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December 3, 2006

By the numbers...

The Star Trib has a campaign round-up for the Sixth District:

$7.2 million

Amount raised by candidates for Minnesota's Sixth Congressional District this year (including Rep.-elect Michele Bachmann and Patty Wetterling), according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

7th

Of the 435 races for the House of Representatives, rank of Minnesota's Sixth Congressional District in terms of amount raised by the candidates.

They also have some interesting stats on the absolutely terrible political coverage of Twin Cities news media:


In an average half-hour local news broadcast in the Twin Cities in the month prior to last month's election, number of minutes taken up by political advertisements, according to a study by the University of Wisconsin.

135

Percent by which the amount of political advertising exceeded the amount of news coverage of the election on those news broadcasts.

71

Percent of the election-related local television news stories that focused on the strategy and the horse race of the campaign.

14

Percent of the election-related local television news stories that focused on issues in the election.

There are many parties that bear some responsibility for Michele Bachmann's victory, but in my mind none more so than the media, which refused to cover Bachmann honestly and comprehensively.

Finally, they have this "statistic" about blogging:

1

Number of new blogs created each second of every day, according to Google CEO Eric Schmidt.

1

Number of readers that the average blog has, according to Schmidt.

So true.

October 30, 2006

Majority Watch poll shows race even

A new Constituent Dynamics/Majority Watch poll shows the following results:

Bachmann 48
Wetterling 47
Other 3
Undecided 2

This poll was conducted 10/24-26 and has a margin of error of 3.01%.

You can view the crosstabs here.

BvW says that another Zogby poll will be released at the end of this week.

This race is going to be determined by which side has the better turnout. Voter motivation is even on both sides. You can help Patty by signing up to help with Get Out the Vote efforts leading up to or on election day. There is now a GOTV center on Patty's website.

Sign up to help on election day
Sign up to help phone-bank
Sign up to door-knock

Want to elect Patty Wetterling? Want to defeat Michele Bachmann? Do your part to help out. There are only 8 days left!

Hat tip to reader bamchell for the tip on this newest poll.

October 25, 2006

TV debates this weekend

Try to watch these. From a Wetterling campaign e-mail:

League of Women Voters Debate
Broadcast on KSTP, channel 5
Friday, Oct. 27
7:00 p.m.

WCCO Debate

Broadcast on WCCO, channel 4

Sat, Oct. 28

11:05 p.m

No additional details, but the WCCO debate seems kind of late...

New SurveyUSA poll shows Bachmann up

Crazy! This race is topsy-turvy. It's going down to the wire.

SurveyUSA 10/22/06 - 10/24/06 MOE 3.7% Bachmann 49 Wetterling 43 Binkowski 5 Undecided 3

Still within the margin of error. The recent trend for Wetterling had been encouraging; I'll add it to my chart and get a new trend graph up soon.

Recent polls had shown Wetterling up by 5 (Majority Watch) and 8 (Minnesota Poll). The last SurveyUSA poll, released October 9th, showed Bachmann up by 3.

H/T to MDE who was first on the draw.

October 17, 2006

Minnesota Poll shows Wetterling with 8-point lead

The Star Tribune's Minnesota Poll continues the trend of positive polls for Patty. This race is trending her way. Results were:

Wetterling 48
Bachmann 40
Binkowski 4
Other/None 3
No opinion 5

Margin of error is 4.5%, so this race is still within the margin of error, but Patty's trend is encouraging.

The poll also shows interesting stats on favorability ratings: 56% have a positive view of Wetterling, compared to just 44% for Bachmann. The two candidates' unfavorability ratings are about the same. Only 1% of voters don't know who Patty is, while 9% still haven't heard of Michele.

To show the trend, I've put together a chart showing all the poll results to date. The data points are accompanied by a 2-period moving average to illustrate the trend. You can view it here.

cd6poll1.gif

October 12, 2006

New poll shows Wetterling up 5!

A new poll is out from RT Strategies/Constituent Dynamics, the firm that released the first Sixth District poll back at the end of August. The August poll did not use candidates' names, but instead used their party affiliations. That poll found the Republican candidate up by a margin of 53-42.

Now, things have reversed. The candidates are named, and Wetterling is up 50-45 with an MOE of 3.09%. It's still within the margin of error, so it's like I've been saying all along: this race is going down to the wire.

Neither poll included IP candidate John Binkowski, but the option "other" gets 3% in this poll. Polls that included Binkowski showed him at about 6-7 points.

