Nonprofit, nonpartisan journalism. Supported by readers.


Will Paul Ryan turn Minnesota red?

Bachmann talks up Obama’s “gender gap” — and gets a “False” rating; Dems target candidates on “rape” remark; bad news for Ventura; and more.

With Paul Ryan up Wednesday night, Baird Helgeson and Kevin Diaz of the Strib ask if his presence can “turn Minnesota red”: “Polling so far this year supports the premise that Minnesota will stay in Obama’s camp, with polls showing him ahead by anywhere from 6 to 15 points. However, the most recent polls were done a month ago, and Republicans point to the shaky economy and Minnesota’s recent history of razor-thin statewide races in saying they believe their chances are far better than history would suggest. ‘It’s going to be a lot more in play than you think,’ said U.S. Rep. John Kline … ‘The addition of Ryan to the ticket has only helped that.’ Kline made no bold predictions, but said Republicans are no longer writing off Minnesota. ‘There’s going to be money spent here, which in itself is new,’ he said. Americans for Prosperity, a group backed by Republican mega-donors Charles and David Koch, is already running ads in Minnesota as part of a larger $27 million ad buy launched earlier this month. Nobody thinks the group would spend money in Minnesota if it saw no chance of turning the long Republican drought in the state.”

Jennifer Rubin, the Washington Post’s conservative beat writer says: “The [Romney] aides, in outlining their strategy for the days after Tampa, said they believed the campaign would be able to aggressively target some states considered safely Democratic — including Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin . . . Neil Newhouse, the senior pollster for the Romney campaign, said they were looking to make gains with so-called ‘Wal-Mart moms’ — white, suburban mothers from suburban swing states.’ ” They already have a strong foothold with the “Galleria moms.”

Of course, Our Favorite Demographic Scientist believes President Obama is only cool to single ladies. Kevin Cirilli at Politico writes: “[Rep. Michele] Bachmann said Tuesday that President Barack Obama, not the GOP, is suffering from a ‘gender gap.’ ‘The gender gap, really, is with Barack Obama, because Mitt Romney wins with men … and also, with married women,’ the Minnesota Republican said on Fox News. ‘Barack Obama has an advantage with single women. What single women want more than anything is security. And they want to have, also, a job.’ She said the GOP shouldn’t pander for the women’s vote. ‘I don’t think we should be pandering because women are very capable, competent and intelligent people.’ ” With occasional exception, of course.

Oh, and while in Florida, home of that pesky PolitiFact crowd, Congresswoman Bachmann has again buried the meter. Says the fact-checkers: “Under President Barack Obama, she said, you should expect unemployment to rise. ‘A report just came out that if we continue with President Obama’s policies, we’re looking at over 9 percent unemployment next year in the fourth quarter,’ Bachmann told host Sean Hannity in the Aug. 27, 2012, interview in Tampa. The unemployment rate was 8.3 percent in July, so that would mark a serious reversal. We decided to track down the report. … We reached out to her office for more detail, but didn’t hear back. So we checked out CBO’s most recent such report, an update to the country’s economic outlook for the decade. It did include a projection that unemployment could reach 9.1 percent in the fourth quarter next year (Table 2-1). But that projection was not based on continuing ‘President Obama’s policies.’ Rather, it was CBO’s look at what would happen if current laws are left unchanged — which is not what Obama advocates. … Bachmann’s talking about what would happen if the deficit shrinks. … it is inaccurate for Bachmann to say it is under Obama’s policies. We rate the claim False.” Which means she escaped that one without setting her pants on fire.

The GleanMeanwhile, Democrats back here in Minnesota have sunk to new lows. They’re using candidates’ actual words and votes against their opponents. Catharine Richert of MPR reports: “After saying last week that women ‘rarely’ get pregnant if they are victims of ‘legitimate rape,’ GOP Senate candidate Rep. Todd Akin provided Democrats a chance to reignite their campaign theme and to make it local, including in several of Minnesota’s congressional races.  While Democrats are linking Akin’s views to 3rd Congressional District Republican Rep. Erik Paulsen and 2nd Congressional District Rep. John Kline to appeal to female swing voters, their rhetoric is also part of a broader attempt to recast some Republicans as too conservative for their districts. … In 2010, Paulsen co-sponsored a bill that included the contentious ‘forcible rape’ language. In 2011, he voted with his party for the stripped down version of House Resolution 3, although he was not among its co-sponsors. Akin and Minnesota’s Kline did sponsor the resolution, and Democrat Mike Obermueller is using it as fodder in his bid to defeat Kline in the south suburban metro area. He says it’s disconcerting that Kline and Akin would co-sponsor a bill that would imply there are different kinds of rape.”

