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In or not, Bachmann prez bid draws attention

AFTERNOON EDITION More Bachmann, Bachmann, Bachmann. Also: Judge v. Judge, startling poverty numbers, and more Favre.
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With people already playing “just imagine” games with news of Michele Bachmann’s presidential aspirations, as in … “Just imagine a primary debate between Bachmann and Sarah Palin …,” the punditry on her rumored run has begun. Salon’s Steve Kornacki writes: “It’s not hard to imagine that watching Christine O’Donnell, Sharron Angle, Joe Miller and others triumph even after being mocked for their erratic behavior and deemed certain general election losers made Bachmann say, “Why not me?” Add in the seeming weakness of the ’12 GOP field, Bachmann’s built-in national fundraising network, her Iowa roots, and the narrowness of the Iowa caucus electorate (and the fact that it may only take 30 percent to win), and it sort of makes sense that she’d think about taking a shot, doesn’t it?”

But, he adds: “More likely is that Bachmann will seek to challenge Sen. Amy Klobuchar in 2012 — although, given Bachmann’s baggage, that would be a reach, too. Minnesota isn’t as liberal as many assume (yes, it voted for Walter Mondale and Michael Dukakis — but also Rod Grams and Norm Coleman), but it’s probably the case that the state’s 6th District represents Bachmann’s ceiling in elected politics.”

Over at the conservative “Hot Air” site “allahpundit” writes: “I pray it’s true. Because let me tell you: A “Palin vs. Bachmann” storyline in the primaries would be the political event of a lifetime. She wouldn’t win but she could make a dent by drawing tea partiers away from base favorites like Palin and Pence. Remember: Bachmann’s a bona fide funfdraising phenomenon. She’s one of the few Republicans in the House outside the leadership with a national profile, and she founded Congress’s tea party caucus so her ‘true conservative’ credentials are as sterling as they come. (Well, almost.) She’d get plenty of free media too from the left attacking her relentlessly. And her presence in the race would raise the following question, albeit tacitly: Why Palin instead of her? Granted, Sarahcuda’s got two years as governor, but Bachmann’s got 10 years’ experience as a legislator at the state and federal level. Besides, the national electorate no longer demands executive experience before considering someone for president, as we’ve learned to our considerable dismay.”

Says Eric Kleefeld at Talking Points Memo: “ Really, if both Palin and Bachmann ran, it would seem like they would be fishing from the same pool of voters. So is a possible Bachmann campaign just a bid for attention as the presidential cycle heats up — or could it be a sign that maybe Palin might not run after all, and a similar politician is looking at just such a contingency? And of course, Bachmann’s fellow Minnesotan Tim Pawlenty also appears to be gearing up for a run, which would complicate things even further. Keep in mind that the last time Bachmann decided to run for a higher office — going from state Senate to the U.S. House in 2006 — she said that she and her husband fasted for three days, praying for confirmation from God that He was indeed calling them to do it. As Bachmann told a friendly mega-church crowd during that campaign: ‘And after — along about the afternoon of day two — He made that calling sure.’ ” And then, on the third day, she rolled back the rock and …

Politico writes: “Bachmann won’t say whether she’s running for president, and insists the focus should be on making sure President Barack Obama isn’t elected to a second term in 2012. ‘I think what people are asking for is a bold, strong, constitutional conservative, and I think we’re going to find out who that person is. But the main focus right now needs to be on the fact that we cannot afford a second term for Barack Obama’, Bachmann said in the Capitol Wednesday when asked by POLITICO whether she believed possible GOP presidential contenders can equal her credibility with tea party conservatives.”

Stribbers Jeremy Herb and Kevin Diaz call around for comment and report: “Klobuchar, who could face a costly reelection campaign against Bachmann, declined to comment on Bachmann’s presidential prospects. U.S. Rep. John Kline, the dean of the Minnesota GOP delegation to Congress, said ‘anybody who’s interested is welcome to explore it and see what support they can gather.’ But, Kline added, ‘I’m supporting Pawlenty.’ A spokesman for Pawlenty did not respond to a request for comment.”

Phil Picardi and Mark Zdechlik at MPR write: “Carleton College political science professor Steven Schier said Pawlenty isn’t likely happy to have Bachmann in the mix. ‘I think he will be publicly gracious about it, but frankly if you have more than one candidate from a state running for a presidential nomination that doesn’t help any candidate from the state who’s running for the presidential nomination,’ Schier said.” And come on, in the end, this is really all about money, right?

Well, no one is going to be under-lawyered in this row. Rochelle Olson of the Strib reports on two judges, a husband and wife now divorced, battling it out over what I guess is an alleged ethics violation on her part. But it quickly spirals off into the ineffably silly. Writes Olson: “The board alleges Patricia Karasov violated the state constitution by living outside her county-wide district at a Chisago City lake home, improperly taking a homestead tax credit on an Edina townhouse and impeding the board’s investigation. The Karasovs married in 1988 and separated in 1994 shortly after Patricia Karasov won election to the bench. They officially divorced in 1996. She began her questioning, ‘You did not come to my swearing in.’ [Fred Kasarov] said, ‘correct.’ She asked him about the free cable the family got in a new home while they were married. ‘I vaguely remember that,’ Fred Karasov said. She responded, ‘I called the cable company and they found an illegal box in the attic … You were very angry that I had done that because we had to pay for the TV.’ He said, ‘I don’t recall that.’ ” But when they get to the “Where were the tomatoes on the bruschetta grown?” part, you’ll be glazey-eyed.  

MPR has an AP story on startling new poverty numbers. The piece opens: “The number of poor people in the U.S. is millions higher than previously known, with 1 in 6 Americans — many of them 65 and older — struggling in poverty due to rising medical care and other costs, according to preliminary census figures released Wednesday. At the same time, government aid programs such as tax credits and food stamps kept many people out of poverty, helping to ensure the poverty rate did not balloon even higher during the recession in 2009, President Barack Obama’s first year in office. Under a new revised census formula, overall poverty in 2009 stood at 15.7 percent, or 47.8 million people. That’s compared to the official 2009 rate of 14.3 percent, or 43.6 million, that was reported by the Census Bureau last September.” And if we just get rid of the estate tax, those people will be fine.                                       
With his final game under his belt and the Vikings’ season over, Brett Favre isn’t our problem anymore. But still, the lurid appeal lingers. CBS’ “Early Show” says the Ol’ Gunslinger kind of liked a crowd when he got down to business. “The harassment suit — filed by Christina Scavo and Shannon O’Toole — claims Favre sought to have group sex with Scavo and an unnamed third therapist. He allegedly texted: ‘Brett here you and crissy want to get together im all alone.’ And a second message cited in the lawsuit said, ‘Kinda lonely tonight, I guess I have bad intentions.’ According to Scavo, Favre ‘eyed her like a hanging slab of beef’ and, after telling her husband about the texts, he confronted Favre on the phone and demanded an apology. Favre, the suit claims, refused.” Now what gal doesn’t want to be looked at like a prize Angus steer?