See the poll results in a nifty graphical format here. The wonks out there can check out the crosstabs in this pdf.

I'm going to try to create a graph of all the polls released to date. I will post that later, along with further analysis of this encouraging poll.

October 10, 2006

More thoughts on the poll

First, check out what Jeff Kouba has to say over at BvW on the new SurveyUSA poll. His analysis seems sound and is worth reading. He discusses the impact of the most recent Wetterling ads and what role they may play in the new poll numbers.

Jeff also points out the crosstabs for this poll, and they tell an interesting story.

Look at the movement of the poll numbers across the three days of the poll:

Day 1, 10/6: Bachmann 50, Wetterling 42, Binkowski 6, Undecided 2
Day 2, 10/7: Bachmann 45, Wetterling 44, Binkowski 9, Undecided 1
Day 3, 10/8: Bachmann 46, Wetterling 45, Binkowski 7, Undecided 2

Wetterling's numbers jumped by 3 points, while Bachmann's fell by 5, across the three days of the survey. Now, because of the margin of error and the smaller sample size for each day, the movement might not mean anything. The degree to which Binkowski's numbers jumped around over the three days is a confounding factor for this theory. But one could reasonably infer that the overall trend, if there is one, is the Foley scandal having its impact. Remember, Patty's ad on the Foley scandal began running 10/3, and she delivered the national radio address on 10/7. During the past week there has been an enormous wave of media coverage for Wetterling, and Bachmann in interviews has seemed pouty and angry about the attention being given to Wetterling. It is conceivable that there would be a lag time between the ad and its effects.

A surprising and depressing story told in the crosstabs is the degree to which self-identified "Democrats" and "Liberals" are crossing over to support Binkowski, and even (shudder) Bachmann. Seriously-- 9 percent of liberals and 9 percent of Democrats support Binkowski?! 9% of liberals and 7% of Democrats support Michele Bachmann?

I would like to retract my earlier statement about this poll overstating support for Binkowski. I did some research and found that the Independence Party candidate in 2002 got around 7.5% of the vote, so I feel it is conceivable that Binkowski could receive a similar number. Some liberals could be attracted to his platform, for instance, because of his criticism of Israel's invasion of Lebanon, which was not popular among many liberals, but which both Bachmann and Wetterling expressed support for. I sincerely hope that, as the election gets closer, many of this group will switch their vote to Wetterling as it becomes apparent that John Binkowski cannot win and that the consequence of voting for him may be to elect Michele Bachmann.

But I am completely at a loss to account for the 9% of liberals that say they'll vote for Michele Bachmann, in my opinion one of the most reactionary conservative candidates ever to run for public office in this state. What could account for this? Is it the gay marriage issue? I know anti-gay-marriage liberals, though I don't think they are single-issue voters. Perhaps it is something else?

Finally, I would like to ask for your help. The SurveyUSA poll counts as "likely voters" an even 50-50 split between men and women. My research reveals that, in the counties that make up the Sixth, there is a very even demographic split between the genders, perhaps slightly tilted . But conventional wisdom is that women vote in greater numbers than men. An extensive Google search turned up no records of past Sixth District election records that included breakdowns by gender. If anyone is able to find them, please let me know. They would be very helpful to see if the poll's assumptions about the gender split are accurate.

If they are not, and more women end up voting than men, it could have a very beneficial effect for Patty Wetterling-- she leads among women by a 50-41 margin.

October 4, 2006

Zogby poll shows race too close to call

The new Zogby/Reuters poll shows Bachmann 46, Wetterling 43 and 10% undecided with a +/- 4.5% margin of error.

It appears that Binkowski either was not included, or drew less than 1% in the poll.

I couldn't find the crosstabs, but here is the methodology.

This shows the race is still too close to call. In my opinion, this poll shows a more reasonable number of undecided voters than the other polls that have been released.

The poll period overlapped the Foley scandal by a few days, and would not have included the new Wetterling ad. It remains to be seen what effect that will have on the race.

September 27, 2006

A Bachmann victory spells doom for the Independence Party?

That's the thesis of a new piece up at The Bachmann Record. Excerpts:

Voters who want to protect the future of Minnesota’s Independence Party should do everything they can to make sure that Michele Bachmann is not elected to Congress.

Here’s why: if Michele Bachmann is elected to Congress this fall, she can keep that seat as long as she wants to, and the Independence Party is through as a political force in the 6th District—and possibly in other districts as well.

