The “Psalm 2” vandals get the press they wanted for hitting six local congresspeople’s homes. Forum Communications’ Don Davis says Norm Coleman’s campaign tried to link the crime to Al Franken’s anger. However, Davis notes, “The vandals did not discriminate. Victims are Muslim, Christian and Jewish; conservative and liberal; white and black; Democrat and Republican.” The Village Voice’s Roy Edroso has some fun with rightwingers who blamed “leftists” before reports emerged that Democrats were also hit.
More vandals: Franken promptly condemned the attacks. His condo building wasn’t hit; this was incumbents only, but the PiPress’ Rachel Stassen-Berger notes Franken’s campaign headquarters have been vandalized. Dean Barkley did same. Betty McCollum’s condo building wasn’t hit either, the Strib’s Pat Lopez notes. The PiPress’ Ruben Rosario agrees with Coleman about the angry political culture but isn’t partisan about it. Katherine Kersten blames us for coddling anarchists.
The law enforcement response: A Stillwater officer tells Davis vandals were connected but worked in teams. Stassen-Berger says U.S. Capitol police are involved, and no group has taken responsibility.
Another good poll for Franken: A new Big Ten Battleground poll gives Franken a 40-34 percent lead over Coleman, with Barkley getting 15 percent. The Big Ten survey is new this year, so it doesn’t have much of a track record.
Campaigning in Forest Lake, Michele Bachmann makes the not-unreasonable statement that “the United States may literally be changed forever,” if Barack Obama wins, but I don’t think she means it in a good way. Bachmann scrambled back to her anti-tax, anti-“socialized medicine,” anti-union happy place, MPR’s Tim Pugmire says (though not in so many words).
Bad news, Michele: The Big Ten poll gives Barack Obama a whopping 57-38 percent lead over John McCain in Minnesota; the poll had shown a razor-thin margin earlier a month ago. Obama has double-digit leads in every conference swing state from Pennsylvania to Iowa. Yes, that includes Ohio.
The $1.3 million flowing into El Tinklenberg’s coffers since Bachmann’s “anti-American” flub gets more national attention. Bachmann’s spokester tells the L.A. Times the dollar eruption came from “a game of telephone gone into overdrive — nothing more.” One analyst says when donors are shown a video, they give 10 percent more. AP reports 15 percent of Tinklenberg’s new donors are from Minnesota.
Meanwhile, national Republicans pulled ad support from Bachmann, the PiPress’ Dennis Lien and Stassen-Berger report. This may be less meaningful than it seems; Bachmann still has $1.4 million to fight off an expected $2.5 million response from local and national Dems, and there’s only so much TV time you can buy at this point in the race.
KSTP’s Tom Hauser reviews an anti-Bachmann TV ad and finds it true. Bachmann did claim “hyper-regulation” caused the financial crisis and did get $100K from financial interests. (The actual figure is $105,000.) Hauser does note Tinklenberg received $12,000 from the same groups.
MPR’s Tom Scheck notes the state Republican Party will buy $110,000 worth of ads for Erik Paulsen, the 3rd District congressional candidate. It won’t make up for the lack of national Republican money, but it’s something. Scheck says overall Minnesota ad spending has topped $40 million. A national Republican independent group pulled $500,000 worth of ads supporting Norm Coleman, but a business group will kick in $150,000. NPR says Americans for Job Security doesn’t disclose donors.
An undercovered election story is starting to get some play: The relatively popular Tim Pawlenty is campaigning in key legislative districts to stave off a veto-proof DFL majority, the Strib’s Mike Kaszuba notes. Democrats could pick up the five seats they need, but Republicans forsee a six-seat pickup that would get them to a 79-55 deficit. In 2006, DFLers won 12 seats in Bush/Pawlenty districts. DFLers downplay veto-proofing, which would give any single member of their caucus inordinate power.
Back to the U.S. Senate race, and a moment of substance: Franken basically accepts massive deficit spending during a recession, the PiPress’ Dave Orrick reports. U Prof. Larry Jacobs pressed Franken during a forum about spending and tax-cut plans that don’t add up. Norm Coleman gets his turn today; neither candidate has done well by the deficit, but Franken’s trying to argue for Keynesian economics even though our credit card is overheating. Dean Barkley will probably freak.
News of the weird: The Strib’s Randy Furst reports that a recent Anoka County DFLer created the watermelon-and-rib-festooned “Obama bucks” as a parody of GOP fringies’ view of a black president. A California GOP official validated the satire, putting the illo in a newletter, later forcing her resignation. The illustrator now won’t tell Furst where he lives for fear of retribution. He took down his website Wednesday.
A Michigan man pled guilty for attempting to bomb an Xcel Energy Center tunnel before the Republican National Convention, the Strib’s Paul Walsh and James Walsh report. Matthew DePalma planned to use a napalm-like Molotov cocktail to knock out the convention’s power. He faces up to 10 years in prison.
The city of Minneapolis fought the lawman and won. A jury decided discrimination didn’t keep Hispanic officer Giovanni Veliz off the Gang Strike Force. “Veliz wouldn’t have been picked for the job no matter what,” one juror devastatingly tells the Strib’s David Chanen. A Veliz supporter notes that whatever happened, “Gio is going to be a marked man” for pursuing the action. Ex-chief Bill McManus gave testimony supporting Veliz, apparently to no effect.
The Strib’s Maria Elena Baca says low-income heating assistance applications are up 20 percent from 2006. However, federal funding has more than doubled since that year, to make up for higher energy prices. The largest grant is $1,325.
Southwest Airlines’ planned March arrival in the Twin Cities is already paying off: Northwest will add flights and match Southwest’s fares, the Strib’s Liz Fedor reports. The PiPress’ John Welbes says you can start buying Southwest tickets Nov. 6. There will be four to five more NWA-to-Chicago flights every day.
Mike Ciresi’s law firm’s foundation and three other groups are suing Wells Fargo for not letting them escape a mortgage-security investment fund, the PiPress’ Nicole Garrison Sprenger writes. The plaintiffs say Wells misrepresented investments as safe and “cut off communication, making it impossible to know exactly how much their investments are worth and just how much they’ve lost.” The bank denies it, but I wouldn’t want to face a Ciresi-backed lawyer in court.
No shock: The Business Journal’s Sam Black reports the headquarters building for Petters Group Worldwide is on the market. The landlord renovated the building just last year to meet Petters’ specs. Polaroid, a Petters-owned company, is trying to stay onsite.