GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann leads the Digest today.
Her speech to an anti-tax group is fueling speculation that she's serious about a run for president. MinnPost reports that Bachmann will say "America is under threat like never before" in her speech.
MPR says Bachmann approaches Iowa with a trail of misstatements.
The Des Moines Register says it appears Bachmann is putting the pieces in place for a run.
An Iowa poll shows Bachmann getting 3.66 percent support. Tim Pawlenty received 4.39 percent.
Public Policy Polling conducted a head to head national match-up between President Obama and Bachmann. He had 51 percent support. Bachmann had 31 percent support.
Under the Dome
Gov. Dayton announced that his State of the State speech will be on February 9th in the chamber of the Minnesota House.
Minnesota lost 22,400 jobs in December - marking the biggest employment decline in Minnesota since at least 1990, according to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. The state's unemployment rate is at 7 percent.
One bright spot is that Green jobs are growing in rural Minnesota.
The state's venture capital investment draws to a new low.
Dayton says he'll veto any attempts to repeal MA expansion. He made the comments after he announced that the expansion will occur on March 1st, a full seven months ahead of the timeline set by former Human Services Commissioner Cal Ludeman.
House File 1, which creates a shorter timeline for the permitting process, started moving through committee.
Dayton also told the GOP to slow down when it comes to their level of budget cuts.
Dayton and the GOP are squaring off over a $1 billion bonding bill.
Dayton will have a busy schedule when he visits Brainerd on Saturday.
Dayton picked Thomas Roy to lead the Corrections Department.
A House committee approved a bill that would ban synthetic marijuana.
The U of M says cuts to higher education could mean higher tuition.
Legislators review the state's energy programs.
An environmental group says the Legacy money is being spent inefficiently.
Minnesota Republicans hope to clamp down on welfare fraud.
The Metrodome may not be ready for the preseason.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan will speak in Minnesota today. He speaks the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce and then visits a Lakeville School with GOP Rep. John Kline.
President Obama announced that Paul Volcker was leaving his role as head of an outside panel advising the White House on economic policy. The CEO of General Electric will replace him.
A House GOP group proposes deep spending cuts over the next decade.
The New York Times says some in Congress are looking to ease the debt burdens for states including pension promises made to retirees.
The U.S. debt has eclipsed $14 trillion.
House Speaker John Boehner says barring federal funds for abortion is one of their highest priorities.
A study found that Don't Ask, Don't Tell cost $50,000 per expulsion.
The L.A. Times takes a look at the political hub of Alexandria, VA. It says more than two dozen Republican media, polling and public relations firms are located there.
DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar visited northern Minnesota.
Klobuchar sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner asking him to push for a bill that would remove a provision of the health care law that requires businesses to report to the Internal Revenue Service all purchases of $600 or more.
DFL Sen. Al Franken says he now supports an expansion of nuclear power.
Franken says he's also unsure if the Senate will vote on a House health care repeal bill.
Franken made those comments on Midday. Listen to the full show here.
GOP Rep. John Kline said on CNBC that governors are telling him the federal health care law will crush them. He didn't identify them except to say Republican governors. He wasn't asked for specifics.
Bachmann pushes for President Obama to lift the executive order requiring a moratorium on offshore drilling.
Evie Axdahl and Brian Sullivan announced that they're resigning their positions as RNC Committee members.
A few names have surfaced to replace them. They include Tom Emmer, Pat Anderson, Ben Golnik and Mary Igo all say they're running for the two slots.
Pawlenty for Prez Watch
Pawlenty is polling at two percent in a national poll.
President Obama starts ramping up for 2012. He opened his campaign headquarters in Chicago.
Mitt Romney keeps away from the Tea Party.
Several long-time Republicans are urging Indiana Congressman Mike Pence to run for the White House.
Gov. Dayton announced today that he has picked Sheila Wright to run the Office of Higher Education. Wright is a professor and Dean in the School of Education at Hamline University.
The news release says Wright has experience in addressing the issues of teacher quality and the achievement gap.
"I am delighted that Dr. Wright has agreed to join our administration," Dayton said in a news release. "Her nationally recognized leadership in education will help guide our administration's efforts to restore Minnesota to its former position of national leadership in making higher education more accessible, more affordable, and more responsive to the needs of Minnesota's college students."
"This is a tremendous honor and privilege," Wright said in the news release. "I share Governor Dayton's strong commitment to education. I believe that giving our residents the best and most affordable higher education is the best way to ensure future prosperity and economic success for our entire state, and look forward to working with the Governor to find new and better ways to make that happen."
The Minnesota Office of Higher Education provides students with financial aid programs and information to help them gain access to post-secondary education. The agency also serves as the state's clearinghouse for data, research and analysis on post-secondary enrollment, financial aid, finance and trends. It administers up to $150 million dollars in need-based grants to Minnesota residents attending eligible institutions in Minnesota.
Dr. Wright replaces Acting Director Barbara S. Schlaefer and her term runs till Jan 5, 2015.
