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The three Minnesota Senate (MN-SEN) DFL candidates appeared on KSTP's At Issue this morning.  Host Tom Hauser moderated and they talked about three topics and snuck in a fourth at the end.  The three topics were the most important to Minnesotans:  the economy, Iraq and healthcare.  The fourth was should Congress repeal the Bush tax cuts for the richest Americans.  Duh?  Of course, all three want to repeal a gift to the rich that wasn't needed and hurt the economy.

The most remarkable thing about the debate was that Mike Ciresi attacked Al Franken whenever he could.  Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer stuck to a more positive message realizing that with Ciresi's attacks on Franken, he could just keep making his points.

The bottom line is that Mike must realize how far behind Al he is and has decided it is time to attack.  The informal, unscientific polling that the Franken campaign is touting indicates that Mike may even be trailing Jack!  I'll post the results at the end of this post.

Iraq was, of course, the most contentious issue.  This is where Mike most stridently attacked Al.  He called out Al for his initial support of the war and for opposing a regional peace conference.  Al responded by pointing out that there wasn't a more prominent critic (via Air America) once it became clear that we were lied into war and that the war was being horribly mishandled.  Furthermore, Al replied that Mike was misquoting him when he was discussing specific aspects of Rep. John Murtha's plan which would have established specific benchmarks and penalties if they weren't met.  Jack just pointed out that we're in Iraq to steal the oil and build permanent military bases.

The economy is where they agree the most.  They all feel that Bush and Norm have harmed our economy by borrowing so much and that the Iraq War is the main culprit.  While none completely favored the economic stimulus package that just passed, they pointed out tweaks they would have preferred.  Both Al and Jack emphasized that they want the Minnesota economy steered toward green technology like building wind turbines, solar panels and trains.

The healthcare debate became a bit contentious, too, though they all want universal coverage.  Mike called Al's healthcare plan incomprehensible.  Sorry, Mike, it's fairly straightforward.  Al wants single payer system for kids and wants each state to figure out their own universal program.  Al thinks that this is the best way to find out what works best for the US.  Jack wants a single payer, but I think y'all already know that.

The deal is Mike's plan is the one I have problems with.  First of all, Mike doesn't see that the health insurance industry, HMOs and pharmaceutical industry are why we have a healthcare crisis.  Under Mike's plan we'll have a Health Board which the panacea to all our healthcare ills.  His website doesn't even mention these magical Health Boards.

Here's the few straw polls on the MN-SEN race I talke about earlier.  This is interesting because it agrees with the poll I talked about earlier that shows Al with 42% among DFLers with Mike trailing with 18% and Jack with a paltry 3%.

MinneapolisBryn Mawr1123015
St. Paul275262216
St. Paul31644202621
St. Paul2330832
St. Paul2920244
St. Paul3103713194
St. Paul2114391716
St. Paul31644202621
St. Paul1124341718
St. Paul1248151225
St. Paul4741391915
St. Paul291205125
St. Paul31644202621
St. Paul3355718
St. Paul216318214
St. Paul41302997
St. Paul4278301611
St. Paul224217142
St. PaulCrocus Hill19448
St. PaulHighland Park5571812
Eden Prairie430520
Cottage Grove530000
Cottage Grove1722
St. Louis Park1670000
Martin County528160
Fergus Falls158780
Wilkin County3213
Douglas County54528123
Lyon County2291847
La Prairie612300
Gnesen Township25500
Balsam Township121063
Cass County20028
28274 2858624589310

Originally posted to The Big E on Sun Feb 10, 2008 at 04:30 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

    •  Grr (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Why is Mike Ciresi even running? I hope his negative style and running to the right make him lose even to Jack. He's done good things for this party before but there is no real reason for him to be running now.

      Go Al! It was amazing to see the energy behind Al on Tuesday. It seemed like it was a Franken/Obama organizing meeting :)

      •  Ciresi (0+ / 0-)

        is to the left of Franken, who was a big Iraq war supporter.  

        •  On Iraq yes (0+ / 0-)

          But he used right-wing framing to attack single-payer. It's okay not to want to go that far but to attack it using right wing framing? Not in my book.

          That's just me. And while Franken was for Iraq I wouldn't call him a "big Iraq War supporter"

          •  What would you call him? (0+ / 0-)

            Franken didn't just vote for the war resolution, he supported starting a war with Iraq.  He went to a pro-war rally to urge others to support starting a war with Iraq.  

            As others have pointed out here, Al Franken isn't a progressive.  He's a lying asshole who is going to give the Senate race to the Republicans.  

