The Minnesota Women's Political Caucus announced that it's backing Democrat Susan Gaertner's bid for governor. Here's the release from Gaertner's campaign:
If the first rule of a Meet the Press appearance is to survive without any major damage done, Gov. Tim Pawlenty did just that.
NBC's Meet the Press host David Gregory challenged Pawlenty on his recent Tiger Woods comments ("Are people supposed to take you seriously?"), on whether the federal stimulus created jobs (he cited John McCain's 2008 economist saying it did) and on his budget, which featured business tax cuts but cuts to social services (Is that your vision for America, social service cuts but lower taxes on businesses?").
Pawlenty stressed that the private sector is best suited to create jobs and said money spent on the stimulus would have been better used by cutting the payroll tax.
There were two newsy items in the interview. Pawlenty said he supports "Don't ask, Don't tell" and said he would "sketch out his future" regarding a possible 2012 run in 2011.
Pawlenty also side-stepped a question regarding deficit reduction. When asked about cuts to Medicare and social security (the two biggest growers in the federal budget) he used the vague "Reform is needed" line and then touted the bus driver strike in 2004 that resulted in benefit cuts.
He also said he hopes President Obama is a one-term president and is hopeful that the GOP will retake Congress.
Reaction to Pawlenty's appearance is following a partisan divide on Twitter. Democrats say Gregory needed to be stronger on Pawlenty with tougher follow-ups. Republicans characterized it as a grilling.
Update: The TVeyes transcript only works on certain browsers. It worked on Internet explorer but not on Safari for me.
Update. Here's the full Meet the Press.:
The Hotline On Call, the National Journal's political blog, released the "winners and losers" of the 2010 Conservative Political Action Conference and MN Gov. Tim Pawlenty didn't fare well.
The blog said the "Tea Party movement," former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and The Bush Administration were all winners at the conference.
They said the CPAC Straw Poll (where TX Congressman Ron Paul won by a wide margin), the GOP in general and Pawlenty all fared poorly. Here's what the blog wrote about Pawlenty:
MN Gov. Tim Pawlenty: TPaw finished next to last, just ahead of Crist, in the '09 CPAC straw poll, and he finished 4th, with just 6%, this year. Students greeted Pawlenty when he showed up on Thursday, but his Friday speech didn't excite the crowd as much as Romney's, ex-Speaker Newt Gingrich's or even Rep. Mike Pence's did. The knock on Pawlenty has always been that he doesn't light a fire in many activists, and this year's speech showed he hasn't gotten over that drawback yet.
Read the full post here.
An individual who closely watches politics in Minnesota Senate District 36 says GOP state Sen. Pat Pariseau of Farmington will not run for reelection. The person asked to remain anonymous because he didn't want to get ahead of the official statement. I'm told Pariseau will send a letter to supporters early this week announcing her decision.
Pariseau was facing an endorsement challenge from two other Republicans and the source said Pariseau realized it would be difficult to win the backing of party activists.
When contacted at her home, Pariseau declined to discuss her political future. "You'll her from us shortly," Pariseau said. "I'm not prepared to say anything at this time."
Pariseau is currently in her seventh term. She was first elected to the Minnesota Senate in 1988 and Is best known for authoring a bill that would require law enforcement to issue handgun permits for most Minnesotans (conceal and carry legislation).
Pariseau is the second Senate Republican to face a tough endorsement challenge. GOP Sen. Debbie Johnson, of Ham Lake, lost the Republican endorsement in Senate District 49 to Michelle Benson. Johnson says she isn't sure if she'll run in the primary.
Update: The Pi Press reports that GOP Sen. Paul Koering also skipped his endorsing convention because he didn't think they would endorse him. He says he'll run in the party primary.
MPR's Jess Mador reports today that DFL Sen. Al Franken attended a rally of labor activists, Democrats and progressives in support of a health care overhaul bill moving through Congress. The rally, organized by Take Action Minnesota, is meant to send a message to Congress that something should be done on health care soon. The White House is negotiating with House and Senate leaders to come up with some sort of health care overhaul bill.
Franken, who has pushed for the House to pass the Senate bill and then pass a public option through reconciliation, said pushing the legislation currently being debated in Congress is better than starting over from scratch.
"I don't want to oversell this. I don't want to say that your premiums after going up and up and up are suddenly going to go down. But if we don't do anything, it's going to go that way and what we need to do is bend it this way to bring down the growth in the cost of health care."
You can listen to Franken's full speech here: Listen
There were several people outside the rally protesting the health care bills. They held signs saying "Stop Obamacare" and complained that government spending is getting out of control.
Col. Joe Repya, a long-time Republican who was running for governor as a member of the Independence Party, announced tonight that he's dropping his bid. On his website, Repya blamed the I-P's decision to "essentially nullify the state convention and endorsement process" as the reason he's quitting the race. He made this announcement on his website:
Dear Friends and Supporters, I regret to inform you that as of Sunday, February 21, 2010, I am suspending my campaign for Governor of Minnesota under the Independence Party. I do not take this decision lightly, but I must stand on my principles. If I didn't, I'd be no different than the countless career politicians who seek to advance their own ambitions over the best interests of this state.
In short, it has become clear to me that, much like the DFL and GOP parties in this state, the IPM fails to stand by its own rules and principles. At issue - the party's decision today to essentially nullify the state convention and endorsement process and to provide proprietary delegate data to candidates who will not abide by the state convention. This may not sound like a big deal on the surface, but it is.
This action, in my opinion, severely damages the IPM's chances of truly becoming a viable and strong third party option in Minnesota politics. The Independence Party stood on the doorstep of doing some great things for Minnesotans, but instead chooses to change its rules to satisfy the needs of a few, rather than looking out for what's best for the party and for the state. Their action will further erode and tarnished the IPM brand while relegating it to a permanent position of political "spoiler."
I know that many of you will be as disappointed as I am with this decision. Most of you know me as a man of honor and principle. This decision should also be disappointing to the tens of thousands of Minnesotans who have been looking for a better representation, better candidates and better leadership. My sincere appreciation to all of you for your support and encouragement.
Update: Here's a response from the I-P:
5th CD Chair Peter Tharaldson calls on Colonel Joe Repya for an apology after extremely poor behavior and quitting on supporters in the Independence Party. "I loved Ross Perot as a candidate", said Tharaldson, "however his dropping out of the race after accusing George Bush of wrecking his wedding was absolutely bizarre behavior who hurt many of his supporters. Joe Repya has done the same...he took all his chips and ran home leaving his supports abandoned".
"The 5th CD organization supported by vote the most strident limitations to any data release tonight, far more than any wanted by candidate Joe Repya", said Tharaldson. "The rules which Repya supported, were simply consensual rules articulated by the party director that all candidate communication to delegates go through the party". "That rule originally was nothing more than structural and impacted each candidate equally," said Tharaldson. "The truth is that the change tonight, even though not supported by the 5th CD delegate, provided the data equally to all candidates and represented a benign action in terms of one candidate over the other."
"As online caucus coordinator, it has been a thrill to see participation going up. It is absolutely sad that someone abandoned the people who stood up for him over such structural change", said Tharaldson. "Clearly the cancer of paranoia which has infected the two big parties needs to be screened before coming to our party, and that goes for all of them." Tharaldson went on to say, "to sign up to support a leader to have them abandon supporters generally stinks".