By all accounts, Al Franken won his fourth consecutive U.S. Senate debate last night -- not by yelling the loudest or throwing the most elbows at his opponents, but by focusing on his middle-class economic agenda.
"Al Franken is proving that you don't need to be a career politician to win debates if you're the candidate of change in an election that's all about change," said Andy Barr, Al Franken for U.S. Senate communications director, just after the debate ended.
"Tonight, Minnesota voters saw that it's Al Franken who will be a strong voice for the middle class," Barr noted. "It doesn't matter how slick his opponents' rhetoric is, or how many elbows come his way. Al Franken won this debate for the same reason he'll win this election: He's the candidate of the middle class, and the candidate of change."
Perhaps in recognition of Al Franken's recent lead in public polls, both Norm Coleman and Dean Barkley frequently attacked Franken. But Franken stayed focused on his core economic message.
"The reason I voted against -- or would have voted against -- the bailout package, is that it didn't really do anything on golden parachutes and bonuses," Franken noted during the dabate. "That's one of the many reasons...
"Look, people are hurting, and we need to get the economy working again. Now my mantra is 'jobs, baby, jobs,' and here are the things that I would do to keep the jobs that we have and create new jobs:
"One, build. Build new bridges and roads and schools... infrastructure. We've always built infrastructure, and it always has a multiplier effect and creates good jobs.
"Secondly, let's address the housing crisis head-on. I agree with Barack Obama: We have to help families -- who, through no fault of their own, are in trouble -- stay in their homes.
"Third, let's stop rewarding companies that are offshoring our jobs, American jobs, overseas. They're getting tax breaks; we should stop that.
"OK, let's get credit into the hands of small businesses. That's fourth.
"Fifth, a green economy. Let's make Minnesota the epicenter of a green economy that can create hundreds of thousands of jobs.
"Finally, [get] tax cuts into the hands of the middle class. The middle class is the engine of our economy. We have to stop tilting all these tax cuts and tax giveaways to the special interests."
"For The Middle Class, For A Change"
This morning, Al Franken kicked off his "For The Middle Class, For A Change" get-out-the-vote bus tour at a DFL get-out-the-vote rally in St. Paul. The rally launched a statewide barnstorm of Minnesota for the last 10 days of the campaign.
Franken called for fundamental change in Washington, detailed a bold economic agenda for Minnesota's middle class, and urged supporters to take action as part of the DFL's grassroots GOTV campaign. The unprecedented campaign will involve 77,000 volunteers making 1.5 million phone calls and 2.8 million door-knocks before Election Day.
"Folks are frustrated, they're anxious, and, frankly, they're outraged -- and they have a right to be all three," Franken declared. "Washington just isn't working for Minnesota's middle-class families. And if we want change, we're going to have to work for it.
"I want to go to Washington and work with President Barack Obama and Sen. Amy Klobuchar to stand up for Minnesota's middle-class families. And I'm calling on everyone who's ready for change to stand with me in this campaign."
Al Franken also detailed his plan for rebuilding the middle-class economy:
* Bring back oversight on Wall Street and address the housing crisis
* Cut taxes for middle-class families
* Make health care and college more affordable
* Protect Social Security
* End giveaways to special interests, like big drug and oil companies
* Repeal tax breaks for companies that ship American jobs overseas
* Create jobs by investing in infrastructure and renewable energy
* Make credit available to small businesses
Today, Franken headed to St. Paul, Albert Lea, Austin and St. Peter; Vice President Walter Mondale joined Franken in Austin and Albert Lea. Tomorrow, Franken will campaign with Congressman Keith Ellison in St. Paul and Minneapolis.
On Monday, Franken will visit St. Cloud, Morris, Crookston, Climax, Moorhead, Brainerd and Bemidji. Congressman Collin Peterson will join Franken for several events throughout the 7th Congressional District.
GoodBiz113's take: It's no wonder that Al Franken carried the day with his strong, clear and focused economic agenda for Minnesota's middle-class families and households, and small businesses. Franken truly is the candidate of change for Minnesotans, and all Americans will benefit from his win-win-win vision and service in the U.S. Senate.
SOURCES: Al Franken for U.S. Senate, Twin Cities Public Television
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