Entries in Minnesota (36)


Paul Ryan Stumps in Traditionally Blue Minnesota

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(MINNEAPOLIS) -- Paul Ryan was greeted at an airplane hangar in Minneapolis on Sunday by one of the largest crowds he has drawn on his own since joining the campaign.

Hopping off the plane with his family and walking down a long runway, he seemed genuinely surprised by the audience.  The campaign put the crowd at 6,500, including the people who couldn’t fit inside.

“I’ve got a question: Minnesota, are you going to help us win this election?,” Ryan asked the crowd.  "Man, I’ve got to say, I’m a Wisconsin guy, basically like your next door neighbor.”

This was Ryan’s first rally in Minnesota, though he has had a fundraiser here and last week, he and his wife crossed the border from Wisconsin to have dinner in the Twin Cities.

Although its historically gone blue, Minnesota does have some conservative pockets.  As a reminder of that, former presidential candidate and U.S. House member Rep. Michele Bachmann stood right by the stage, beaming at Ryan throughout his speech.

The crowd interrupted Ryan’s speech with deafening chants of “two more years!” and in his remarks, he buttered up the crowd, saying he gets mistaken for a Minnesotan frequently.  He said he answers, "‘No I’m from Wisconsin, close.  We’re the Catholic deer hunters, they are the Lutheran deer hunters.’”

Ryan said that even though he was in the last 48-hour final sprint of his vice presidential candidacy, he was able to watch an ice fishing show Sunday morning, playing right to the  crowd.

“I’ve got a 15-year-old jiffy power auger and I was taking a look at these brand new ice fishing machines and I gotta tell you after this election I’ve got to look at a new one of those things,” Ryan said, adding that he spent a summer working in Eden Prairie, outside of Minneapolis.

“This is God’s country when you combine Minnesota and Wisconsin.  It is great to be home.  This is fantastic,” Ryan said.

As both Mitt Romney and Ryan have been doing on the stump, he stressed bipartisanship, aiming for Minnesotans’ independent streak.

“Look, Minnesota and Wisconsin, Wisconsinites and Minnesotans, we are bipartisan states, we know you have to work with people across the aisle because they’re with us, they’re part of us, they’re in our own families,” said Ryan.  “That’s what it’s like where we come from, it’s also what it’s like where Mitt Romney comes from.”

Ryan gave his closing pitch to the boisterous crowd, asking them to give his ticket a win because “we are in this together.”

“Everybody you know that may have thought hope and change was good, talk to them,” Ryan said.  “You know this is a critical election.  You know it’s a critical moment.  We can’t handle four more years of this, and Minnesota, work with us.  Join with us.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


ABC News Moves Pensylvania, Minnesota from ‘Safe’ to ‘Lean’ Obama

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- With one week to go, states that were once considered Obama strongholds now look less solid. Republican groups are putting resources into Minnesota and Pennsylvania. Team Obama brushes off these incursions as wishful thinking by Republicans, but noticeably they are putting money and muscle into both states. Minnesota has been added to Bill Clinton’s schedule. And, Obama campaign officials admitted that they will once again start running ads in Pennsylvania, another state in which Gov. Romney is surging.

So, what is happening in Minnesota? Demographics. As our ABC/Washington Post poll has shown, Romney has a substantial lead among white men. Minnesota is one of the least diverse states in the country with 90 percent of the electorate in 2008 made of white voters. In other Midwestern states with small minority populations, like Iowa and Wisconsin, the Obama campaign has flooded the airwaves for months with anti-Romney ads. They have done nothing of the sort in Minnesota.

Moreover, the airwaves in states like Ohio and Virginia are already heavily saturated. The ground game is now key in those places. That means that SuperPAC’s with lots of money can get a better return on their investment  on the airwaves in places like Pennsylvania and Minnesota than in the  eight battleground states where the campaigns have been most heavily engaged.


Safe Obama: 207

Lean Obama: 30 – Pennsylvania (20); Minnesota (10)

Safe Romney: 191

Lean Romney: 15 – North Carolina

Toss Up: 95 – NV (6), CO (9), IA (6), WI (10), OH (18), VA (13), FL (29), NH (4)

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Minnesota Lawmaker, Facing Sex Scandal, Ends Reelection Bid

Minnesota State Legislature(ST. PAUL, Minn.) -- Disgraced Minnesota Democratic State Rep. Kerry Gauthier decided late Wednesday night that he will not seek reelection after he was caught having sexual contact with a 17-year-old. But that hasn’t appeased some at the Minnesota State House -- they want to expel Gauthier from the legislature now.

