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Analysis: Carefully Parsed Responses Key Clue In Coleman Funding Scandal

Senator Norm Coleman and his staff have been less than completely forthcoming in their responses to questions about Coleman’s financial relationship with wealthy businessman Nasser Kazimny.  Court documents from a case in Texas now reveal why the campaign and Coleman may have been choosing their words so carefully.  
Kaziminy is named as a defendant in a lawsuit that alleges he forced the President of a company he owns to falsify records and funnel $75,000 to Senator Coleman through Hays Companies, an insurance broker in Minneapolis and then to his wife Laurie Coleman who is listed as an employee at Hays.  
You may recall that Kaziminy’s name came up earlier this month in connection with allegedly buying expensive suits for Coleman.  When asked about that allegation, Coleman and his campaign gave the same carefully worded yet vague reply no matter what question was asked:
 
“The Senator has reported every gift he has ever received”. You can watch that same answer be given about a dozen times at a Coleman campaign news conference.  The Senator gave a similarly worded response when asked about a report in Harper’s Weekly online edition that Kaziminy had purchased suits for him before he was elected Senator. 
 
If the allegations in the lawsuit are true, you can now see why the wording of the response is important.  
First the suits.  If the information Harper’s Weekly has received is true — the DFL says a Neiman Marcus employee has corroborated the information  — then SENATOR Coleman has reported every gift he has received.  But that leaves open the possibility that PRIVATE CITIZEN Norm Coleman has not reported those gifts. Continue Reading →

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Contrast In styles: Minnesota candidates meet the press

There was no mystery as to who the media star was after two Minnesota Public Radio hosted congressional debates. In a chaotic scene, reporters crowded around 6th District Republican incumbent Rep. Michele Bachmann after her debate with DFL challenger Elwyn Tinklenberg. One Bachmann supporter proudly yelled to the press “she is a pitbull in lipstick!” Inside the lobby of MPR, a much more subdued scene had Tinklenberg taking questions from a gaggle if reporters for over ten minutes. By the time 2nd District Republican incumbent Rep. John Kline finished his debate with DFL challenger Steve Sarvi, most of the press had vanished. Continue Reading →

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Franken Sued By Sen. Coleman

Al Franken now has another thing in common with the late Senator Paul Wellstone. They’ve both been sued by Senator Norm Coleman shortly before an election. Franken is running against Coleman in a very expensive US Senate race in Minnesota. Today Coleman’s campaign announced the Senator is suing Franken and his campaign for running ads that are false. The suit is being filed with a Minnesota Office Of Administrative Hearings under a state law that makes disseminating campaign material that is knowingly false. Continue Reading →

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MN Secretary Of State Accuses Right Wing Group Of Voter Intimidation

Who’s making intimidating phone calls to voters in Minnesota? The answer might surprise you. Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie released an affidavit describing a phone call linked to Minnesota Majority a far right-wing issue advocacy group.  The caller indicated that the voter in question was listed twice on the public voter rolls.  The voter (who moved addresses but kept their telephone number) asked who the caller reported to.  They indicated Jeff Davis, president of Minnesota Majority.  Davis co-founded Minnesota Majority with Republican Mary Kiffmeyer – the former MN Secretary of State before Democrat Mark Ritchie.  
In response to the allegations Davis issued a statement on the Minnesota Majority website that says in part:
 
“Minnesota Majority has been conducting research into what appear to be inconsistencies in Minnesota’s voter rolls. Voters with apparent duplicate registration records have been contacted by Minnesota Majority volunteers with a simple request to confirm the accuracy of their voter registration information. We believe these research activities to be in complete compliance with all state and federal laws.”  
Ritchie has turned the case over to county prosecutors to investigate further. Continue Reading →

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Inside McCain’s Florida Campaign

Central Florida McCain Chairman Lewis Oliver on ACORN, paid volunteers, republicans limiting hours and locations of polling stations in Florida, and voter turn out tactics used by the McCain campaign. Video by Sam Mayfield Continue Reading →

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Inside McCain’s Florida Campaign

Central Florida McCain Chairman Lewis Oliver on ACORN, paid volunteers, republicans limiting hours and locations of polling stations in Florida, and voter turn out tactics used by the McCain campaign. Video by Sam Mayfield Continue Reading →

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“Conned” by “Obama Mania” – How McCain Can Win

Despite polls that show Barack Obama ahead, one McCain stratagist sees a scenerio that will give victory to John McCain.  Lewis Oliver is the Chairman of McCain’s campaign in Central Florida.  He says little things such as Palin on Saturday Night Live and gaffs by Joe Biden have given McCain momentum and undecideds will break towards the candidate who looks like he is going to win. Continue Reading →

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“Conned” by “Obama Mania” – How McCain Can Win

Despite polls that show Barack Obama ahead, one McCain stratagist sees a scenerio that will give victory to John McCain.  Lewis Oliver is the Chairman of McCain’s campaign in Central Florida.  He says little things such as Palin on Saturday Night Live and gaffs by Joe Biden have given McCain momentum and undecideds will break towards the candidate who looks like he is going to win. Continue Reading →

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Biden Barnstorms Battleground Colorado

Democratic Vice Presidential Candidate Joe Biden has been crisscrossing the state of Colorado.  Polls show the Barack Obama/Biden ticket is ahead in the state, but it is close.  Here he revs up the crowed at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley. You can watch his entire speech and/or watch the speakers who introduced him in our playlist below. Continue Reading →

