If you're really looking ahead to the 2012 presidential election keep your eyes Minnesota this week.
Three oft-mentioned GOP possible presidential candidates will be here (counting Gov. Tim Pawlenty). On Wednesday, Sarah Palin will appear at a campaign rally in Minneapolis with Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn. and Pawlenty. She will also hold a private fundraiser for Bachmann's re-election campaign. Palin was the Republican nominee for vice-president in 2008. She resigned as governor of Alaska last summer.
On Friday, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney will sign his autobiography in Bloomington. Romney and Pawlenty will also give speeches to the conservative Freedom Foundation Of Minnesota.
They're choosing to appear here instead of in New Orleans at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference which runs Thursday through Sunday. Pawlenty was orginally scheduled to speak there on Saturday, but he cancelled to attend a welcome home celebration for Minnesota troops instead. The agenda now lists him addressing the conference by video. Palin is scheduled to speak at the conference.
Palin, Romney and Pawlenty are all widely considered to be potential Republican candidates for president in 2012. None of them has said whether they're running.
The New York Times and the Washington Post both had interviews over the weekend with U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens where he talked about his possible retirement. Stevens is 89 and said his decision will come soon.
To quote the Times:
Hints about Justice Stevens's possible departure started in September, when he confirmed that he had hired only a single law clerk, instead of the usual four, for the term that will start this fall. In occasional public statements since then, Justice Stevens, the leader of the court's liberal wing, said he had not yet made up his mind. But the White House is bracing for a summertime confirmation battle, the second of the Obama presidency.
On Face the Nation on CBS yesterday host Bob Schieffer suggested that Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar is on the list to replace Stevens, although the idea was pretty quickly shot down by CBS Chief Legal Correspondent Jan Crawford. You can see the exhange about three minutes in:
As far as I can tell, Klobuchar's name first came up in the Huffington Post on Friday, but that piece did a service of both raising the idea and rejecting it in the same breath by saying this under Klobuchar's picture:
The current political climate, Congress' low job approval ratings and the tenuous Democratic majority in the Senate all suggest that Klobuchar, though widely considered a strong choice, is unlikely to be nominated.
I have a call into Klobuchar's office but haven't heard anything back yet.
Back in 90's state Supreme Court Justice Alan Page's name was floated as a possible U.S. Supreme Court pick. Of course nothing ever came of it. I just floated it again for no particular reason.
I just talked to Sen. Klobuchar. She says she is honored her name is being mentioned, but she's not aware of being on any short list. She says she loves her job, and she would never leave what she is doing now.
Here's the interview.
Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., isn't the only one hoping to raise some campaign cash when former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin visits Minneapolis this week.
Palin is hosting a fundraiser for Bachmann, but Rep Keith Ellison, D-Minn., wants a piece of the action too.
Ellison's campaign sent out an e-mail fundraising appeal today noting that the GOP fundraiser is in his district:
With tickets selling for as much as $10,000, they are positioned to generate massive financial resources to spread their lies and misinformation about our work to expand prosperity for America's working families.
In the wake of our health care victory, Rep. Bachmann has falsely claimed that "all Americans will be forced to have to pay for federal funding of abortions". Worse still, former Gov. Palin recently posted a map on her Facebook page featuring crosshairs over the Congressional Districts of Representatives who voted in favor of health care reform.
I need your help to send a strong message to Bachmann and Palin that their scare tactics are not welcome in my District. Can you help me reach 100 donors by making a contribution of $5 or more?
Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson says after reviewing the new federal health care law she will not join more than a dozen other states in challenging the law in court.
In a letter to Gov. Tim Pawlenty Swanson says her review determined a lawsuit is unwarranted, and that the Supreme Court is unlikely to overturn the law on constituional grounds.
Pawlenty and GOP state lawmakers have urged Swanson, a Democrat, to sue. Not only is Swanson refusing, but also she says she will file a friend of the court brief in support of the law.
She says the governor and others are free to file their own briefs in opposition.
Here is Swanson's letter.