Posted at 6:30 AM on September 20, 2012
by Catharine Richert
Filed under: Daily Digest
Welcome to the Daily Digest, where Graves launches his first ads against Bachmann, Pawlenty becomes a banking lobbyist, and Romney tries to shift the debate to comments Obama made in 1998.
Census data shows that Minnesota's economy is stabilizing.
Rural Minnesota is retooling their health care in a wave of hospital mergers.
The Department of Justice's inspector general said that federal officers should face disciplinary reviews over Operation Fast and Furious.
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg says the Defense of Marriage Act will likely end up in the highest court.
The Congressional Budget Office predicts that 6 million people will be taxed under the health care law for not carrying insurance.
The Race for Congress
Democrat Jim Graves launched his first television ads in his race against Rep. Michele Bachmann.
PoliGraph says that an American Action Network ad running in the 8th Congressional District is misleading.
Tim Kaine, a Democrat from Virginia, is leading his Republican opponent for the first time since the race began, a new Washington Post poll shows. A Democratic victory in Virginia could determine which party controls the Senate.
The Presidential Race
On Wednesday, Mitt Romney told donors that he cares about the poor and middle class. Romney is trying to distance himself from comments he made at an earlier fundraiser regarding those who don't pay taxes.
Romney tried to shift the focus to comments President Barack Obama made in 1998 about redistributing wealth.
The latest polling from several sources shows that Romney has a tough road to the White House while President Barack Obama has a modest lead.
Obama is getting a boost from better housing numbers.
Romney appears to be softening on immigration.
Tim Pawlenty has been named the head of the Financial Services Roundtable.
Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate for president, will visit Minnesota.
WASHINGTON - Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty has been named the head of the Financial Services Roundtable, one of the top bank lobbying groups in Washington, which represents the nation's top 100 financial institutions.
The announcement comes a little over a year after Pawlenty dropped out of the Republican presidential contest. Since then, Pawlenty has served as a surrogate for Mitt Romney's presidential campaign and was a shortlist contender for the Republican vice-presidential nominee. Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan was chosen instead.
Unlike many heads of Washington trade associations, Pawlenty has neither served in Congress, nor does he have much private sector experience. He was governor of Minnesota from 2003 to 2011.
Pawlenty's hiring comes as the banking industry continues to grapple with implementing the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial overhaul which was prompted by the 2008 financial crisis. The FSR helped lead the industry's opposition to many provisions in the legislation.
"I'm excited about this new challenge," Pawlenty said in a statement. "I realize there is still work to be done to continue to earn customers' confidence."
The FSR spent nearly $7.7 million on lobbying in 2011, according to Opensecrets.org, and has has contributed $380,000 to candidates running for election this year.
Pawlenty succeeds the group's long-serving president, Steve Barlett, a former Texas Congressman. Bartlett reportedly earned $2 million a year.
The Romney campaign issued a statement quoting both Pawlenty and Romney.
"It is an honor to call Mitt and Ann my friends," said Tim Pawlenty. "My new position as CEO of The Financial Services Roundtable does not allow me to participate in partisan campaign activities. For that reason, I am stepping down from my position as co-chair of Mitt Romney's presidential campaign. My work with Mitt has been a privilege. Mitt Romney is a truly good man and great leader. As the campaign moves into the home stretch, he has my full support and continued faith in his vision and his policies."
"Tim Pawlenty is a dear friend," said Mitt Romney. "He's brought energy, intelligence and tireless dedication to every enterprise in which he's ever been engaged, and that certainly includes my presidential campaign. While I regret he cannot continue as co-chair of my campaign, his new position advancing the integrity of our financial system is vital to the future of our country. I congratulate him on his new position and wish him every success in carrying out his new mission."
Lt. Gov. Yvonne Prettner Solon is scheduled to skydive with the U.S. Army on Tuesday.
In a news release, Prettner Solon says she'll join the Golden Knights, the U.S. Army Parachute Team, on a tandem skydive exercise in St. Paul. The group will jump from an altitude of 12,500 feet and will fall at a rate of 120 miles an hour. They'll land on the Minnesota State Capitol grounds.
"The men and women of our Armed Forces put their lives in danger every day in defense of our freedom and our way of life," Prettner Solon said in a statement. "I am honored to join the Golden Knights in this public demonstration of support for those who selflessly serve our country."
MPR News first inquired about the jump last month and a spokesman for the governor said Prettner Solon would not be involved. A spokesman for the governor says she became open to the jump after learning more about it. Jumping with one of the U.S. Army's premier skydiving units may have eased her concern.
The two candidates running for Congress in Minnesota's 6th District are battling over the number of debates that should be held this election year.
A spokesman for Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann's campaign says she has agreed to three debates. They are: a St. Cloud Chamber debate on Oct. 30 at the St. Cloud Convention Center, an MPR News debate on The Daily Circuit on Nov.1 and a KSTP-TV debate on Nov. 4.
But Democrat Jim Graves wants more debates. Adam Graves, campaign manager for Graves, says his campaign is requesting a total of seven debates over the next 47 days. He said they want a debate held in each county of the 6th Congressional District, which includes St. Cloud and several northern and western Twin Cities suburbs.
"She did 15 debates when she was running for president, and we think that the constituents who pay her salary are certainly worthy of the same amount of attention," Adam Graves said.
Graves said they have not yet agreed to the number of debates or specific debates.
Bachmann's campaign manager Chase Kroll says it's his understanding that Graves committed to the three debates the Bachmann campaign did.
