Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Franken Frames U.S. Senate Race at Farmfest Debate

As today's three-day 27th Annual Farmfest kicked off at the Gilfillan Estate in Redwood County, Minn., U.S. Senate challenger Al Franken took on incumbent Sen. Norm Coleman [D-Minn.] during their first debate of the general election.

During the course of the debate, Franken effectively framed the race while making his case that Minnesotans need a senator who will stand up for them -- not the myriad special interests with which Coleman has been linked. The upshot: Franken's strong performance demonstrated that he's ready to bring change to Washington as a United States Senator.

"Al Franken kept this debate focused on the issues -- the economy, energy prices, farm policy -- and on Norm Coleman's record of selling out the middle class," said Andy Barr, communications director of the Franken campaign. "That's how Al won the debate, and that's how we'll win this election."

Franken discussed his vision to create new opportunities in Greater Minnesota by supporting our family farmers, revitalizing rural Minnesota, and investing in education, health care, R&D, and infrastructure. Franken believes farming is vital to Minnesota and to the country's well-being. He highlighted the need to strengthen the middle class and change the broken system in Washington.

Franken also effectively used the debate as an opportunity to hold Norm Coleman accountable for his record of backing George W. Bush, putting special interests ahead of Minnesotans, and supporting Big Oil.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Coleman has received more contributions from the oil and gas industry than any other senator in Minnesota history. Coleman has taken at least $244,900 from the oil and gas industry since 2002 -- over $60,000 more than the next senator, Rod Grams.

Coleman Has Supported President Bush Almost 90% of the Time
On June 29, 2008, shortly after interviewing Sen. Coleman, award-winning WCCO-TV reporter and Sunday morning news anchor Esme Murphy spoke on-air with Larry Jacobs, a University of Minnesota professor and esteemed political analyst.

"Let's talk about the campaign ad I mentioned, in which the senator's wife brings up the point that a lot of people think that he is a rubber stamp for the Bush administration," said Murphy. "If you look at the record, definitely for the first four years, he was. I mean, he really did vote with the president. In the past two years, he has clearly distanced himself."

Want proof? Check out CQ Vote Studies, a service provided by Congressional Quarterly's CQ.com. On the site's "Bush Era Scores" chart, one can see that, during his time in office, Norm Coleman has supported President Bush an average of 83% of the time -- including a whopping 98% of the time in 2003, his first year in the Senate.

Rubber stamper? You decide.

GoodBiz113's take: U.S. small businesses fuel nearly 75% of our nation's economy -- and family farmers play no small part in that. Al Franken's common-sense proposals are good for all small businesses -- including farmers -- and for America as a whole.

SOURCES: Al Franken for U.S. Senate, Center for Responsive Politics, Congressional Quarterly, WCCO-TV

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