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‘Dedicated’ Pawlenty staffers working for little or no money

MORNING EDITION ALSO: Pawlenty popular with evangelicals; RS article on Bachmann spurs journalism controversy; quick verdict in Swanson trial; and more.
Read Thur. Afternoon Edition


You see, it’s like they believe in T-Paw so much it’d be an insult to accept money. Kevin Diaz of the Strib’s D.C. bureau checks out the story that some Pawlenty staffers are working for little or no pay: “Pawlenty’s camp portrays it as a sign of dedication. But according to the Washington Post, which first reported the story, the revelation ‘raises questions about the campaign’s resources’ to compete against the likes of presidential rivals Mitt Romney and Michele Bachmann. Pawlenty aides, feeling burned by the Post’s account, pushed back against the story. The demonstrated motivations of the senior team on this campaign have nothing ‘to do with money and everything to do with friendship and belief in Tim Pawlenty,’ said campaign consultant Phil Musser, one of five top aides identified in the Post as working for next to nothing. … Musser’s take is similar to the account of a Pawlenty aide quoted anonymously in the Post. “Our consultants are either volunteering their time or working for peanuts,” the source told the paper. ‘This may be hard for some in Washington to accept, but they’re on Team Pawlenty for the right reasons.’ The same source, who later spoke to the Star Tribune, indicated that Pawlenty’s fundraising has gone up and down — one down period coming since Pawlenty’s much-criticized performance in last week’s GOP presidential debate in New Hampshire.”

Linked, sort of, is the Strib’s religion writer, Rose French, noting a poll showing T-Paw running in the lead among evangelicals: “Tim Pawlenty leads the list of preferred 2012 Republican presidential candidates. That’s according to a monthly poll of leaders of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) — which also happens to be led by Pawlenty’s pastor, the Rev. Leith Anderson. The poll shows 45 percent said they would name Pawlenty as the Republican candidate. Mitt Romney trailed Pawlenty with 14 percent. Twenty-two percent were undecided. ‘Tim and Mary (wife) are devoted followers of Jesus, bright, articulate, a proven record and have none of the negatives of the other candidates’, said George Wood, General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God, in a released statement Thursday from the NAE.” At mega-churches you can contribute to the evangelical candidate of your choice by debit card, can’t you?

There’s a good inside-baseball journalism controversy firing up over a Rolling Stone piece by Matt Taibbi on Michele Bachmann. It isn’t kind, by any means. But that isn’t the issue. What is is that a lot of it seems cribbed from serious reporting done by bloggers like Karl Bremer, Ken Avidor and Bill Prenderghast at Dump Bachmann and/or Ripple in Stillwater, and a couple of features by MinnPost contributor G.R. Anderson while working for City Pages. Abe Sauer at The Awl (Be Less Stupid) runs a long post laying out for his national audience who has done the best work on Our Favorite Congresswoman’s career:

The laundry list of stories broken by this Dump Bachmann-Stillwater crew represents a trove of original reporting on the congresswoman. For campaign trail reporters looking for the crib notes, Avidor suggests Dump Bachmann’s “skeleton closet” page, a list of all the best bits from seven years of coverage. While Rolling Stone and many others focus on the sensational anti-gay storylines that play well to the coastal elite choir, Bremer and Avidor have been the leading muckrakers in Bachmann’s connection to the Petters ponzi scheme, which might end up being far more damaging to her campaign. Bremer broke the story on Bachmann’s “pardongate,” a 2007 request from the congresswoman to pardon a donor of hers, Frank Vennes Jr. Vennes, a Petters Ponzi scheme accomplice, was later indicted for fraud and money-laundering. Avidor has been covering the trail in a separate blog, Vennes Info. Vennes represents the near-entirely uncovered corruption angle of Bachmann’s career. Avidor suggests that if Vennes pleads not guilty, Bachmann could be compelled to testify at his trial — not the best of looks for a candidate mid-campaign. But Bremer’s greatest complaint is Rolling Stone ‘smearing the town of Stillwater as some whites-only, wealthy gated community that propelled Bachmann to the national scene.’ And Avidor said that ‘the smear of Stillwater is what sticks out for me.’ ‘I can’t believe he ever came here,’ Bremer said. Actually, he didn’t: Taibbi confirmed to me that he never set foot in Minnesota for the piece.”