If Patty Wetterling wins this year and performs poorly in Congress during the next two years, she will not be re-elected. The support she would enjoy in Republican-trending 6th District would be inherently weaker than the support that Bachmann would enjoy. Wetterling would be vulnerable in the next election two years from now, because the number of people in the 6th District that would constitute her “liberal base? is comparatively small. If Wetterling wins, the Independence Party stays alive in the 6th District and gets another chance to influence policy there over the next two years and to play “kingmaker? at the next election.

[...]

If an IP candidate inadvertently helps Bachmann get into office (by shaving Wetterling vote totals) they are actually diminishing their own influence in the district—since Bachmann is a special-interest politician who will pay them no heed and since her political position, once elected, will be virtually unassailable.

Seems like a sound theory to me. You can't argue with the fact that Michele Bachmann would be much more formidable as an incumbent, barring any catastrophic gaffes (and you never know with Michele!), than would Patty Wetterling. We might have a chance to defeat her in '08; after that it seems like it would be smooth sailing, should Bachmann choose to keep her seat.

Conventional wisdom is that the Sixth is fertile ground for the Independence Party and independent candidates in general, based on strong vote totals for Jesse Ventura in the Sixth in 1998.

Since The Bachmann Record is not a blog, feel free to use this space as a discussion thread.

A source for the ad

Corey Day, Patty Wetterling's campaign manager, promptly responded to my e-mail seeking a source for the allegation that Michele Bachmann supports replacing the income tax with a national sales tax, presumably based on the "Fair Tax" plan put forth by Rep. Linder of Georgia. Here's the new source that definitively backs up this claim:

Bachmann Favors A National Consumption Tax. Bachmann “would replace income tax with national consumption tax.? [Minneapolis Star Tribune, 2/19/06]

This article is only available on the pay-only section of the Star Trib website.

I'll write more about this later. In the meantime, DB is covering reaction to the ad.

September 26, 2006

Get ready for NRCC, DCCC ads

Tom Scheck of Polinaut has been visiting the various metro TV stations and has the goods on who's spending what where:

The NRCC is investing a boatload of money in the race in support of Bachmann. The public files at KSTP-TV, WCCO-TV and KARE-11 say the NRCC is spending $1,192,275 for 863 ads between today and election day.

Get ready for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee to follow suit. They're scheduled to run 256 ads between October tenth and election day on WCCO-TV and KARE-11 at the total cost of $771,175.

Maybe the DCCC is getting ripped off, or they're targeting their ads in primetime. It seems the NRCC is getting a lot more ads for their money, but the time slot does matter.

Mr. Scheck has also seen the new NRCC ad, which repeats the lie that Patty Wetterling will raise taxes on the middle class.

I just saw the ad on KSTP-TV. The National Republican Congressional Committee ad basically tells viewers that Wetterling will raise your taxes if she's elected. Here's the text from the ad :

"Patty Wetterling just doesn't get it. Lowering taxes helps families and creates jobs. Yet Patty Wetterling opposes making our tax relief permanent that means higher taxes on working families. It means reducing child tax credits and it means bringing back the marraiage penalty. And bringing back the death tax on family businesses and farms. It's clear, Patty Wetterling means higher taxes. She's wrong. The National Republican Congressional Committee is responsible for the content of this advertising."

This lie has already been addressed. Patty Wetterling has NOT proposed eliminating all of the Bush tax cuts. In fact, she has her own plan for middle class tax relief. The only people who would see their taxes increase are those who benefited disproportionately from the Bush tax cuts-- the wealthy.

But the indirect Bachmann-Wetterling exchange on taxes reflects a common disconnect in the discourse on this point this election year.

Wetterling and most Democrats do not favor the expiration or repeal of the Bush tax cuts as they apply to middle-class families.

The standard Democratic position this year is that only those in the top 1 or 2 percent of income earners should see their tax rates revert to the pre-Bush levels. You can argue against that on the basis of economic stimulus and how it indirectly benefits working families.

But apparently there is a broad bipartisan consensus that the $50,000 family of four should keep the benefits it has received under the Bush cuts.

