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As part of our "Meet the Candidates” series, MPR’s Mike Mulcahy talks with Hennepin County Attorney Amy Klobuchar. She is hoping to keep Mark Dayton's U.S. Senate seat in Democratic hands. She's already raised well over $2 million to finance her campaign, putting her second in the money race behind Republican contender Rep. Mark Kennedy. Klobuchar answers listener questions.

Read the Text Transcription of the Audio.

(00:00:00) And good morning. This is midday from Minnesota Public Radio news. I'm Mike Mulcahy and today for Gary eichten today. We continue with our meet the candidates series campaign season officially begins in Minnesota on March 7th precinct caucus night. Of course, the campaign's have actually been up and running for some time now, almost a year. In fact in this case between now and the caucuses. We've invited some of the candidates for US Senate and Governor to come in and talk about the issues and to take your questions today. We're joined by a dfl candidate for US Senate Hennepin County attorney Amy Klobuchar. She was first elected to the county attorney's office in 1998. She announced her candidacy for the senate in April of last year after dfl incumbent Mark Dayton said, he would not seek a second term as always. You're welcome to join our conversation. If you're listening in the Twin Cities, give us a call at six (00:00:54) five one two, two seven six (00:00:55) thousand 6512276 thousand. The metro area call us toll-free. That number is 1-800-222-8477 28. You can also get your question in online. Just go to Minnesota Public Radio dot org and click on send a question. Amy Klobuchar. Thanks so much for coming (00:01:15) by today. Well Mike, it's just great to be on on nearly the year anniversary of the beginning of this campaign. It's been quite a journey. (00:01:22) So for the rest of us were just getting started. You've been doing this for quite a (00:01:25) while I have in fact, I remember last week. I was thinking it was the annual eelpout Festival up on Leech Lake and that was the day my husband and I drove up there at the invitation of the Cass County attorney Earl moss and his wife to go to the festival and we were in Earl's Fish House on Leech Lake and this is after all the way up on the cell phone people were talking about the race and someone had just said to me, you know, you'd have to be a millionaire to do that. You can't do that. Now unless you're a millionaire and I got into the fish house and Earl says, well, what do you think you should do and I said, well, you know, I think I'm going to And I said, what do you think Earl and he said what the heck go for it and then he put another Ice Line fishing line in and we never caught anything but that was when I decided to do it, so I was good advice and it's been an exciting Journey. We've been all over the state and whether you're talking to Farmers in Clay County or workers in Duluth or small business owners in Rochester. They're basically saying the same thing that they want to see change in Washington DC. They want to send something that's going to get something done for people instead of for the big oil companies in the big drug companies. (00:02:31) Well, you have never been a legislator before why did you decide to run for the Senate instead of another office like attorney general or Governor or something like (00:02:39) that? You know when you're on the front line every day like I am and our staff is so when you're Prosecuting crimes, you see the effect that policies in Washington have on everyday people, you know, when they decide to cut cops programs when they decide to cut funding you can see what happens. You can see what happens to our schools when kids don't have after-school programs their lives can change just because of one decision made in Washington and I believe that decision that kind of experience that I have on the front line and the experience taking on tough fights and winning them is going to be really helpful. Whether it's when I took on the insurance industry, so we got a 48-hour a hospital stay for new moms and their babies or took on white collar crimes by beefing that part of our office up it gave me Faith in government can get things done. And that's what I want to bring to Washington. (00:03:32) Well now you brought up your staff and of course this has been in the news this week that the leader of the afscme local that staffs your office wrote this letter when asked me was considering whether to endorse you and asks me Statewide did endorse you but the letter was pretty nasty said you were kind of a bad boss taking credit for other people's work and damaging morale things like that. How do you (00:03:59) The there well, first of all, you have to understand Mike that this came out of a dispute over salaries and that particular local which is our lawyers was asking for a 22% increase the Commissioners looked at this I looked at this and they ended up getting a 10% raise to a 15% raise their wages have been frozen for two years. This is a group of lawyers that deserve to be compensated. They do great work all the time 70% of our lawyers now make over $100,000 a year, but we had to balance the salaries of the secretaries and other people in the office and make a decision and 97% of the lawyers in that group approve that contract. So there were some people that were still angry and were loud about and I have to tell you we hire aggressive people spirited people and when they're mad about things you hear about it, and that doesn't in any way detract from my view of the good work that they've