Today’s UpTake: Obama, Clinton, and Eight Days To Go

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Here at The UpTake, we’re running on a “no sleep until Nov. 3” platform, and with the midterm elections just eight days away, the action is heating up in Minnesota and nationwide. On Saturday the University of Minnesota hosted President Obama, who stumped for Democratic-Farm-Labor gubernatorial hopeful Mark Dayton. Minnesota Sens. Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar also spoke to a capacity crowd of 11,000. Obama gave one of his patented fire-up-the-base performances, after which he joined House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at a fundraiser for Dayton. Earlier in the weekend, the White House posted videos of Obama addressing the problem of bullying in schools, and the President’s prediction that, were the GOP to seize the House of Representatives, it would once again let Wall Street run wild. Outside of Obama’s speech in the U-M Fieldhouse, activists protesting the September FBI raids on local peace activists were allowed to continue handing out fliers once the Secret Service overruled University of Minnesota police.

Yesterday the political dog & pony show continued, with an appearance by former President Bill Clinton, on behalf of 6th Congressional District candidate Tarryl Clark, who’s trying to unseat the radical incumbent Michele Bachmann, at a union hall in Blaine, Minn. Sens. Franken and Klobuchar made their second appearance in as many days with a U.S. President. Clinton explained what is in the student loan law that Republicans want to repeal, and asked young voters to spread this information in the next eight days. Earlier yesterday The UpTake broadcast a gubernatorial forum on immigration held in front of a predominantly Latino crowd in south Minneapolis. Of the three major candidates for governor, only Independent Tom Horner bothered to show up (though Dayton did send a representative on his behalf). Afterwards, we spoke to debate organizers, participants and Ecology Democracy Party gubernatorial candidate Ken Pentel about the importance of the Latino vote in these elections.

Did you catch, the Minnesota gubernatorial debates in Rochester on Friday? Watch them again here. We also have a live blog from yesterday’s debates at KSTP studios. And incumbent Jim Oberstar and challenger Chip Cravaack finally squared off Friday in their bid to represent Minnesota’s 8th Congressional District. In related stories, Oberstar says he was disappointed, but not surprised, by the Duluth News Tribune’s endorsement of his opponent. Despite Oberstar’s opinions to the contrary, the newspaper maintains that its owner, North Dakota-based Forum Communications, did not dictate the Cravaack endorsement.

Our partners at the Media Consortium are examining this week how the Citizens United controversial Supreme Court decision is affecting this election. Finally, The UpTake attended last week’s annual Community Food Security conference in New Orleans, where we filmed several panels including this one on how the BP oil spill, and industrial pollution in general, are adversely affecting Gulf Coast food systems.

Jacob Wheeler

In addition to shooting videos for The UpTake, Jacob Wheeler is a contributing editor at the progressive political magazine In These Times, publishes the Glen Arbor Sun in his native Michigan, and authored "Between Light and Shadow," a recent book about the Guatemalan adoption industry. Wheeler's stories have appeared in such magazines as the Utne Reader, Earth Island Journal, Rotarian and Teaching Tolerance magazine, and newspapers including the San Francisco Chronicle and Christian Science Monitor. He speaks fluent Spanish, German and Danish.

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