Posted at 6:28 AM on October 13, 2010
by Tom Scheck
Filed under: Daily Digest
The Race for Congress leads the Digest today. Money and endorsements are the top headlines in the 6th District and 8th District races.
GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann reports raking in $5.4 million since July.
Meanwhile, Democrat Tarryl Clark and IP candidate Bob Anderson attended a debate in Stillwater. Bachmann didn't attend.
In Minnesota's 8th, the MCCL endorsed Republican Chip Cravaack in Minnesota's 8th Congressional District. The anti-abortion group has backed Oberstar since the 1970s.
Politico takes a look at the Democratic heavyweights who are in "tough races." DFL Rep. Jim Oberstar is mentioned.
MPR takes a look at the 3rd District race between GOP Rep. Erik Paulsen and DFLer Jim Meffert.
The Pi Press takes a look at the 2nd District race between GOP Rep. John Kline and Democrat Shelley Madore.
In Minnesota's 1st, DFL Rep. Tim Walz and Republican Randy Demmer will square off in another debate today It's an AARP sponsored debate that will be held in Rochester.
The Walz campaign alleges that a NRCC ad running against him is false.
Former GOP Sen. Norm Coleman will campaign for Republican Lee Byberg in Alexandria on Thursday. Byberg is challenging DFL Rep. Collin Peterson in Minnesota's 7th Congressional District.
MinnPost says the 7th District race shows some competitive signs.
Race for Governor
IP candidate Tom Horner will campaign in New Ulm and Mankato on Wednesday.
Democrat Mark Dayton will speak at a Rotary Club in Minneapolis over the noon hour. He then heads to International Falls to campaign.
Republican Tom Emmer has no public events.
On Tuesday, Dayton, Republican Emmer and the IP's Horner sharpened their rhetoric in a debate on MPR's Midmorning.
Here's the audio from the show.
Read the live blog and fact-check of the debate here.
AP says the trio feuded over their pasts.
RNC Chair Michael Steele will be in Minneapolis today for a fundraiser.
The Star Tribune takes a look at the dispute among Minnesota's Tea Party activists. Some want to stay independent. Others are working within the GOP.
A judge orders an injunction on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."
The ban on deep water drilling has been lifted.
Justices weigh lawsuits over vaccine side effects.
TCF Bank is suing the Federal Reserve over debit card fees.
President Obama is found to be a distant relative of Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin.
The Hill says DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar is taking the reins in the U.S. Senate when it comes to ethanol.
Under the Dome
Gov. Pawlenty and lawmakers agreed to a framework to a disaster relief bill. There's a dispute as to whether the deal is wrapped up. One of the delays in the federal disaster declaration.
Wadena gets $750,000 not $20 million for tornado relief.
Two lawmakers are pushing to include anti-bullying legislation in the special session.
Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson calls for a suspension of all foreclosures.
Stillwater prison guards say they need more help.
Pawlenty for Prez Watch
Gov. Pawlenty endorsed of a Republican running for Congress in Massachusetts.
David Wasserman, who tracks Congressional races for the highly respected Cook Political Report told Minnesota Public Radio News this morning he doesn't see much chance of DFLer Tarryl Clark unseating U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann this year. Here's what he told Cathy Wurzer on our Morning Edition program today:
The tragedy for Democrats in this election is that they could run the best campaign they've ever run against Michele Bachmann and still come up a few points short. I don't dismiss the possibility that this [Bachmann's victory] could be within 10 points. I think Tarryl Clark is one of the best, most talented Democratic challengers in the country. I don't have a doubt that she would win if she were running in 2008 in that kind of political environment. Now that we're in 2010, we have to look at the district and say [that] the most Republican district in Minnesota isn't going to be the one that switches parties. I think no matter how many voters have reservations about the personal style of Michele Bachmann, her trips out of town to support like minded candidates around the country, they still want to send President Obama a message more as long as they're a Republican or Republican-leaning voter in the 6th Congressional District.
When asked for reaction, Clark's spokeswoman Carrie Lucking says people in the 6th District are "looking for change and a new voice" and that it's not just an anti-Democratic wind blowing among the electorate. "What folks don't understand is the wind is actually an anti-incumbent wind," she said.
