Nonprofit, nonpartisan journalism. Supported by readers.


President strolls, snacks, promises flood relief

“Feeling super loose,” Obama hits Grand Avenue in St. Paul; shakes down the donors at Sam and Sylvia Kaplan’s house; appeals to the “folks” at a town hall meeting; and more. 

President Barack Obama hugging the owner of the Golden Fig Fine Foods market, Laurie Crowell, while shopping in St. Paul on Thursday.
REUTERS/Larry Downing

Welcome to town. Now show us the money. Following the president’s visit, Brian Bakst of the AP writes, “Barack Obama pledged the federal government’s help Thursday in recovery after massive flooding hit many parts of Minnesota this month, telling a town hall audience near the roaring Minnehaha Falls that they’ll have a strong partner when they know how severe the damage is.”

Baird Helgeson other Stribbers write, “U.S. Rep. John Kline, R-Minn, said the real reason Obama came to Minnesota is to raise money for congressional Democrats, highlighting the president’s appearance at a high-dollar fundraiser Thursday night. … Shortly after leaving the town hall, he headed to St. Paul’s Grand Avenue for caramels, ice cream and other goodies. ‘Every once in a while, I break loose,’ he said. ‘I am feeling super loose today.’”

For Reuters, Roberta Rampton says, “Obama has campaigned relentlessly this year for populist issues like raising the minimum wage. ‘The other side has nothing to offer except cynicism and fear and frustration,’ Obama told a fundraiser for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee on Thursday evening, complaining that Republicans have focused the conversation in Washington away from everyday issues. ‘We talk about everything that doesn’t have to do with that young woman,’ Obama told the group of 60 people, who paid $10,000 to $32,400 for tickets to the dinner, held at the Minneapolis home of Sam Kaplan, Obama’s former ambassador to Morocco.”

For KARE -TV Jana Shortal looks at the Kaplans. “Sam and Sylvia Kaplan are the democratic power couple of Minnesota … and President Obama knows it. Over the years they have donated $400,000 to Democratic Party candidates and they have hosted the parties that collect the cash. ‘We are looking at a potential fundraiser that could generate a half million dollars to a million dollars if not more for the democrats,’ political analyst and Hamline University Law Professor David Schultz said.”

Article continues after advertisement

The KSTP-TV/AP story includes this: “Obama’s strategy also dovetails with advice Democrats are hearing from pollsters as they gird for a tough midterm election. In a strategy memo this week, veteran pollster Stan Greenberg urged Democrats to spend more time on an ‘in your shoes’ economic message, focusing on workplace issues that resonate well with unmarried women and other key voting groups.”

A good sense of the presidential action on Grand Avenue from the pool reporter. “At around 5 p.m. the motorcade arrived at the Golden Fig in St. Paul, which the WH describes as ‘a small, specialty food store that carries Midwest-produced foods and gifts.’ The store’s owner, Laurie Crowell, wrote a letter to the President detailing the importance of Mom & Pop shops across the country and invited the President to drop by the shop if he was ever in the area. … Crowell told Obama she started her business 18 years ago. ‘What’s been your biggest challenge?’ Obama asked. ‘Well, filling out my taxes every month,’ she said with a chuckle, tapping Potus on the chest.”  

For the Minnesota Daily Taylor Nachtigal writes, “The town hall meeting, Obama said, was part of his efforts to connect with Americans affected by Washington’s economic policies. ‘We don’t need a politics that’s playing to some [of] the most fringe elements of politics,’ Obama said. ‘We just need folks who are having a commonsense conversation about what’s happening in your lives and how can we help.’”

KMSP-TV’s Mike Durkin collects some of the Prez’ quotes from the town hall. Including this on gun control: “The day Sandy Hook happened was probably the worst day of my presidency. … I thought it was going to be a breakthrough moment with Congress. The fact that it wasn’t is a great disappointment… . This is the only advanced country that tolerates something like this.’”

As you might expect, Power Line’s John Hinderaker wasn’t feeling quite the same thrill as crowds at Minnehaha Falls, Matt’s and elsewhere. “Why is [Al] Franken dodging Obama, who carried Minnesota twice, easily? Because the president is deeply unpopular here. I haven’t seen any public polling in a while, but polling done for conservative groups has found that Obama’s approval rating in Minnesota is in the 30s, even lower than his anemic national standing. The Democrats’ polling must be showing the same thing. So it isn’t just in red states that Obama will be a drag on Democratic chances in November.” Just wondering, was that the vaunted World Net Daily/NewsMax Poll?

Finally … sorry, but the statute of limitations says you’re all out of luck.  The AP reports, “A federal judge on Thursday dismissed a lawsuit filed by a group of current and former Minnesota residents who allege that dozens of public employees violated their privacy by illegally looking up their driver’s license data for political reasons. The 18 plaintiffs, including some local elected officials, claimed they were targeted because they had been critical of Wabasha County government. … U.S. District Judge Ann Montgomery said Thursday that all of the look-ups before Sept. 12, 2009, were too old and fell outside the statute of limitations.”