Less than an hour. Michael Swanson was found guilty of murder in about as much time as most people eat lunch. The Des Moines Register’s Jens Krogstad writes: “When the case went to the jury around 2:30 p.m., Swanson was led out of the courthouse. A television station cameraperson captured Swanson on video as he smiled and raised both of his middle fingers. In closing arguments, the prosecution and defense battled over the issue of Swanson’s sanity at the time of his crime. Legal insanity requires a person to not know right from wrong, or not appreciate the nature of an action. Swanson, 18, showed premeditation and knowledge of right and wrong before and after he held a gun to the face of Sheila Myers, 61, and pulled the trigger on Nov. 15, Assistant Iowa Attorney General Becky Goettsch said. The Minnesota teen admitted to police that he knew he was going to shoot Myers while he sat in his car outside a Kum & Go in Humboldt and chambered a round into the gun.”

KCCI-TV in Des Moines says in its story: “Dr. Michael Taylor, a state medical expert, was called to the stand to discuss his evaluation of Swanson on April 26. He said Swanson was calm, relaxed, smiling easily, even when talking about the shooting or being arrested or his desire to kill people. There was no indication of emotional distress. “Mr. Swanson is not suffering from any type of diagnosable psychiatric disorder,’ said Taylor. ‘He was fully capable of understanding the nature of his acts and differentiating between right and wrong when he shot and killed Sheila Myers.’ ” Key word: “Diagnosable.”

I remember reading something like this about a year ago. Apparently things haven’t got any better. Rob Olson of Fox9 reports: “If you’re frustrated with your job, you’re not alone. A new study shows one out of three workers are looking for a new job, but with unemployment claims spiking, they may hit road blocks. Yet, a national expert on workplace happiness says training your brain could help. Weekly unemployment claims rose to 429,000 last week, which was higher than expected and marked the biggest jump in four weeks.”

Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin will be in Hudson Saturday to sign a couple of bills. Andy Rathbun of the PiPress reports: “Walker will sign Senate Bill 26 at restaurant and event center the Valley House at 2:45 p.m. and Senate Bill 54 at the St. Croix County Government Center at 4 p.m. Senate Bill 26 allows the state to secure money for its share of the proposed St. Croix River bridge project without requiring that the project receive federal funding. Senate Bill 54 classifies synthetic marijuana-like drugs and two stimulant drugs as controlled substances.”

Quite the party. More than 80 arrests. Crack cocaine. Heroin. Guns. The Strib story on a bust in south Minneapolis says: “The arrests included a dozen people who were jailed on weapons and narcotics charges and for outstanding warrants, said Sgt. William Palmer. Also, 75 people were cited for participating in a disorderly house, a misdemeanor, and were released. A police SWAT team raided the building on the 3000 block of 27th Ave. South at 3:05 a.m.”

Finally, “Chad,” over at the conservative Fraters Libertas, blog got around to reading George W. Bush’s book. And he’s a little upset:

“[T]here was one jolting example of how Bush approached one particular decision — how to respond to the 2008 financial crisis — that I found rather disturbing:

I adjourned the meeting and walked across the hallway to the Oval Office. Josh Bolten, Counselor Ed Gillespie, and Dana Perion, my talented amd effective press secretary, followed me in. Ben’s historical comparison was still echoing in my mind. “If we’re really looking at another Great Depression,” I said, “you can be damn sure I’m going to be Roosevelt, not Hoover.”


I’m not surprised when I see such historical ignorance displayed in the media or in the populace at large. They’ve long been fed the narrative that laissez-faire Hoover fiddled while the Depression worsened and that only the big government activism of FDR saved the country from certain ruin. But to see a president of the United States, a REPUBLICAN president of the United States, in this day and age continue to believe that canard is stunning. We often heard stories during the Bush years about how well read the president was and how he and Karl Rove even had contests to see who could read the most books in a year. Apparently he never had a chance (during his years in the White House or since retiring to private life) to pick up any one of a number of texts that have explained the real history of the Great Depression.”

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I mean haven’t we all heard about George W. and Rove’s book-reading competition? It’s why I love those blogs.