The move to expel Gauthier, so that he cannot serve out the rest of his term, will be started Friday, sources tell ABC News.

Last week it was revealed that Rep. Gauthier had engaged in oral sex with a 17-year-old boy at a rest stop in Duluth in July.  He has since apologized for the incident, but the political outcry in Minnesota has been swift and strong, some accusing him of being a “child molester.”

Friday morning, the sources said, Republicans will hold a meeting where a resolution will be ironed out. Sources say that there is a “high likelihood” there will be a formal effort to bring him to resign or expel him Friday.

Minnesota Republican State Rep. Steve Drazkowski said many Republicans wanted to bring a resolution to the floor quickly, but were not confident that they’d get the two-thirds majority needed to pass it.  They would need 90 votes out of 134 in the state legislature.

“I’m not sure though if there’s the 90 votes, even if there is a lot of support,” said Drazkowski.

Late Wednesday night Gauthier announced that he would not seek election to a second term.

“I am done,” Gauthier told the Minneapolis Star Tribune.  “I just need to take care of myself right now, and I am not really up for that kind of fight.”

Gauthier, from a consistently Democratic district, was under pressure not only from Republicans but from heavyweights in his own party who, in light of the sex scandal, wanted to replace him with another Democratic candidate.

The announcement that he would not run for reelection was a reversal. He was defiant at first after the sex scandal broke, promising to stay in the race. Earlier in the day Wednesday he had promised he was still running despite heavy pressure for him to go.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Joe Biden Likens Republicans to ‘Squealing Pigs’

ABC News(MINNEAPOLIS) -- Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday suggested a new image to associate with Republicans who opposed Democratic efforts to toughen regulations on Wall Street, characterizing them as “squealing pigs.”

“Over the objections where they sound like squealing pigs, over the objections of Romney and all his allies, we passed some of the toughest Wall Street regulations in history, turning Wall Street back into the allocator of capital it always has been and no longer a casino. And they want to repeal it,” Biden said at an event in Minneapolis.

Biden, who was in Minnesota for two events on Tuesday followed by a stop in Detroit Wednesday, is on his first campaign swing since last week’s controversial “chains” comment.  In Minneapolis, he rallied a crowd of over 1,500, according to campaign officials, trying to draw a contrast between the future he and President Obama offer and that which the Mitt Romney-Paul Ryan ticket has put forth.

“I’ve never run across a presidential candidate who’s a decent guy but more out of touch than Mr. Romney is right now,” Biden said.

Biden, who said he’s “so damn proud to be vice president with President Barack Obama,” touted the efforts of the Obama administration to improve access to healthcare and education and boost the status of the middle class.

“Folks, the middle class is coming back.  They have been ravaged.  They have been ravaged.  But they’re starting to come back,” Biden said.  “We’ve helped them keep their homes and their health care, keep their child in college, protect them from predatory lending to make sure the big banks don’t threaten the economy with those risky financial schemes of credit default swaps, collateral debt obligations and all this other funny stuff that brought the economy down.”

Ryan Williams, a spokesman for the Romney campaign, responded with this statement:

“Vice President Biden’s claim that the middle class is ‘coming back’ couldn’t be more out of touch with the reality.  Whether it’s high unemployment, falling incomes, soaring tuition costs, or rising prices, middle-class families are struggling in the worst economic recovery America has ever had.  Mitt Romney’s Plan for a Stronger Middle Class will deliver 12 million new jobs, grow our economy, and give the middle class hope once again.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Minnesota Governor Denies Pill Popping Accusation

United States Congress(MINNEAPOLIS) -- Controversy has flared up in Minnesota after a congressional candidate accused Gov. Mark Dayton of taking “15 to 16 pills” at a breakfast meeting – a charge that Dayton, who says he takes only prescribed medications and antacids, has denied.

During a stump speech at an Aug. 6 fundraiser, candidate Mike Parry called Dayton “a scary man for the state of Minnesota.” Parry not only slammed the Democratic governor’s record, but also accused Dayton of taking drugs during a meeting. It was not specified when this meeting took place.

“When you sit across from him and you watch him pop 15 to 16 pills while you’re having a meeting, it’s scary,” Parry said of Dayton.

Parry’s speech was caught on video and put up on YouTube by the night of the fundraiser.

Dayton has openly stated that he takes medication for depression and also takes antacids. A number of Minnesota lawmakers have gone on record saying that Dayton does not have a drug problem and is entirely competent to serve as governor.

