Clinton makes Twin Cities stop for Klobuchar campaignby Tom Scheck, Minnesota Public Radio
The race for Minnesota's open U.S. Senate seat took a twist over the weekend. Former President Bill Clinton raised $1 million for Democrat Amy Klobuchar and the DFL Party Saturday night at an event in St. Paul. He praised Klobuchar for being stronger on the issues than her Republican opponent, Mark Kennedy. Kennedy's campaign has also ramped up its criticism of Klobuchar in a new TV ad.
St. Paul, Minn. — President Clinton's 25-minute speech to about 1,500 people was meant to rally the DFL faithful and provide the ever-important campaign money to Amy Klobuchar and the DFL Party. Clinton said Klobuchar was one of the strongest Democratic candidates in the country. He praised her for discussing ways to balance the budget, for calling on a comprehensive energy plan and for wanting to invest more money on police and fire to increase homeland security.
"People understand that this is a very serious moment and we face big challenges. One of the things I respect most about Amy's campaign is that she doesn't just say what she's against, she tells you what she's for if you hire her for the next six years," Clinton said.
A large portion of Clinton's speech focused on President Bush and the Republican-controlled Congress. Clinton says poverty is on the rise, middle class wages are not keeping up with inflation and wealth and power is being concentrated to the select few. He also warned the audience that Republicans would probably focus on dividing the electorate before election day.
Klobuchar's speech focused mostly on her key campaign talking points, that she wouldn't play favorites. She would bring fiscal responsibility to Washington and would put the average person first. Klobuchar also urged a supportive audience to defend her record to skeptical voters.
"Do you want six more years of Mark Kennedy and that crowd and the fiscal mismanagement or do you want to send someone that is going to close down the tax shelters for the wealthiest and help middle class people buy their homes and send their kids to college and get this deficit under control?" Klobuchar said.
Klobuchar also criticized Kennedy for running what she describes as the first negative ad of the campaign. The TV ad, which started running over the weekend, picks up on Kennedy's campaign theme that Klobuchar says one thing but does another.
"Amy Klobuchar attacks lobbyists, but records show she was a registered lobbyist for 12 years. She crusades against special interests, yet took a half a million dollars from a group that funnels money to extremely liberal candidates. She attacks big oil and pharmaceuticals, but has thousands invested in both," the ad says.
Kennedy's campaign spokeswoman, Heidi Frederickson, says they're running the ad to highlight Klobuchar's record. She says Klobuchar was a registered lobbyist between 1986 and 1998. She has the support of Emily's List, a group that backs female candidates who support legalized abortion; and has mutual funds that include pharmaceutical and oil stocks. Frederickson also criticized Klobuchar for appearing with President Clinton.
"Ms. Klobuchar from the beginning of her campaign has talked about running this without Washington celebrities. Today, having a former president in town, clearly a Washington celebrity. This is another example of Amy Klobuchar's continuing hypocrisy," the spokeswoman said.
Frederickson says Kennedy is best suited to bring change to Washington because he has worked with Democrats during his three terms in Congress. Klobuchar calls Kennedy "a rubber stamp for President Bush" because he votes in support of Bush's policies more than 90 percent of the time. Bill Clinton isn't the only political heavyweight from the 1990s weighing in on the race. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich will hold a fundraiser for Kennedy on Monday.