Vice President Joe Biden worked to motivate DFL voters heading into the November election. Biden praised the Obama Administration's record and ripped Mitt Romney at events in Minneapolis and Rochester.
You can listen to Biden's speech in Minneapolis here.
The Rochester Post-Bulletin has this take on Biden's speech in Rochester.
Biden also surprised the South High football team.
Biden will campaign in Tampa during next week's Republican National Convention.
Biden also said Republicans opposed to the Dodd/Frank law are squealing pigs.
No word on whether Mitt Romney will hold any public events in Minnesota when he stops in Minnesota the to raise money on Thursday. The campaign has not made a commitment either way. Romney will hold an event in New Mexico on Thursday morning.
Akin, who said a woman's body is capable of preventing pregnancy in cases of "legitimate rape." is staying in the race. He initially apologized for the comment but is now saying the liberal media is trying to take him down.
Akin then told Romney to "mind his own business."
Sarah Palin says Akin should get out of the race or she'll back a third party candidate.
Paul Ryan criticized the sequestration process he voted for (and lobbied other GOP members to back).
Ryan is now saying he voted for the process not the cuts to defense.
Ryan campaigned in Pennsylvania. He suggested President Obama is out of touch.
Obama attacked Mitt Romney on student aid.
The spending by President Obama and the DNC has exceeded donations in the month of July.
Romney told a group of donors that he won't lay out his energy plan because members of the media were present.
Ron Paul's delegates are set to strike a deal with the RNC as the convention approaches.
Race for Legislature
DFL Rep. Kerry Gauthier is still silent on the rest stop sex scandal that has prompted officials in both parties to denounce him.
Gauthier's mom says she imagines Gauthier will run despite calls that he drop out.
DFL House Minority Leader Paul Thissen says Democrats may consider removing Gauthier from the ballot. He also says the party needs to unite behind one DFL candidate.
MinnPost says the Minnesota Senate will not take a survey at this year's State Fair.
Under the Dome
KSTP says Minnesota's prison laws and sentences are growing longer.
Duluth's schools borrowed again to pay for the state's decision to defer payments to schools.
Amendment that would ban same-sex marriage
GOP Sen. Dan Hall is under fire for suggesting that those who oppose the amendment are not patriotic. He made the suggestion on Twitter.
President Obama says the U.S. could intervene militarily if Syria opts to use chemical or biological weapons in its civil war.
Race for Congress
DFL Rep. Tim Walz and Republican Allen Quist will face off at a Rochester debate on Sept. 27.
Some fans of Home brewing submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to get President Obama's home brew recipe.
Despite calls to step aside, Rep. Kerry Gauthier, DFL-Duluth, has decided to run for re-election. The Northland's News Center reports that Gauthier told them in an interview today that he wants the voters to decide his future.
That decision puts the first term lawmaker at odds with DFL House Minority Leader Paul Thissen and DFL Party Chair Ken Martin, who have encouraged Gauthier not to run for re-election after he admitted to police that he had sexual contact with a 17 year-old boy at a rest stop in Duluth. Gauthier was not charged or arrested, because the St. Louis County Attorney said the age of consent in Minnesota is 16, and no money changed hands. Nevertheless the political reaction has been swift. On Friday, GOP House Speaker Kurt Zellers called on Gauthier to resign immediately. Since then two Democrats have announced write-in campaigns for the District 7B seat.
Gauthier has not made any public comments since the incident became public last week. He has not returned calls to MPR News.
The news that he intends to continue campaigning comes as Democrats are hoping to retake control of the Legislature. DFL leaders and candidates across Minnesota may now have to answer whether they support Gauthier's candidacy.
House Minority Leader Paul Thissen, DFL-Minneapolis, issued a statement criticizing Gauthier's decision.
"Rep. Gauthier's conduct last month was clearly beneath what's expected of an elected official," Thiseen wrote. "I do not support his decision to continue his re-election effort and the House DFL Caucus will not be supporting his campaign."
Minnesota DFL Party Chairman Ken Martin also weighed in with a statement.
"The Minnesota DFL Party does not support Kerry Gauthier's decision to seek re-election," Martin wrote. "We have repeatedly asked Gauthier to end his campaign and give Duluth DFLers a chance to choose a new candidate they can unite behind. Gauthier's conduct was inexcusable and he has lost the public trust. He should exit the race immediately. He will receive no assistance from the state DFL Party, and we are strongly encouraging the local party leaders to rescind his endorsement."
UPDATE - This post has been updated with remarks from American Crystal Sugar below.
