 votes needed to end any threat of a filibuster.

Dayton, a Minnesota Democrat, declined an interview request ahead of the vote. On Friday, Dayton questioned the wisdom of a filibuster but said he was undecided. (Source: AP, Jan. 31, 2006)
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It's a real shame he's not running for reelection.

Wetterling says no to Hatch, still mulling congressional run

Patty Wetterling has turned down Mike Hatch's offer of the Lt. Governor slot on Hatch's ticket yesterday.

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Children's safety advocate Patty Wetterling has turned down Attorney General Mike Hatch's offer to be his running mate on the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party ticket next fall.

But Wetterling is still considering running for Congress.

Hatch, a DFL candidate for governor, said Monday that Wetterling called him over the weekend and told him she would not run for lieutenant governor because she did not believe that would be the most effective way for her to promote the interests of children.

"I agreed that lieutenant governor is not the best office to pursue children's issues," Hatch said. (Source: Pioneer Press, Jan. 31, 2006)
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Did you catch it? If not I'll repeat it.

"I agreed that lieutenant governor is not the best office to pursue children's issues," Hatch said.

Translation: "I got shot down, big time."

Wetterling
is still exploring the possibility of a congressional run.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Kennedy's 2005 Numbers

In 2005, Mark Kennedy raised just north of $3.65 million, spending roughly $1 million of that, leaving the GOPer (who unlike his DFL counterpart faces no primary opponent) with over $2.65 million on hand.

No word yet on Ms. Klobuchar's numbers.

RM Exclusive: Pres. Bush coming to Minnesota

The AP has just confirmed that Pres. Bush will be in Minnesota on Thursday.

Bush will be speaking at an event in Maplewood to promote the initatives launched in the State of the Union speech.

More Klobuchar dissent

With all the DFLers speaking out against Amy Klobuchar in the past week, the time couldn't be better for Mike Ciresi to get in the race.

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"Lynn Soetebier, a DFL activist in St. Paul who intends to be a convention delegate this summer, said she's not ready to accept Klobuchar - or anyone - as the front-runner. 'I want to know more,' Soetebier said. 'From what I hear now, it's politics as usual. I'm not hearing anything different from her, I don't hear that she's going to do what I want.'" (Patrick Condon, "Democrat Bell Struggles For Standing In Senate Contest," The Associated Press, January 30, 2006)
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Dem Blogger: Get behind the queenmaking

A recent entry over at Yowling from the Fence Post is calling on Democrats to get behind the queenmaking, saying that Amy Klobuchar is their best chance at victory against Mark Kennedy and that Ford Bell is nuts.

Pawlenty ahead in latest poll

Rasmussen Reports, which use a more accurate method than other recent polls, has released it's first poll of the year for Minnesota.

47% - Pawlenty
44% - Hatch

Oh yeah, I did I mention that Rasmussen was the most accurate polling group in 2004?

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Rasmussen Reports was the nation's most accurate polling firm during the Presidential election and the only one to project both Bush and Kerry's vote total within half a percentage point of the actual outcome.
(Source: Rasmussen Reports, Jan. 28, 2006)
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Friday, January 27, 2006

Dems won't block Alito

Senate Democrats won't go through with filibuster. Alito to be confirmed Tuesday.

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The president has every right to nominate Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court,'' Kerry said. "It's our right and our responsibility to oppose him vigorously and to fight against this radical upending of the Supreme Court.''

Asked if the administration was taking Kerry's call for a filibuster seriously, White House press secretary Scott McClellan chuckled on Friday and said: "I think it was a historic day yesterday. It was the first ever call for a filibuster from the slopes of Davos, Switzerland.'' (Source: Star Tribune, Jan. 27, 2006)
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Who goes to Dartmouth?

Klobuchar's Machine, also known as MN Publius is ran by college students at Dartmouth.

I'm not accusing them of doing it. I'm just pointing out I find it very interesting that people from the same school (which is not in the Minnesota) as pro-Klobuchar bloggers are going to MDE through an anonymously purchased domain.

FYI, Ciresi's website is www.ciresiforsenate.com

Ciresi factor

How big of an impact will Mike Ciresi have on the Senate race?