Lucking says they "feel extremely confident and comfortable with their chances."
Here's Wasserman's analysis of that and other races around Minnesota:
Two years ago, one of Minnesota's hottest races was for the open 3rd District congressional seat.
This year, the race between first-term Republican incumbent Erik Paulsen, his DFL challenger Jim Meffert and Independence candidate Jon Oleson was hardly getting noticed until Paulsen launched a TV ad assault against Meffert.
Meffert, a former Minnesota PTA president, described the campaign commercials as distorted and dishonest. Paulsen accused Meffert of starting the war of words with online videos and news releases.
Meanwhile, Oleson is trying to get his alternative centrist message out to voters with no money.
All three candidates recently talked about the campaign. Here are the interviews:
Erik Paulsen Listen
Jim Meffert Listen
Jon Oleson Listen
In Minnesota's 1st Congressional District attack ads are flying fast and furious.
PoliGraph looked at two of these ads, one paid for by incumbent Tim Walz that questions his Republican opponent Randy Demmer's stance on Social Security and another paid for by the National Republican Congressional Committee, which has been funding ads aimed at electing Demmer.
Both ads focus on nuggets of truth and blow them out of proportion.
Walz's ad against Demmer:
"[Randy Demmer's] got a plan to partially privatize Social Security," a voice over in Walz's ad says as pictures of Wall Street's trading floor and senior citizens flash on the screen. "And who will profit? Wall Street, making billions in fees."
Demmer's website says he "does not support the privatization of Social Security." On his Facebook page and in recent interviews he has said only that the current system should be reformed for his and younger generations. Demmer spokesman Jason Flohrs says Demmer doesn't have a specific reform plan in mind.
But it appears he's backpedaled on the subject. At a Winona event in 2008, Demmer said that he'd "favor the option" of allowing people his age to dictate how their Social Security contributions are invested if that's what they wanted to do.
That's the clip that's featured in the Walz ad, and to some degree, it's been taken out of context. The entire video clip reveals that Demmer did not - and still doesn't - support taking Social Security away from seniors already benefiting from the program; Walz's ad is misleading in this regard because it features shots of older folks pouring over their benefit statements. And while Demmer pointed out that Social Security funding is strained, he was vague on how he'd reform it.
The second part of Walz's claim that Wall Street would profit from privatization relies on analysis of former President George W. Bush's 2004 plan to create personal Social Security savings accounts. Back then, some experts said that Wall Street could make money from fees associated with these accounts. But it was conjecture. And because Demmer doesn't have a plan to change Social Security, it's impossible to say whether Wall Street would profit or not.
While Demmer previously said he'd support allowing people control their Social Security contributions investments, he's backed off that position; PoliGraph could find no evidence that he's recently campaigned on the idea. More importantly, the Walz ad claims that Demmer has a plan to privatize Social Security. In fact, Demmer doesn't have a plan one way or another on the issue, saying only that it needs reform.
This ad is false.
NRCC ad against Walz:
"Why did Tim Walz vote for a bill that allowed more than $1.5 billion go to companies overseas," asks the voice over in the NRCC ad. "Walz helped create jobs in China. And we paid for it."
At issue is the $787 billion stimulus bill passed by Congress in 2009, a measure Walz voted for. Included in the legislation are tax credits and grants to develop alternative energy, including wind power, which is the subject of this ad.
As evidence to support its claim, the NRCC points to a reporting series by Russ Choma at American University's Investigative Reporting Workshop, which found that about 80 percent - or roughly $1.6 billion - of the more than $2 billion spent on renewable energy went to U.S. based wind projects owned by foreign companies.
But that's where the truth in this ad ends.
First, none of the firms featured in Choma's article are located in China. And while it's true that many wind turbine parts used in U.S. wind farms are made overseas, including China, it's false to imply that the entire $1.6 billion in the stimulus bill went there.
Further, the ad neglects that new wind projects in the U.S. - financed by foreign companies or by American companies - create jobs locally, a point that the Department of Energy has gone to great length to point out. It's hard to pin down precisely how many jobs local wind projects have created, but the American Wind Energy Association estimates that stimulus money helped create or save upwards of 40,000 jobs in 2009.
