After $15 million in campaign lucre and (what seems like) a couple billion attack ads, the two 6th District combatants finally engaged each other face to face … with the presence of a guy named, Bob. Doug Grow’s MinnPost story, covering the first of three Michele Bachmann-Tarryl Clark debates offers plenty of color. Writes Grow: “[B]oth candidates tried to laugh off the tone of the ads, which have ranged from dumb to obnoxious. Clark said she didn’t know she was such a political force until Bachmann unleashed her ads. Bachmann, she said, has just released her 10th negative ad. ‘I hope she noticed I don’t have horns on the side of my head — my head is not on Mount Rushmore [along with Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and President Obama],’ Clark said. Bachmann told the audience of more than 500 that she agrees that the ads have gone too far. ‘I know it’s difficult to watch them,’ she said. ‘I don’t like to watch them either.’ This was the low point in the debate for Bachmann. There was a groan in the room. Even her most ardent supporters understand that Bachmann might have something to do with the tone of the Bachmann ads.”
The AP story, by Martiga Lohn, notes: “Bachmann said the stimulus was an ‘abject failure’ that included money for highway signs proclaiming stimulus road projects and $71,000 to study monkeys on cocaine. Conservatives have seized on the cocaine research grant to paint the stimulus as wasteful and frivolous. The grant went to Wake Forest University in North Carolina from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for research on drug addiction.” That kind of context reporting isn’t so tough, is it?
Annie Baxter’s MPR story works Bob … Anderson in at the end of her story: “Towards the end of the debate, the candidates talked about the abundance of negative ads in the race. Bachmann and Clark have pulled in a combined $15 million in fundraising, and they’ve used much of that money on attack ads. Bob Anderson, who says he raised less than $7,000 in the third quarter, scolded his opponents for their fundraising excesses. ‘You should both be ashamed of yourselves,’ said Anderson. ‘When we’re talking about all the fiscal problems … and you’re spending $15 million between the two of you on these stupid attack ads that people are sick and tired of, we should get back to some common sense in politics. At least I offer that in this race.’ ” Hey, pal, do you have any idea how many jobs at local TV stations are depending on that $15 million?
Another chunk of federal money is getting added to an earlier helping of “abject failure” cash to create work — no, not “kill jobs” — and in the process restore St. Paul’s Union Depot. Jake Anderson of Twin Cities Business writes: “The Union Depot project is expected to create 3,000 jobs between January 2011 and the end of 2012, and it will likely act as ‘Minnesota’s link to the Midwest high-speed rail network.’ Minnesota Congresswoman Betty McCollum announced Monday that the U.S. Department of Transportation will award $40 million to fund renovation … The grant adds to $35 million in stimulus funds awarded to the project in February.” But don’t get ’em started on high-speed rail.
The techie web site Fast Company has an interesting piece on Ms. Bachmann’s use of “mobile surges” to get her message about that tax-lovin’ Tarryl Clark running up the cost of our corn dogs … directly to people attending the State Fair. Writes E.B. Boyd: “Bachmann’s team had prepared a television commercial lambasting her opponent’s (alleged) support for taxes on beer, corn dogs, and deep-fried bacon. (‘Alleged’ because the accuracy of the claims around the corn dog and bacon taxes has since been challenged.) The ad was scheduled to run while the Minnesota State Fair was taking place. [Strategist Eric] Frenchman, who works for Connell Donatelli, realized it would be amazingly powerful to get that ad in front of fairgoers, while they were at the fair itself. So they tossed the ad onto YouTube and created a mobile ad that was targeted at phones located within a 10 kilometer-radius of the fairgrounds. The ad ran for the duration of the fair. The results: 61% of views of the video views came from mobile devices.”
Just like you, me, Exxon/Mobil and whoever’s in Karl Rove’s American Crossroads, Zygi Wilf and his family have the right to make their presence known to political candidates, especially since they need some public help to put up a new $900 million stadium. An AP story reports on their contributions this cycle. They get points for spreading it around. “The New Jersey developers have been trying for years to win public financing for a new football stadium. The Vikings’ Metrodome lease expires after next season.The Wilfs gave $6,000 to the central campaign fund for Senate Democrats, $6,600 to the House GOP caucus and $7,500 each to the House Democrat and Senate Republican accounts. The Wilfs combined to give $3,000 each to Democratic nominee for governor Mark Dayton and GOP nominee Tom Emmer. Third-party candidate, Tom Horner, got $3,500 from the Wilf family.”
The story of the local man and his three sons lost, after their plane disappeared in the high mountains of Wyoming, is pretty gripping, with several poignant details, not the least of which is that the three boys are from a previous marriage. Leslie Brooks Suzukamo’s story in the PiPress says: “The rescue crews know where to look because the plane was on a straight flight path, she wrote, but harsh weather delayed the search until Tuesday. The plane disappeared in the area of Gannett Peak, the highest mountain peak in Wyoming, according to AP. The overnight temperature in the area Monday was 24 degrees with about a 2-foot snow cover, according to the Bucklin family blog. [Luke] Bucklin and the boys all had winter coats and a wool blanket on board, his wife said.”
The UPI story has another pilot flying in the area saying, “ ‘He was having some trouble climbing to altitude to clear the terrain, and indicated he was having trouble with turbulence and couldn’t maintain his altitude,’ pilot Don Loucks told a Casper, Wyo., television station. ‘We lost communication with him, and at that point we don’t know what happened to him.’ “
A commentary in this morning’s PiPress by retired military man and (briefly) Independent Party gubernatorial candidate Joe Repya, familiar around town for his, uh, vigorously conservative point of view, argues against Tom Horner’s Independent candidacy. Declaring himself now “politically unaffiliated,” Repya says: “[R]ecognize Tom Horner for what he is, a Republican. Horner’s Republican track record spans 30 years. His supporters are from the old moderate GOP party; country club elitists and the big business, blue-blood Birkenstock crowd. They are mad because they have no power in today’s GOP, so they have purchased the IP label. After Nov. 2, as with candidates before him, the IP will see very little if anything of Horner or his supporters.” Wait a minute. The “blue blood Birkenstock crowd”?
That was a record-low barometric reading overhead Tuesday as you no doubt heard —- dozens of times — from weather geeks proclaiming a Wind Apocalypse. But other than a few scattered power outages, we seem to have survived the night. The MPR story, by Tim Nelson, says: “It marked the lowest barometric pressure in state history, and MPR meteorologist Paul Huttner said it appears to be the lowest-ever recorded in a non-tropical storm in the continental U.S. A trained spotter said the resulting winds topped 60 mph in Spring Valley, Minn., about a half hour south of Rochester.”
And by now, you’ve also read about the video of country western “star” Troy Gentry killing a tame, captive black bear in a “private wildlife park” back in 2006. You gotta have huntin’ crede if you’re going to move country western CDs, but video pulled up after a FOIA lawsuit leaves, you know, kind of a different impression. An AOL story (with the video), says: “[T]he bear, named Cubby, was largely tame and lived at Minnesota Wildlife Connection, a facility that houses various animals for access to what it calls wildlife photographers. Cubby was one of the animals that budding photographers paid money to come take pictures of, seemingly in the wild. But court records show that after Cubby developed dental problems, his owner, Lee Marvin Greenly, decided to allow Gentry to come to Minnesota Wildlife Connection to conduct a mock hunt of the animal.” If killing a tame bear named Cubby doesn’t say, “macho swagger” what does?