Surely he's getting in at the right time. Ford Bell is beginning to drag up the anti-Klobucahr sentiment in the DFL (much like Bill Pulkrabek in last year's MNGOP Chair race who of course lost). This could certainly damage Amy Klobuchar's campaign.

People who don't like the fact the Klobuchar isn't willing to come out on certain issues may flock to Ciresi. If she really wants to win a primary, she just may have to run to the left (September) before she can run to the middle (November).

And that just may be her biggest fear...

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Ciresi to get in

From Checks and Balances:

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A source with close ties to Mike Ciresi contacted us and said that Ciresi is going to announce his entrance into the U.S. Senate race next week. The source said Ciresi is saying the following, “I have concluded the wrong candidate is in the race and I aim to fix that.”

Currently, Ciresi is out of the state and we are awaiting his response to our information. (Source: Checks and Balances, Jan. 26, 2006)
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MY DFL web blunder

MDE had a major find today, the Minnesota Young DFL's website (an official DFL website) links to several pornographic websites, including those which promote rape, feature bestiality among other topics.

To view the posts, click on "Message board" then "Anything around Edina," which I take it is a very happening place.

I did take screen captures of the posts, but will not post them due to the offensive nature of the posts.

If you would like a copy of the screen captures (for research purposes), please e-mail me.

Tags:



Klobuchar on Alito

Wow, Klobuchar actually came out on a controversial issue.

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"Samuel Alito's record raises serious concerns that he is outside the mainstream legal tradition," Klobuchar, a DFLer, said in a statement. "Moreover, I am not convinced that he would represent the standards of thoughtfulness and independence set by Justice Sandra Day O'Connor" - the justice Alito has been nominated to replace.

Klobuchar said she was concerned that Alito's "ideological agenda" could affect his legal opinions. (Source: AP, Jan. 26, 2006)
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Props to Gary for this one.

In related news, Rep. Hausman switched her U.S. Senate endorsement from Klobuchar to Bell.

Ouch.

Roll Call: Ciresi expected to get in

MDE has the scoop.

This could spell trouble for Klobuchar.

Reality Check II

Last night's edition of Reality Check dealt with viewers responses to Kessler's latest stories. Sure enough the DFL's Abramoff-related funds made the story.

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Non-partisan organizations tracking campaign finances regard contributions by Abramoff's clients as money connected to Abramoff. That's part of what federal investigators are looking at. (Source: Reality Check, Jan. 25, 2005)
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Got it. The funds are Abramoff-related funds.

Previous Posts:
DFL Hypocrisy gets a Reality Check
Charities list
You can't handle the truth
Fun with fallacies


Maps for illegals?

I wonder if the DFL or Brian Melendez support this form of immigration reform.

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The National Human Rights Commission, a Mexican government-funded agency with independent powers, has said it would distribute at least 70,000 maps showing highways, rescue beacons and water tanks in the Arizona desert. (Source: Star Tribune, Jan. 26, 2005)
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Wednesday, January 25, 2006

MDE to respond to Blois

At 10 AM tomorrow, MDE will release his response to Blois' baseless suit.

MNGOP Statement on Peter Hutchinson

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Statement by the Republican Party of Minnesota on Peter Hutchinson’s Gubernatorial Candidacy

St. Paul - Republican Party of Minnesota Chairman Ron Carey today issued the following statement regarding Peter Hutchinson's announcement of his gubernatorial candidacy.

"Peter Hutchinson is a consistent liberal whom we welcome to the gubernatorial race. While we disagree with his views, we believe him to be unchanging in his beliefs, which is refreshing when compared to the current crop of DFL primary contenders." (Source: MNGOP Press Release, Jan. 25, 2005)

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Galloway evicted

My Special London correspondent informed me that minutes ago, Galloway was evicted from the Big Brother house

Developing...

Alas, no more pigs and red tights.

WendyAnderson

Former Gov. Wendell "I appoint myself Senator in one of the biggest political blunders of the 20th Century" Anderson is helping out Mike Hatch in his latest fundraising plea.

Click here for MDE's post, here for the letter.



