Democrat Matt Entenza announced this morning that he's selected TV news anchor Robyne Robinson as his running mate for governor. Entenza said Robinson is not a political insider but someone who has been a trusted voice in Minnesota's living rooms during her work at Fox 9.
"She became a person beloved across the state of Minnesota," Entenza said. "Someone recognized not only as an award winning journalist but someone who has been actively involved in our community. Someone who has not only won Emmy awards but someone who has served on the boards of important organizations helping Minnesotans."
Robinson last appearance on Fox 9 was last night. She had previously said she was leaving the station to pursue her jewelry business. She said she didn't make her decision until late last night. Entenza is running in the DFL primary against Minnesota House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher and former U.S. Senator Mark Dayton.
Republicans call Entenza's pick a Hail Mary pass.
Update: My video camera ran out of batteries so I didn't get a chance to record the full newser. You can listen to it here: Listen
I'll put the audio and video up in a bit.
Gov. Tim Pawlenty sent a letter to Congressional leaders yesterday expressing concerns about the impact of changing the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. President Obama and Democrats in Congress have reached agreement on changing the policy that forbids gays to serve in the military.
In his letter to Congress, Pawlenty mentioned his role as commander in chair of the state's National Guard and argued against making a "major policy change" without full review by the military. Pawlenty is possible candidate for the White House in 2012.
But in December, Pawlenty took more of a hands off approach to "Don't Ask Don't Tell." Sen. Scott Dibble, DFL-Minneapolis, sent a letter to Pawlenty then requesting he meet with a retired Army veteran who most recently served in Operation Iraqi Freedom to discuss the policy.
Pawlenty sent a letter to Dibble saying the issue was a federal matter:
"Thank you for your letter regarding your constituent's concerns about the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. As noted in your letter, Josh Gackle, my senior adviser on military matters, has met with Mr. Wesley Davey on this issue.
As you know, this military policy is a federal issue. There is no legal authority granted to governors regarding this matter. Even as commander in chief of the state's National Guard, there is no authority for a governor to override or alter this federal military policy."
The Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association said today it has endorsed Democrat Mark Dayton in the race for governor. The group represents 8,500 police officers. It says after screening all announced candidates the decision to endorse Dayton was unanimous.
"Selecting Mark was easy, since he most closely represents our views and is committed to helping us perform our duties across the state," said the group's president Marty Earley, a Bloomington police sergeant.
The Police and Peace Officers Association also endorsed Dayton for U.S. Senate in 2000.
Governor Tim Pawlenty fielded a wide range of questions during a taping of a traveling Meet the Press show on the University of Minnesota campus. Host David Gregory asked questions about Arizona's immigration law (Pawlenty supports it), Don't Ask, Don't Tell (Pawlenty wants to keep the current policy in place) and on the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Pawlenty is raising questions about the government's response to the BP oil disaster but argues it is too soon to blame anyone for the oil spill. Pawlenty said he doesn't want to rush to judgment but then issued a list of questions critical of the Obama Administration.
"Why aren't there more skimmers out there, why aren't they working longer hours?," Pawlenty asked. "Why did they rely just on BP early on to tell us to what the volume of the leak was. Why didn't we independently verify that using government sources? Why weren't booms replaced when they became more saturated and releaked oil? So there's going to be a lot of these questions that may very well point back to this administration."
Pawlenty, who may seek the Republican nomination for president in 2012, called for increased offshore drilling to ease the nation's energy crunch during the 2008 campaign for president. As for an announcement on his intentions, Pawlenty said he won't make a decision until after he finishes his term as governor in 2011.
Pawlenty also said he would have also let insurance giant AIG fail in 2008 even if it could have caused further turmoil in the financial markets. Pawlenty made his comments during a traveling version of NBC's Meet the Press which was taped at the University of Minnesota campus on Thursday. Pawlenty told show host David Gregory that he was disappointed with all of the federal bailouts in recent years and even singled out the bailout of AIG.
Pawlenty: "How much worse would you be without AIG? I mean really? I'd make an argument that it might be better?
Gregory: So you would have let AIG default?
Pawlenty: I think so."
Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke said the bailout of AIG, the world's largest insurance company, was necessary because the nation would have gone into a deeper economic slump and "even greater financial chaos" without it.
Even though the show was taped in Pawlenty's home state, it appeared to be a road game for the governor. Several members of the audience laughed when he mentioned that he kept school funding safe by delaying school payments in the most recent budget deal. Pawlenty shot back that "it was better than a cut."
Others questioned whether Pawlenty sacrificed the financial health of the state for his political aspirations of running for president. Pawlenty defended his actions saying Minnesota is already a highly taxed state.
NBC officials say excerpts from Pawlenty's appearance will air on Sunday's show. It will also air online and on MPR's Midday on Friday at noon. You can also listen to the full broadcast here: Listen