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Michele Bachmann whips up the true believers at CPAC

AFTERNOON EDITION ALSO: Good marks for state’s anti-smoking efforts, but smokeless tobacco use rising; foreclosures on rise, too; a Super Bowl ticket fight; and the fates of the Dome and Twins’ Liriano.
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Once you forsake the bridle of diplomatic niceties, you can say damn near anything … and make even more headlines. Michele Bachmann’s “Hu’s your daddy?” punchline at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) is easily the sound bite of the day. CBS’s Political Hotsheet blog says: “Bachmann offered red meat to her young audience at the conference, a cattle call for GOP presidential contenders that had about 11,000 registered attendees. She repeatedly referenced the socialism she ascribed to the Obama administration, calling it a ‘formula for destruction of job creation,’ and warned that her audience could soon be paying a 75 percent tax rate to cover the nation’s debts. ‘Socialism might sell well in a Harvard faculty lounge, but when it comes to finding a job, not so much, not so much,’ she said.”

Joanne Bamberger at Politics Daily writes: “One of the most interesting aspects of her speech, though, was what Bachmann had to say about precisely who she wanted to see win the Senate in 2012. She was very clear that in her book a Republican victory won’t be enough — only a takeover led by conservatives would be sufficient to move the country forward in the image that CPAC-ers want. It was clear that Bachmann was still struggling with some of her facts. She spent several minutes discussing the national debt, explaining the difference between billions and trillions, claiming that since 2006 it has been the Democratic Congress that was at fault for the ballooning of the deficit. She conveniently left out of her remarks that one of the biggest contributors to the deficit were the major tax cuts in the Tax Relief and Health Care Act of 2006, signed by George W. Bush.”

The Strib’s Kevin Diaz writes: “Bachmann, introduced by CPAC organizer David Keene as ‘part of the core’ of modern conservatism, shaped her remarks to fit the movement’s three largest strains. ‘Your passion is about fiscal conservatism, and I am one of you,’ said the three-term congresswoman. ‘For some of you, your passion is about defending the moral values that grounded this country, and I am one of you. And some of you are all about national security … and I am one of you.’ ” By “core” does that guy mean the heart or the brains?

Her keynote appearance prompted Jack Stuff and the scurrilous wags at Wonkette to whip up “A List of Insane Things Michele Bachmann has said at CPAC …  today.” For example: “ ‘If the president wanted to be like Ronald Reagan, he would sign a balanced budget amendment!’ ” And “ ‘We are the Saudi Arabia of energy’!”

According to a report out of the Centers of Disease Control, Minnesota’s concerted anti-smoking campaign has worked rather well. US News and World Report writes: “Sustained tobacco-control efforts in Minnesota have led to a 27.1 percent decrease in adult smoking rates, from 22.1 percent in 1999 to 16.1 percent in 2010, says a new study. During that same time, the adult smoking rate in the United States declined only 15 percent, from 23.3 to 19.9 percent.”

Lorna Benson of MPR draws a story from a local survey that I suspect is a subset of the CDC work: “ [T]he report also revealed some troubling findings. While smoking and tobacco exposure rates declined, the use of smokeless tobacco products such as snuff and snus doubled. In 2007, the rate of use was 4.4 percent. By 2010, it had risen to 9.6 percent. ‘That’s proportional almost to the amount of advertising that’s going on,’ [Raymond Boyle, director of research programs for ClearWay Minnesota] said. ‘All of the smokeless tobacco companies have essentially been bought by tobacco companies and they’re now heavily promoting existing products and brand new products. So the marketplace is evolving.’ “

Benson’s colleague, Elizabeth Dunbar, files a story on the foreclosure sale rate: “The report shows there were 25,673 foreclosure sales in 2010, compared to 23,092 in 2009. The 2010 number is the second highest on record after the 26,251 foreclosure sales that occurred in 2008, the report said.The report analyzed sheriff’s sale data from all Minnesota counties. The groups said a decline in foreclosure sales late last year due to concerns about banks not having proper paperwork to approve foreclosures didn’t translate into fewer foreclosure sales overall for 2010.”                                         

You’ve heard of the kerfuffle over the 400-seat section at the Super Bowl that was ruled off-limits for legitimate ticketholders, right? KARE’s Jana Shortal files a story on a Hudson-based Packer fan who doesn’t care how much the NFL does to  make amends … he’s suing: “[Cowboys owner Jerry] Jones and the NFL have been trying to make this right by offering fans affected three times the face value of tickets and a ticket to the 2012 Super Bowl. Today the NFL announced a second option, a ticket to any future Super Bowl along with round trip airfare and hotel accommodations. Jim [Rouleau] and about 1,000 other fans affected are saying no, and are now a part of the class action lawsuit in Dallas federal court seeking 5 million dollars in damages.” Pal, by the time this is over, your cheesehead attorney will have taken your tickets and the best hotel rooms anyway.

It is Sid, every stadium idea’s best friend, but he’s reporting that the experts say the Metrodome roof is beyond repair: “The Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission will meet today and, according to a good source, is expected to hear the evaluation from engineers that a complete new roof is needed for the Metrodome at a cost of $18 million.” So that’s $155 million for Target Center, $25 million for the Saints, $800 million-plus for a “real” Vikings stadium and $18 million to tide us over. It’s a good thing we don’t need roads.

Twins fans probably did a double-take at the headline to Stribber Joe Christenson’s story, “Trade [Francisco] Liriano? It isn’t just crazy talk.” He writes: “By mid-March, if the other five starters — Carl Pavano, Brian Duensing, Scott Baker, Nick Blackburn and Kevin Slowey — are healthy, and top prospect Kyle Gibson looks like the real deal, the Twins might be weighing offers for Liriano.”