Bell's letter to Klobuchar

Gary's got the goods at KvM.

Mr. Bell was very polite.

Factual error in Steve Kelley's press release

MNCR loves Steve Kelley's press release sent out yesterday. I thought it was pretty good (seeing that it slapped Hatch in the face). But one error has bothered me all day.

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It will be because I am the only candidate with a clear, positive vision to return Minnesota to being the national leader in education, health care, transportation and renewable energy. (Source: Steve Kelley for Governor press release, Jan. 24, 2006)
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Steve Kelley is wrong when he says Minnesota needs to return to"being the national leader in education, health care, transportation and renewable energy."

Why is he wrong?

Minnesota, thanks to Gov. Pawlenty and Minnesota's industries, Minnesota is already a national leader in these areas.

Gov. Pawlenty has been honored as Chair of the National Governors Association's (NGA) committee on Education, as well as the Chair of the NGA's panel on renewable fuels. With Q-Comp, Pawlenty has begun to think outside the box to reform education. Our bio-tech companies have made Minnesota a leader in the area of health care. I don't think a socialized medicine approach will make Minnesota a leader in Health care (sorry Steve).

Working together to increase turnout

DFL, GOP TO HOLD JOINT NEWS CONFERENCES, OTHER MEDIA OPPORTUNITIES TO INCREASE AWARENESS OF CAUCUSING

ST. PAUL - The Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor and Republican parties will hold joint news conferences in St. Paul and Rochester on Tuesday, Feb. 14, to increase awareness about its party caucusing events, which are scheduled for Tuesday, Mar. 7. Specific details for the events are forthcoming.

“There are things that Republicans and Democrats disagree about from time to time, but one of the things we do agree on is that Minnesota is better when more Minnesotans are involved in the political process,” Minnesota DFL Chair Brian Melendez said. “More participation makes better government, and together Minnesotans can do better.”

“I am very pleased to join with the DFL in the promotion of party caucuses. Chairman Melendez and I both agree a strong caucus system is good for our great state,” Republican Party of Minnesota Chair Ron Carey said.

A precinct caucus is a neighborhood meeting and the first step in the political process allowing citizens to get together to discuss issues and candidates. Decisions concerning the party’s platform and candidates begin at the precinct caucus, and Minnesotans are encouraged to make their voices heard by becoming a delegate or alternate to subsequent endorsing conventions. Minnesota law recognizes the precinct caucus as the basis of the political endorsement system and governs the operation of the caucus to ensure the openness of the system.

The DFL and GOP will work together in distributing statewide opinion articles and media interviews to promote the press conferences and caucus events. Media interested in interviewing the party chairs on the upcoming events should contact DFL Communications Director David Ruth or Republican Communications Director Mark Drake.

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This is to easy


I don't even need to make a comment on this one.

Bell accepts Kennedy's debate challenge

Ford Bell has accepted Mark Kennedy's challenge to U.S. Senate debates, but first called for Amy Klobuchar, who has yet accepted offers from either her Republican or Democratic opponent, to debate Bell.

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MINNEAPOLIS - U.S. Senate Candidate Ford Bell today said he accepts a debate challenge issued by his Republican opponent. "I'll debate Mark Kennedy anytime, anywhere," said Bell. "Of course I would prefer to first have a series of one-on-one debates with Amy Klobucher within the DFL process."

To date Klobuchar has not accepted Bell's debate challenge issued at the DFL State Central Committeee on Saturday, January 21. "If Amy won't debate, than I will go one-on-one with Kennedy because the public needs to know that Kennedy is extreme and not in touch with the values of Minnesotans. I remain hopeful that Amy will ultimately decide to join me and stand up to the Republican spin machine."

Bell said that debates are the best way to beat Kennedy in November. "Democrats should never be afraid to engage their opponents on the battleground of ideas," said Bell.

Bell went on to say, "These debates will convincingly demonstrate to the public that our party has real solutions to the important issues that face our nation -– issues that I have been talking about since the beginning of my campaign such as universal single payer health care and getting our troops out of Iraq no later than the end of this year."