WASHINGTON - One of the most powerful labor unions in the country is urging 225 members of Congress, including eight members of Minnesota's 10 member delegation, to tell American Crystal Sugar to end a year-long lockout of workers in Minnesota, North Dakota and Iowa and return the company's campaign contributions if it doesn't settle the labor dispute.
More than 1,300 unionized workers have been locked out of their jobs by the sugar beet processing cooperative since August 2011 when contract talks broke down and were replaced by non-union labor.
"I am sure you do not approve of this blatant disregard for working families and their communities," wrote AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka in a letter to every member of Congress who has received the company's campaign contributions. "I am therefore asking you to use your influence and stature to insist that the company resolve this dispute immediately and end the lockout."
American Crystal Sugar is a big player on Capitol Hill, giving more than $1.5 million in campaign contributions to members of both parties since 2011, according to opensecrets.org. The company is a beneficiary of a government policy that restricts imports of sugar from overseas. DFL U.S. Sen. Al Franken and Republican U.S. Rep. Chip Cravaack are the only two members of Minnesota's congressional delegation who have not received campaign contributions from the company in this election cycle.
Seventh District Rep. Collin Peterson, whose district includes many sugar beet farmers and American Crystal Sugar plants, is the biggest recipient of the company's contributions, receiving $11,750 since January 2011. DFL U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar has received the smallest contribution, $1,000.
UPDATE In a brief telephone interview with MPR News, Brian Ingulsrud, American Crystal Sugar's vice president for administration, said the letter would have no impact on the company's position.
"Our offer was very fair and competitive," said Ingulsrud, who said the company's final offer included a 17 percent raise for workers.
Posted at 3:35 PM on August 22, 2012
by Tim Nelson
Filed under: Vikings stadium
The group's 20-year executive director says his last official day of work was Monday, although he's still got some "loose ends" to tie up with the charitable gambling trade group, including erasing any reference to himself from the group's website.
He figures that some time this fall, maybe September, he's moving to Hawaii.
"I've always dreamed of doing this," says Wilson, who is 55 and doesn't have a job lined up yet in Hawaii. But he goes there regularly and says he thinks the climate and island life will suit him just fine.
Wilson played a key role in the run-up to a new Vikings stadium, when backers picked his group's expansion proposal to help fund bonds for the new home for the NFL team in Minneapolis.
Allied Charities of Minnesota is taking applications for a new executive director through Friday.
Photo: Tim Nelson
After being passed over for a spot on the ticket, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty has been given a top speaking slot at the upcoming Republican National Convention in Tampa next week.
Pawlenty, who was among Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney's top choices for vice president, will be giving an address Wednesday, August 29 some time after 7:30 p.m.
He's wedged between Arizona Sen. John McCain, Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, who was also a top VP contender, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan will be giving the keynote speech that evening, according to the RNC's schedule.
That night's theme will be "We Can Change It," according to an RNC press release.
"We want to remind Americans that we don't have to settle for four more years of high unemployment, low pay and deep debt," Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said. "We will devote Wednesday night to showing the country that Mitt Romney's 'Plan for a Stronger Middle Class' will restore our country as the best place in the world to find a job, start a business or hire a worker."
The presidential nominee typically speaks the last night of the convention.
Gov. Mark Dayton and other DFL leaders are denouncing state Rep. Kerry Gauthier's decision to continue to seek re-election. Gauthier, DFL-Duluth, told the Northland's News Center today that he'll continue to run for re-election and let voters decide his fate.
The first term DFL lawmaker admitted to police last month that he had sexual contact with a 17 year-old boy at a rest stop in Duluth. Gauthier was not charged or arrested, because the St. Louis County Attorney said the age of consent in Minnesota is 16, and no money changed hands.
Nevertheless, Dayton said today that Gauthier should reconsider his decision to run for re-election.
"It's a terrible mistake on his part, Dayton said. "I think it's something that goes beyond the morals of Minnesotans to solicit on Craigslist to solicit sex with a minor and do it in a public area."
DFL Party Chair Ken Martin and DFL House Minority Leader Paul Thissen also criticized Gauthier's decision. Martin said he will push to have Duluth's DFL Party to pull Gauthier's endorsement.
The Duluth TV station that interviewed Gauthier today also reported that his hospitalization last week resulted from prescription drug use.
Gauthier said that he took several muscle relaxants and was found unconscious and taken to the hospital. Initial reports last week said that he was hospitalized after a breathing problem.
