President Obama visited Cannon Falls, MN yesterday to kick off his three-day, three state bus tour. The president used the trip to urge voters to tell Congress to start working to pass legislation that will help the economy.
MPR says Obama is using the bus trip to kick off his reelection campaign. The effort is meant to humanize a president who has low approval ratings while demonizing Congress for the political gridlock in Washington D.C.
You can listen to Obama's opening comments here.
President Obama will meet with farmers and business owners on the second day of his tour.
Republicans held a rally outside of Obama's town hall to demand to know "Where are the jobs?"
Race for President
GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann campaigns in South Carolina today.
Politico reports Bachmann didn't attend a family reunion that she cited as a reason for being late to a fundraiser in Waterloo.
Bachmann also listed a farm in Wisconsin as a source of income even though she said she and her husband didn't own it. She was criticized in the past for taking federal farm subsidies.
Bachmann's economic disclosure statement says she's worth at least $912k.
Roll Call says Minnesota's Congressional delegation is not rushing to back Bachmann. GOP Rep. John Kline and GOP Rep. Erik Paulsen were backing Pawlenty. GOP Rep. Chip Cravaack is undecided.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry said Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke's efforts to stabilize the economy are "treacherous and treasonous." He also said they would treat Bernanke "pretty ugly" down in Texas. Several Republicans called the comments inappropriate.
Perry is also taking his first jabs at Mitt Romney.
Romney touted his business experience during an event in New Hampshire.
Politico's Roger Simon says the media is unfairly ignoring Texas Rep. Ron Paul's campaign.
Ron Paul released an ad swatting at Perry, Bachmann, Obama and Romney.
Under the Dome
The disappearance of the Market Value Homestead Credit could raise property taxes.
St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman proposes a 6.5% increase in the property tax levy.
The bridge construction in Hastings is delayed a year because of the government shutdown.
A soldier from Fosston, MN was killed in Afghanistan.
CBS News is reporting that the Pentagon is looking at the military's retirement system as a cost savings measure.
Politico is reporting that GOP Rep. Chip Cravaack is
taking heat for charging $10 per person meeting in Duluth. Update:The NFIB is charging for the event. Cravaack's spokesman, Michael Bars, won't say whether Cravaack will insist that the event be open to the public.
DFL Sen. Al Franken will spend part of his day in Eden Prairie and Carver County.
Race for U.S. Senate
GOP political consultant Vin Weber says Pawlenty will be back in politics but it won't be to challenge DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar.
The oldest survivor of the Bataan Death March died at 105.
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Minnesota received a $4.2 million federal grant last week to help establish the exchange, which is a key piece of the federal health care law. GOP lawmakers fundamentally oppose the law. Sen. David Hann, R-Eden Prairie, the chair of the Senate health and human services committee, said today that the administration is wrong to move forward on its own.
"We believe that they do not have the authority, and we are going to pursue every means available to us as a Legislature to prevent that from occuring," Hann said. "They should not be taking Minnesota down the path to enacting this law in the way that they're doing it without the counsel of the Legislature, without the input of the stakeholders in the health care community."
Health insurance exchanges will allow consumers shop for coverage and compare available plans beginning in 2014. State Commerce Commissioner Michael Rothman said last week the grant will be used in part to set up an advisory task force and choose a chief financial officer.
Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman issued the following statement in response to the GOP news conference:
The Administration is focused on using this grant to thoughtfully and effectively prepare the infrastructure necessary for a Minnesota-made exchange built by Minnesotans, for Minnesotans. We are focused on ensuring that exchange meets the unique needs of Minnesota's consumers, businesses, and economy while driving market competition and reducing health care costs for Minnesotans. In preparing for an exchange, we will actively seek constructive public input from all parties. We need all hands on deck - consumers, employers, legislators, insurers, agents, navigators, and health care providers - to help design an exchange that supports Minnesota's unique health care system and demonstrates again why Minnesota leads the nation in health care innovation. It is urgent for Minnesota to act to design and develop an exchange. Our window of opportunity to craft and implement a Minnesota-made solution is right now. States have only until January 1, 2013 to create the infrastructure for their own exchanges, which would be available to consumers in 2014. A request for use of exchange establishment grant funds was included and authorized as part of Governor Dayton's biennial budget request to the 2011 Minnesota Legislature for the Department of Commerce.
The Administration informed lawmakers of the grant Minnesota received last week. We are committed to a constructive, collaborative process with all stakeholders to design and develop an exchange that best serves Minnesotans. We are always open to discussions with the legislature and stakeholders.
President Obama will make his second trip to Minnesota in the month of August. On Tuesday, August 30, the president will speak before the American Legion's national convention in Minneapolis. The convention will be held from Saturday, August 27 until Thursday, September 1.
GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann, who is running to replace Obama in the White House, is scheduled to speak at the convention on Thursday. Gov. Dayton and other members of Minnesota's congressional delegation, including DFL Rep. Tim Walz, DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar, DFL Rep. Keith Ellison and DFL Sen. Al Franken, are also scheduled to attend the event. The Veterans Affairs Secretary and House Veterans Affairs Committee Chair Jeff Miller, R-FL, will also speak at the event.
Here's the schedule:1 Comments)
Gov. Dayton will kick of a statewide jobs tour in Fergus Falls on Friday. The Fergus Falls Journal first reported that Dayton will visit the city on Friday to learn more about a local economic development tool. Dayton's spokeswoman, Katharine Tinucci, confirmed the event.
"This will be the first of a number of job events across the state that Gov. Dayton will do in the coming weeks," Tinucci said.
Tinucci said there will be a different focus on each region. She said the governor's office will release more information about the tour in the future.
Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty was doing more than campaigning during his failed run for president. Pawlenty, who dropped his bid for president on Sunday, filed his income and financial holdings with the Federal Elections Commission today. Pawlenty disclosed $714,635 in assets over the past year which included his $121,260 salary as governor, $342,000 in royalty payments from his book, 'Courage to Stand' and $242,000 in speaking fees. Pawlenty also listed more than $450,000 in assets like retirement funds.
Pawlenty hasn't said what he'll do next. MNGOP Chair Tony Sutton is lobbying Pawlenty to run against DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar in 2012. Republican political strategist Vin Weber, who chaired Pawlenty's presidential campaign, says he thinks Pawlenty won't challenge Klobuchar but could run for the U.S. Senate or governor in 2014.
Here's the full report Pawlenty filed with the FEC:
For those wondering, GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann has filed an extension for her report.