-Eric Black

Why does the NRCC feel the need to fill every ad they run with baseless smears? Can't Michele Bachmann run on her record? (Oh, that's right... she hasn't accomplished anything...) Couldn't they at least go with the standard smears of Democrats... you know, things like,

"Patty Wetterling will ban the Bible!"
"Patty Wetterling will make abortion mandatory!"
"Patty Wetterling will come to your house and forcibly marry your 13-year-old daughter to an iguana!"
"Patty Wetterling will take away your gun and send it to her best bud, Osama bin Laden!"

What ad can we expect next from the liars at the NRCC?

September 18, 2006

Debate in St. Cloud

Eric Black has the story about tonight's debate at a St. Cloud senior center. There's nothing in it that we didn't know before about the candidates, but it's still worth a read. Perhaps he'll have more on "The Big Question" blog later. I also expect Lawrence Schumacher to weigh in; he normally covers these debates. The play-by-play according to Mr. Black:

Binkowski, a political newcomer with a low-budget campaign, may have stolen the show as he aimed courtly barbs at both opponents, whom he called "the two lovely ladies sitting on either side of me." He accused Wetterling and Bachmann of having campaigns that are funded and run from Washington and that follow talking points from Republican and Democratic leaders.

Wetterling's strongest rhetoric was on domestic issues such as whether Congress should fully fund its promised 40 percent share of the cost of mandates on public schools for special education.

Bachmann said that Congress would never provide full funding so she favors eliminating the mandates. Wetterling replied; "We cannot not fund special education? That's criminal and against everything I believe in."

Bachmann's biggest ovation came on a national security issue. Binkowski had set the stage by accusing the Republicans of fear-mongering on terrorism, leaving Americans cowering in front of their television sets.

Bachmann replied that her brother is defending the country in the U.S. Navy and he is "not cowering."

If anyone was there, please tell us about it. I'm interested in more details on the candidates' styles and speaking ability, and how each of their messages was received.

The candidates will debate Friday night on Almanac. Hopefully I'll be able to watch it.

Another poll

Dump Bachmann points out a new poll, this one by Survey USA. It doesn't look pretty:

Bachmann Holds MN6 House seat for GOP: In an election in Minnesota's 6th Congressional District today, 9/18/05, Republican Michele Bachmann edges DFL Candidate Patty Wetterling, 50% to 41%, according to a SurveyUSA poll conducted exclusively for KSTP-TV Minneapolis. Independence Party candidate John Binkowski gets 5%. Bachmann gets 89% of Republican votes. Wetterling gets 85% of Democrat votes. Independents split. Bachmann leads by 19 points among men. Wetterling leads by 3 points among women. Bachmann's lead comes entirely from voters under age 50. Voters age 50+ split evenly. Bachmann leads by 70 points among conservatives. Wetterling leads by 62 points among liberals and by 19 points among moderates. Of those who approve of President George W. Bush's job performance, 87% choose Bachmann. Of those who disapprove of Bush's job performance, 77% choose Wetterling. President Bush's job approval among likely voters in Minnesota's 6th Congressional District is 46%. Incumbent 3-term Republican Congressman Mark Kennedy is running for the U.S. Senate this year. The House seat is open. Wetterling lost to Kennedy by 8 points in 2004. The election is on 11/7/06.

The margin of error on this poll was +/- 3.9%, so the 9-point differential is almost within the margin of error. 3% also remain undecided. Overall, though, one can't argue with the trend so far in the two polls: Patty Wetterling is playing catch-up.

The poll appears to show that Bachmann has more support among Republicans than Wetterling does among Democrats. More surprising is the fact that, while 77% of those who disapprove of President Bush support Wetterling, a full 15% support Bachmann.

The crosstabs on this are not all that useful. They don't show voter confidence in their choice or differentiate between "leaners" and "solid" voters. Some of the crosstabs are suspect; for instance, I don't believe that 56% of my generation (Gen Y) would support Bachmann. Young people tend to vote Democratic, and we are much more moderate on social issues than Bachmann is. Anecdotally, most of the people I knew at my high school (those who were into politics) were virulently anti-Bachmann. This was in Stillwater, Michele's home turf. A lot of us will be voting in the Sixth District even if we attend college somewhere else, and college students at St. Cloud, St. John's/St. Ben's and elsewhere will be an important voting bloc that may be underrepresented in this poll. I suspect that the Gen Y-ers polled were not representative of my generation.

It appears that potential spoiler John Binkowski is drawing equally (4%) from the Republican and Democratic camps, but he is siphoning off independents (10%) that would otherwise probably break for Wetterling. Who knows-- if Binkowski remains a longshot candidate in the polls and does not inspire more support in the debate, the "anti-Bachmann" contingent among the independents may decide to bolt for Wetterling. We'll see what happens in the debates, but at this point Binkowski is nothing more than a spoiler.

