Sparks fly in Franken-McFadden debate

Sunday’s McFadden-Franken debate at least had some heat to it. And even the Chicago Sun-Times (via the AP) noticed. “Sen. Al Franken and Republican hopeful Mike McFadden met Sunday in what resembled more of a free-for-all than a debate. … Questions from everyday Minnesota residents brought the debate into unusual territory. Asked to weigh in on increasing calls to revoke the National Football League’s tax-exempt status, McFadden said he’d look into the question, while Franken said he would support doing so.”

For the Strib, Allison Sherry says, “The two, sitting at a desk facing WCCO-TV moderators, had several volleys before Franken warmed up to full-throated attacks on McFadden. Franken called him out for what the incumbent termed inadequate answers to foreign policy questions and slammed McFadden’s business background, calling him responsible for layoffs and so-called inversions, which allow companies to move operations overseas.”

In the PiPress, Doug Belden writes,Franken got off to a shaky start, declining repeatedly to answer a question about whether he would support a travel ban from West African nations affected by the Ebola virus. He eventually said he wouldn’t oppose such a ban but that it would not be effective since most flights from those nations are routed through a third country. McFadden said he supports a temporary travel ban as well as the quarantine measures for medical workers imposed in New York, New Jersey and Illinois.”

Got a piece of the M&A game? Stribbers Neal St. Anthony and Patrick Kennedy report, “Minnesota companies are having the most active year of dealmaking since 2007. Despite a slight drop in mergers and acquisitions in the third quarter, Minnesota companies are buying and selling at a pace that already tops 2013’s full-year total. Minnesota had 332 deals through Friday, already 11 percent above last year with two months to go.”

Remember that story of a new Mayo colon cancer screening that involves mailing a sample? It starts today. Marilynn Marchione of the AP says, “Millions of people who have avoided colon cancer screening can get a new home test that’s noninvasive and doesn’t require the icky preparation most other methods do. The test is the first to look for cancer-related DNA in stool. … Many current stool tests look for blood that could suggest a tumor. Cologuard does this plus detects DNA that could be a sign of cancer or precancerous growths called polyps.”

The GleanThe Strib picks up George Will’s Washington Post column deriding Wisconsin’s “gangster politics.” “This attempted criminalization of politics in order to silence persons occupying just one portion of the political spectrum has happened in Wisconsin, which often has conducted robust political arguments with Midwestern civility. … Such misbehavior takes a toll on something that already is in short supply — belief in government’s legitimacy. The federal government’s most intrusive and potentially punitive institution, the IRS, unquestionably worked for Barack Obama’s re-election by suppressing activities by conservative groups.” Unquestionable, George?

The Strib’s Allison Sherry files a report on Second District Rep. John Kline, hours after he was endorsed (again) by the Strib’s editorial board. “Kline is chairman of the House Education and Workforce Committee. ‘At a time of frustration and gridlock, I’ve been able to deliver and get legislation passed. People really like that message because they are frustrated with what they think is gridlock. People have more mistrust in their government than maybe any other time in my lifetime’, Kline said, over burgers after canvassing. ‘I feel like I’ve been able to convey to them that they can trust me.’”

MinnPost’s 7th Anniversary party

You’re invited to a festive party and silent auction on Thursday, Nov. 6, at Solera Restaurant in downtown Minneapolis.


MPR’s Sasha Aslanian has a story about the 31 year-old Liberian running for Mayor of Brooklyn Center. “Almost a quarter of Brooklyn Center’s roughly 30,000 residents are foreign-born. As of the most recent census, the city’s black, Asian and Latino residents have outnumbered its white residents, a first in the Twin Cities. But Brooklyn Center’s elected leadership doesn’t reflect the diversity of its residents.”