On Sunday, in an appearance on KSTP's "At Issue with Tom Hauser," Kennedy challenged Bell and Klobuchar to debates. Bell said his campaign has accepted Kennedy's challenge and awaits Klobuchar's response.

Bell has also attempted to debate Klobuchar one on one.

Both candidates were invited to do a joint appearance on TPT- Almanac on Friday, January 20th, but Klobuchar refused the offer, and so, the show cancelled the appearance. Bell challenged Klobuchar to an open series of debates at the DFL State Central Committee meeting on Saturday, January 21st, but has not received a response.

"I look forward to debating Amy Klobuchar, and the sooner we both start taking on Mark Kennedy the better," said Bell.

The Bell campaign is reaching out to the League of Women Voters, the DFL Party and other organizations to see if they will sponsor debates for the U.S. Senate contest. (Source: Ford Bell for Senate Press Release, Jan. 25, 2005)
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I'm sure those who didn't like Kennedy's jab at Klobuchar in his release about Wetterling's withdrawl won't like Bell's slap-in-the-face release on Klobuchar's refusal to debate.

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4 way DFL gubernatorial primary?

We already know that Becky Lourey, Mike Hatch and Kelly Doran will be running in a primary. Steve Kelley reaffirmed him pledge to abide by the DFL endorsement yesterday. Could that decision influence enough delegates who firmly believe in the endorsement process to vote for him?

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“"It's time to stop dividing the party- I am abiding by the DFL endorsement because Democrats need to be united to win. I know that DFL delegates want to win in November. Those delegates are smart - —they will choose the candidate who can win. I disagree with Mike Hatch that the winner at the DFL convention will win because of some political purity test. The DFL has changed since Hatch last ran for governor. Thousands of new people have gotten involved in recent years: moms and dads who care about health care; business owners who are concerned about early childhood education; workers who care about renewable energy. These diverse people can'’t be boxed in by Hatch's old-hat way of thinking.”" -Steve Kelley (Source: Kelley for Governor Press Release, Jan. 24, 2006)
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If it could to a 4 person primary, things would be very interesting in September. Whoever gets the DFL endorsement will get the kiss of death in a primary. Typically in the DFL Primaries for state-wide office, the winner of the DFL endorsement looses the primary.

Of course we all know that in a primary, Mike Hatch will win coming out bruised, broken, penniless and having alienated many DFLers. Those Hatch alienated may go out and vote for Peter Hutchison. Clearing the way for an easy Pawlenty victory.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

NRSC blasts Klobuchar

The NRSC sent out a release today calling for Klobuchar to come out on where she stands on Alito.

Klobuchar's time card

I want to be the Hennepin County Attorney, or at least a Hennepin County employee.

They are very flexible with their time.

Props to Gary on this one.

I smell a story brewing.

What a difference a year makes

2005:
George Galloway testifies before the U.S. Senate. He gets schooled by Norm Coleman.



2006:
George Galloway has been reduced to preforming "the robot" in red spandex.

Dayton is still nuts

Now I know it doesn't compare to this, this or this, but Sen. Dayton's attacks on Gov. Pawlenty's education reform are unfounded.

Need I remind him that it was Gov. Pawlenty, not the DFL, who proposed the largest-ever increase in K-12 spending. His Q-Comp proposal shows his commitment to improving the education quality of the worse off schools.

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More important politically, [Pawlenty] and the Legislature passed the largest school-aid bill in years. (Source: Pioneer Press, July 17, 2005)
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Sorry Mark.

Hatch flip-flop of the week #10

Flip-Flop of the Week: Volume 1, Issue 10

BREAKING: Mike Hatch Flip-Flops On Abiding By 2006 DFL Endorsement

October 2005: Hatch Pledges To Abide By DFL Endorsement If There Is “Decent-Sized” Turnout At DFL Precinct Caucuses. “Given Hatch’s history, the big question among DFL activists is whether he would abide by the party’s endorsement next year or run in the primary without party backing. Hatch hedged on that question, saying, ‘I am going to abide by the endorsement process,’ but then added he would do so only if there is a ‘decent-sized’ turnout at DFL precinct caucuses in March.” (Bill Salisbury, “Hatch Makes His Run Official; DFL’s Only Elected State Official Aims Higher Again,” Pioneer Press, October 25, 2005)

