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GOP leaves Tampa, sees ‘signs of hope’

With Clint Eastwood finally off-stage, it’s a wrap in Tampa. Bill Salisbury of the PiPress writes: “After every Republican National Convention, state GOP leaders predict their ticket could carry Minnesota. It hasn’t happened in 40 years. ‘Unfortunately, we have the distinction of having the longest unbroken streak of any state in the nation of voting Democrat (sic) for president,, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty acknowledged to the state’s national convention delegation Thursday … ‘But there’s always hope,’ he told reporters later. ‘With this excitement and the momentum and the energy taking place in Wisconsin and some of the media spillover that Wisconsin has in Minnesota and the fact that Barack Obama hasn’t delivered in terms of his promises or the economic results, that gives us signs of hope.’ … Nationally, the race is a toss-up, but momentum could shift to one side or the other this fall, said Minnesota … national committee member, Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson. ‘I think it’s going to take a bit of a national wave’, he said. ‘I feel pretty good that that might be coming.’ Johnson said he thinks the 8th Congressional District is key to the presidential race in Minnesota.”

For MPR, Mark Zdechlik writes: “Minnesotan Republican leaders say they are leaving the GOP convention confident that conservative Minnesotan voters will unite behind the party ticket. However, some delegates are heading home angry with the national Republican Party and its nominee, Mitt Romney. … Minnesota Ron Paul delegate Mark Zasadny of Roseville said if the election were held right now he would vote for former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate for president. ‘It seems like the clear message was like the grassroots movement is not really welcome in the Republican Party. So that’s kind of hard to swallow when they come around and say, you know, ‘OK, are you ready to unite behind the Romney campaign and the RNC,’ Zasadny said. “And it’s like, ‘well you just tried to cut our throats.’ So how are we supposed to respond to that?’ “ By supporting your team, pal.

For the Strib, Baird Helgeson and Kevin Diaz say: “Romney, who has spent a year methodically dispensing with rivals and grooming himself for this run, faces an enormous challenge in unifying a party uneasy about his conservative bona fides. But he appeared to make inroads on Thursday night, including among the divided Minnesota delegation. ‘He’s come alive’, said Janet Beihoffer, a Republican Party committeewoman from Lakeville. ‘He’s speaking from the heart … He’s finally letting it out. It’s the best thing that’s happened to us in a long time.’ … While an emboldened Republican Party has coalesced around Romney, he faced one of his toughest audiences in the Minnesota delegation, which handed 33 of its 40 votes for the nomination to libertarian Rep. Ron Paul of Texas. Hours before Romney spoke, several hundred Paul delegates from around the nation gathered in an angry rally … to protest new party rules that they fear will diminish their importance in future primaries and caucuses.” Isn’t that “he’s come alive” stuff a rip-off of Gene Wilder?

The GleanAt the New York Times, Michael D. Shear says: “On Thursday evening, as Mitt Romney prepared to formally accept his party’s nomination for president, [Tim] Pawlenty, the former governor of Minnesota, walked through the convention hall, largely unnoticed. ‘Who is that guy?’ one Republican delegate asked as he walked by. Another woman asked [to] have her picture taken next to him. Another man said he liked what he heard when Mr. Pawlenty visited Alabama as a candidate. … The fact that he did not get picked may allow Mr. Pawlenty to be a bit more candid. Asked the chances that Mr. Romney might win Minnesota, he shrugged. ‘It remains a state that tilts toward Democrats, but it’s not inconceivable that a Republican could win there,’ he said. ‘We have in the past. Not in the presidential recently.’ ”

A DFL-friendly poll has Rick Nolan ahead of GOP Congressman Chip Cravaack by 3 percent in the 8th District. Scott Bland of the National Journal reports: “Less than 10 weeks out from Election Day, a coalition of outside groups including House Majority PAC has released another poll showing a Republican incumbent in a statistical dead heat with his Democratic challenger. A survey conducted earlier this week for the Democratic-aligned super PAC, along with SEIU, AFSCME, and Friends of Democracy, found Rep. Chip Cravaack, R-Minn., at only 44 percent in a general election matchup against Democratic ex-Rep. Rick Nolan, who received 47 percent of the vote. … Nolan, who served in Congress in the late ’70s and early ’80s, has not fundraised well and, especially after a bruising Democratic primary, he has a cash gap to make up on Cravaack. But outside groups including House Majority PAC and the Minnesota Democrat-Farmer-Labor Party — which came to his aid in the primary — will help make up some of that space.”

