While legislators here in Minnesota remain embroiled in the aftermath of (and suffering indigestion from) his economic policies, Tim Pawlenty was talking money on FoxNews today: “Pawlenty predicts the nation is heading for a ‘double-dip’ recession as a result of too much government money in the economy. Pawlenty, who this month announced his presidential exploratory committee, told Fox News on Tuesday that Americans may see ‘temporary improvement’ because Washington has ‘artificially infused the economy.’ But he warned that the consequences of that would ‘rear its head.’ ‘I think we are headed for a double dip. That’s my personal view,’ Pawlenty told Fox News. ‘I think you have a situation now where they’ve devalued the dollar. A strong dollar represents a strong economy and a strong country. I think they have flooded the economy with fiat money in a way that’s going to have a return of inflation in a manner and to a degree that I think is going to be very troubling.’ ”
Word that that eagerly anticipated May 2 Republican presidential debate has been postponed until September is getting reaction. Alex Pareene at Salon writes: “Tim Pawlenty has an exploratory committee, giving the Republican party a grand total of one serious presidential candidate. Newt Gingrich and Michele Bachmann are expected to announce the formation of their own committees later. Maybe. The best-case scenario would’ve had Pawlenty and Gingrich and maybe Romney, along with an embarrassing smattering of the fringers and kooks. Mike Huckabee already announced that he would skip this debate regardless of whether he decided to run or not. When they announced this thing, they probably expected Romney and Palin and a few of those terribly well-respected but unelectable senators and low-profile governors that the elites crow about every year. Instead they’re getting the Godfather’s pizza guy.” The good news? The gang is still supposed to gather May 5 in South Carolina.
A new Gallup poll shows Pawlenty gaining little to no name recognition among likely Republican voters, and trailing Bachmann. “Although Tim Pawlenty announced the formation of a presidential exploratory committee last week, there was no change in his positioning in Gallup’s March 14-27 polling, compared wtih the previous two-week rolling average. … Despite the flurry of publicity that surrounded Pawlenty’s announcement last week, his recognition among Republicans has essentially not changed, at 40% today, compared with 39% in January.”
MPR’s transcript of an interview with Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak Tuesday inadvertently dropped a zero from His Honor’s argument about LGA. The original story had Rybak citing the “$40 million” in tax revenue Minneapolis sends off to the state. The actual number is much closer to … $400 million. And it appears, by checking with MPR’s PoliGraph blogger, Catharine Richert that Rybak has done his math: “Rybak lays out a lot of reasons why he thinks cutting LGA is a bad idea, pointing out that Minneapolis puts more in the state coffers than it takes out in state aid. He’s correct. City budgeters estimate that the state will collect roughly $380 million in sales taxes and roughly $75 million in commercial property taxes from Minneapolis. Minus the $87.5 million in LGA Minneapolis is slated to get in 2011, the city is expected to provide the state with $367.5 million this year. The Verdict: For his first PoliGraph test, Rybak earns an Accurate.”
By contrast, Richert is also offering a fact-check test on Ms. Bachmann’s oft-repeated assertion about “Obamacare” that “ ‘From the day it passed one year ago until today, there hasn’t been one week that a majority of Americans haven’t said ‘kill that bill.’ ” Says Richert: “Bachmann spokesman Andy Parrish points to a Rasmussen Reports poll that’s been taken regularly since Congress passed the health care overhaul in March 2010. (As far as PoliGraph can tell, this is the only poll that’s asked the question weekly for the past year). According to that data, a majority of likely voters said they would support repealing the new law. The most recent numbers show that 58 percent of those polled strongly favor or somewhat favor getting rid of the bill. But that’s just one poll. In fact, the numbers are all over the map.
• A Kaiser Family Foundation poll done earlier this year found that 39 percent of participants supported Congress replacing the health care law with a Republican alternative or axing it all together.
• A recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll found that 45 percent would support eliminating the law and 46 percent would support keeping the law.
• A January 2011 CNN poll found that 50 percent of voters would support repealing all provisions of the law compared to 42 percent who would support keeping the law intact.
• And a New York Times/CBS poll conducted three times in the last six months shows that less than 50 percent of respondents would support repealing the health care overhaul.
Some of these polls show that voters only want parts of the law overturned, not all of it.” Richert rates this Bachmann claim as “inconclusive.”
In an interview with The National Journal’s “Hotline On Call,” Norm Coleman comes off as a big fan of Pawlenty’s. Lindsey Boerma writes: “Should former Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.) be faced with a choice for president between two fellow Minnesotans — Rep. Michele Bachmann (R) and former Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) — he’d go with Pawlenty, he told Hotline On Call on Tuesday. ‘I’ve been on the Tim bandwagon for a while,’ Coleman said. ‘In the last cycle I said he’d be a great president … and I’ve been consulting on and off with him since.’ But Coleman said he’s also spoken with Bachmann about her plans and ‘what’s in her heart.’ The possibility that both the congresswoman and Pawlenty will make a White House bid presents a dilemma for him. ‘I’ve got one guy that’s in and another very close friend who’s thinking about being in,’ Coleman said. ‘At this point, I am there with Tim, but I have only good things to say about Michele Bachmann.’ “
And there’s a lot flowing in the Internet tubes today about veteran political pundit Joe Klein’s take on the current crop of GOP candidates. Titled “An American Embarrassment,” Klein rips away, saying: “This is my 10th presidential campaign, Lord help me. I have never before seen such a bunch of vile, desperate-to-please, shameless, embarrassing losers coagulated under a single party’s banner. They are the most compelling argument I’ve seen against American exceptionalism. Even Tim Pawlenty, a decent governor, can’t let a day go by without some bilious nonsense escaping his lizard brain. And, as Greg Sargent makes clear, Mitt Romney has wandered a long way from courage. There are those who say, cynically, if this is the dim-witted freak show the Republicans want to present in 2012, so be it. I disagree. One of them could get elected.”
Now, I’m sorry, if I was this young lady’s father … A story by Jessica Fleming in the PiPress features an 18-year-old Lakeville grad, Shannah Henderson, who is in the running to be Charlie Sheen’s “social media intern.” Writes Fleming: “Henderson, who has made it through two previous elimination rounds, now has to best 49 others to win the internship. More than 80,000 people applied. The first thing Henderson did to score her spot was write a tweet saying why she wanted to be Sheen’s intern. Round two was sending in a resume and composing more tweets. For the third round, Henderson made a YouTube video describing the best company using social media today. Henderson chose the Mayo Clinic. Henderson said the opportunity for a high-profile internship was just part of the reason she applied. ‘I personally love Charlie Sheen,’ she said. ‘I think he’s really outrageous and inspiring because he doesn’t let anyone tell him how to live … he doesn’t abide by social norms.’ If she had it her way, Henderson said she’d like Sheen to be president of the United States.” Well, tell him to set up an exploratory committee like everyone else and get ready for that debate in South Carolina.
Finally, it’s gotta be better than a Foghat reunion tour. A handful of “American Idol” rejects are coming to Bunkers in downtown Minneapolis in a couple of weeks. A PiPress story by Amy Carlson Gustafson says: “The show features Hudson high school grad Caleb Hawley. At his audition in Milwaukee, he impressed the trio of judges, including Tyler, who seemed fond of the New York-based singer/songwriter. Joining Hawley at Bunkers is Chicago’s Chris Medina, perhaps the most famous of this year’s ‘Idol’ rejects — and not just for his voice. Medina is responsible for one of the most emotional moments of the season when he introduced his fiancé, Juliana, to the judges. She suffered a traumatic brain injury shortly before the two were supposed to marry.” And then she announced she was setting up an exploratory committee …