According to the Star Tribune, the governor denounced Parry’s claims as the “worst form of gutter politics” and “a lie” during a regularly scheduled campaign event on Aug. 7. While Parry has conceded that the governor may have taken less than 15 or 16 pills, he has stood by his statement.

“I have all the sympathy in the world for people that have issues like that,” Parry told local reporters. “What I was speaking about was that it would be very scary, very scary if our governor ended up with a House and a Senate that was controlled by one party.”

The governor has stated that he does not recall a breakfast meeting where Parry was in attendance, and also can’t think of a meeting in which he popped a number of pills. He did say, however, that he does “take medicine as needed for stomach acid,” and that “sometimes when I’m meeting with legislators, I need more of them.”

Parry will face off against Allen Quist in the Republican primary on August 14. The winner will face Democratic incumbent Rep. Tim Walz in November.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama Says GOP ‘Fever’ on Taxes May Break in a Second Term

Richard Ellis/Getty Images(MINNEAPOLIS) -- President Obama said Friday that if he wins a second term the GOP “fever” of opposition to tax hikes for deficit reduction may break.

He said the Republican Party would, in effect, be forced to embrace “cooperation” and “common sense” which, he suggested, John McCain embodied on some issues four years ago.

“A lot of the tussles that we’ve had over the last three and a half years have had to do with this difference in vision, and it will be coming to a head in this election.  We’re going to have as stark a contrast as we’ve seen in a very long time between the candidates.  I mean, 2008 was a significant election, obviously.  But John McCain believed in climate change. John believed in campaign finance reform.  He believed in immigration reform.  I mean, there were some areas where you saw some overlap,” Obama told a group of donors in Minneapolis.

“In this election, the Republican Party has moved in a fundamentally different direction.  The center of gravity for their party has shifted,” he said.

He discussed Republican refusal to accept any revenue increases to reduce the debt and deficit as a case and point.

“I believe that if we’re successful in this election -- when we’re successful in this election -- that the fever may break, because there’s a tradition in the Republican Party of more common sense than that,” he said.

"My hope and my expectation is that after the election, now that it turns out the goal of beating Obama doesn’t make much sense because I’m not running again, that we can start getting some cooperation again,” Obama argued.

“We’re not going to have people raising their hands and saying -- or refusing to accept a deal where there’s $10 of cuts for every dollar of tax increases, but that people will accept a balanced plan for deficit reduction.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


President Obama Vows Economy ‘Will Come Back Stronger’

YURI GRIPAS/AFP/GettyImages(GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn.) -- Reacting to Friday morning’s weak jobs report, President Obama admitted the economy is not creating jobs “as fast as we want,” but was confident that the country has better days ahead.

“Today, we’re still fighting our way back from the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression,” the president told workers at the Honeywell Golden Valley facility. “The economy is growing again, but it’s not growing as fast as we want it to grow. Our businesses have created almost 4.3 million new jobs over the last 27 months, but as we learned in today’s jobs report, we’re still not creating them as fast as we want.”

The economy added just 69,000 jobs last month, well below expectations of 150,000, and the unemployment rate ticked up to 8.2 percent, the Labor Department announced Friday morning.

Obama pointed to spiking gas prices and the European debt crisis as examples of the “serious headwinds” that continue to stunt the economic recovery.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do before we get to where we need to be,” he said. “All these factors have made it even more challenging to not just fully recover, but also lay the foundation for an economy that’s built to last over the long term.”

Breaking into a campaign cadence, the president assured the crowd that “we do have better days ahead.”

“We knew the road to recovery would not be easy. We knew it would take time. We knew there would be ups and downs along the way. But we also knew if we were willing to act wisely and boldly and if we were acting together as Americans, if we were willing to keep at it, if we were willing to roll up our sleeves and never quit, then we wouldn’t just come back; we’d come back stronger than ever,” the president, in shirt-sleeves, said to applause.

He was also quick to point a finger at lawmakers, urging them to act on his legislative “to-do list” to boost the economy.

“It’s not lost on anybody that it’s an election year. I understand that. I’ve noticed,” the president said to chants of “four more years!” “We’ve got responsibilities that are bigger than an election. … We’ve got responsibilities to you. So my message to Congress is: Now’s not the time to play politics, now’s not the time to sit on your hands. The American people expect their leaders to work hard no matter what year it is. The economy still isn’t where it needs to be.”

Obama’s wish-list for Congress revolves around a series of economic initiatives he has been pushing for months, but that have gained little traction on Capitol Hill.

The president argued Friday that the measures will spur hiring and help put money back in the pockets of middle-class families.