            •  Someone swallowed the Kool-Aid (0+ / 0-)

              Strange you should suggest that Al "went to a pro-war rally to urge others to support" the war. Ciresi also cited information that could only have come from the same place that gave you this idea:  Al's satirical account of his participation in a pro-war rally (from his book, "Lies...")...By the way, Ciresi was called out on this lame attempt to misrepresent the facts. Those listening to the debate were left to wonder if Ciresi  didn't get that it was satire, or deliberately lied.

              So, please, let's raise the level of discourse, and not imitate such foolishness with falsehoods about a "pro-war rally," and global accusations about being a "lying asshole." Paraphrasing Al's reply to Ciresi, comments like that are unbecoming to civil debate.

              •  Funny stuff (0+ / 0-)

                You have demonstrated exactly why Al Franken is the worst Senate candidate in history.  

                Only part of Franken's story was satirical - the part about the him being scared into supporting the war, and I expect that is what Ciresi attacked him on.  The part about attending pro-war rally is true.  While Franken supporters are generally astonishingly ignorant about their candidate, I guess it can be excused because its very hard to tell when he is being satirical and when he is being serious.  Franken also has told a number of well-documented lies about his various Iraq positions, so that may make it difficult too.  So what I'm saying is that I understand why you didn't know Franken was a warmonger, and I forgive you.  

                And as far as the level of discourse, Al Franken is the ultimate gutter politician, with a long history of personal attacks that will come back to bite him.  The Republicans are smart enough not to actually run Ann Coulter (or maybe her ego isn't so out of control that she thinks she could be elected) but unfortuntely the Democrats can't say the same with the (kind-of) liberal equivalent.  Al Franken is in no position to talk about the level of discourse.  

                •  Re: Funny Stuff (0+ / 0-)


                  You're obviously a very impassioned progressive. So am I. Therefore, let's put the ad hominem attacks aside & examine the situation together.  As such, I will trust that you didn't literally mean that Al is the "worst Senate candidate in history," nor that "Franken supporters are generally astonishingly ignorant about their candidate." Because if that is your assertion, it would imply that you prefer Norm Coleman and tend toward  projections of the most paradoxical kind.

                  Instead, we could provide a public service to Daily Kos readers, as well as MN voters, through a joint fact-finding venture. Let's start with the pro-war rally. Your research must have revealed that the radio show, "Morning Asylum with Dave and the Donut Lover," sponsored the rally. My research validates this. It's on p.353 of "Lies & the Lying Liars Who Tell Them" (paperback edition). I'm curious about the radio show's take on this unusual coalition. [3 hrs later] Couldn't find a damn thing about a radio show with donuts. How 'bout you?

                  What I do know, is that Paul Wellstone was Al's political hero, as well as his good friend. Al is in one of the documentaries about Paul, joking along side him. During the time period that Al purportedly spoke before this pro-war rally, he was also campaigning for Paul--as he has done since for so many other DFLers. I found an article online in The Nation, which compares  Al and Paul: (By the way, In "Lies," you'll find Al's account of the Wellstone Memorial. I'm sure you attended it, so you'll be able to judge for yourself the extent of Al's opportunism and tasteless vitriol (p. 186-214).  

                  I wanted to find the "number of well-documented lies about [Al's] various Iraq positions." This link represents a good summary of what I've consistently found on the topic, However, I also know that all his radio shows are archived and available on Air America's website. With them, it should be fairly easy to trace the evolution of Al's thought and subsequent positions on the war and occupation.  

                  O.k. Your turn. Remember: We're performing a public service--especially that of educating the voting public. So, remember not to take anyone's word for it (including mine), but rather, go straight to the source. I look forward to our ongoing collaboration, which will lead inevitably toward a renunciation of  ignorant Franken supporters.

                  •  OK (0+ / 0-)

                    Your research must have revealed that the radio show, "Morning Asylum with Dave and the Donut Lover," sponsored the rally. My research validates this. It's on p.353 of "Lies & the Lying Liars Who Tell Them" (paperback edition). I'm curious about the radio show's take on this unusual coalition. [3 hrs later] Couldn't find a damn thing about a radio show with donuts. How 'bout you?

                    I am really not sure what you are getting at there.  This is Franken's story:

                    In the beginning, Franken was pro-war, even giving a speech for Clear Channel Communications in which he said in part, "Today we are all Americans, except for NPR listeners, who always seem a little French to me. If I could be serious for a minute. I know your prayers are with our men and women fighting in Iraq, who are there protecting us from Saddam Hussein and his weapons of mass destruction."

                    Today, Franken seems to regret that speech, which he writes in his book that he made because of the pervading sense of fear in the United States, but tells me he made because Colin Powell's speech to the U.N. convinced him the war was necessary. At this point, he doesn't favor pulling out of Iraq.
                    "Well, now we're there," he says. "We can't allow the mission to fail. It would be nice if we could have a president who attracts international support. That's why I want to get rid of this guy because he has alienated the rest of the world."