January 2006: Hatch Representative Lori Swanson Says Hatch Will Abide By DFL Endorsement. “One key political issue that divides the four Democratic-Farmer-Labor candidates is their stands on whether they will move on to a DFL primary election in September if they fail to win their party’s endorsement this spring. … [Kelly] Doran… repeated his previous promise to wage a primary campaign regardless of who gets the DFL endorsement. And [Becky] Lourey emphatically said she would be in that primary with Doran. … [Steve] Kelley promised he would not run in September if he fails to win the endorsement. And [Hatch Representative Lori] Swanson said she believed Hatch would honor the endorsement and not wage a primary campaign without it.” (Patrick Sweeney, “Candidate Forum May Be Preview Of Fall Campaign; DFL Governor Hopefuls Criticize Pawlenty,” Pioneer Press, January 16, 2006)

January 2006: Hatch To Enter Primary If He Comes “Even Close” To Winning DFL Endorsement. “Long considered the 500-pound gorilla in the DFL gubernatorial contest, Attorney General Mike Hatch now says that if he doesn’t win but comes ‘even close’ to winning party endorsement for that office, he will challenge the endorsee in a September primary.” (Patricia Lopez, “If He’s A Close 2nd, Hatch Would Run In Primary,” Star Tribune, January 24, 2006)


Lambert & Janecek give blogs no respect

I caught some of Lambert & Janecek's conversation last night with an editor from City Pages. They were discussing the overall lack of media criticism in Minnesota. Finally after complaining about the lack a media criticism, the CP editor (I didn't catch his name) plugged their Blotter.

I would have called in, but I can't stand either of them (I really don't know what caused me to listen, maybe temporary insanity).

Well, here's my (partial) list of media critics in Minnesota.

What's the deal with DFL Blog?

As many of you may have noticed DFL Blog has gone without many updates since the New Year.

DFL Blog is the most well produced political blog in Minnesota. The template as well as other features make it stand above the rest from a technical standpoint. I also view it as my counterpart on the left, much like how MDE and MRW go together.

Besides, who can forget this post? I laughed my ass off when I saw it.

Anyways, I e-mailed Toby last night and he told me DFL Blog will be back soon enough.

AP Wire: Wetterling on her future

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Child safety advocate Patty Wetterling said Monday that she has met with DFL Attorney General Mike Hatch about being his running mate in the governor's race.

Wetterling spoke to the St. Cloud Times at a reception following a memorial service for former U.S. Sen. Eugene McCarthy at St. John's University. She said she had talked to Hatch since withdrawing from the U.S. Senate race Friday and endorsing Hennepin County Attorney Amy Klobuchar.

Wetterling also is being urged to take another run at what is now an open seat in the Sixth Congressional District, where she had earlier endorsed Elwyn Tinklenberg, a former mayor of Blaine and former state transportation commissioner. (Source: Star Tribune, Jan. 24, 2006)

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A source of mine say the Wetterling/Hatch meeting took place directly following her press confernce.


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Hatch shows his true nature

The Star Tribune has a very revealing story about the DFL and Mike Hatch. In this article, Hatch shows his true nature as a political opportunist.

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Long considered the 500-pound gorilla in the DFL gubernatorial contest, Attorney General Mike Hatch now says that if he doesn't win but comes "even close" to winning party endorsement for that office, he will challenge the endorsee in a September primary. If delegates to the party's June state convention reject him decisively, Hatch says, he will pull out of the governor's race and run for reelection to his current job -- with or without the DFL's blessing. (Source: Star Tribune, Jan. 24, 2006)
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Honestly I'm not surprised he's changed his position on a primary. I'm sure this will show up on unHatched soon enough so I won't dwell on it too much.

Another article highlight:

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State Senate Majority Leader Dean Johnson, DFL-Willmar, agreed, saying "the endorsement is a screening process, but it's not the rest of the story in Minnesota anymore. I can even see them [delegates] supporting a candidate who won't abide. The landscape has changed. The bottom line is we're tired of losing." (Source: Star Tribune, Jan. 24, 2006)
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Well Dean, if you didn't want to lose, you should have thought about that before changing parties.


