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Cravaack explains jobs speech absence

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Chip Cravaack huddled with his staff in his office to watch and discuss President Barack Obama’s jobs speech in real-time last Thursday, but he regrets that his absence caused such a fuss, he said today.

Four Minnesota reporters who attended the speech were unable to find Cravaack in the House chamber during the address. Cravaack’s spokesman said afterward that the first-term Republican watched the speech with his staff. Minnesota Republican Michele Bachmann also missed the speech, but she was delayed by rain, she said that evening.

A handful of GOP lawmakers skipped Obama’s speech because of their political differences with the president. Not so in Cravaack’s case, he said.

“There was no malice in there at all,” he said in an interview off the House floor on Tuesday. “We were all in my office viewing the thing on TV and discussing it as it went on, and I got a lot of good input from my team.

“If I had known there was going to be that much of an issue, I would have gone.”

As for the jobs plan Obama introduced during the speech, Cravaack said he is withholding offering an opinion on it until the Congressional Budget Office has released its report on the plan’s costs.

Devin Henry can be reached at

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Comments (7)

  1. Submitted by James Hamilton on 09/13/2011 - 04:03 pm.

    Would it be cynical of me to suggest that Rep. Cravaack is witholding offering his opinion until party leaders tell him what it is?

    Either way, his absence from a joint session speaks volumes about the state of the union.

  2. Submitted by Harris Goldstein on 09/13/2011 - 04:39 pm.

    It certainly speaks to the boorish, childish behavior of Cravaack and some of his colleagues. You can oppose without sinking to that level.

  3. Submitted by Ralf Wyman on 09/14/2011 - 09:14 am.

    Wait, was he in his office in Washington D.C.? He couldn’t take 5 minutes to walk over (or take that cute little legislators-only tram)?


    Watching in his office is not an explanation. It tells us what he did, but not at all WHY.

  4. Submitted by Beryl John-Knudson on 09/14/2011 - 09:18 am.

    Give the man a broom, he’d poke himself in the eye…give him a rifle, he’d shoot himself in the foot.(Old prairie proverb)

    Whether Cravaack was executing a political snub…more likely he needed staff input (tutors) in order to understand the substance of the speech…which says a lot about the limitations embedded in the congressman’s incapacities I suppose.

    And as far as Congress in general, you get what you pay for, eh? Sad sign of the times…

  5. Submitted by Jackson Cage on 09/14/2011 - 09:52 am.

    The Face of The Tea Party….and man, it’s looking uglier every day.

  6. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 09/14/2011 - 04:15 pm.

    “..more likely [US Navy and commerical airline pilot, Chip Cravaack] needed staff input (tutors) in order to understand the substance of the speech.”

    Now don’t you feel silly?

  7. Submitted by Don Frey on 09/16/2011 - 03:41 pm.

    Since the President of the United States was addressing a joint session of Congress, and since Mr. Cravaack was elected to represent ALL the people of northern Minnesota in that Congress, what possible excuse could there be for not being in attendance? The same question should be asked of Mrs. Bachmann, or was the rain cloud only over her and not the rest of Washington, D.C.? The lack of respect for the office of the President, whether you agree with the current holder of that office or not, is inexcusable. Maybe it’s time we sent all 435 members of Congress home and started fresh with those who respect our governmental system and their roles and responsibilities in it.

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