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Before I go to bed, I want to comment on a bizarre comment by John Binkowski in tonight's Almanac debate. The Star Trib article on the debate contains this quote:

Binkowski, Eskola said, is not known well enough to even have a stereotype.

Binkowski: "I think that's great. ... I'm trying to run a campaign that's going to represent younger folks in this country. I'm 27. People between the ages of 18 and 25 haven't turned out to vote in percentages greater than single digits since 1992. I think that that's a product of seeing legislation and representation in Washington that doesn't represent them."

I don't know where he's getting his statistics, but this claim is easily disproven. For instance, in 2000, nationwide voter turnout for voters between 18 and 24 was 36.1%. I don't think it's ever been in the "single digits." In the 1998 midterm elections, the 18-24 nationwide turnout was 17%.

Of course, these are terrible statistics, and Binkowski's point is sound. But candidates shouldn't be in the business of making up statistics and overexaggerating them to make their point.

Some would probably take issue with this statement from Michele Bachmann:

"Almanac" host Eric Eskola asked each candidate to address stereotypes. Bachmann, he said, is perceived as "focusing on social issues like gay marriage and as a lightning rod for division and disunity -- pulling people apart, not bringing them together."

Bachmann: "... I've been in the state Senate for six years, probably the strongest fiscal conservative that there was in the Minnesota State Senate.

Why the self-aggrandizement? I guess it depends on your definition of "fiscal conservatism," but I assume Bachmann is referring to the Taxpayers' League, no-new-taxes type of "fiscal conservatism" (rather than the "use sane and responsible measures to balance the budget" type). Even by that measure, it would be hard to claim that she is the "strongest" in a State Senate filled with David Strom wannabes. Take a look at the 2006 Taxpayers League scorecard; there are a good handful of senators with extremely high ratings and even a couple of freshmen senators who have lifetime ratings of 100, higher than Bachmann's 94.

And let's not forget, this was the "fiscal conservative" who graciously allowed the taxpayers to pay her home cable bill.


Go to bed earlier, Pat.