Monday, January 23, 2006

Bell: There will be a U.S. Senate primary

It appears that Ford Bell will not be going quietly into the night following Klobuchar's coronation.

In a letter sent to Sen. Chuck Schumer, Bell says he will be running against Amy Klobuchar.

Why are Zack's panties in a twist?

Zack over at Klobuchar's Machine is upset about Ford Bell and Mark Kennedy's call for debates.

Hey, I got a great idea. Instead of being mad at Ford Bell, KvM, MDE and myself, maybe Zack should direct his anger at Klobuchar's unwillingness to take a stance on taking a stance.

If she's got nothing to hide, why won't she say "Yes, let's debate"?


Kelly Doran shows his ignorance

Kelly Doran seems to think that Minnesota's low job growth rate is bad. Before speaking out on this, he should have found out the reason for Minnesota's lower than average job growth rate.

The reason Minnesota has a job growth rate is that Minnesota's unemployment numbers are much lower than the national average. The most recent numbers I've seen (from a story linked on the Doran website last week) are a 4.9% unemployed nationally while unemployment in Minnesota is a 4.1%, almost a 1 point difference.

So one question remains, is why is Kelly Doran attacking Minnesota's rich history of low unemployment?

This guy just doesn't get it.

Bell and Kennedy: Take a stance Amy

In the past few days since Amy Klobuchar coronation as the DFL U.S. Senate nominee, her two opponents, Ford Bell and Mark Kennedy, have challenged her to debates seeing that she has been reluctant to take a stand on some issues.

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In a speech at the DFL Central Committee meeting here,
U.S. Senate candidate Ford Bell challenged Amy Klobuchar to a series of debates around the state to discuss "the serious issues facing the nation, and the kind of party the DFL will be."

Bell praised Patty Wetterling, who withdrew from the race Friday, saying she has brought "hope and promise" to the DFL. With her withdrawal, he said the DFL Senate race is now a "referendum on the Party's soul."

Bell also blistered Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, the chair of the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee, saying that Schumer's message to the DFL grassroots was "sit down, shut up, we're from Washington and we know best."

In his speech, he spoke both to the Party's leaders and the broader DFL membership, asking "Are we still a home-grown, grassroots, activist party, or should we be a top-down, wholly- owned subsidiary of Chuck Schumer and the political leadership in Washington? Will we be the party with our finger in the wind, or are we still the party with our fists in the air, speaking truth?"

During the speech, Bell also spoke about a specific timetable to end the war in Iraq and his call for universal, single-payer health care, and he renewed his challenge to Ms. Klobuchar and presumptive Republican nominee Rep. Mark Kennedy to join his pledge to make such a health-care bill the first act of Minnesota's next Senator. (Source: Ford Bell for Senate Press Release, Jan. 22, 2006)
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On Friday, Mark Kennedy challenged Klobuchar to debate.

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"Our U.S Senate seat is crucial for Minnesota. The voters of our state deserve to know exactly where each candidate stands on the key issues facing our nation and our state.

"Unfortunately, too often these important issue discussions fall victim to
poll-tested sound bites and canned applause lines. I think it's time for the kind of open, honest, thoughtful, and friendly debate the people of Minnesota deserve. We don't need some cable-channel shout fest, but a real discussion of the real issues.

"I believe that in the next 2-4 weeks, we should begin these issue discussions across the state of Minnesota. Different regions of our state have different concerns and the debates should be scheduled accordingly.

"I am ready and willing to debate the Democrat candidates on the issues that
will decide this Senate election as soon as possible." (Mark Kennedy '06 Press Release, Jan. 21, 2006)
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Ford plant dodges closings

With a lot of help from the Pawlenty administration, the St. Paul Ford plant dodged the list of closings announced in Detroit today.

This is due in large part to the quality if the St. Paul plant workers as well as the Gov. Pawlenty's proposal to form a partnership with the St. Paul plant, with the possibilities of dabbling in alternative fuels and hybrids.

