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Pawlenty: Obama is ‘the Barney Fife of presidents’

AFTERNOON EDITION ALSO: Suit against day-care union vote; Best Buy’s weekend success; and Minnesota scores on ‘opportunity’ scale.
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T-Paw gets back in the news loop with a shot at President Obama. Rachel Stassen-Berger of the Strib reports it began when the Democrats put up a video of Mitt Romney clips with the putative GOP front-runner taking opposite sides on a series of issues. At this point … enter T-Paw:  “In reaction, the Romney campaign trotted out a dozen conference calls to defend the former Massachusetts governor’s record. Among those reacting: former Gov. Tim Pawlenty. ‘The last thing they want to do is run against Mitt Romney,’ former presidential candidate Pawlenty said of the Democrats. ‘The strongest Republican candidate in the field to run against and defeat Barack Obama is Mitt Romney. … they are purposely and systematically now trying to tear him down.’ Although Pawlenty did not address the flip-flopping allegation, he shared a new description of the president. ‘President Obama when it comes to the economy is really the Barney Fife of presidents,’ said Pawlenty. For those too young to recall Fife, he was the bumbling Mayberry deputy sheriff on the 40-plus-year-old Andy Griffith show.” Well clearly, Team Obama is going to have to “nip it, nip it, nip it in the bud.”

Also back grabbing some attention is the Minnesota Family Council. This time it’s a lawsuit to stop the vote on unionizing day-care providers. Tim Pugmire at MPR reports, “A group of 11 child care providers is filing a lawsuit Monday to try to stop a unionization vote next month. The lawsuit claims Gov. Mark Dayton exceeded his authority when he ordered the vote among about 4,200 state-subsidized child care providers. Two labor unions, SEIU and AFSCME Council 5, have been trying to organize providers throughout the state. … The plaintiffs in the lawsuit are backed by a coalition of conservative-leaning groups, including the Minnesota Family Council, Minnesota Free Market Institute and Minnesota Majority.” That reminds me, I haven’t watched “The Usual Suspects” in a while.

Best Buy is hoping a season a weekend makes. At the Christian Science Monitor, Dhanya Skariachan writes, “U.S. retailers racked up a record $52.4 billion in sales over the Thanksgiving weekend, a 16.4 percent jump from a year ago, as early hours and attractive promotions brought out more shoppers, an industry trade group said on Sunday. Among the early winners after the traditional start of the holiday shopping season was Best Buy Co Inc, a reversal from 2010 when the electronics retailer’s erroneous bet on 3D televisions led to a disappointing season. Best Buy drew in shoppers by being one of the companies that opened its stores at midnight Thanksgiving night, and unlike in 2010, it focused more on having lower prices for big TVs and other popular items.” Guess who’ll be opening at 5 a.m. Thanksgiving morning next year?

Something called Opportunity Nation says Minnesota is the second-best state to get another shot. KBJR-TV up in Duluth posts a press release saying, “Opportunity Nation’s new Opportunity Index ranked all 50 states based on unemployment rate, poverty rate, on-time graduation rate, and others indicators with Minnesota coming in 2nd place. Minnesota earned a score of 81.2 out of 100. What helped Minnesota to stand out was how the state weathered the economic downturn with higher than average incomes and low unemployment rates, high graduation rates (87%) and keeping children in school (only 4.7% of MN teens are not in school and are not working). Nationally, the index found that the biggest indicator of low opportunity to climb the economic ladder is when there’s a high percentage of teens not going to school and not working. The Opportunity Index uses data from multiple sources including U.S. Census Bureau, the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the National Center for Education Statistics, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and other official sources.” #1? Connecticut. Dead last? Nevada.

My teacher … the pimp? At the PiPress Elizabeth Mohr reports, “Tameshia Leeann Allen-Hodges, 23, of Oakdale was accused of bringing a 21-year-old female student with developmental disabilities to her home, where she took photos of the student in lingerie and suggested she perform sex acts for money. The photos were posted online with the student’s contact information. The student told police she received multiple calls and said at least one man came to Allen-Hodges’ apartment, though the student said she did not engage in any physical contact with him, according to a criminal complaint.” The countdown is on for the first teacher-basher to blame this on Education Minnesota.

Who among us will step up and assure Vikings Nation that the team will be on TV Sunday? Jerry Fowler of the PiPress writes, “With their on-field product waning into NFL obscurity, the Minnesota Vikings will need a 72-hour rally in ticket sales to avoid the franchise’s first local television blackout since 1997. The Vikings need to sell almost 3,000 tickets before noon Thursday, the NFL’s deadline, to secure a sellout for Sunday’s game against the Denver Broncos at the Metrodome, Vikings vice president of sales and marketing Steve LaCroix announced today. The Vikings might be quietly rooting for Tim Tebow — a growing NFL story line while leading Denver to a 5-1 record as a starter with an unconventional throwing motion and outspoken Christian beliefs — to drive ticket sales this week.” Praise the Lord! And pass the Tebow!

Speaking of the Vikings’ better days …  did you see the video of Joe Kapp, now 73, duking it out with another pro ball geezer?  “ … Kapp, a 73-year-old Canadian Football League Hall of Famer, got into a fight with another CFL Hall of Famer, 74-year-old defensive lineman Angelo Mosca, at a league alumni function Friday, an incident caught on video. Kapp and Mosca reportedly have issues stemming back to the 1963 Grey Cup, the CFL championship game … .” If you’re keeping score at home, that’s 48 years ago.

You really can’t go wrong opposing bullying. Gov. Dayton is preparing announce … a task force … to stop in Minnesota’s schools. Tom Weber of MPR reports, “According to two sources familiar with the project, but who asked not to be identified, the order will create a task force charged with making recommendations on what the state can do to prevent bullying. The creation of the group will be announced on Tuesday. … Last week, Attorney General Lori Swanson announced separately that she will push for anti-bullying legislation next year.”

Now, in fairness, this could happen to anyone. But, unfortunately, it happened to Target. Travis Crum of The Charleston Gazette reports, “The wife of a Logan County pharmacist who died after collapsing while shopping in South Charleston on Black Friday said he loved to shop for Christmas. Walter Vance, 61, of Chapmanville, collapsed just after midnight Friday at Target in The Shops at Trace Fork on Corridor G, said Lynn Vance. … Some media outlets that reported on Walter Vance’s death said a number of shoppers continued by him and did not stop to check on him after he collapsed. However, Lynn Vance said there were about six nurses shopping at Target who came to her husband’s aid. The nurses performed CPR on him until paramedics arrived, she said. Another woman reached into Walter Vance’s pocket to find his wife’s phone number. That woman called Lynn Vance to tell her that her husband had collapsed in the store. ‘She’s an angel,’ Lynn Vance said of that woman.”