On a day when the front page of the newspaper reports that more than 70,000 Minnesotans were warned last year they were behind on their mortgages, Gov. Mark Dayton named Mary Tingerthal to lead the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency.
Tingerthal is currently the President of Capital Markets Companies for the Housing Partnership Network.
She worked at the Housing Finance Agency in the past.
Here's part of the statement Dayton's office released:
Ms. Tingerthal has both public and private sector experience, and deep understanding of the issues surrounding affordable housing development, preservation, and finance. Among her accomplishments, she was instrumental in establishing the National Community Stabilization Trust - a nationwide company dedicated to helping local organizations put vacant and foreclosed properties back into productive reuse.
"Mary Tingerthal brings outstanding state and national expertise in housing finance and policies," said Gov. Dayton. "Her leadership will propel the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency back into its traditional role as not only our state's premier public housing finance institution, but also a national leader in helping lower- and middle-class families afford to buy homes and stay in them."
"I am thrilled to be chosen to lead this great agency," said Tingerthal. "At a time when our housing markets are still reeling and our economy isn't where we'd like it to be, it is more important than ever that we help meet the housing needs of Minnesotans. Gov. Dayton and I are committed to helping hard-working Minnesotans, and an important front in this effort is to work with them to get good housing that is also affordable. I'm honored he chose me to assist him in this effort."
The Minnesota Housing Finance Agency is the State's affordable housing bank, offering products and services to help Minnesotans buy, rent and fix up homes. The Agency supports the development and preservation of affordable rental housing by offering financing and other services. In the last five years it has administered $97 million dollars to address the foreclosure crisis.
The Agency is known nationwide as a model of foreclosure prevention. Ms. Tingerthal replaces Acting Commissioner Patricia A. Hippe and her term runs till Jan 5, 2015.
Ms. Tingerthal joined the Housing Partnership Network as President of the Capital Markets Companies in 2007. There, she coordinates the work of the Housing Partnership Fund, which provides acquisition and predevelopment financing; Housing Partnership Ventures, which serves as the Network's investment vehicle; the Charter School Financing Partnership, a new conduit for charter school loans; and the Network's Housing Counseling intermediary and Neighborhood Stabilization programs. In 2008, she was instrumental in establishing the National Community Stabilization Trust.
Previously, Ms. Tingerthal held senior management positions with the National Equity Fund, GMAC Residential Funding, the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency, the City of Saint Paul, and, most recently, the Community Reinvestment Fund(CRF). Ms. Tingerthal holds a Master's Degree in Business from Stanford Graduate School of Business, and a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Minnesota. She serves as the vice chair of the Consumer Advisory Council to the Federal Reserve Board and serves on the Boards of the National Housing Trust, the National Community Investment Fund and CommonBond Communities, and on the investment committee of the Calvert Foundation.
Posted at 11:47 AM on January 21, 2011
by Tom Scheck
GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann is in Iowa today to speak at a fundraiser for an anti-tax group. It's Bachmann's first visit to Iowa since she announced that she's mulling a possible run for president.
Bachmann is joining a crowded field of Republicans who are said to be considering a possible run. But here's a question. Can she win Iowa?
Let's take a look at the positives and the negatives.
1) She can build a grassroots network of supporters. Bachmann first entered politics in 2000 when she decided to challenge a sitting Republican state Senator. She won the GOP endorsement, the primary and the general election by mobilizing a base of supporters who opposed the Minnesota Department of Education's Profile of Learning standards. Since then, Bachmann has mobilized social conservatives because of her opposition to same sex marriage. She has most recently become a darling of the Tea Party for her tough fiscal talk. That means she has an army of supporters ready and willing to work for her.
2) She can raise money. Bachmann has proven that she can raise money. Take a look at her most recent Congressional campaign. She broke records for the amount raised and spent by a candidate for Congress in Minnesota. She has built a national network of supporters through national speaking engagements, TV and radio talk show appearances and the internet. Bachmann has sent out fundraising requests on e-mail lists that belong to conservative groups like Human Events. Her tele-townhalls bring in money. She is also disciplined to always mention her website or Facebook page whenever she's on TV or radio. All of those efforts mean tons of small dollar donations that every politician covets.
3) She's dynamic. Watch the crowds when they watch Bachmann speak. No one engages in small talk with their neighbors. They don't look at their mobile phones. Everyone is transfixed on what she says. Some even nod in agreement. That's star power few politicians enjoy.
4) Steve King. This is Bachmann's not so secret weapon. I'm told that a large number of the GOP delegates come from western Iowa. GOP Rep. Steve King's congressional district is on the western part of the state. Bachmann and King are close friends. They have joined forces in their opposition to the federal health care law. Bachmann has also showered King with praise jokingly calling him stunning on the House floor. She has also suggested that King run for president. Bachmann would pick up some serious traction if King backs a White House bid.
