Nonprofit, nonpartisan journalism. Supported by readers.


Minnesota debate verdict leans heavily toward Romney

Rain, snow helping fight northwest fires; Hennepin “leads” in car-deer collisions; new marriage amendment commentaries; and more.

Some debate reaction … Mike Creger at the News Tribune in Duluth writes: “Betsy Johnson, president of the College Republicans, gathered with a handful of other members of her group in the cozy basement lounge called The Underground at Kirby Hall. Ben Dufault, president of the College Democrats, watched at a lecture hall at UMD, where U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar helped warm up the audience of close to 100 people before the debate began. … Obama campaign volunteer Deb Landon was at the UMD viewing party and said before the debate that she was looking for Obama to fend off his critics. … She said after the debate that Obama made that point while Romney solidified her belief that he cares more about a business sense to government than a human sense. … One of those watching at home was Justin Krych of Cloquet. He’s the deputy chairman of the Eighth District Republican Executive Committee. … He said Obama ‘passed the buck’ on the economic topics that were at the heart of the debate questions. But overall, Krych said the debate won’t be a deciding factor for anyone on the fence. ‘It was gaffe-free,’ he said. ‘What either said isn’t going to be a game changer.’ ”

The St. Cloud Times team report includes these comments: “Teresa Bohnen, president of the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce, said she’s concerned with President Obama’s plan to increase income-tax rates on the wealthy. ‘When you talk about the people earning $250,000 or above, you’re talking about our small corporations. … If you increase the tax on those people, you are increasing business taxes and you are limiting the amount that businesses can spend for growth.’ ” … Barbara Banaian, co-chair of the Senate District 14 Republicans, said Romney appeared ‘super-prepared and confident. … He seems to be controlling the debate. … He was right that President Obama had promised to cut the deficit in half. But instead we’ve had trillion-dollar deficits.’ … ‘The sense I get from people who are here tonight; they were really hoping to see Obama come out with guns blazing and really attack Romney. And we don’t see that happening.’ — Phillip Hernandez, chair of Senate District 14 DFL.”

At the Minnesota Progressive Project, Joe Bodell writes: “President Obama did look unprepared to return fire in a zinger-y way. Unfortunately, this is the crap that passes for journalistic interest today, and it’s what many viewers are waiting for. So, on the balance, Mitt Romney probably ‘won’ the debate. Of course, so did President Kerry eight years ago. … Mitt Romney, as predicted, was on the attack from the first moment. Not very presidential. He also didn’t explain a damned thing about his plans — also not very presidential. The man is pathologically committed to the vision of himself as a leader, but cannot bring himself to even try explaining how his magical puppies-and-ponies tax plan would work, let alone be anything but doubling down on the tax policies that exploded the deficit and income inequality during the Bush administration. Forcing him to explain that will be a task for President Obama in the next debate.” Uh, it was a task for him in last night’s debate …

The GleanSnow is a darned good firefighter. The AP says: “Rain and snow have dampened wildfires in northwestern Minnesota. The Minnesota Interagency Fire Center says eight fires consumed more than 56 square miles of woods and grassland this week. Eleven homes and two dozen other structures were destroyed in the Karlstad area due to wildfires fueled by dry and windy conditions. With rain turning to snow Wednesday night, the National Weather Service predicted 10 inches or more by late today across the northwestern section of Minnesota.”

Article continues after advertisement

I hope you weren’t planning a picnic in Grand Forks Thursday. At MPR, Paul Huttner says: “Rain & snow shield wrapping up nicely in Red River Valley & NW MN today on northwest side of deepening low. Lightning & thunder reported on front edge of rain shield near Park Rapids and Bemidji … that indicates strong updrafts capable of producing ‘thundersnow’ with heavy snowfall rates of 1″ to 2″+ per hour today in NW MN as cold air works in from the west. Look for heaviest snowfall rates in Red River Valley & NW MN through 6 pm tonight. Grand Forks NWS already reports 3″ in Grand Forks and snowing briskly as of 7 am.”

Hey, Hennepin County, you’re No. 1! The Brainerd Dispatch looks at car-deer collisions and reports: “State safety officials say Hennepin County may have a smaller deer population than more rural counties in Minnesota, but it has many more people behind the wheel. The county had 508 collisions with deer from 2009 to 2011. Another top county for collisions is one that’s closer to the lakes area, Sherburne County, with 484 crashes during the same time frame.”

Young Michael Blissenbach offers his thoughts in defense of traditional marriage in an MPR commentary: “[M]arriage is not just about love and commitment; it is also about the procreation and rearing of children. While love and commitment are certainly present in marriage, they are also present in other relationships, such as friendships. But government does not recognize or regulate friendships, so there must be a characteristic that distinguishes marriage from friendship. This distinguishing characteristic is the inherent capacity of the marital relationship between a man and a woman to generate new human life.  Sex between a man and a woman generates children. Social science has repeatedly shown that, all else equal, those children do best when raised by their mom and dad. For precisely this reason our government saw fit long ago to grant marriage legal recognition, binding husband and wife to each other and to any children generated by their marriage. Redefining marriage to mean the union of any two adults, regardless of gender, severs this link between marriage and children and amounts to a statement by the government that the influence of a mother and a father on the life of a child isn’t important.”

For a rather more nuanced view, two Duluth area pediatricians, Robert Jacobson and Thomas Scott,  write in the News Tribune: “[T]his amendment flies in the face of evidence showing children raised by couples of the same sex in committed relationships thrive and flourish just as well as children raised by couples of the opposite sex. More than 25 years of research has documented that there is no relationship between parents’ sexual orientation and any measure of a child’s emotional, psychosocial, and behavioral adjustment. Rather, children’s optimal development seems to be influenced more by the nature of the relationships and interactions within the family than by the particular structural form it takes. This research is affirmed not only by our national organization, the American Academy of Pediatrics, but also the American Psychological Association, the Child Welfare League, and the American Medical Association. Finally, this amendment would hurt and demean our adolescent patients who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender themselves.”

Immediately after last night’s debate, the Strib’s unscientific poll on who won gave Mitt Romney a 54-30 advantage. As of noon today, it’s past 2-to-1.