                    You say:

                    During the time period that Al purportedly spoke before this pro-war rally, he was also campaigning for Paul--as he has done since for so many other DFLers.

                    That's not true.  The Clear Channel rally was in March 2003.  Wellstone was dead at that point.  

                    Here are some more links for you:



                    This is a good piece on the evolution of Franken's positions:


                  •  Are we done with our collaboration? n/t (0+ / 0-)
                    •  Re: Are we done...? (0+ / 0-)

                      Hi, Mia--

                      I hadn't checked back to see your response. I'll finish with this:

                      The issue of the rally is complicated because a few people think it actually happened – some outlets, like the “metroactive” one you site, even repeat it. But it didn’t happen. Here’s what I was getting at.  “Morning Asylum with Dave and the Donut Lover,” the show hosting the rally, is a show that Al invented.  If this were not fiction, you would be able to find a reference to the show that did NOT involve the Clear Channel rally. But you can’t. The rally never happened, and the show doesn’t exist. You also can’t find tape of the rally, or a transcript, or a YouTube video, or anyone who heard or attended it. It was a fictional, satirical account of the lead-up to the war. I know that people are perpetuating this talking point, so I feel the need to correct the record.


      •  It did seem like a Franken/Obama event (0+ / 0-)

        at my caucus as well. Most of the Obama supporters that caucused had Franken stickers on as well. No signs for Hillary, one for Ciresi and none for JNP. The two other people in my subcaucus didn't even know JNP's name and thought Ciresi was pretty much saying the same thing he said last time he ran. The 3 of us got 3 delagates and they are all going to Al. Add three to the list.

  •  When is the DFL primary/caucus? n/t (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jj32, lenzy1000
  •  Al Franken... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Does he have a chance?

  •  Numbers do not square with what I saw at my caucu (0+ / 0-)

    in South Minneapolis, Senate District 62, precinct 2-1.  JNP dominated with at least 35 of the 45 official delegates, unless of course, some delegates were being less than honest about their preferences.

    Ciresi not really a factor at all.  

    Help new teachers to grow and love their work at

    by Mi Corazon on Sun Feb 10, 2008 at 04:44:17 PM PST

  •  Do think that (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Franken is the one who's going to win, but Nelson-Pallmeyer is a very impressive looking guy on the issues.

    OH-16: John Boccieri will finally end 36 years of Regula Rule.

    by marcvstraianvs on Sun Feb 10, 2008 at 05:09:04 PM PST

  •  Im for Jack... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mia Dolan

    I trust Jack more on environment and on the war. On those two issues Franken and Colman are the pretty close together on.  I most certainly do not like the Franken/Ciresi pander to the iron range (weakening environment standards) for votes. .

    That said, Franken is my second choice if Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer is not viable.

    Minnesota and the nation would be best served if Blue Majority let Minnesota progressives decide our nominee. AL IS NOT THE PROGRESSIVE IN THIS RACE. Trust us. We are the state that gave you all Wellstone.

    If you're walking down the right path and you're willing to keep walking, eventually you'll make progress. -Barack Obama

    by Demrock6 on Sun Feb 10, 2008 at 05:23:12 PM PST

  •  Minnesota (0+ / 0-)

    Thanks for posting this.   I wish we could cut the Clinton-Obama diaries by 50% and spend some time on key races like this.  

  •  Big E (0+ / 0-)

    Where did you get the polling?

  •  Franken support shallow according to my polling (0+ / 0-)

    I called every 2004 delegate household in my precinct in Minneapolis (W:11, P:08). The Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer supporters amoung them were firm and clear in their convictions. The majority were undecided or for Franken.

    The Franken supporters were either less aware of the Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer option, or they were both full of appreciation and respect of Jack but a little leary of endorsing him. When they were engaged in conversation about Jack, at least half of my calls ended in a Jack convert. Almost all the others said they would rethink the Jack candidacy and would take him seriously as he more fit their values and what they want in their Senator.

    Turns out Franken support was based in expectations gleaned from who they already knew, with little thought of other options and possibilities. That changed virtually every time, especially because again there is running a Professor with fabulous progressive vision and credentials who has a real and better chance than Franken to win.

  •  The real delegate count... (0+ / 0-)

    Those numbers at the beginning of the post are pretty suspect, perhaps they were cherry picked? Today in Mcleod County they subcaucussed and Franken barely beat Ciresi, winning 3 delegates to Ciresi's 2 with Nelson-Pallmeyer taking 1.

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