Michelle Bachmann’s assessment that Barack Obama “Absolutely … may have anti-American views” languished on the Strib’s inside pages this weekend, but leaps to the front page after Colin Powell called her proposed media exposé of Congress “nonsense.” Reporter Pat Doyle says opponent El Tinklenberg raised $630,000 afterward; MPR’s Tim Pugmire says national Dems will add $100,000. MinnPost’s Doug Grow notes Republicans claim an 11-point Bachmann lead, and the PiPress’ Rachel Stassen Berger says history is on the congresswoman’s side.
Lying about a smear: On WCCO, Bachmann claims the media “misread” her Obama comments — she was just calling for a media investigation there. Uh-huh. (And by the way, the media have looked into Ayers and Wright — they just haven’t found what certain Republicans want). MPR’s Bob Collins takes MSNBC griller Chris Matthews to task for not pinning down Bachmann more effectively; the major critique takes place in the comments.
Two polls show Tupperware-tight U.S. Senate race. KSTP’s Survey USA poll gives Norm Coleman a 41-39 lead over Al Franken. That’s from a 38/31/27 Democrat/Republican/Independent sample, a plausible split. Dean Barkley gets 18 percent, a hair more from Democrats than Republicans. A Research 2000 poll for the lefty Daily Kos site shows Franken ahead 41-39. The D/R/I split is 40/31/29. Lesson: it’s all about who shows up Nov. 4.
More Senate polling: Neither survey says if Norm’s attempt to regain virginity on negative ads is paying off; the Strib’s poll is due Tuesday. If you’re not addicted to the cool election-prediction site Fivethirtyeight.com, now’s the time to wrap that rubber hose around your arm and shoot up. They project a 0.7 percentage point Franken win currently.
The Washington Post gives 3rd Congressional District Democrat Ashwin Madia a little love, noting he’s inched ahead in the polls and exemplifies Democratic gains in the ‘burbs and exurbs. Opponent Erik Paulsen is painted as pragmatic, dull, socially conservative and experienced in a year where that’s a borderline liability. National Dems have kicked $1.5 million Madia’s way.
Both Twin Cities dailies came out against the outdoors/arts constitutional amendment over the weekend. Today, one supporter of the sales-tax hike tells AP’s Steve Karnowski 57 percent of voters who pull the lever must vote yes because non-votes count as “no’s.” The newspapers might be an indication that won’t happen.
Interesting number from the Strib’s Norman Draper and Patrice Relerford: School funding referenda success rates drop from 60 percent to 53 percent in presidential years. Apparently, turnout is bad for the spending initiatives. This year, 42 districts are seeking cash, though that’s the lowest number since 1996. In Minneapolis, the Chamber of Commerce, which supported previous referenda, is neutral this year. Economic woes that dog the outdoors/arts amendment might torpedo the school efforts, too.
The Strib’s Katherine Kersten criticizes a Minnesota Bar Association initiative to chronicle and reverse unequal laws affecting same-sex couples. Kersten says enhanced legal rights have made it easier for other state courts to rule “traditional” marriage laws unconstitutional. She’s probably right, but her remedy seems to be keeping as many unequal barriers in place as possible.
In this morning’s “no-duh” scientific study, U researchers determine students who “didn’t exercise, lacked sleep, watched too much TV, gambled, drank alcohol or smoked cigarettes” get lower GPAs. My favorite part: The lure to get 9,000 student responses was a $3,000 lottery incentive, the PiPress’ Jeremy Olson reports. Some interesting details: Lack of insurance hurt performance, but full-time workers had better grades than non-workers.
It’s been written about before, but the Strib’s Lora Pabst offers a deeply satisfying tale of young hairstylists being taught to recognize signs of domestic abuse and push customers toward help. Several recent high-profile murders give this effort extra urgency.
A retail analyst tells MPR’s Martin Moylan that Wal-Mart is “dramatically better positioned” than Target to navigate the retail slump. A whopping 40 percent of Target’s business depends on discretionary home and apparel purchases — not so great with a deep recession looming. Retailers predict the slowest holiday season since 2002.
If you ever drank too much wine at the New French Bar or Cafe, the Strib’s Susan Feyder sparks nostalgia: Minneapolis won’t let developers tear down the building that once held the swilling emporiums. The building is vacant, and cruddy, but still a part of the historic Warehouse District. Perhaps the biggest news is developers want to erect a three-story building there in this economy.
Nort spews: The Brad Childress Farewell Tour left Chicago with a 48-41 loss, thanks to horrid special teams play and four Gus Frerotte interceptions. The only silver lining is the Bears and Packers have to play here in the season’s second half. And by the way, new Timberwolves forward Mike Miller is voting for John McCain.