Another qualifier on this poll: there are still almost 2 months before election day. Most people have not tuned into this race yet. Ads just began running. There are debates and controversies that will change this race. Anyone who says this race is over is dead wrong. None of the campaigns are throwing in the towel, and neither will this blog.

Massive CD6 doorknock this weekend

Dedicated DFLers will be doorknocking across the district this Saturday, September 23rd, in support of Patty Wetterling and other statewide and local candidates. Here are the locations and details:

Elk River 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. 2:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. Elk River Dairy Queen 403 Morton Avenue Northwest Contact Caitlin at charvey@dfl.org or 320-229-3930

Circle Pines
10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
43 E Golden Lake Rd
Circle Pines, MN 55014-1702
Contact: Graham Wilson at gwilson@dfl.org or 651-249-1736

Rocori High School
10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
2:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
534 5th Ave North
Cold Spring, MN 56320
Contact: Jeff Will ( jwill@dfl.org) or 320-229-3930

Carol's Restaurant
2:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
11888 Aberdeen Ct
Blaine, MN
Contact: Graham Wilson at gwilson@dfl.org or 651-249-1736

St. Cloud DFL Office
10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
2:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
904 W. St. Germain Street
St. Cloud, MN 56301
Contact: Jesse ( jlevine@dfl.org) or 320-229-3930

Forest Lake Area High School
10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
2:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
6101 Scandia Trail N.
Forest Lake, MN 55025
Contact: Katy Cosse ( kcosse@dfl.org) or 651-982-8400

Washington County DFL Office
10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
2:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
8645 Eagle Point Blvd
Lake Elmo, MN 55042
Contact: Jonpaul Barrabee ( jbarrabee@dfl.org) or 651-209-9356

The ads begin

Last week, Michele Bachmann released her first ad, and is calling it "Dream Big." You can see it at her site (but only with Internet Explorer, at least in my experience.) Today, Patty Wetterling released her first ad, entitled "Voice."

Patty's ad is, in my opinion, a fantastic "intro" ad. In the same vein as Amy Klobuchar's well-received ad touting her successful fight to win more hospital time for new mothers, this ad starts with a brief summary of the Jacob Wetterling tragedy and then moves to Patty's successful fight in Congress for tougher crime and safety legislation. People already know who Patty Wetterling is, so this is more of a "reintroduction," and it seems nearly pitch-perfect.

Bob Collins at Polinaut does point out the oddity that the ad is entirely in black and white, a color scheme normally reserved for attack ads. He suggests an Oz-like color change from B&W to color would be psychologically effective. I'm wondering if there is some new advertising theory that seeks to blunt the effect of the inevitable GOP attack ads by creating a positive connotation with that color scheme. Has it ever been tried before?

(Anyone with any knowledge of the psychology of advertising, help me out here. I'm just BSing.)

On the other hand, Bachmann's ad seems mostly boring. It tells us a little about Bachmann, that she has a family and a "small business" (but, predictably, fails to mention that neither the Bachmann clinic or the Bachmann campaign provides healthcare for employees) and used to be a tax attorney. Its biggest success, I suppose, is that it does nothing controversial and portrays Bachmann as a run-of-the-mill Republican. Once voters learn the truth about Bachmann's extremism, this positive image of Bachmann will start to be tarnished.

September 7, 2006

Finally, a poll in the Sixth!

Hat tip to BvW and Polinaut for pointing this one out.

Some bloggers (KvM's Gary and BvW's GOP Wingman) jumped the gun and declared that this poll showed a decisive Bachmann lead over Patty Wetterling. It's true that the poll shows an 11-point advantage for the Republican candidate, when the "weak Dem"/"weak Repub" voters are added in. However, as several people have pointed out (notably Lawrence Schumacher at the St. Cloud Times and Jeff Kouba at BvW), the poll asked asked voters to choose between a generic Republican and a generic Democratic candidate. It did not include the names of the candidates.

Therefore, questions may be raised as to the usefulness of this poll. A comment at Daily Kos puts it succinctly:

Lose no sleep over MN-06 (1+ / 0-)

Patty Wetterling, the icon, runs well ahead of the generic Democratic line in this Republican-leaning district. Similarly, Michele Bachmann has more baggage than the Orient Express. The question as phrased is going to put a Democrat at a disadvantage.