In an article on Pawlenty yesterday, Dane Smith said Pawlenty needs a big accomplishment to tout this fall (as if low unemployment, solving the worst State budget crisis ever, education reform, etc. weren't enough). He may have just found it.

Star Tribune feed.

Pawlenty profile piece

I'm sure most of you saw the Gov. Pawlenty profile piece in yesterday's Star Tribune.

This just goes to show how much Gov. Pawlenty is the average Minnesotan. This is the kind of press Hatch, Lourey and Kelley could never earn and the kind Doran could never buy.

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"In very broad terms the message is going to be that we inherited a crisis that we had to resolve and did," he said, referring to the state's budget deficit of recent years. "And now we need to focus on positioning Minnesota to compete and thrive in the economy of the future. We don't want to go backwards."

But the governor's critics contend that it is sometimes hard to know which way he is going. Some accuse him of spinning out proposals that he does not follow through on and sending mixed signals on other issues.

Is Pawlenty beginning the last year of his first term determined to be Minnesota's most conservative Republican governor since the New Deal? Or is he is likely to continue drifting to the political center and defying the conservative creed on selected issues?

Will he focus on achieving a few signature accomplishments this year? Or keep announcing scores of initiatives?

Larry Jacobs, a University of Minnesota political science professor, said Pawlenty appears to be showing more pragmatism as he begins his make-or-break year.

"He really isn't one of the government haters," Jacobs said. "He's an example of the next-generation Republican who knows that the conservative ride on ideology is kind of hitting a wall." (Source: Star Tribune, Jan. 22, 2005)

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The pictures to this article show Minnesotans the true nature of Gov. Pawlenty. He's the kid down the street from when you were growing up, the one your mother said was such a "nice boy."

The question and answer period shows us his Gov. Pawlenty isn't afraid to joke around, but and also can address his own concerns about how he's doing as governor.

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Q. What do you say to the criticism that you are trying to do too many things at once, that follow-through is sometimes weak, that you are too restless, that you have too many plates spinning, that you need to focus on fewer things and stay on message?

A. I think it's a fair criticism. I myself have heard those concerns. I have absorbed them and reflected on them. It's both good and bad. It's fair critique but the world is complex. It would be an underutilization of the office to say that we could only do one or two things. The demands of Minnesota, in terms of education reform, health-care reform, transportation issues, government reform, are such that you can't do one thing every other year and say that's a full utilization of the office. I recognize you can't have a wish list so long that it lacks focus . At the same time I do have a lot of energy, I have some skills and abilities to offer, and I can handle more than one issue at a time. The process and the public often can't track or focus on more than a few big issues a year, so the question is to draw a balance and we try to pick two to five issues a session.

Q. What do you say to the observation that you are one of the least "handled" and controlled governors in memory but that it means you do everything yourself, your own legislative strategy, your own policy proposals, your own public relations, your own political strategy. And there's nobody strong enough to talk you out of impulsive or bad ideas.

A. I don't think that's accurate. If you look at the team I've assembled it wouldn't be correct to say (former chief-of-staff) Charlie Weaver was a weak-kneed ninny. (Former chief-of-staff) Dan McElroy was very smart and very strong. (Current chief-of-staff) David Gaither, whom people don't know as well, is, on a scale of 1 to 10 for alpha dogs, a 9.5. (Communications Director Brian McClung) is extroverted and strong and egotistical as the come. (Laughter. McClung was present) We have a strong team with skilled people. But I think the thing you may be driving is that there is no question that sometimes I drop back and throw a long ball. I do that purposely with my eyes open. I know it is fraught with risk. I also know that some of these things have little chance in the Legislature. But I also know that I will have this position for a relatively short period of time and I don't want to hunkered down, pulling punches, and wishing in the future as I look back that I had the courage or the fortitude to throw things out there. Some things we present because we want to get the public focused on the issues. Not everything is a legislative issue. Part of the use of the bully pulpit is to get things out there and moving forward on them. Do I take risks and act a little quirky at times. Yes. And I do it intentionally. (Source: Star Tribune, Jan. 22, 2006)

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