Posted at 7:14 AM on November 15, 2006
by Mike Mulcahy
How else to read Gov. Tim Pawlenty's call to extend health insurance to all Minnesota children?
The governor didn't give any details about how he would pay for such an initiative or how it would work, but clearly it's an attempt to reach out to the new DFL majority in the Legislature, many of whom called for a similar effort during their campaigns.
It's a big turn around for the governor who called for cuts in state-subsidized health insurance to balance the budget. The DFL-controlled Senate has made similar proposals the past few years only to have Pawlenty and the GOP-controlled House reject them.
While the suggestion might appeal to some of the 53 percent of Minnesotans who did not vote for the governor last week, you have to wonder what many of the 47 percent who did vote for him will think of it.
And some will no doubt cast it in the light of Pawlenty's potential as a candidate on a national ticket.
MPR's Gary Eichten asked former DFL Congressman Tim Penny about Pawlenty's national prospects on Tuesday's Midday program. Penny, who lost to Pawlenty as the IP gubernatorial candidate four years ago, had a cutting response.
"I think he's got to earn that. He hasn't earned it yet. First of all this is the second time in a row he's been elected without a majority of the support in this state. The first thing you look for in a running mate is a running mate that can deliver the state they're from, so I don't think that puts him on anybody's short list. He also has lost ground for his party in this state. He's been sort of the premier image or face of the Republican Party in Minnesota for four years, and they lost 13 seats in the state Legislature two years ago, lost control of the Legislature by huge margins this time around, lost his fellow Republicans down the ballot in the auditor's job secretary of state's job. You know, that doesn't shout,' hey, I'm a leader that people can rally behind.'"
Posted at 10:57 AM on November 15, 2006
by Tom Scheck
Minnesota's test scores lead the digest. Minnesota's math and reading profiency declines. MPR, the Star Tribune, the AP and the Pi Press have stories.
Governor Pawlenty also drops a bombshell when he announced that he wants to provide health insurance for all children. MPR, the Star Tribune, the AP and the Pi Press have stories. The Bemidji Pioneer says health care reform is key this legislative session. But the Powerline blog cries "Say it ain't so!"
GOP Representative Mark Olson of Big Lake was in court yesterday. He was arrested after being charged with alleged domestic abuse. AP, the Star Tribune and the St. Cloud Times have stories. The St. Cloud Times also has a story saying outgoing GOP Speaker Steve Sviggum says he should resign if found guilty.
Amy Klobuchar gets her key committee assignment, the Senate Agriculture Committee. The AP has a story.
KSTP-TV says she will be in the majority.
Keith Ellison made news when he decided to ditch a White House visit for a meet and greet with the AFL-CIO. I don't think Karl Rove or Josh Bolton will be targeting Ellison as a potential fence sitter.
The Star Tribune says DFL Congressman Jim Oberstar says Amtrak and imports are his top concerns as incoming House Transportation Chair.
The Strib also says there are plenty of folks rooting for DFL Congressman-elect Tim Walz to do well.
The West Central Tribune says two local Minnesota House members will have a different view of the chamber now that they're in the majority.
City Pages interviews Phil Krinkie, who lost his re-election bid. He says he hopes for a stalemate and thinks the voters should be punished. That goes against the whole "let's work together theme."
Finally, thanks for your service in Congress but get out.
Posted at 2:46 PM on November 15, 2006
by Tom Scheck
A legislative race in Montana ends up in a tie.
Posted at 3:18 PM on November 15, 2006
by Tom Scheck
Here's what he wrote in his column:
Tim Pawlenty: The Republican governor of Minnesota survived the Democratic high tide against a serious and well-funded opponent. He is a McCain ally, but a conservative, a winner in a blue-purple state, and a Midwesterner. That is a winning formula for future Republican presidential candidates. The GOP convention just happens to be scheduled for his town in 2008. Like all other conservatives, he benefits from the defeat of Sen. George Allen (R-Va.), which narrows the competition for the conservative vote. Even if he's not ready for the big game yet, he's vice-presidential material. If McCain bows out of the race, he could get backing from him and from many conservatives as well.