I would agree with that assessment. Patty Wetterling ran four points ahead of John Kerry in 2004, and her 2004 percentage was 11 points ahead of the 2002 Democratic nominee Janet Robert's total. A study done in January by the Mellman Group found that Patty Wetterling enjoyed 76% name recognition in the Sixth District, far outreaching Michele Bachmann's 32%. I'm sure those numbers have changed, and will change more as the campaign escalates, but the fact remains that any poll done without the use of the candidates' names gives an inaccurate picture.

The poll also did not include the Independence Party candidate, neither his real name (John Binkowski) nor his generic title (IP candidate). In what is sure to be a close race, Binkowski could be a spoiler, and any poll that does not include the Binkowski option is automatically suspect.

There are still interesting facts to be gleaned from the poll, however, and especially from the detailed crosstabs that accompanied the poll results.

Certainty
One interesting point is gleaned by looking at the "certainty" question (#3 in the pdf.) Among self-identified Democrats, 87% were "certain" of their choice, while just 13% said they "may vote for [the] opponent [of the candidate they chose]." The latter segment seems more likely to include a disproportionate number of the 11% of Democrats who said they preferred the Republican candidate. On the Republican side, the "certainty" number was smaller at 80%. The +/- on this poll is 3%, so the 7-point differential is nearly within the margin of error, but it would seem that Republican voters are slightly less confident in their choice than are Democrats. Also take into consideration the 29% of independents who remain "uncertain" of their choice, the overall 5% "undecided" number, and the 18 percent of respondents who registered "weak" support for either candidate. The conclusions I draw from all of this is that the Sixth is still a close race that's going to come down to the wire.

The Bush Factor
Overall Bush job approval in the Sixth is registered at 47% approval, with 48% disapproving and 5% undecided. I cant't find approval numbers broken down by district for 2004, but if we take Bush's 57-42 win in the Sixth in 2004 as an approximation of his approval rating (not necessarily a good one, I recognize), then Bush is 10 points behind where he was in 2004. The crosstabs give us a better look at some of these figures. Two interesting statistics jump out at me.
1. Approval/disapproval among independents in the Sixth is 52-46. Self-identified Repbulicans outnumber Democrats in this district by two points, but if independents view this election as a referendum on Bush-- and with Bachmann's ties to Bush, that's plausible-- then the difference could be made up if more independents (28% of the electorate) go for Wetterling than for Bachmann.

2. As expected, Bush's disapproval rating among Democrats is very high, at 89 percent. Conversely, the Republican approval rate is 83%. Combine that six-point differential with the 11% of Repbublicans "unsure" about Bush (compared to 4% of Dems) and there is another slight trend favoring Wetterling. Those Republicans who disapprove or have mixed feelings about Bush may not decide to pack it in and vote for Wetterling, but they may be turned off to Bachmann and decide not to bother voting at all.

There's probably more good stuff in the details of the poll, but I must retire for the evening. I'll leave you with a few reminders of the Bush-Bachmann connection.

Bachmann gushing about "The President" [sic]

What an honor it was to have the President of the United States here on my behalf. Hopefully, you were able to see some of the coverage on television, heard about it on the radio or saw an article in the newspaper.

After President Bush participated in a Health Care Forum in Minnetonka, I was able to join him, Governor Tim Pawlenty, US Senator Norm Coleman and White House Advisor Karl Rove for the limousine ride to my event. On the way to the Jundt home in Wayzata, we were informed we were going to make a stop. Little did we know what a treat it would be for us, literally and a treat for the unsuspecting customers at Glaciers Custard and Coffee Café.

I have never been in the Presidential limousine before so I was a little unsure what to do when the limousine stopped at the custard stand. I wasn't sure if I should exit with the President or get out of my side of the car. Karl Rove told me I would exit out the door on my side after The President steps out and someone would open the door for me. I could not believe I was discussing what flavor of custard to order with the President of the United States!

President Bush was so incredibly engaging with the servers. He actually stuck half of his body through the order window and asked, "Can anybody get some custard here." It was fun to see the excitement in the people's faces when it dawned on them that President Bush was in the same line to order custard. People were whipping out their cell phones to call loved one to say, you will not believe who is here. Everyone wanted to get their picture taken with him.