“Let’s get that done right now,” the president said of his latest housing refinance plan, which would give homeowners the chance to save an average of $3,000 a year. “That helps you go out and buy some things that your family needs, which is good for business."

“Maybe somebody will be replacing some thingamajig for their furnace,” he said to laughter from the Honeywell workers, who make those kinds of thingamajigs.

Republicans sharply chastised the president as he spoke, yet another sign the general election campaign is in full swing.

“President Obama’s re-election slogan may be ‘forward,’ but his policies are taking us backwards,” Mitt Romney campaign spokesman Ryan Williams said in a written statement. “This morning’s unemployment report was another harsh indictment of the president’s handling of the economy. It is clear that President Obama’s policies have failed and his hostility toward job creators is only making things worse.”

The Romney campaign noted that Obama visited Minnesota four years ago, almost to the day, predicting at a St. Paul event that his presidency would turn things around.

“I am absolutely certain that, generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless,” Obama said at the time. “This was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal. … This was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation, and restored our image as the last, best hope on Earth.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Ron Paul Wins Minnesota State Convention

Yoon S. Byun/The Boston Globe/Getty Images(TAMPA, Fla.) -- Ron Paul backers secured 12 of 13 delegates at Minnesota’ state GOP convention, according to a source who was there and is familiar with the delegates’ leanings.

Saturday’s convention gives Paul 32 of Minnesota’s 40 delegates to the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., after his strong showing in the state’s congressional-district conventions.

Paul announced on Monday he would no longer campaign in new states but would continue to organize at conventions to secure delegates in states that have already voted.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Santorum Sweeps: Stops Romney in Minnesota, Missouri, Colorado

Whitney Curtis/Getty Images(SAINT CHARLES, Mo.) -- Rick Santorum won all three Republican voting contests Tuesday night, breaking Mitt Romney's winning streak and denying him the image of an unstoppable front-runner.

Based on ABC News projections, Santorum won the Missouri primary and the Minnesota caucus.  The Colorado GOP also tells ABC News that Santorum won that state's caucus.

In Missouri and Colorado, Romney came in second, though he didn't do as well in Minnesota, where he got third.

Ron Paul placed second in Minnesota, while falling to third in Missouri and fourth in Colorado.  Newt Gingrich, who wasn't on the Missouri ballot, finished fourth in Minnesota and third in Colorado.


At a victory rally in Missouri, Santorum predicted that Romney would be denied his oft-noted massive campaign organization come the fall.  And he said of his own supporters' cheers that "in Massachusetts, they were heard particularly loud tonight."

"We doubled 'em up here and in Minnesota," Santorum said to cheers.

Romney, meanwhile, didn't have a chance to give a victory speech.  Speaking in Colorado as he trailed Santorum in the vote count there, the former Massachusetts governor said that "the race is too close to call in Colorado at this point, but I'm pretty confident we'll come in number one or number two."

"This was a good night for Rick Santorum," said Romney, who called Santorum after the results in Missouri and Minnesota were reported, though he left a message because he didn't get through to him.  "I want to congratulate Sen. Santorum.  I wish him the very best."

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Analysis: Romney Is Rebuked with Losses in Minnesota, Missouri

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(DENVER) -- Make no mistake, victories by Rick Santorum Tuesday night in Minnesota and Missouri represent a rebuke of the "Mitt Romney will sail to the nomination” narrative. It also highlights Romney’s continued struggle to win over skeptical conservative GOP voters and energize the base.

After big wins in Florida and Nevada, the conventional wisdom was that Romney had vanquished his strongest rival -- Newt Gingrich -- and had this nomination all but sewn up. But, the voters of Minnesota and Missouri didn’t get the message. Romney came in third place in Minnesota -- a state he carried in 2008.

Santorum, the former Pennsylvania senator, was boosted by the fact that social and cultural issues like Planned Parenthood, contraceptives and the Catholic Church dominated the news cycle. He was also helped by the fact that Newt Gingrich essentially conceded these contests.

So, where does it go from here? Look for Romney and the pro-Romney Super PAC to start to reload and regroup in Arizona and Michigan -- the next two major contests on the docket on Feb 28. Romney is hoping his money and organizational muscle will pull him through in these states, much like money and organization helped him win Florida.

Either way, the nomination fight continues and Romney will once again have to bat away the questions about the lack of enthusiasm among GOP voters for his candidacy.

Another big loser tonight: Newt Gingrich. He’s betting on a good showing on Super Tuesday, March 6. But, for now at least, Santorum, not Newt, owns the mantle of the “conservative alternative” to Romney.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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