Posted at 8:17 AM on July 20, 2006
by Mike Mulcahy
This got pushed aside in all the Entenza stuff the last few days, but a debate about a major issue has actually broken out in the 1st District congressional race. Here's how the AP reported what Rep. Gil Gutknecht had to say on a conference call after he returned from Iraq earlier this week:
"The United States can do so much to help them, but in the end, this is their country, and it's about their future," he said.
"And we have been training the Iraqis, and they are stepping up, and they are leading the fight in many of the areas of the country now."
He said it would be a mistake to send more troops to secure Baghdad.
"What we need to be doing right now is starting to withdraw some of the Americans, and that will force the Iraqis to step up and take responsibility, as they have in the northern parts of the country, in the Kurdish region," Gutknecht said.
"Sending more Americans right now I think would send the message to the Iraqis that they're not responsible for their own future. We have to make sure that they understand that they are."
But Gutknecht rejected a call made by some Democrats for a timetable for withdrawal.
"I think we're going to have a military presence there for some time to come - in part to protect the Iraqis from outside intervention," he said.
But he added: "I think it's time to take off the training wheels of this bicycle. And we have to allow the Iraqis, as our children do sometimes when they're learning to ride that bicycle - they may fall, they may stumble - but we need to help them get up and get on that bicycle again."
And here's the latest from the Tim Walz campaign:
(MANKATO) – Returning from Iraq, Congressman Gil Gutknecht did an about face and promptly called for a partial removal of US troops from the region. Gutknecht’s opponent, retired Command Sgt. Major Tim Walz said while he is pleased that Gutknecht is finally willing to discuss the issue, he is alarmed that Gutknecht’s ill-conceived plan will put the American troops left behind in even greater danger than they are today.
Walz, a retired National Guard Command Sgt. Major and 24-year veteran of the Army Naitonal Guard believes Gutknecht is simply reacting to political pressure and polling data.
“As someone with extensive training in combat techniques, I know that unless we’ve reduced the insurgent violence, removing part but not all of our soldiers is a foolish tactical option. By redeploying only some of our troops, Congressman Gutknecht leaves those still in Iraq more vulnerable to continuing attacks,” said Walz.
“For the last 18 months I’ve been talking about my two-fold plan for Iraq. Historical evidence from Bosnia shows that if we rebuild the infrastructure of civil society, violence rates will drop. It’s important that we get sewage, drinkable water and electricity all back to pre-war levels. Second, we need to ask the Jordanians, Kuwatis, Egyptians and other Arab peoples to be involved in a regional security force. A plan that includes measurable milestones and increased involvement from the Arab world will ensure that we are able to bring American troops home as quickly as possible without further jeopardizing their safety,” said Walz.
Gutknecht has a history of jeopardizing the health and safety of American troops. Gutknecht has repeatedly opposed expanding TRICARE to Guard and Reserve soldiers, providing temporary exemption to the bankruptcy bill for soldiers recently back from Iraq, adding additional funding to PTSD and prosthetic programs, and providing small bonuses for soldiers serving abroad.
What about this near the end of Bill Salisbury's piece in the Pioneer Press today?
When the controversy about Entenza erupted last week, Hatch said, two reporters told his press secretary, Leslie Sandberg, that they believed Entenza was lying about his political research and they would "write stories about him until he drops out." Hatch declined to identify the journalists or the media outlets for which they worked.
"At that point, I thought it was a pretty good idea to be recruiting somebody" to run in case Entenza withdrew, he said. He asked Luther and Lori Swanson, his top assistant in the attorney general's office, to "figure this out." Both filed to run after Entenza dropped out.
Posted at 12:10 PM on July 20, 2006
by Mike Mulcahy
MPR's Tim Pugmire tells me this:
The field of DFL attorney general candidates is down to four.
St. Paul lawyer Patrick Cotter Thursday withdrew his name as a candidate. Cotter had never run for political office. But he says he had a strong desire and the ability to serve. Cotter was the first DFL candidate to step forward Tuesday after the DFL endorsed candidate Matt Entenza quit the race. Three better known candidates entered the race later in the day. Cotter says he'll support whoever the DFL endorses.
"In a race like this where there's such a short period of time, and we need to have a strong showing from the DFL party, I think that we need to support the candidate who has the best name recognition and the best credentials going forward to the general election," he said.
The remaining DFL candidates for attorney general are state Senator Steve Kelley, former congressman Bill Luther, attorney Jennifer Mattson and state Solicitor General Lori Swanson.