Then on the downside, Jonathan Choe of KMSP-TV reports, “Mama Ti’s African Kitchen in Brooklyn Park, Minn. is considering drastic changes due to the recent fear of Ebola contamination. ‘This African name that brought people in before, is now hurting me,’ the restaurant’s owner Kellita Whisnant said. ‘We get the jokes, the ridicule.’ Piece by piece Whisnant is covering up the word ‘African’ on her restaurant’s sign, hoping to create a new identity.”

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Comments (19)

  1. Submitted by Tom Christensen on 10/27/2014 - 08:11 am.

    It was not a good debate.

    The moderators did a poor job of controlling the format. Franken is a very poor debater and McFadden doesn’t know how to wait his turn. Neither side won any points. Pretty much a free for all waste of time.

  2. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 10/27/2014 - 08:12 am.

    Political process

    “‘…But Brooklyn Center’s elected leadership doesn’t reflect the diversity of its residents.’”

    Unfortunately, this gives Brooklyn Center something (though I hope not too much) in common with Ferguson, MO, which has been much in the news lately. Elected leadership typically reflects voting patterns. In high school civics or government classes, this is called “democratic government,” or “democracy” for short.

    If people are citizens, but don’t register to vote, or register but don’t go to the polls on election day, their government will not reflect their presence because they’ve not made their presence known. If they’re not citizens, of course, there’s no real political basis for the complaint that the government doesn’t reflect the diversity of the community.

    On the other hand, if they *are* citizens, and the government doesn’t represent the diversity of the population, either the minority groups in the community are not voting, or they’re voting for candidates who don’t reflect that diversity. If it’s the former (i.e., they’re not voting), there’s no basis for complaint. If it’s the latter (i.e., they’re voting for candidates of different race or ethnicity), well, that’s their choice.

    This wouldn’t be an issue if everyone voted who was eligible, but of course voter turnout in the U.S. is, and has been, depressingly low in “non-presidential” elections. Some candidates – and the Republican Party – are counting on that trend’s continuance. Republicans have even tried to enact laws to make voting more difficult because people of color and immigrants who are new citizens more often vote for Democrats.

  3. Submitted by E Gamauf on 10/27/2014 - 08:59 am.

    PiPress wants it a certain way…

    The idea that this was such dominating topic is sensationalist weighting.

    A ban for direct flights from Nigeria –
    are there any flights from Nigeria to MSP at all?

    A nuanced answer allowing for expert input is probably a good answer.

    • Submitted by E Gamauf on 10/27/2014 - 08:36 pm.

      OK. The Nigerian Prince who emails me is – is safe then?

      This is gratifying to know.
      Its also interesting to note – no one knows Nigeria isn’t Liberia!

  4. Submitted by jody rooney on 10/27/2014 - 09:44 am.

    5:46 AM ?

    I love that Mr. Lambert is up early enough to get his column up. Thank you.

  5. Submitted by E Gamauf on 10/27/2014 - 10:09 am.

    On states being laboratories for “Obamacare”

    One should remember that has already largely happened.

    How long are we supposed to pretend to having been born yesterday?

  6. Submitted by James Hamilton on 10/27/2014 - 11:37 am.

    Politics and public health

    are a poor combination at any time. Mixing politics and ebola is the ultimate mistake.

    As I recall, when McFadden was asked why we should quarantine people when experts in communicable disease say we don’t need to do so, he responded by claiming quarantine was simply common sense. Infectious disease is not something to battle with common sense but with expertise.

    As much as many despise the supposedly elitist concept of expertise, we employ people in the CDC precisely because they have a better understanding of what is required for public health than do the rest of us. Refusing to listen to them is short sighted and potentially dangerous, as we may allocate resources to worthless efforts and underfund or inadvertently undercut more effective efforts.

    The call to quarantine returning health care workers appears to do exactly that, by imposing a substantial additional burden on those willing to risk their lives to beat ebola overseas, before it takes root in North America. How many will decline to make that trip in light of the quarantine? I don’t know, but when those more knowledgeable than I speak, I’m inclined to listen.