Always the mom, I thought, we need napkins. I asked the President if he had a napkin and he said no. So, I had to quickly grab napkins. I cannot imagine dripping custard in the Presidential limousine.

President Bush and I did share our custards with Governor Pawlenty, Senator Coleman and Karl Rove. Every bit of custard was gone well before we arrived at the Jundt home!

As we were driving, President Bush was constantly waving to people along the streets. I was struck by the humility he has towards his role as President of the United States. He enjoys connecting with people, even ever so briefly, and having them feel they have made contact with the President of the United States. I turned around and looked out the back window. The expressions on people's faces were priceless. They were just ecstatic when they realized The President had just waved at them.

If they were ecstatic, I can not even put into words the honor and joy I felt from having the support of The President.

August 31, 2006

Patty leads the money race again (for now)

Eric Black has the round-up of Minnesota "pre-primary" fundraising numbers. Patty Wetterling leads Michele Bachmann $800,450 to $666,257 in cash on hand, and outraised Bachmann by about $85,000 for the period of July 1st - August 23rd. However, as articles have pointed out, the Bachmann Victory Committee (Bachmann's other fund) did not have to report, and thus the reported $500,000 take from the Bush fundraiser is not included.

I took a look through Bachmann's donor list, and some names jumped out at me.

Glen Taylor, owner of the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Minnesota Lynx, gave $1,000. His net worth is $1.9 billion, and he's consistently been ranked among the Forbes 400.

Rudy Boschwitz (and a bunch of other Boschwitzes, as well) gave $2,000. Boschwitz is the former Minnesota Republican Senator who lost his seat to Paul Wellstone in 1990. He currently serves on the board of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, an organization with close ties to both Israel and the neoconservative movement. Here is Jason Vest, a writer for The Nation:

Industrious and persistent, they've managed to weave a number of issues--support for national missile defense, opposition to arms control treaties, championing of wasteful weapons systems, arms aid to Turkey and American unilateralism in general--into a hard line, with support for the Israeli right at its core.

On no issue is the JINSA/CSP hard line more evident than in its relentless campaign for war--not just with Iraq, but "total war," as Michael Ledeen, one of the most influential JINSAns in Washington, put it last year. For this crew, "regime change" by any means necessary in Iraq, Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia and the Palestinian Authority is an urgent imperative. Anyone who dissents--be it Colin Powell's State Department, the CIA or career military officers--is committing heresy against articles of faith that effectively hold there is no difference between US and Israeli national security interests, and that the only way to assure continued safety and prosperity for both countries is through hegemony in the Middle East--a hegemony achieved with the traditional cold war recipe of feints, force, clientism and covert action.

Vin Weber, a former Minnesota Republican Congressman, and his wife both gave $1,000. Weber is currently an influential lobbyist on K Street with close ties to Tom DeLay.

John Hinderaker--formerly "Hindrocket"-- of the right-wing blog Powerline gave $2100, and his wife gave $400.

Bob Naegele, lead investor and chairman of the Minnesota Wild, and his wife both gave $1,000.

August 29, 2006

Influential pundit upgrades Sixth to "toss-up"; predicts Democrats will control House

Eric Black quotes Stuart Rothenberg's latest Rothenberg Political Report :

“Wetterling, who drew 46% against incumbent Kennedy (in ‘04) initially announced that she couldn’t win this district and therefore would run statewide. But she changed her mind, and Democrats are very optimistic about her chances. The Republican nominee is Bachmann, a personable, high profile conservative who has proven her campaign skills by defeating two incumbents.

“The district is quite Republican (Pres. Bush won it with 57% in 2004), but Wetterling appears to lead in early polling, in part because of her better name recognition. Bachmann has a chance of overtaking her by painting her as too left for district voters, but even GOP operatives are worried about Bachmann’s strongly indeological reputation and her combative quality.

“The question here is which candidate becomes the main issue in the race, Wetterling or Bachmann. A very competitive race that Republicans can’t afford to lose if they have any chance of holding the House.

I don't know what "early polling" he's talking about-- does he have access to polls the rest of us don't? Or is he referring to the polls that came out well before the endorsing convention?

Also significantly, Rothenberg predicts the Democrats will pick up 15-20 seats, enough to win control of Congress.

Interesting side note: David Sirota discusses Stuart Rothenberg and his reputation. If Rothenberg is, as Sirota claims, a "hard-right-wing political pundit," then his prediction that the Dems will win the House is an astonishing admission, and possibly understated.