Obama in Minnesota tells Congress, ‘Stop playing games’

AFTERNOON EDITION

It was a big day in Cannon Falls. President Obama, and a fat slice of the national press corps descended on the usually quiet little burg.

Erica Werner of the AP reports: “In response to a question, Obama also took the chance to counter the anti-big-government stance embraced by the tea party and largely by the Republican presidential field. He noted that although government doesn’t do everything well, it’s also responsible for sending a man to the moon and for the military defending the country, among other things. ‘When you go to the National Parks and those folks in the hats, that’s government,’ Obama said. ‘As frustrated as you are about politics don’t buy into this notion that somehow government is what’s holding us back,’ he said. He made clear he believes Congress is responsible for that, at least in part, accusing lawmakers of putting politics ahead of the country and calling on voters to tell them to cut it out. ‘You’ve got to send a message to Washington that it’s time for the games to stop, it’s time to put country first,’ Obama said.”

David Jackson of USA Today writes, “Some highlights:
1:57 p.m.A little girl asks one last question: Why did he visit Cannon Falls? Obama says he heard it has the smartest and best looking kids around.
1:50 p.m. — A man follows up on the health care plan — and worries that the conservative Supreme Court will strike it down. What if that happens? Obama defends the central feature of the plan — the requirement that nearly all Americans have to buy health care — and says it ‘should not be controversial.’ He notes that more lower courts have upheld the law than not, and if the Supreme Court follows precedent it should uphold the law as well. Obama had earlier taken a poke at those who call the plan ‘Obamacare.’ ‘Yes’, Obama said, ‘I do care.’ “

Lesley Clark of the McClatchy papers noted: “He offered no new ideas, but outlined a number of measures that he’s been pushing, including an infrastructure bank to rebuild crumbling highways and bridges. He also said there’s a need for tax reform, citing investor Warren Buffet’s recent New York Times essay in which he said that the wealthy should pay more. ‘He pointed out that he pays a lower tax rate than anyone in his office, including the secretary,’ Obama said. White House officials said Obama is pleased to be out of Washington after a month of bickering with lawmakers over how to raise the nation’s debt ceiling. And voters at Lower Hannah’s Bend Park were thrilled to see Obama — they began lining up for the free tickets at City Hall at 1:30 a.m. on Sunday.”

Josh Gerstein of Politico zeroed in on this: “The Secret Service has revealed to Talking Points Memo that the government has purchased two armored buses for use by President Barack Obama and Republican candidates in the 2012 presidential campaign and beyond. The agency initially declined to tell TPM whom the buses were bought from, but based on some searches of federal databases it looked to me like the seller was Hemphill Brothers Coach Co. of Whites Creek, Tenn. Last July, the Service signed a contract for nearly $2.2 million with the firm, according to a federal procurement database. (The entry doesn’t specify the number of buses.)”

Mike Kaszuba of the Strib live-blogged the Cannon Falls event. A sample:

11:41 a.m.
As he waited for President Obama, Bud Widholm of Cannon Falls stood with arms folded. Widholm did not vote for Obama in 2008 — did not vote for anyone for president — but has sympathy for the embattled Democrat. ‘He inherited a lot,’ said Widholm, 81, a retired state employee. ‘I blame Congress for most of the problems.’ Widholm saved most of his disdain for the Tea Party. ‘Congress has got to go along with some programs instead of ‘No-No-Nyet-Nyet,’  he said. ‘I’m against the Tea Party. I’m a centrist.’ “

Elizabeth Baier of MPR looks at what the residents of Cannon Falls want from the president. Strangely, it has nothing to do with cutting spending: “[M]any in Cannon Falls have the same message for the president — to focus on job creation. William Lacefield owns a small bike and canoe rental shop in this town along the Cannon River. Even though he supported Republican John McCain in 2008, he blames the financial crisis on forces beyond President Obama’s control. ‘I’m sure he’s trying to do a good job. Every president who’s been up there has tried to do a good job,’ said Lacefield. ‘But some of them have more influence with Congress and the Senate than others, and sometimes that helps promote whatever it is they’re pushing.’ “

Delta Dental has made a $3.5 million contribution to the U of M dental school. Lorna Benson of MPR reports: “The University of Minnesota’s School of Dentistry has received a major gift toward its campaign to build the state’s first hospital-based pediatric dental clinic. Delta Dental of Minnesota Trust has given $3.5 million to the proposed clinic scheduled to open in April of 2012. The clinic will be located in a specialty medical building that’s connected to the new Amplatz Children’s Hospital on the university’s west bank campus.”