    You wouldn’t rely on your lawyer to advise you on public health. Why ignore those we pay to do precisely that.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 10/27/2014 - 02:11 pm.


      Mr. McFadden is the man who was so outraged at the fee expected from him that he took out his son’s stitches himself.

      He must be an expert, right?

    • Submitted by Tom Christensen on 10/27/2014 - 02:23 pm.

      It seems

      it is the same group distrusting the experts at the CDC that are totally distrusting of the scientists that are trying to warn us about global warning. For some reason the GOP’s sky is always falling unless it is something real, then it is time to deny it.

  7. Submitted by Steve Titterud on 10/27/2014 - 11:40 am.

    Trust Kline ??

    Certainly not if you’re a student, as he champions the causes of those who prey upon students. As chairman of the noted committee, he has used the power to do more harm, not good.

    • Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 10/27/2014 - 01:30 pm.

      The Depths of Dishonesty in Mr. Kline’s Statement

      is found in that he did NOT say that he has sought to be a trustworthy servant of the people in his district,…

      but only that he has been able to convey to them that they can trust him.

      In other words, he’s managed to get the majority of people in his district to believe they can trust him,…

      (the man must have a certain level of charisma),…

      in exactly the same way a charming and charismatic used car salesman can convince people to pay inflated prices for junk.

      He never claimed he was worthy of his constituent’s trust, only that he’s good at getting people to trust him. By his voting record, it doesn’t matter in the least if he’s worthy of their trust or not. He can get them to trust him, anyway.

  8. Submitted by James Hamilton on 10/27/2014 - 11:42 am.

    While I’m at it

    I’d like to invite Mr. McFadden to drop the 97% mantra and tell us exactly which of Sen. Franken’s votes he disagrees with, why, how he would have voted, and/or what he would have changed in the legislation in order to make it acceptable.

    Until then, he’s running against the President for an office held by someone else. Which, I imagine, is precisely the point.

    • Submitted by Jonathan Ecklund on 10/27/2014 - 12:56 pm.


      …”he’s running against the President for an office held by someone else. Which, I imagine, is precisely the point.”

      Nailed it.

    • Submitted by Steve Titterud on 10/27/2014 - 02:22 pm.

      Mr. McFadden has nothing else to offer but…

      …a fictional set of qualifications in a fictional campaign against a fictional opponent.

      His desire for high office cannot bear to address his real qualifications (I keep asking this and have seen no answer anywhere yet), the real campaign (a desperate quest for him at this point), and his real opponent (not the President, but a sitting U.S. Senator who’s done not too bad a job for Minnesota).

      While this is entertaining in its own perverse way, it is very troubling that what’s at stake here is one of the highest offices in the land. Something could happen to put this hollow man into office. The GOP owes it to all of us to do better than this.

    • Submitted by E Gamauf on 10/27/2014 - 08:40 pm.

      Its been clear for some time that the challenger thinks he’s running for president,
      not the senate comprised of 100 members.

  9. Submitted by Dennis Litfin on 10/27/2014 - 10:57 pm.

    The moderators,

    esp. Ms Murphy, set the tone for the ‘brawl’ with her constant interrupting of the participants before they could complete the answer to their question. The ‘debate’ was difficult to watch because of that.

  10. Submitted by bill mckee on 10/29/2014 - 08:56 pm.

    Frankens 97 percent voting record

    To bill Hamilton
    Franken supported obamacare which raised premiums for 88 percent of Americans lowered access and increased up front deductibles. Franken supported the tax increases effective this year that have killed us business. Ask Medtronic what franklin tax did to the medical device industry. Frankin supported increasing the debt trillions of dollars. Frankin supported releasing 4 of the worst terrorists in the world for deserter. Frankin supports letting millions of illegals in the country which Minnesota will have to pay for. In short, you would simply have to be brain dead to vote vote for al.

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