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Bachmann: “Not All Cultures Are Equal”

Rep. Michele Bachmann caught the national spotlight recently when she told MSNBC’s Chris Mathews that Barack Obama “may have anti-American views.”  
While Bachmann’s statement may have come as a surprise to people outside of her home district in central Minnesota, she has a history of making statements that are inflammatory, controversial and requiring further explanation. Up until now, the most famous of those was her assertion that there was a plan already in place to partition Iraq and give half of it to Iran. She later said her comments had been “misconstrued”, but did not elaborate.  
One comment that she has never explained was made in a debate she had while running for Congress the first time in November of 2005. Continue Reading →

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DFL Tailors Suit Story Around Sen. Coleman And VP Nominee Palin

According to DFL Chair Brian Melendez Senator Norm Coleman and Vice Presidential Nominee Sarah Palin have several things in common.  They both get expensive clothes from the downtown Minneapolis Nieman Marcus store, they’re both Republican and they both are involved with Jeff Larsen.  Melendez says there are differences too.  Palin buys her clothes legally.  Coleman apparently does not.  
During the Republican National Convention held in St. Paul, Jeff Larson purchased more than $75,000 worth of clothing for Palin at the Minneapolis Neiman Marcus store.  Larson is the Treasurer of Sen. Coleman’s Political Action Committee and also happens to be the landlord of Coleman’s apartment in Washington, DC.  Sen. Coleman has paid Larson’s company FLS Connect more than $2 Million for political campaign services.  
According to Melendez, a former Neiman Marcus employee and at least one other person have contacted a lawyer Melendez knows to tell him that wealthy GOP donor Nasser Kazeminy paid for several thousands of dollars of Sen. Coleman’s clothing purchased at Neiman Marcus. 
 
Senator Coleman and his staff have given very carefully worded answers to questions about what is now being referred to as “suit gate”.   At one point, Coleman’s campaign manager gave the exact same evasive answer 12 times to reporters questions about “suitgate” saying only “The Senator has reported every gift he has ever received”
 
Below: Melendez answers reporters’ questions and text of his statement from a DFL press release.  
 
 

 
 
More questions from reporters:

 
DFL Chair Brian Melendez made the following remarks: What is really going on here? Continue Reading →

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Inside An Acorn

In ACORN’S Michigan office, employees are baffled by what they call an “aggressive” attack on their organization.  The community organization, whose goal during the election cycle is to register as many voters as possible, refutes claims that fraudulent voter registration cards have an affect on the election. Continue Reading →

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“Jobs, Baby, Jobs”- Clinton & Obama In Florida

Sending the bull to clean up the china shop makes as much sense as sending Republicans back to Washington to clean up the nation’s financial mess.  That was one of the many one liners Senator Hillary Clinton fired off at Republicans as she campaigned in Orlando, Florida with Senator Barack Obama.  
Clinton tweaked her oft used line “it takes a Clinton to clean up after a Bush” to once again a Democrat will help us rise from the Bushes.  She also tweaked the Republican campaign slogan of “drilll baby drill” to the more economically focused “jobs, baby, jobs”. Continue Reading →

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Early Voters in Florida

October 20th is the first day for early voting in Florida. Sam Mayfield visited polling stations in Central Florida including downtown Orlando and Winter Park. Most voters indicated they wanted to avoid the long lines and traffic associated with election day.  Others cited the problems with ballot counting in 2000; this year they wanted to be certain their vote was counted correctly. Over midday the longest line seen was about 75 people although there were reporters of lines up to 100 in some locations. VIDEO: Sam MayfieldTEXT: Noah Kunin Continue Reading →

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Palin Stumps in Colorado As Early Voting Starts

Republican Vice-Presidential Candidate Sarah Palin spoke in Loveland, Grand Junction and Colorado Springs on Monday, the same day that early voting started in Colorado.  The Republican ticket is trailing in the polls.   Below are videos from Palin’s visit to Colorado Springs shot by The UpTake’s Corrine McDermid.  

  Continue Reading →

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African-American man: Whites Support Obama Out Of Guilt

A conservative African-American man at a Norm Coleman rally in Mora, MN hopes the Bradley Effect comes into play to prevent an Obama presidency. The Bradley Effect is the alleged tendency among some voters to tell pollsters they’ll vote for a black candidate, but actually vote for their white opponent. Filmed by Chuck Olsen for The UpTake: http://theuptake.org Continue Reading →

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Two Words for John McCain

Supporters and protesters at a McCain rally are asked to give two words to describe John McCain. The answers range from “love” to “cronyism.” Filmed by Chuck Olsen in Lakeville, MN for The UpTake Continue Reading →

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Vets March On Presidential Debate

Risking arrest, about a dozen veterans along with about two hundred students marched on the Presidential debate in New York this evening.  The vets had threatened to march into the debate hall if they were not allowed to have their questions asked at the final Presidential debate.  They were stopped by police about a block from the debate.  
With the crowd shouting “let them in” and “shame on you” to police, about seven of the veterans were detained.  In our Blip player below, youcan see the videos from the march, including the one where they state the questions they want answered.The vets are marching because they say their issues have been ignored by the candidates. Continue Reading →

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Partisans Rate The Sarvi/Kline Debate

Republicans thought John Kline won.  Democrats thought Steve Sarvi did.  Evan Rapp a candidate for the Minnesota legislature has a special needs child and takes issue with Congressman Kline’s assertion that he supports special education. Continue Reading →

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