5) She's from Iowa. Bachmann grew up in Waterloo, Iowa. She knows the state and knows the politics. That means she knows things other candidates have to learn like how to pronounce Ankeny. Bachmann will also have instant credibility when talking face to face with Iowans (a key to garnering support before the caucuses). It's no mistake what she told the National Review prior to her trip:
"I am the seventh generation of Iowans in my family. We came as early pioneers, some the first people that tilled the soil, and I love these people that built the country; I've read the history of my family. I want to go there and remind them that we could lose what we've built up very easily. We could lose our dominance in the world."
1) Bachmann is extremely polarizing. She makes controversial statements that turn off independent minded voters. Iowans pride themselves on helping pick a winner. Will they take a chance on someone would could turn off the middle of the road voters that are needed in a general election?
2) The polls. A recent Public Policy Polling poll shows President Obama beating Bachmann in a national head to head match up 51-33. That's not good for a candidate who will need the make the case to GOP voters that Obama should be a one-term president.
3) She's wrong. I did a story today that takes a look at some of Bachmann's misstatements, exaggerations and completely wrong assertions. Bachmann will no longer be one of 435 if she decides to run for president. That means media organizations and fact-checkers (like PolitiFact) will comb over her past statements and her future ones to see whether she's telling the truth.
4) She's not well loved by the GOP establishment. This could both help and hurt Bachmann among GOP Caucus goers. But it's clear that GOP House leadership isn't endeared with her. Bachmann tried to run for House Leadership Chair after she won reelection in November. She dropped her bid after House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and other members of the leadership team backed her opponent. Bachmann has traditionally been a politician who does things her own way. That doesn't always sit well with a large caucus of ambitious members. But that also helps her outsider status if she mounts a serious run.
Question of the Day: What do you think of Bachmann's chances?
Posted at 2:00 PM on January 21, 2011
by Tim Nelson
Filed under: Mark Dayton
Mark Dayton is planning to follow his two successors onto the airwaves.
His office just put out the official RFP for a one or two hour radio show. It asks broadcasters to submit plans for a show, to be effectively owned and run by the governor's office.
Dayton's staff is looking for a two-year deal, and specifically suggests the show may be broadcast from the State Capitol -- or anywhere else the governor chooses. That could be a change from Gov. Tim Pawlenty. His show was typically aired from the WCCO studios in downtown Minneapolis.
No word on what Dayton plans to talk about. The show will be produced by his communications shop, possibly by Bob Hume.
There's about 16 pages of fine print. Here it is for your end-of-week persual. Responses are due the afternoon of Feb. 7.
ADDENDUM (4 PM): Dayton's office now says they're tweaking the ask -- the show can't exceed two hours, presumably an offer for a less-than-one-hour show.
Posted at 4:17 PM on January 21, 2011
by Tom Scheck
Filed under: Tim Pawlenty
Tim Pawlenty picked up some juice in the latest Public Policy Polling poll of possible 2012 candidates. Pawlenty is polling at 8 percent - a significent uptick from past PPP polls.
Pawlenty is in fifth place among those polled. He trails Mike Huckabee (24%), Sarah Palin (14%), Mitt Romney (14%) and Newt Gingrich's (11%).
Pollster Tom Jenson wrote that Pawlenty is one of the winners in this poll:
The other winner in this month's poll is Pawlenty. 8% is certainly the best he's done in one of our national polls and it's a sign that he could be starting to gain some traction. His record strong standing is part of why Romney's polling so poorly this month, as we've consistently found that they tap into a similar centrist base. A strong Pawlenty candidacy is good news for Democrats because anything that divides the already diluted Republican moderate vote can only make it more likely the GOP nominates someone too far to the right to be viable in the general election.
Pawlenty has been all over the country (and the airwaves) promoting his latest book. He'll continue the book tour next week in the key presidential states of New Hampshire and Iowa.
Politico is reporting today that GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann will give a State of the Union response via the internet. Bachmann will reportedly give her response on the Tea Party Express website. The group sent out an e-mail announcing Bachmann's appearance.
Congresswoman Michele Bachmann has confirmed with us that she will broadcast her response to Barack Obama's State Of The Union address this Tuesday. You'll be able to watch her rebut Obama via her address which will be broadcast on our website: www.TeaPartyExpress.org
Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan has been selected to give the GOP's official response to President Obama's speech. No word on whether Bachmann will wait for Ryan to finish his comments.
U-S Education Secretary Arne Duncan urged Minnesota lawmakers today (Fri) to pass legislation that would create alternative ways for people to become teachers.
Duncan told a crowd of education and business leaders in Minneapolis that Minnesota has a great track record of education reform, but issues like teacher licensure also show complacency.
"The fact that this state hasn't been more open around alternative certification for teachers doesn't make sense to me," Duncan said. "I think what we want is more great teachers in nation's classrooms wherever they come from. And we should hold everyone accountable - we should hold them to a high bar. Accountable, but being really creative there."
The state's teachers' union opposed alternative licensure last year. Education Minnesota says it does support the effort this year but only under circumstances that don't lessen the rigor needed to become a teacher.
Duncan also told the crowd that the business community hasn't been active enough in education debates.
You can listen to Duncan's full speech here: Listen
Thanks to MPR's Tom Weber for the audio.