CNN on Coleman-Franken: ‘The gene pool has thinned a little there in Minnesota’

Here’s a transcript from last night’s Sitation Room on CNN.

If you believe media mentions of Minnesota are worth money, this will deepen the state deficit.

WOLF BLITZER: … Changing subjects to another campaign that’s going out in Minnesota. Minnesota has a history of unusual political campaigns, as all of us know. Norm Coleman, the incumbent Republican; Al Franken, the former comedian, as the Democratic challenger; a third party candidate, Dean Barkley, a former senator — he spent a couple of months as a senator and Jesse Ventura, when he was then governor, named him after Paul Wellstone died.

But listen to this exchange they had in the debate yesterday.

NORM COLEMAN: My anger, Gary, in this is about an ad that’s attacking my wife, that’s defaming my wife. There should be limits in this. And I think we’ve crossed them here.

AL FRANKEN: No, this is not about Norm Coleman’s wife. This is about Senator Coleman’s political sugar daddy.

DEAN BARKLEY: I call this a fitting and probably the most negative U.S. Senate campaign in Minnesota’s history.


BLITZER: All right. Let’s start with Gloria. This is wild out there. And it’s a toss-up. I don’t know who’s going to win.

GLORIA BORGER, SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, it is a toss-up. It wasn’t for a very long time. Coleman was given the clear advantage. Obviously, the change in the economy and the fortunes of Barack Obama in that state have really affected Al Franken’s chances, to the point where it’s a toss-up. You have a third-party candidate. That’s clearly going to be a factor here. But you could have a comedian in the United States Senate.

BLITZER: There’s no doubt that Minnesota is going to be Democrat on the presidential level, if you believe all the polls…

BORGER: Right.

BLITZER: But on this Senate race, it’s wild.

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And the question everyone has is how much of the vote…

BORGER: Right.

KING: …whether it is anti-Coleman vote, an “I don’t want a comedian in the Senate” vote or just disgust with the tone of this campaign, which has high school level at best — although there are some serious issues about the issues and the “sugar daddy” reference Al Franken was making was about some questionable money that made its way to Norm Coleman. But the tone of…

BLITZER: Norm Coleman’s wife.

KING: Yes. The tone overall has been pathetic for a United States Senate race. And the question is how much does the Independent get and where does it come from?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: You know, it’s a state with such a great political history — Hubert Humphrey, Walter Mondale, Eugene McCarthy. And to see these two guys, it seems like the genetic pool has thinned a little in Minnesota, I think, you know.


BLITZER: We’ll leave it at that, guys. Thanks very much.

[Note: I mis-copied a word in the headline quote; it should be “genetic,” not “gene.” Since it’s nearly impossible to correct a MinnPost headline, I wanted to make note of it here. Doesn’t materially change the meaning, fortunately.]

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Comments (3)

  1. Submitted by Brian Simon on 11/04/2008 - 12:25 pm.

    “it seems like the genetic pool has thinned a little in Minnesota”

    I won’t argue with that.

  2. Submitted by Ken Kadet on 11/04/2008 - 01:34 pm.

    That said, the CNN “discussion” is nearly unintelligible … TV news once had a great tradition with Murrow, Cronkite, Brinkley, but now…

    Perhaps if the 6th district representative retains her office, she can convince the media to get to the bottom of this thinning gene pool issue along with lingering questions about, you know, Americanism and stuff.

  3. Submitted by Mark Gisleson on 11/04/2008 - 04:28 pm.

    But isn’t it fascinating how Norm’s phony allegations about his wife being smeared got equal weight with whispers about Coleman’s $75k payola?!

    Norm may have just gotten away with the biggest misdirect of all time. I’ve been very critical of Al Franken in the past, but seeing him lose because Norm Coleman performed a bit of sleazy jujitsu would be too much.

    If Coleman wins and then is removed from the U.S. Senate for corruption, Minnesota’s traditional media will stand indicted as enablers for liars.

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