Posted at 6:57 AM on November 8, 2011
by Catharine Richert
Filed under: Daily Digest
Welcome to the Daily Digest, where it's election day. There are a few important things to watch for, but chief among them is a ballot issue in Ohio that would repeal a bill that would limit unions. Polls show unions are on track for a win. In any event, the outcome may foreshadow the tone of the 2012 election. One of my favorite morning (and afternoon) reads, The Fix, has a few others to watch.
A third of Minnesota's school districts will vote on school levies.
The Metropolitan Council is joining the state of Minnesota's lawsuit against 3M.
Some pictures of the potential new stadium.
MPR News will host an online debate today from 11:30 to 12:30 featuring the DFL candidates looking to challenge Rep. Chip Cravaack next fall. You can follow the debate and submit your own questions here.
Minnesotans are split on a marriage amendment, according to a Star Tribune poll.
A citizens committee will be formed to help oversee Legacy Amendment spending for the state's parks and trails.
Margaret Anderson Kelliher will lead Gov. Mark Dayton's task force on expanding broadband in the state.
Martin, Faribault, Jackson and Watonwan counties have lost their last full-time public attorney.
DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz will hold a press conference today in Minneapolis with Mayor R.T. Rybak and Rep. Keith Ellison about President Barack Obama's jobs plan.
Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, and Rep. Erik Paulsen are among a bipartisan group asking the FDA to speed-up medical device approval.
According to the Associated Press: "The State Department's inspector general will conduct a special investigation of the handling of the pending decision on the proposed Keystone XL pipeline in response to reports of improper pressure on policy makers and possible conflicts of interest, according to documents released on Monday."
Remember: some Minnesota businesses are campaigning in support of the pipeline.
A new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll shows that voters are divided over whether the next president can end our economic slump.
Bill Daley, Obama's chief of staff, is handing over his responsibilities to long-time Obama aide Pete Rouse.
On the Campaign Trail
Obama has for months been Rep. Michele Bachmann's target of criticism on the campaign trail. Now, she's intensifying her attacks on the rest of the GOP candidates.
She called them "frugal socialists."
Bachmann wants everyone to pay taxes.
A fourth woman, Sharon Bialek, has accused Herman Cain of unwanted sexual advances.
Conservatives are split on the veracity of her accusations, reports the Washington Post.
Meanwhile, Politico reports Cain sought dinner with a fifth woman.
Cain is holding a press conference today to address the accusations.
Former Sen. Rick Santorum has scored a few important endorsements in Iowa.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry is getting support from an unlikely source: former President Bill Clinton, who praised Perry for allowing children of illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition at the state's public universities.
He is buying more ads in Iowa, according to Politico.
The Associated Press looks at Perry's record on tort reform.
AP also has a crib sheet on where the GOP presidential candidates stand on the issues.
And for All Ya'll Sports Fans
The Minnesota Twins have fired general manager Bill Smith and have temporarily replaced him with Terry Ryan.
Gov. Dayton says one Republican member of the Minnesota Senate is putting the lives of sick children and the elderly in jeopardy by putting a hold on federal funds directed to the state of Minnesota.
Dayton says Sen. David Hann, R-Eden Prairie, requested a review of $25 million in federal health care grants - essentially putting a hold on the funds. Dayton said Hann's action may be unconstitutional.
"That any single legislator could arbitrarily and unilaterally block money that comes from the federal government through a competitive grant process, a lawful process, and be used for the benefit for Minnesotans all over the state," Dayton said. "To have all of that blocked by one member of the Legislature is to me just undemocratic."
Dayton says his administration will try to convince Legislative leaders to approve the funding. If they don't approve, the administration can request a hearing from the Legislative Advisory Commission and can eventually get the money. Dayton says his concern is that the federal government could choose to give the money to another state in the meantime.
Hann is holding a 1 p.m. news conference to react to Dayton's assertion. Hann is defending his decision to raise questions about federal health care grants given to the state. Governor Dayton today criticized Hann for playing politics with money that will help the sick and elderly. Hann, who chairs the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, said the Dayton Administration shouldn't have sole power to determine how to spend federal grants.
"My intent, as I said, was to make sure that we had a chance for the Legislature more than just me to look at this," Hann said. "I don't think I should be the guy that determines whether or not we should spend $60 million or not. I don't think the governor should be either. I think that's something for the public and the Legislature to do in the light of day."
Hann said state commissioners who oversee the grant money assured him that no one would be harmed if the money wasn't released immediately. He says he intends to hold a hearing on the federal funds.
In the meantime, here's his letter:2 Comments)
Posted at 5:00 PM on November 8, 2011
by Catharine Richert
Filed under: Campaign 2012
Three Democrats touted President Barack Obama's stimulus plan at a rock climbing facility in south Minneapolis Tuesday.
It would appear an unlikely spot for Mayor R.T. Rybak and Reps. Keith Ellison and Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who also serves as the Democratic National Committee's chair, to spend the afternoon.
But the facility is a stimulus success story, the trio said.
"This is a great thing," said Ellison as rock climbers scaled the wall behind him. "Not only is it going to add interesting, vibrant amenities for people here...but it is going to be a place of employment."
Ellison said that Vertical Endeavors, which combined private, city and stimulus dollars to pay for the building's $1.3 million renovation, will support 35 full-and-part time jobs.
In this economic climate, job creation has emerged as a central theme to Obama's campaign. Wasserman Schultz, who's primary job will be to raise money for and campaign for Obama and other Democrats, said that the renovation would not have been possible without stimulus funding.
"These are the types of projects that remind us that in the 2012 election, our country is really going to have a very clear choice," she said. "We have Mitt Romney and Republicans who oppose job creation and investments like this one in small businesses."
Just a year out from the 2012 election, Wasserman Schultz also touted Obama's second jobs bill that has largely stalled in Congress.
Among other things, the nearly $450 billion proposal would put resources into infrastructure such as bridges.
"No one knows better than Minnesotans how important it is that our nation's bridges are sound and not failing," said Wasserman Schultz.
UPDATE: A spokesman from the Republican National Committee sent us this comment, saying Wasserman Schultz was spinning Obama's "failed record."
"Instead of sending surrogates to campaign to save the president's job, Barack Obama should be focused on jobs for Minnesotans," said RNC spokesman Ryan Mahoney. "Unfortunately for unemployed Minnesotans, campaign pitches for more of the same failed policies from the first stimulus won't put people in Minneapolis back to work."