Clinton: “Dogma And Big Special Interest Under The Guise Of The Tea Party”

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President Bill Clinton stumps for Al Franken - Nov 30, 2008

President Bill Clinton stumps for Al Franken - Nov 30, 2008

Clinton on Tom Emmer “Near as I can tell, he wants to get rid of government.”

No cameras or microphones allowed tonight as President Bill Clinton was fundraising for Minnesota DFL Governor candidate Mark Dayton. So we’re relying on the pool report from the Associated Press reporter Brian Bakst to tell you what happened at the Graves 601 Hotel in downtown Minneapolis.

According to the notes Brian sent us:

Clinton took the stage along with Democratic nominee Mark Dayton, his running mate Yvonne Prettner Solon and Dayton’s two sons. All four stood on stage as Clinton spoke.

Among those in attendance, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak and St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman. Several state legislators were also in attendance. Secretary of State Mark Ritchie left before Clinton arrived. Two Democrats Dayton beat in the August primary were also on hand, Margaret Anderson Kelliher and Matt Entenza.
Party staffers said President Clinton stood for VIP photos before he delivered his remarks. Between 250 and 300 people were expected for the event, paying anywhere from $100 to $1,000 each. Some of the proceeds were going to Dayton’s campaign and other money was flowing to the state party. Officials wouldn’t give an estimate of the amount raised.

Dayton spoke only briefly ahead of Clinton, introducing the former president. “You’re not here to hear about me. You’re here to hear a great man, a great leader, former President of the United States, Bill Clinton.”

Clinton took to the podium, where he spoke for about 35 minutes, some from notes and some off the cuff.

Clinton opened by commenting on his family’s friendship with Dayton, who served with former Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Clinton spent much of his time talking about the need to give Democrats more time to get the country past its economic problems, which he said were lingering from the administration that preceded the one in place now. He made light of the tea party and its bearing on Republican politics, suggesting party elders wouldn’t fit into today’s party.
“A lot of their candidates today, they make him look like a liberal,” Clinton said of former Republican President George W. Bush.

“It used to be that Republicans were evidence-based, not dogma-based,” Clinton said. “They have thrown all that overboard. This is about dogma and big special interest under the guise of the tea party.”

“There’s a lot of voter anger out there and that anger is legitimate. Millions of Americans feel disempowered,” Clinton said.

“To those voters, we should honor their anger. Tell them we’re mad too. But the question is when you’re mad what do you do with your anger. You have to channel it to something positive? … Honor the anger but tell people not to let it cloud their judgment.”

Clinton ran down Dayton’s biography and pronounced him more than qualified for the job he’s after.

“I feel like I know this man. He has a good heart and he has a good mind and what he’ll do is predictable.”

Of Tom Emmer, whom Clinton didn’t refer to by name: “Near as I can tell, he wants to get rid of government.”

Clinton finished speaking just before 10 p.m. and left the stage to shake hands with people in the room. He left the room at about 10:04 p.m.

Michael McIntee

Michael McIntee is a former network TV news executive with more than 30 years of broadcasting experience. He began his broadcasting career at the University of Minnesota's student radio station. He is an expert producer, writer, video editor who has a fondness for new technology but denies that he is a geek. More about Michael McIntee »

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