St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman is proposing a 6.5% property tax increase. The PiPress reprints the Mayor’s speech. The Strib’s Rochelle Olson reports: “The proposed increase came a year after Coleman and the City Council didn’t increase the levy. The 2010 levy is $94.6 million, the same as 2009. Coleman’s speech provided the outlines of a budget with no significant new programs. Cutbacks in state aid have made recent budgets less than dazzling. The mayor had no major initiatives in his speech last year, either.”

They finally found someone to take the Wisconsin Supreme Court choking case. Todd Richmond of the AP writes: “A rural prosecutor will decide whether to charge Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser with attacking a liberal colleague. Sauk County District Attorney Patricia Barrett said today she has accepted a request from Dane County’s chief judge to serve as a special prosecutor in the case. Now she must weigh Justice Ann Walsh Bradley’s accusations that Prosser choked her in June and decide whether to bring criminal charges against a sitting member of Wisconsin’s highest court. Barrett, a Republican, said she’s still waiting for Dane County Sheriff’s detectives to forward their reports to her and didn’t know when she might make a decision. ‘I haven’t even seen the materials. I don’t know how much I’ll have to go through to review,’ she said. Prosser, a 68-year-old former Republican legislator, is widely viewed as part of the Supreme Court’s four-justice conservative majority. Walsh Bradley, 61, is seen as one of the three-justice liberal minority. The two factions have been feuding openly for years, but the tension between them rose to new levels in June as the justices deliberated over a legal challenge to Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s contentious collective bargaining law. Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne, a Democrat, argued GOP lawmakers violated Wisconsin’s open meetings laws during debate on the measure. Walsh Bradley claims she told Prosser to get out of her state Capitol office during a meeting on June 13. He then clamped his hands around her neck in a chokehold, she has said.”

A helicopter will be used to install new powerlines along I-94. The AP story says: “Xcel Energy spokesman Tim Carlsgaard says the work is expected to begin Tuesday afternoon. He says motorists along Interstate 94 might notice the helicopter hovering near the 150-foot towers and workers perched on the towers. They also might see sparks or smoke and hear loud booms a couple of times a week as crews splice the wires using ‘implosive connectors,’ which use explosives to weld cables together. The company says the noise will be similar to a 12-gauge shotgun blast.” … Which you hear all the time along I-94 anyway.

Comments (4)

  1. Submitted by Tim Walker on 08/15/2011 - 04:32 pm.

    And here I thought helicopters and power lines were mortal enemies…

  2. Submitted by Mark Gisleson on 08/15/2011 - 05:05 pm.

    My experience with the UM dental services has been quite negative. Not the services offered, but their insistence on scheduling all appointments on the hour, when students are changing classes.

    If you’ve ever been on the West Bank campus at class change, you can well imagine what a nightmare this is for dental patients. To now add to that logistical mess harried parents trying to get their children to appointments and, well, this needs to be fixed and since the UM is notoriously indifferent to these matters, the legislature should feel free to step in.

    My druthers would be to move the new clinic away from the campus, but I’m sure they’re locked into keeping everything tightly bunched together on the West Bank, the most congested piece of real estate in Minnesota.

  3. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 08/15/2011 - 05:51 pm.

    I’m curious to see how President Obama will play this election cycle. After all, he can’t say ANYTHING

  4. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 08/15/2011 - 06:01 pm.

    make America’s corporate giants (or as we’ve recently seen with Romney, any fabulously wealthy individual who wants do create a dummy corporation in order to make such an unlimited “corporate” donation).

    Thanks to the “Citizen’s United” decision, by which the US Supreme Court handed the keys to the US national political process to our wealthiest corporations and individuals,…

    Obama (and every senator and congressperson) has to be constantly measuring their words because if they say something that offends some corporate CEO or wealthy individual, those big money people now have the power to bury that offending politician under a blizzard of B.S. negative political ads,…

    knowing full well that the American Public is uninformed, ignorant, and distracted enough to cast their votes based on whatever political ad made the biggest impression on them in the last few hours before they went to the polls.

    The only thing that MIGHT save us is that if the ads are continuous enough, ominous enough, and over the top enough, the public will universally find the mute buttons on their TV remotes or the fast forward buttons on the DVRs and wear them out ignoring what have becoming meaningless and annoying interruptions to the programs they’re trying to watch (I can dream, can’t I?).

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