Are those 300 St. Jude layoffs a result of the medical device tax? James Walsh of the Strib reports: “St. Jude Medical Inc. said Thursday that it has laid off 300 employees, including 80 of its workers in Minnesota, as part of a broader companywide reorganization expected to slash $50 million to $60 million in costs in 2013. … The amount of anticipated savings is close to what company executives expect St. Jude will have to pay in 2013 as part of a new federal medical device tax, but [spokeswoman Amy Jo] Meyer said, ‘The medical device tax was one of many factors that contributed to the rationale for the realignment of our business, which resulted in the reduction of operating expenses.’ … Thomas Gunderson, a senior analyst with Piper Jaffray & Co., said there appears to be a strong connection between the layoffs and reorganization and fallout from the new medical device tax. Starting in January, medical device makers will have to pay a 2.3 percent excise tax on products they sell. The tax is expected to raise $2 billion a year to help pay for President Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The tax is expected to cost St. Jude about $61 million in 2013.”

He’s gone … but the residual stuff is irresistible. The AP story says: “Brett Favre shouldn’t have to respond to some embarrassing claims about his personal life that two massage therapists are making in a lawsuit, his lawyers say. The massage therapists say the New York Jets blacklisted them after they objected to suggestive messages the legendary quarterback allegedly sent to another woman. Among other things, they asked him to admit or deny he solicited women for sex trysts and sent explicit photos to a former Jets game hostess. The request was part of a procedural step in their 2011 lawsuit. Favre’s attorneys filed papers this week asking a court to say he doesn’t have to answer. They say some of the requests are irrelevant and inappropriate, including a bid to get him to acknowledge that a lewd photo that appeared on a sports gossip website depicts his own anatomy.” What’s the country coming to when a football star has to respond to stuff like this?

Another icon of a different age bites the dust … In the Winona Daily News, Nathan Hansen says: “Returnable glass bottles of Coca-Cola in Winona will soon be gone forever. The Coca-Cola Bottling Co. of Winona, the last one in the country still making the returnable 61/2-ounce glass bottles, has announced it’s ending the practice after an 80-year run. In a statement, Coca-Cola of Winona general manager and vice president LeRoy Telstad said manufacturing standards no longer match the bottler’s ‘vintage beverage’ line, and upgrading won’t be a sound business decision. After the current inventory is depleted, he said, the company will no longer offer the returnable bottles, once available in a number of sizes.”

Comments (17)

  1. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 08/31/2012 - 12:59 pm.

    Obama’s medical device tax

    As with most economic turmoil, the disastrous effect of Obama’s medical device tax will be seen far down the supply chain, out of the public eye. The 300 victims it has claimed so far is not even the tip of the iceberg.

    As a designer of capital equipment for the medical industry, I’m counting on Mitt Romney to support my middle class family rather than deplete our savings to feed government.

    It’s also why it is so important for Minnesotans to retire politicians like Amy Klobuchar that make Obama’s ruinous dreams a nightmarish reality for working families.

    • Submitted by Bill Gleason on 08/31/2012 - 01:52 pm.

      As usual, Mr. Swift, I’d suggest you do a little

      research before making over-the-top claims.

      As you should know both Senator Klobuchar and Franken are on record as supporting the elimination of this tax. Pretending otherwise is disingenuous.

      “Democrats from states with thriving medical technology industries said they, too, wanted to repeal the device tax. These Democrats include Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken of Minnesota” link:

      And the well respected Center on Policy and Budget Priorities has recently published work on the device tax and its consequences which is available as a downloadable pdf.

      Excise Tax on Medical Devices Should Not Be Repealed
      Industry Lobbyists Distort, Overstate Tax’s Impact

      A brief summary:

      The medical device industry is not being singled out. The excise tax is one of several new levies on sectors that will gain business due to health reform. The expansion of health coverage will increase the demand for medical devices and could offset the effect of the tax.

      The tax will not cause manufacturers to shift production overseas. The tax applies equally to imported and domestically produced devices, and devices produced in the United States for export are tax-exempt.

      The tax will have little effect on innovation in the medical device industry. To the contrary, health reform may well spur medical device innovation by promoting more cost-effective ways of delivering care.

      “Obama’s ruinous dreams a nightmarish reality for working families”

      Sorry, Mr. Swift. The ruinous Romney/Ryan budget will increase the tax burden for working families, lead to further unemployment, and increase the debt. Of course the wealthy will see substantial benefits.