So apparently we won’t hit 100 degrees Thursday. Paul Walsh at the Strib says: “The metro area will top out in the low 90s both Wednesday and Thursday under mostly clear skies, the National Weather Service (NWS) is saying. Then it’s a run of highs in the upper to mid-80s for the next several days, with no precipitation on the horizon until Sunday night, the NWS said. Even with the Twin Cities area in retreat from the mid-90s, there’s a new concern brewing for the metro and nearby locales: wildfires. With readings in the low 90s combining with low humidity and sustained winds expected from the southwest at up to 20 miles per hour, the NWS said it sees a recipe for ‘dangerous wildfire conditions’ for all of Thursday for the Twin Cities area.”

Ripping off the Fair! How low can you go? Anthony Lonetree of the Strib says: “Charges are expected Wednesday against two suspects in a Friday burglary at the French Meadow Bakery & Cafe booth at the Minnesota State Fair, authorities say. Chris Gleize, who operates the booth with his wife, told State Fair police that someone stole about $24,000 from an office safe that the booth’s night manager inadvertently left unlocked, a search warrant states. According to the warrant, two men could be seen on surveillance video entering the rear of the business on Carnes Avenue about 10:30 p.m. One man uses a tool to apparently open the office door, and then goes inside. The suspects eventually leave after loading something into bags that they were carrying, the warrant states.” And it wasn’t baguettes, I’m guessing.

Former wrestler (and Gov.) Jesse Ventura isn’t having an easy time of it in his defamation lawsuit. Dan Browning of the Strib says: “If former Gov. Jesse Ventura didn’t like what Navy SEAL Chris Kyle wrote about him in his memoir, ‘American Sniper,’ he’s going to positively hate what five fellow SEALs — and the mothers of two of their fallen comrades — have to say about him. Kyle’s friends and associates have rallied to his defense in a defamation lawsuit Ventura filed in Hennepin County in January. Ventura … sued over Kyle’s portrayal of a bar fight he claims they had six years ago in Coronado, Calif. … In support of Tuesday’s motion to dismiss claims of unjust enrichment and misappropriation of Ventura’s likeness, [attorney John] Borger filed a handful of ‘declarations’ from witnesses to the alleged bar fight who describe him as a ‘jackass’ and his comments that night as ‘anti-American.’ Borger describes Ventura in his motion as a ‘Navy veteran, ex-wrestler, ex-color commentator, actor, ex-mayor, ex-governor, outspoken conspiracy theorist, and frequent fanfaron of future prospects for public office.’ A fanfaron is a braggart, a swaggerer, a bully.” And that, folks, is your Word of the Day.

Oh, and that crackdown on protesters at the capitol in Madison? Clay Barbour of The Wisconsin State Journal says: “The ranks of the noonday singalong at the state Capitol swelled Tuesday, Aug. 28, after remarks by the new Capitol police chief that a crackdown on such protests was coming. Chief David Erwin said Monday that he planned to begin strictly enforcing the Capitol’s rules in an effort to restore normalcy and safety to a building that has become home to regular demonstrations. The chief did not say exactly when the crackdown would begin, but the move seemed aimed at protesters such as the ‘Solidarity Singers,’ a group of people who gather four days a week in the rotunda to sing songs of opposition to Gov. Scott Walker. In December, the Department of Administration instituted a rule requiring groups of four or more to get permits to protest at the Capitol. On Tuesday there were more than 50 singers.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker had breakfast with the Bloomberg and Washington Post folks and recommended that Mitt Romney get a bit more specific about the economy. Said Walker: “I think tonight, with Paul [Ryan], but particularly tomorrow night with the governor, he’s got to lay out a very clear plan. When it comes to the economy, he’s got a plan. He’s got a five-point plan on that. But I think most Americans don’t know it. Most Americans actually don’t know Mitt Romney. Ann Romney’s speech last night I think was the beginning of being helpful in that regard. All of us in politics and in the media, I think, sometimes find that hard to believe, but I think in my state, at least, most people know of Mitt Romney. They don’t know Mitt Romney. … But I think if Governor Romney lays out his plan and uses examples of people who will benefit from that, that’s something that I think can affect real people and real voters out there.” Remind me again, what’s the alternative to “real people” and “real voters”?