The NRCC ad correctly states that roughly $1.6 billion in stimulus dollars have gone to foreign companies operating wind farms in the U.S. However, the rest of this ad is highly misleading because it implies that all that money has gone to China, which is not true.
Further, those stimulus dollars do create or save jobs in the U.S.
This ad is misleading enough to also rate a false on the PoliGraph test.
YouTube, "Lost," accessed Oct. 12, 2010
YouTube, Randy Demmer on Social Security, accessed Oct. 12, 2010
Randy Demmer for Congress, Minnesota Values, accessed Oct. 12, 2010
Tim Walz for Congress, "Lost" fact sheet, accessed Oct. 12, 2010
The Austin Post Bulletin, Clearing up Demmer's stance on Social Security, by Heather J. Carlson Sept. 8, 2010
Randy Demmer's Facebook page, accessed Oct. 12, 2010
MSNBC, Wall Street steers clear of Social Security debate, by Martin Wolk, Dec. 28, 2004
SIA Research Reports, Dec. 8, 2004
YouTube, "Tim Walz - Part of the Problem," accessed Oct. 12, 2010
Clerk of the House of Representatives, Roll Call Vote 70 on HR 1, Feb. 13, 2009
The American Wind Energy Association, Job Creation and Recovery Act Funding, Nov. 18, 2009
PolitiFact.com, Palin claims that most of the renewable energy stimulus dollars have gone to Chinese turbinemakers, by Catharine Richert, Feb. 23, 2010
Recovery.Gov, Agency Summary: The Department of Energy, accessed Oct. 12, 2010
The Investigative Reporting Workshop, Blown Away: Wind Energy Grants Under the Stimulus Program, by Russ Choma, Feb. 8, 2010
The Investigative Reporting Workshop, Blown Away: Overseas firms collecting most green energy money, by Russ Choma, Oct. 29, 2009
The Investigative Reporting Workshop, Blown Away: Foreign Countries Control Wind Manufacturing, by Russ Choma, Feb. 8, 2010
Politico, Stimulus Money Goes Overseas, by Meredith Shiner, March 3, 2010
Department of Energy Facebook page, Nov. 20, 2009
The New York Times, Wind Farm Deal Assures Bigger U.S. Role, By Matthew L. Wald, August 6, 2010
The American Wind Energy Association, U.S. Wind Energy Industry Installs 539 MW In First Quarter, April 29, 2010
Interview, Sara Severs, spokeswoman, Tim Walz, Oct. 12, 2010
Interview, Jason Flohrs, spokesman, Randy Demmer, Oct. 12, 2010
Interview, Tom Erikson, spokesman, National Republican Congressional Committee, Oct. 11, 2010
Gov. Pawlenty has again put the teacher's union in his cross hairs but it's not Education Minnesota. Instead, he's targeting the teacher's union in Washington D.C. Pawlenty, who is ramping up a run for the White House in 2012, released a statement today after Washington D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee announced she was leaving her post.
Here's Pawlenty's statement.
"Our nation's capital is losing a superwoman in education. Michelle Rhee's resignation is more evidence of the corrosive impact of teachers' unions in American schools. Despite -- or maybe because of -- the early success of her school reforms, the teachers' unions worked tirelessly to stop her, showing no compassion for the thousands of children stuck in failing D.C. schools. Despite the teachers' unions' success in defeating Michelle Rhee, her leadership is inspiring to reformers everywhere and will make it harder for the unions to defend the failed status quo."
Sen. Scott Dibble, DFL-Minneapolis, and Rep. Jim Davnie, DFL-Minneapolis, introduced a similar measure in 2009 to toughen anti-bullying policies in public schools, but Gov. Pawlenty vetoed the bill. It would have prohibited harassment based on a list of a dozen characteristics, including sexual orientation.
During a news conference today, Dibble said bullying in schools is now an epidemic. He said the issue is appropriate for the special session.
