KARE11’s Scott Goldberg says John McCain’s campaign is making Minnesota calls linking Barack Obama to domestic terrorism. One answering machine had the following message: “Hello. I’m calling for John McCain and the RNC, and you need to know that Barack Obama has worked closely with domestic terrorist Bill Ayers.” Fox9 has a similar report. The McCain campaign confirms they’re using the phone messages to link Obama to Ayers.
Weird tidbit from the Strib’s latest Tom Petters story: A judge offered to release Larry Reynolds — Petters’ alleged Vegas/California money-laundering connection — from jail on a $2.5 million bond. Instead, Reynolds asked to be jailed in faraway Minnesota. Why? The story doesn’t explicitly say, though Dan Browning and Liz Fedor write that a plea deal seems imminent. Maybe I’ve read too many crime novels, but don’t you hustle off to a distant pokey if you’re afraid of being harmed closer to home?
The PiPress’ Rachel Stassen-Berger and Dave Orrick say Norm Coleman and Al Franken exchanged post-debate words over the Iraq War in Duluth yesterday. What words? Minnesota Democrats Exposed posts the non-audio video and GOP spin, though it looks like Coleman might’ve quipped first. Anyway, Coleman defended his pro-war votes because “I’m not going to tell the parents of any kid that’s died in Iraq that your kid died for a mistake.” More on this today, I suspect.
The third-man factor: Dean Barkley was feisty; when Coleman touted his pledge not to run negative ads, Barkley said the only thing missing was an apology. He dinged Franken for unrealistic tuition-support proposals. As always, MPR’s Bob Collins has an easily gleanable debate liveblog here and the station’s Mark Zdechlik has a comprehensive story here. WCCO’s Pat Kessler runs out of gas with Barkley here.
More Senate debate: One of the interesting things the PiPress duo emphasizes is how often Coleman went after Barkley — perhaps an indication that Republicans, who trail DFLers in party ID, need those independent votes more? Coleman correctly blamed fellow Independence Partier Jesse “Give It All Back” Ventura for the state’s big 2003 budget deficit; but Barkley also correctly pinned it on top GOP and Democratic legislators. That was a tri-partisan failure.
The 6th Congressional District debate featured Democrat El Tinklenberg and an alien occupying Michele Bachmann’s body. The alien claimed distance from President Bush, with whom the real Bachmann swapped spit at the State of the Union. Seriously, Bachmann noted her opposition to the “Bush-Democrat” bailout bill (a largely accurate description). But does it undo everything else? Also, creepily, Bachmann said she would kiss Barack Obama if he wins, AP’s Martiga Lohn reports.
More congressional debate: The Strib’s Pat Doyle notes Bachmann also touted her rejection of Bush’s comprehensive immigration reform; she blamed illegals for “bringing in diseases, bringing in drugs, bringing in violence.” Tinklenberg attacked Bachmann for supporting Bush’s de-reg mania while on the House financial services committee, MPR’s Tim Pugmire says. (MinnPost story here.)
Hmmm, I wonder how the federal government could’ve been asleep at the regulatory switch all these years? One clue: on-their-way-to-failing firms’ donations to the Republican National Convention. The PiPress’ Tom Webb has the dishonor roll: AIG ($750,000) and Freddie Mac ($250,000). Also on the list: financial giants getting capital injections: Citigroup ($350,000), Goldman Sachs ($250,000), Wells Fargo ($250,000), etc. This happened at the Democratic convention, too — which should’ve received more prominent mention.
Second-dude-to-probably-not-be Todd Palin told northern Minnesotans the right to bear arms “wasn’t just another amendment,” AP’s Patrick Condon reports. He was endorsing Coleman at a pre-Senate debate rally. Palin also chatted with KQ radio yakker (and St. Paul columnist) Bob Sansevere. Sansevere asks Palin who won Wednesday’s presidential debate, but nothing about the dude’s role in Troopergate. Palin claims his wife once dressed up as Tina Fey for Halloween. (MinnPost story here.)
Related: Minnesota Independent’s Paul Demko gets a shot of a “Charles Manson was a community organizer” sign at the rally. Anyone from the dais condemn that? Demko, who is not predisposed to the Palin/Coleman ticket, takes a dour view of the proceedings.
The Strib’s Kevin Diaz and Glenn Howatt say Mark Dayton’s ex-wife, Alida Messenger, is Minnesota’s biggest political donor over the past eight years: $9.2 million, mostly to Dems. That’s nearly quadruple the top Republican, 2002 gubernatorial hopeful Brian Sullivan ($2.3 million). Shockingly, all donors insist there’s no sinister motive. (Messenger has given a mil to this cycle’s outdoors/arts amendment.) The third-biggest local giver is a San Francisco Democrat, and the fourth is a Republican who loves traditional marriage.
Minnesota lost another 2,300 jobs in September; it’s losing them faster than the rest of the nation, the PiPress’ Julie Forster writes, though the 2008 percentage dip (so far) is less than half that of the last recession year, 2002. The state’s unemployment rate, a hefty 5.9 percent, is still below the nation’s 6.1. The Strib’s Mike Meyers frames the trends this way: “Most Minnesota workers in their 40s were in their teens the last time the state faced the kind of travails that lie ahead.”
Metro foreclosure-related home sales have quadrupled from last year and now make up a third of all transactions, the PiPress’ Christopher Snowbeck reports. Realtors claim the transaction percentage has climbed because traditional owners pull back in the late summer, while lenders don’t. We’ll see. The Strib’s Jean Hopfensperger touts $58 million soon to arrive here from the feds for cleaning up blighted properties. More is coming for mortgage relief.
Great and timely history piece from Iric Nathanson on the Strib op-ed page: how FDR’s bank bailout actually propelled the union movement in Minnesota. Some of you know about the 1934 Truckers’ Strike, but I never realized FDR used the feds’ banking/lending authority to get rabidly anti-union businessfolk to the table. It’s either a wonderful exemplar for a more socially just future, or a harrowing harbinger of federal overreach, if you’re Joe the Plumber.