Yet another poll shows Al Franken leading Norm Coleman. According to Fox9, the Rasmussen Reports survey has Franken 43-37 over Norm, with 17 percent backing Dean Barkley. Like the Strib poll, Ras shows Barkley taking equally from Democrats and Republicans.
A Coleman spokester became a YouTube star with an epic display of stonewalling Wednesday. The issue: Did a friend/contributor buy the senator and his wife Neiman-Marcus clothing, as Harper’s Magazine alleges? “The senator has reported every gift he’s ever received,” went the mantra. The PiPress’ Rachel Stassen-Berger — best supporting actress on the video for boring in — says Coleman reported no such gift. So why not just answer no? Weird. The dailies keep this out of their paper editions.
KTCA’s Mary Lahammer says Norm publicly denied off-circulated rumors of marital infidelity for an “Almanac” special airing Oct. 22. “Coleman said he’s been true to his wife, although he conceded his marriage hasn’t been perfect.” He blames pro-choicers (and suspicions about his wife’s L.A. acting career) for the chatter. Lahammer says the interview persuaded at least one undecided woman man to vote for Norm.
Oh, you want substance? AP’s Patrick Condon says Coleman’s campaign defended supporting private Social Security accounts. (Norm says young workers should have an optional stock market diversion.) Meanwhile, Coleman fired back that a Franken plan for portable 401Ks was a tax hit for individuals. Condon differs: The plan “would be financially beneficial to all but the highest-income wage earners.” But Franken would let folks use the “401U” for homebuying, which could sap retirement savings.
Turns out Tom Petters’ assistant Deanna Coleman was the whistleblower; the case came together in a single furious month after she approached authorities. The PiPress’ Nicole Garrison-Sprenger and John Welbes note her salary was $300,000 a year and she received $8 million in bonuses. Now she faces five years in the pokey and the prospect of being penniless, given she’s jointly liable for damages from the fraud. Her lawyer denies she came forward because suspicious hedge funds were closing in, the Strib’s Dan Browning reports.
Related: Unsurprisingly, Petters was denied bail Wednesday.
Van-driving kid-killer Olga Franco’s 12-year sentence was handed down Wednesday. The PiPress’ Ruben Rosario notes that’s in the middle of the guidelines’ range, and notes ex-South Dakota Gov. Bill Janklow got only 100 days for a vehicular homicide in 2003. The judge acknowledged he’d please no one with the sentence, and movingly read the names of the dead from the bench. The PiPress’ John Brewer reports that at least one parent was OK with Franco’s term.
I-94 will lose that fourth lane after all; at least westbound between Riverside and 25th Avenue. The shoulder will be restored, the Strib’s Jim Foti writes. The half-mile born-again bottleneck will allow buses exclusive use. A carpool-only lane could come in 2010.
KSTP’s Survey USA has Democrat Ashwin Madia beating Republican Erik Paulsen 46-43 in the 3rd Congressional District. The Independence Party’s David Dillon is taking a percentage point or two more from Madia. Minnesota Independent’s Chris Steller looks at the crosstabs. MPR’s Curtis Gilbert assesses the “lies” Paulsen’s campaign claims Madia made.
A new MPR/Hump Institute poll shows what I sense in my gut: The habitat/arts constitutional amendment has plurality but not majority support. The ayes have it 46 to 36 percent. Nine percent say they’ll pass on the question — which is the same as a no when it comes to amendments. Ten percent are undecided. The poll also shows support for Gov. Pawlenty above 60 percent, but Dems are favored generally in legislative races 45 to 34 percent.
MPR’s Ambar Espinoza details the machinations of Melanie Benjamin’s removal as Mille Lacs band of Ojibwe chief executive. The tribe has a separation of powers; a court ordered a tribal assembly hearing stopped, but the assembly blew through the stop sign and ousted Benjamin. She won re-election just this summer, but a petition alleges unspecified ethical misdeed.
I had no idea Progresso soups contain MSG. Fortunately, I found out thanks to Tom Webb at the PiPress, who notes General Mills is pulling the ingredient in response to an earlier move from Campbell’s. Why am I supposed to hate this stuff? Story doesn’t say, but Big G calls it a “safe” flavor enhancer. Nevertheless, there’s apparently p.r. value in a ban.
Cosmo-like, PiPress restaurant critic Kathie Jenkins lists “12 Great New Restaurants” in the Twin Cities. A new St. Paul family restaurant makes the list, as does a Solera spinoff.