      See, for example,

      RomneyRyanomics: A Bad Deal for the Working Class

      • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 08/31/2012 - 03:32 pm.

        “Industry Lobbyists Distort, Overstate Tax’s Impact”

        Thank you, Bill.

        I’ll pass that along to the 300 that lost their jobs….I’m sure they’ll be thrilled. And as I continue to watch my own pipe-line of related work diminish, I too will take great comfort from those encouraging words from a leftist propaganda mill.

      • Submitted by Thomas Swift on 08/31/2012 - 07:27 pm.

        Another laughable statement:

        “The expansion of health coverage will increase the demand for medical devices..” Of that I have absolutely no doubt! The catch is that ObamaCare won’t pay device manufacturers what it costs to manufacture them, much less make a sustainable profit.

        If you have doubt of that, please refer to this recent report:

        “Survey: More doctors report they cannot afford to take new Medicaid, Medicare patients”

        “Thirty-six percent of doctors say they are no longer accepting new Medicaid patients due in large part to declining reimbursements, a new national survey has found.

        The survey of 2,232 physicians across all specialties conducted in late April by Jackson Healthcare in Atlanta — the fourth-largest health care staffing company in the U.S. — further found that broken down for specialty, 66 percent of dermatologists, 64 percent of endocrinologists, 58 percent of internists, 57 percent of physical medicine and rehabilitation doctors and 53 of adult psychiatrists said they are no longer able to take on more Medicaid patients.”

        There certainly is not better way to contain cost of delivering care than by simply not delivering it!

        • Submitted by Bill Gleason on 09/01/2012 - 05:51 am.

          To respond briefly, Mr. Swift,

          to both of your comments.

          1. I have students and friends who work in the biomedical device industry in Minnesota. So I have a personal as well as professional interest in seeing the industry thrive. I have also taught a biomaterials course that was simulcasted to local industry sites including Medtronic, St. Jude, Surmodics, etc. I’ve also taught the course “High Peformance Computing in Biomedical Engineering” with a grant from Cray. As you know, I have worked at 3M for ten years. So I think that I know at least as much as you do about this situation.

          There are a lot of problems with the biomedical device industry but this tax is far from the most important one, in my professional opinion. See, for example, St. Jude’s well known and expensive problems with cardiovascular devices and Medtronic’s orthopedics problems. Google is your friend.

          2. You carp about Medicare which is a red-herring in this discussion. Like it or not, “Obamacare” aka “RomneyCare” is here to stay. Let’s talk about how to fix any perceived deficiencies rather than simply whine and complain about “Obamacare.” One of the big problems for American industry is the cost of providing employees with healthcare. In many competing countries in the device industry this financial burden is covered by the government. Solving our healthcare problems has serious economic consequences for the global marketplace in which we now compete.

          Bye for now.

      • Submitted by Tom Anderson on 09/01/2012 - 12:31 am.


        They voted for the tax and then said that it would have been twice as much if they hadn’t intervened. Instead of taxing the people that are trying to save lives by producing life-saving products, wouldn’t it make more sense to tax the people that were producing things that reduce our lifespan?

        Have they introduced any bills that would repeal the tax? They are in the majority and have the President to back them up. Let me guess, the Republicans in the House won’t consider repealing a tax. Dude!

        And the St. Jude article proves that the government analysis was wrong. What a shock.

  2. Submitted by Rich Crose on 08/31/2012 - 01:10 pm.

    Creepy Smile

    Did anyone else get the creeps from Willard when he stared into the camera last night? It was the same look W had. It was like he was saying, “Look at me daddy, I’m a good boy, you should be so proud of me.”

    Thank goodness the elder Romney doesn’t have any foreign wars to avenge.

    • Submitted by Virginia Martin on 09/01/2012 - 12:30 pm.

      creepy smile

      I did. I turned off the sound and watched but I was chilled for a few minutes by his smile. I don’t know if it was a Dad, you should be proud of me, so much as Have I got a deal for you! He looked like the cat that ate the cheese.

  3. Submitted by Tom Christensen on 08/31/2012 - 01:37 pm.

    Where is the apology to the country?