"This emergency is one of our own creation," Dibble said. "We can respond. We can change this. We can take those affirmative steps so that every kid who goes to school knows that they are valued, that they'll be safe, that they're loved, that they're going to get an equal shot at a good start in life."
Republicans blasted the proposal as part of a personal agenda and unrelated to the plight of flood-damaged communities. Senate Minority Leader David Senjem, R-Rochester, said the anti-bullying bill could threaten the passage of the disaster relief.
"If we go outside of the bounds of what we've agreed to, then frankly all things are on the table, be it photo ID or any other kind of initiative or agenda any other member might have," Senjem said.
During the news conference, Dibble told reporters that the governor's race was not a factor in re-introducing the bill. He said the special session provides an opportunity to respond to a crisis.
But the Minnesota National Organization for Women later sent out a news release supporting the bill and denouncing Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer, who has said he does not support such legislation.
"Minnesota NOW, as a partner in the Safe Schools for All Coalition, hopes that renewed attention to this public health emergency will finally increase momentum for anti-bullying legislation that could do so much to protect vulnerable adolescents. But that won't happen if Tom Emmer is elected Governor," wrote Shannon Drury, Minnesota NOW State President.
DFL gubernatorial candidate Mark Dayton also weighed in with his own news release:
"Bullying in schools based on a young person's actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity has grown to terrible proportions and the consequences of those actions are severe. No students should be driven to take their own lives simply because of who they are. I stand with Senator Al Franken to pass strong, anti-bullying measures here in Minnesota and nationwide. As Governor, I will fight for and sign a tougher Safe Schools bill. The time is now to speak out, lead, and act to protect all Minnesota's youth."
Bruce Gordon, a spokesman for Gov. Pawlenty, issued this statement:
"Bullying is a serious issue but there's no need to duplicate existing Minnesota law which prohibits it. If the legislature wanted to improve the existing law, they could have accepted our invitation to do so last session, but they choose not to. Nevertheless, the special session should be focused only on providing disaster relief to Minnesotans in need. The legislature will reconvene in January - less than 90 days - to address other matters."
The spokesman for Governor Pawlenty's Freedom First PAC says Pawlenty is headed to New Hampshire on Saturday.
Pawlenty is holding an afternoon reception for Republican Charlie Bass (a candidate in New Hampshire's 2nd Congressional District) and will also hold an evening reception in Whitefield, NH for Raymond Burton, a candidate for Executive Councilor.
This is Pawlenty's 5th trip to New Hampshire since he announced he wasn't running for reelection.
DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar announced tonight that President Obama has announced a disaster area for 21 Minnesota counties in southern Minnesota. The decision puts the wheels in motion to provide federal and state assistance to those impacted by last month's flooding. Preliminary estimates suggest the damages caused by the floods are roughly $64 million.
Gov. Pawlenty was waiting for the declaration to be made before he called a Special Session to pick up the state's portion of the cost. No word yet on when the Special Session will be called.
Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar issued the following statement after President Obama announced a presidential disaster declaration for 21 Minnesota counties that experienced severe flooding in late September. With the President's declaration, the following counties are eligible for Public Assistance: Blue Earth, Cottonwood, Dodge, Faribault, Freeborn, Goodhue, Jackson, Lincoln, Lyon, Martin, Mower, Murray, Olmsted, Pipestone, Rice, Rock, Steele, Wabasha, Waseca, Watonwan, and Winona Counties.
"Our local officials, first responders, citizens and volunteers have done tremendous work responding to these devastating floods," said Klobuchar. "I have seen first-hand the widespread damage that these southern Minnesota communities have endured and with this assistance, these communities can begin working to rebuild. This is a good beginning, and I will continue to work with state and federal officials for additional assistance."
The declaration authorizes the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to release funds for emergency work and the repair or replacement of disaster-damaged facilities. The Public Assistance designation makes public entities eligible for assistance to repair roads, bridges, water facilities and parks that were damaged by the disaster.
In addition, the declaration makes every county across the state eligible for Hazard Mitigation Assistance. This designation makes local units of government eligible for mitigation measures to reduce personal loss, save lives, and reduce the cost to the nation of responding to and recovering from future disasters.