Vice President Joe Biden was in Minnesota this week, campaigning for his boss, President Barack Obama.
During a speech in Minneapolis, Biden spent some time talking about vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan's budget plan. There's a lot about the proposal that Biden doesn't like, including how Ryan treats the Medicaid program.
The bill makes "massive cuts in Medicaid, throwing 19 million people off their health care including 1 million seniors. People, many of whom were thrown on to Medicaid because they lost their job through no fault of their own," Biden said.
In one case, Biden's claim is plausible. But how Ryan's plan would affect Medicaid enrollment depends on how states manage changes to the program.
Medicaid covers poor children and adults, the disabled and some elderly people who need long-term care. The federal government and state governments share the cost of the program.
Those over 65 make up a relatively small share of the program's enrollees - about 10 percent - but because their care is long-term and expensive, this group accounts for roughly 20 percent of Medicaid's expenditures annually, according to a 2011 Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services report.
Ryan, who is chairman of the House Budget Committee, has proposed trimming federal Medicaid spending by $800 billion over 10 years and transforming the program into a block grant program. That means states would get fewer federal dollars but have more flexibility in who they cover and what benefits they provide.
Ryan's plan would also repeal Obama's health care law.
If Ryan's plan were put into law, the number of people on Medicaid would depend a lot on how states adjust to the cuts.
Back in May 2011, the Kaiser Family Foundation Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured looked at how Ryan's plan would affect Medicaid in three different ways.
If states spend the same amount on each enrollee over the next 10 years but cut the number of beneficiaries equally across all groups, 19 million people would be booted from the program. An additional 17 million would have to find health care elsewhere if the health care law were also repealed, as Ryan's budget proposes.
Under this scenario, about 40 million people would remain on Medicaid in 2021 - about 36 million fewer people than what's expected if no changes are made to the program.
This scenario also assumes that some seniors would be cut from the program, but the report doesn't say how many. However, because the cuts would be made in equal proportions across all Medicaid groups in this scenario, it's not unreasonable that somewhere in the range of 1 million seniors could lose their benefits.
All those numbers change somewhat if states do more to protect the elderly and disabled from Ryan's cuts or if they scale back how much they spend per every enrollee, but they're all in range of what Biden claimed.
Under one possible scenario laid out by an organization known for its non-partisan health policy analysis, Biden's claim is in the ballpark.
But his estimates come with a lot of uncertainty. If Ryan's proposed Medicaid changes were ever adopted, much would depend on how the states manage those changes, whether they would choose to cut benefits or enrollment equally across all groups, or opt to protect seniors and the disabled over adults and children.
MPR News, Biden rips into Romney in Minneapolis, by Tom Scheck, Aug. 21, 2012
Kaiser Family Foundation, House Republican Budget Plan: State-by-State Impact of Changes in Medicaid Financing, May 2011
Kaiser Health News, FAQ: Ryan's Plan Would Make Key Changes In Medicaid, Too, by Mary Agnes Carey, Aug. 14, 2012
Bloomberg News, Medicaid Cuts Ryan Doesn't Tout Would Cut Aid To Seniors, by Brian Faler, Aug. 15, 2012
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, 2011 Actuarial Report On the Financial Outlook for Medicaid, March 16, 2012
Associated Press, The other Paul Ryan plan: $800 billion in Medicaid cuts, by Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, Aug. 15, 2012
After announcing earlier today that he would run for re-election, DFL Rep. Kerry Gauthier has reconsidered and now says he won't be running for his Duluth House seat.
The move comes after Democrats across Minnesota publicly rebuked him for deciding to continue to campaign. Gov. Dayton, DFL Party Chair Ken Martin, Lt. Gov. Yvonne Prettner Solon and DFL House Minority Leader Paul Thissen all said publicly that Gauthier should reconsider and drop out of the race.
"Rep. Gauthier called to inform me that he has changed his mind and will be withdrawing from his race for re-election," Thiessen said after Gauthier's afternoon change of heart. "I fully support his decision, which brings to an end an unfortunate chapter and will allow the legislature to focus this week on the approval of much-needed relief for those Minnesotans impacted by the recent storms and floods."
Gauthier admitted to police that he engaged in a sexual act with a 17-year-old last month at a public rest stop near Duluth.
The challenge for Democrats will now be to find a replacement for Gauthier. Thissen said Democrats may go to court to try to remove Gauthier from the ballot but they are also pursuing the possibility of mounting a write-in campaign.
DFL Party Chair Ken Martin issued a statement saying he's "grateful" Gauthier stepped aside.