"We've set up three debates and invited Graves - one live, one radio, and one TV. We were told he'd do all of them. Now he's saying maybe he won't," Kroll wrote in an e-mail. "Why won't Graves keep his word?"
Kroll didn't say whether Bachmann would agree to any more debates.
Tussling over the number and location of debates is not unusual in campaigns.
Incumbents typically prefer a smaller number of debates while challengers call for more as they try to raise their political profile heading into Election Day.
A day after her Democratic opponent Jim Graves put two television spots on the air, Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann is striking back with an ad of her own.
The 30-second "No Room for Us" ad paints Graves as a big spender.
"Graves' time in Congress would be an expensive stay for Minnesota taxpayers," the ad states. "Big spending Jim supported the wasteful trillion dollar stimulus, and the $700 billion bailout."
Graves "fancies himself a moderate," but "there is simply no evidence to back up that claim," said Bachmann spokesman Chase Kroll in a press release. "Jim Graves has already given his support to big-spending policies that are driving the federal budget deeper into debt."
Bachmann is also running a radio ad that promotes some of her bipartisan accomplishments including the construction of the St. Croix bridge.
Yesterday, Graves launched two TV spots, one highlighting his biography and another that focuses on Bachmann's response to the destruction of the Verso Paper Mill in Startell, Minn.
The ad accuses Bachmann of not being responsive to the mill workers. Bachmann did meet with Sartell city officials to discuss the mill site, but it was after the mill closed.
We'll update this post when we get comment from the Graves campaign.
Here's a statement from Jim Graves:
"Rep. Bachmann is using falsehoods to distract voters from her record of reckless spending in Congress and her failure to represent the people of her district. On Rep. Bachmann's watch--during her three straight terms in office--our nation suffered unprecedented government growth and a deepening national debt, under both democratic and republican leadership. Unlike career politicians, such as Rep. Bachmann, Jim Graves is a businessman with real-life experience balancing budgets and creating private sector jobs. And that's why the people of Minnesota's 6th District are coming out in support of Jim Graves."
The gloves are coming off in Minnesota's 6th District.
One day after Democrat Jim Graves ripped GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann for being AWOL after the Verso Paper Mill fire, Bachmann goes after Graves in her latest ad.
Bachmann and Graves are in a skirmish over debates. Bachmann agreed to three debates but Graves is calling for more.
The Star Tribune is calling the 6th District a "battleground."
Under the Dome
There are calls for the St. Paul Crime Lab to shut down amid new doubts over the handling of evidence.
An audit found that the Arts Board could improve oversight of Legacy funds.
Frac Sand mining opponents are pushing for a three-year moratorium.
A farmer has been acquitted in the raw milk trial.
Lt. Gov. Yvonne Prettner Solon will skydive with the Army on Tuesday. The group will land on the Capitol lawn.
Supporters of an effort to fix the Old Cedar Ave. Bridge in Bloomington are planning a rally on Saturday with the hopes of getting funding for the bridge in next year's bonding bill.
Weekly jobless claims fell slightly in the U.S.
Minnesota's job numbers ticked up slightly in July and August.
CNN says policies being pushed by the Federal Reserve favor the rich.
There are renewed questions about the potency of Al Qaeda following the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Libya.
The U.S. plans a new inquiry on the attack in Libya.
President Obama says extremists are using the video as an excuse to attack.
The Obama Administration is airing ads in Pakistan, condemning anti-Islam film.
AP says the tax penalty under President Obama's health care law will hit 6 million people.
Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak and other mayors are warning that the impact from the fiscal cliff will harm cities across the country.
Lawmakers are clashing over the next steps after a report has been released on the Fast and Furious gun case.
The Washington Post says President Obama's overhaul of education largely leaves out Congress.
The House voted to change the Obama Administration's policy on welfare.
DFL Rep. Collin Peterson was one of several Democrats who joined Republicans and vote for the change.
The Census Data shows that the nation's economy has bottomed out and is in a fragile recovery.
The U.S. is drawing down troops in Afghanistan.
A Senate panel says Microsoft and H-P used accounting strategies to hold down their tax bill.
DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar is pushing for continued funding for drug courts.
Constitutional Amendment to ban Same-Sex Marriage
Earnings at General Mills were unhurt by the boycott.
The Vote No campaign released its second ad of the cycle.
Voter ID Amendment
AP says Voter ID laws are pushing black women to turn out the vote.
Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty says he won't run for governor or the U.S. Senate in 2014. Pawlenty took a job to be a top banking lobbyist in Washington D.C.
Pawlenty's move leaves a big opening for Republican candidates in 2014. It also gives DFL Sen. Al Franken a financial advantage heading into the next cycle.
Race for President
Libertarian Gary Johnson will campaign at Macalester College today. He'll be joined by former Gov. Jesse Ventura, who is backing Johnson's campaign.
President Obama said at a Univision forum that "You can't change Washington from the inside. You can only change it from the outside."
Romney is criticizing Obama for saying he can't change Washington from the inside.
President Obama says immigration reform has been his biggest failure.
Obama mocked Romney on the '47% remarks.'
Romney picked up the pace on his campaign appearances.
The Boston Globe says Romney's father was on public assistance as a child.
The latest campaign report says President Obama has more campaign money than Romney.
Romney's FEC report showed a cash crunch before the RNC.
The New York Times says Romney is struggling to find new large donors.
Politico says Romney awarded bonuses to top aides after the RNC.
Gallup's Daily Tracking poll has the race tied at 47%.
Homer Simpson votes for Mitt Romney.