After careful review, I have decided that I will vote in support of the agreement the United States and our international partners reached with Iran last month. It's not a conclusion I came to lightly. Since the deal was announced, I've consulted with nuclear and sanctions experts inside and outside government; Obama administration officials, including Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz; ambassadors from the other countries that negotiated alongside us; advocates for Israel on both sides of the issue; my constituents in Minnesota; and, of course, my colleagues in the Senate.
The day before Halloween, a band of 40 or so middle-aged Democratic activists gathered in the parking lot of a long-closed KFC in Eagan, a southern suburb of the Twin Cities, to listen to a handful of state party leaders speak. The party bigwigs, who were crisscrossing the state on a last-minute campaign tour, crowded a small, elevated stage in front of a bright blue bus bearing a logo proclaiming it was "On the Road to a Better Minnesota." Sen. Al Franken's daughter Thomasin told cute tales of her dad's pride in becoming a grandfather. St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman—tall, crisp-suited, with a stern jaw, he could have easily passed as an extra on House of Cards—delivered the same polished anecdotes about paddling northern Minnesota's Boundary Waters with Franken that he told at every stop.
A new study, by the University of Minnesota, indicates that fear of contracting the Ebola virus is highest among Americans who did not pay attention during math and science classes. According to the study, those whose minds were elsewhere while being taught certain concepts, like what a virus is and numbers, are at a significantly greater risk of being afraid of catching Ebola than people who were paying even scant attention. Interviews conducted with people who spent math and science classes focussing on what they would be having for dinner or what the student in front of them was wearing revealed the difficulty they are currently having grasping basic facts about Ebola.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) brought her populist message Saturday to this small college town to rev up the final weeks of Sen. Al Franken's reelection campaign, but also to claim the mantle of the modern liberal movement's political godfather. Speaking before more than 400 people at Carleton College, Warren repeatedly invoked the spirit of the late Paul Wellstone, the fiery liberal senator who died 12 years ago this month in a plane crash during his reelection campaign. Wellstone remains a revered figure in Minnesota politics, and his brand of populism -- out of step in the Clintonian Democratic Party of the 1990s -- is now mainstream among leading liberal activists.
Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mike McFadden went on the offensive Wednesday in his first one-on-one debate with Democrat Al Franken, criticizing Franken's record and repeatedly tying him to President Barack Obama. Franken, befitting his role as an incumbent who leads in fundraising and polling, largely played defense, calmly parrying the criticisms and detailing what he sees as his accomplishments. The two clashed early over McFadden's attempt to paint Franken as a rubber stamp for his party and a yes-man for an unpopular president.
Democratic Senator Al Franken and Republican businessman Mike McFadden met for their first debate on Wednesday morning, tangling over the war on ISIS, a proposed mining project, and health care. McFadden said Franken had been “Washingtonized” and accused him of hewing closely to President Obama’s agenda. During a question on foreign policy, Franken said it was “easy to score political points from the bleachers,” and accused his opponent of failing to take a clear position on addressing the Syrian conflict earlier. With just over a month until Election Day, debate season is kicking into high gear with a number scheduled that feature Democratic incumbents in closely contested races.
Democrat Mark Dayton and Republican Jeff Johnson are the stars of television ads in their race for Minnesota governor. But neither can claim ownership of the spots because outside groups have done all of the airing so far. Research by The Associated Press shows that Dayton is among only eight of 28 governors seeking re-election who has yet to go live with his own ads. Johnson is also in the minority as a challenger without a steady commercial presence by now.
U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar says she supports President Barack Obama's plans for U.S. airstrikes to battle Islamic State extremists. Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat, says Obama made "a clear national security case" for "why we need to take strong and decisive action." Klobuchar says she supports targeted airstrikes in Iraq and Syria as well as training and equipping the moderate Syrian opposition. Another Minnesota Democrat, U.S. Rep. Tim Walz, says Obama should exercise his authority to expand airstrikes in Iraq, but should consult with Congress before taking "any warranted action" in Syria.