"This has been a very difficult ordeal for our party, our legislative leaders and certainly for Rep. Gauthier and others involved in this tragic situation. On behalf of the DFL Party, we thank Rep. Gauthier for his service in the legislature and we wish him the best on his path to recovery."
Posted at 10:43 PM on August 22, 2012
by Tom Scheck
Filed under: Daily Digest
The State Fair starts today so the political elbows will get a little sharper as more and more people start paying attention. It's been relatively tame so far, right?
We lead the Digest today with DFL Rep. Kerry Gauthier's hokey pokey with his legislative seat.
Early in the day, Gauthier announced he was running. The DFL then released the hounds on him prompting an announcement that he wasn't running for reelection.
The events had the press corps chasing Gauthier's initial decision, the reaction to it and then Gauthier's later decision.
Gauthier initially broke his week of silence by announcing that he was running for reelection but backtracked when Gov. Dayton, DFL Party Chair Ken Martin, Lt. Gov. Yvonne Prettner Solon and DFL House Minority Leader Paul Thissen publicly rebuked him. He also told AP that he was admitted to the hospital because he tried to commit suicide.
Democrats are now saying Gauthier made the right decision. Republicans continue to call for his immediate resignation.
Democrats now have to decide whether they want to go to court with the hopes of removing Gauthier's name from the ballot or rally around a candidate that they could write-in on Election Day.
The DFL Chair in Senate District 7 tells MPR News that they'll hold an endorsing convention "in the next couple of weeks."
Under the Dome
Gov. Dayton is calling a special session for flood aid for Duluth for Friday at 2pm. The total cost is $167 million. That's $25 million less than what Dayton was initially seeking. The special session won't focus on any efforts to bolster the shuttered Verso Paper Mill.
The Subcommittee on Employee Relations will meet on August 30 to take up the state contracts. The chair initially said he would hold a hearing today on the issue.
The Senate Rules Committee will meet on Friday to authorize another round of legal bills regarding a lawsuit from former Senate staffer Michael Brodkorb.
The CBO warns a recession is looming if Congress doesn't act on the "fiscal cliff."
The U.S. is testing surveillance balloons on the border with Mexico.
The AFL-CIO warns Congress on the American Crystal Sugar lockout.
FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg met privately with DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar, DFL Sen. Al Franken and medical technology officials in Minneapolis on Wednesday to discuss the approval time for medical devices.
Discussion within the Federal Reserve hints the board may take new action soon to bolster the economy.
Same-Sex Marriage Amendment
Augsburg College is publicly opposing the amendment.
Race for Congress
The Hill says GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann is staying silent on Todd Akin even though she backed him during the Missouri Republican Primary.
Race for U.S. Senate
Republican Kurt Bills will hold a Thursday newser to call on all Republicans to unite behind Mitt Romney in advance of the RNC Convention. Bills was elected as a delegate to the RNC because he backed Texas Congressman Ron Paul's campaign for president.
Race for President
Republican Mitt Romney will attend a private fundraiser in Minnetonka Beach tonight. He has no public events on his schedule.
Romney will lay out his energy proposals during a speech in New Mexico. He says he wants to make the country energy independent by 2020.
Romney and Republicans face an upheaval over rape and abortion on the eve of the RNC.
Hurricane Isaac is headed towards Tampa and could derail the convention.
President Obama will campaign in three battleground states during the RNC.
First Lady Michelle Obama will also appear on David Letterman's show during the RNC.
Bill Clinton stars in a new ad for Obama.
Polls say Medicare is a key issue in three key swing states.
AP says a Wall St. executive who performed an independent audit of Obama administration's program of loans to energy companies "contributed $52,500 to re-elect President Barack Obama in the months since completing his work."
A new poll says Wisconsin is a swing state.
Gov. Pawlenty snagged a speaking slot at the RNC.
The Obama campaign continues to tie the Romney/Ryan ticket to Todd Akin.
Ryan criticized Akin for his comments but didn't say whether abortion should be allowed in cases of rape and incest.
The PoliGraph says Biden's Medicaid claim is defensible but comes with uncertainty.
The networks may snub Ann Romney's RNC speech.
MPR News has a new election season project called On Message, a collection of campaign ads, literature and robocalls. We'll fact-check them and tell you who's paying for them. But first, we need your help. Click on this link to find out how to send MPR the mailers that land in your mailbox, the e-mails that land in your inbox, the campaign ads that show up in your local paper, and the spots that run on your air and radio waves.