    You’ve got to love the GOP. As close as the GOP can get to admitting the Bush Administration and the GOP were willing partners in taking America down was to say they, the Fiscal Conservatives, “overspent”. Okay now let’s turn the page. If you look at this graph,, and take away the dark and light gold you can see where we would be without the GOP/Bush/Cheney disaster. All the GOP has to say about that is “we overspent, let’s turn the page”. The GOP was totally complicit in the take down of America because they stood by supporting and totally silent while the Bush administration did their dastardly deed to America. Now they want to get by with only saying “we overspent, let’s turn the page”. The GOP and Romney can say all they want about their grand rhetorical plans, which didn’t have any specifics on how they plan to get it done. It is another Romney statement of elect me and then I will tell you my plan. The GOP’s Fiscally Conservative history precedes them and I don’t want any part of it. The GOP convention just proved they are bankrupt as they put their best and brightest forward. They proved they think being president is a game which is humor based. The speakers had their tales of coming from some small place and they were destitute in their impoverished beginning. They put their women forward to try and make up to the rest of the women they are at war with. They had their Latino speaker to show they are all for the Latinos they are warring with. It was nothing but warmed over rhetoric from the past and no specifics. When they are not willing to change their course from the same course the Bush Administration was on, they will get the very same results. Their talking points have not changed from the Bush administration. The GOP is totally bankrupt. Voters, the choice is yours in November.

  4. Submitted by James Hamilton on 08/31/2012 - 01:56 pm.

    Can we have a mashup

    of Mitt’s opponents for the nomination, then and now?

  5. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 08/31/2012 - 03:49 pm.

    Thank you…

    Mr. Gleason.

    Mitt Romney’s concern for Mr. Swift’s middle-class life approaches some sort of cosmic zero. It’s his pals in the one percent that he’s concerned about, and they’ll be well taken care of if he’s elected.

  6. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 09/03/2012 - 11:14 am.

    “I think I know at least as much as you about this situation”

    Bill, have you ever set foot in a Medtronic facility? St. Jude? Boston Scientific?

    With all due respect, I don’t think your simulcast seminars give you any special insights into the industry.

    I work with these people every day to provide solutions that support their businesses. While I am extremely skilled with the technical aspects, we can all provide a solution to a commander in chief determined to undermine us.

    Vote to retire him.

    • Submitted by Bill Gleason on 09/04/2012 - 10:40 am.

      I am afraid that your surmise is again wrong, Mr. Swift

      Yes I have set foot in Medtronic, several times. I have also been fortunate to meet Earl Bakken and give him a tour of my research lab and visit for an hour. Your old friend, Arne Carlson, visited the lab to talk about the medical device industry and how advanced computational techniques were being used in the design of new implantable devices.

      And I have spoken on my research at Boston scientific.

      Your technical work as an “engineer” has apparently not given you any insight into the matters mentioned in my earlier comment about some of the problems that are more important, in the long run, than the proposed medical device tax for a sustainable medical device industry in the US in general and in Minnesota in particular. We have some natural advantage in this area that should be pursued.

      Again, my time is limited and further discussion of this matter with you is unlikely to be productive.

      Bye for now.

  7. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 09/04/2012 - 01:38 pm.


    Bill, Mr. Bakken retired to Hawaii in 1989…which, according to your UofM bio, was the same year you “retired” from a 9 year stint in private industry with 3M.

    Facts can be real nuisances, can’t they?

    • Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 09/04/2012 - 02:35 pm.


      I suppose you think that people cease to exist when they retire. You’d be mistaken. Here’s a little tidbit about Mr. Bakken “Bakken retired from Medtronic in 1989 and moved to Hawaii, but still returns to the company several times a year to meet new employees and explain the Medtronic Mission to them in person.” That last part might be important to your analysis. What was it you said about facts, again?

  8. Submitted by Bill Gleason on 09/04/2012 - 06:58 pm.

    Ms. Kahler is correct, as usual

    If you wish further confirmation, Mr Swift, please see:

    Minneapolis – St. Paul Business Journal

    “Bakken founded Fridley-based Medtronic in 1949 with his brother-in-law, Palmer Hermundslie. Bakken has since moved to Hawaii and has various ventures there, but he remains involved with the company and his home state.”

    “He times his visits to Minnesota around Medtronic’s schedule. Medtronic places a Hawaiian-style lei around his statue at the company’s headquarters when he is in town. Bakken donates vast amounts of money to universities for research and scholarships, mainly to the University of Minnesota.”


    “Facts can be real nuisances, can’t they?“

    Yes, and that is why you should check them more carefully, Mr. Swift.

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