done have I pushed a lot of changes. Yes when I came into office. I wanted to 50% increase at least injury trial. Then we saw that I said I wanted to decrease the amount of money. We spent on outside law firms. We've done that to the tune of about 850 thousand dollars a year in savings for the taxpayers. (00:05:11) So what difference should it make to the delegates or the voters? If some people in your office are you know have a poor opinion of you Iran are willing to put it in a (00:05:21) letter. Well, first of all their number of people in the office that have a good opinion, I think there was a letter to the editor yesterday and I don't think that one letter should be viewed as a views of the entire office, but I think what the people of the state need to know is that I have moved toward accountability and that's been my goal more accountability the community you talked to police officers. You talked to Police Chief's we've dramatically changed how we do business in the county. We have seen along with the work of the police Community groups and over 20% decline in Syria's part one crime in Hennepin County. So I look at results and it's you know, It's not always easy managing 400 people you're going to get some people that are mad at you and that's part of the job. When I go to Washington. There's going to be plenty of people mad at me drug companies the oil companies because I'm going to push change there too. And I think you want to put someone in who's going to focus on results and get effective results for people and that's what I've done is County attorney. And I know that I haven't made everyone happy in the office when I've done that but I've always had in mind the people that I represent and that's what I'm going to do in (00:06:27) Washington. Well, I know that politicians don't like to to be labeled but looking at yourself on the on the political Spectrum, where how would you label yourself? Where would you put yourself are you left far left right center. I've always (00:06:43) hated those titles. Let me tell you because I think people can differ on different issues. I see myself as a progressive on fiscal issues. I see myself as a moderate. I see myself as someone that wants to move change and when you want to move change that makes you a progress. And I see so much wrong in Washington DC right. Now you look at say Medicare Part D. You know, my mom is a retired school teacher and she says Medicare Part D. Got the graded deserve from the beginning you have in this case the results of the corruption you see in Washington instead of really moving toward affordable healthcare and reform we got this bill that basically was a bunch of Christmas presents for the insurance companies and the drug companies, you know, my mom and other seniors do not want to spend their Golden Years surfing the internet trying to figure out which of 25 plants they should buy and then you look at the cost estimate came out just two weeks ago that the Veterans Affairs agency that that department their drug costs their prices. They're allowed to negotiate our 50% lower for the top 20 drugs than they are for Medicare Part D. It some estimates show. We could be saving 90 billion dollars a year instead. It's going to the insurance companies and to the drug. Beneath that's just wrong. And so that's just one example of what we see when people have gone to Washington. They're dancing with the ones that bring them that old saying you've heard on the Prairies of Minnesota. That's what's going on. And we need to change that culture and we need to send someone who believes in change and getting things done. (00:08:16) Amy Klobuchar the Hennepin County attorney who is running for US Senate as a dfl or is our guest today on midday our meet the candidates series if you'd like to get in on the conversation the number to call if you're listening in the Twin Cities is 6512276 thousand 6512276 thousand if you are outside the Twin Cities call us toll-free at 1-800-222-8477 28 just to get back on this culture of Washington issue for one second. You know, you have raised last report, I think about two and a half million dollars to run for Senate. Now these campaigns are so expensive. One of the reasons Mark Dayton got out was because he didn't want to spend all his time raising money. Presumably if you're elected that will be a big part of your job. (00:09:04) How do you change that part of it? I mean isn't the isn't the (00:09:07) part of the problem with the calling the abramoff scandal of Republican Scandal that the Democrats have to raise just as much money and you go to just as many special interests. And you know, how do you represent Minnesota when the campaign structure is set up like that? Well, first (00:09:22) of all, I want to talk about the a bra schedule Scandal, I believe that that Scandal came out of one party having too much power and too much greed. I see it all the time with white collar cases, you know, maybe someone first deals a little money from the petty cash drawer and then the next thing you know, they're stealing millions of dollars from the 401K funds of workers and it's our job to draw the line in the sand in Washington right. Now. You have a case where people got put into office by some of these corporate special interests. And the first thing, you know, is there passing bills that give them loopholes and help them out the next thing, you know, they're taking Pac contributions and hiding them and funneling through things. So you can't tell where they are and then the next thing you know, they're like Before a grand jury. So I see that this Scandal is part of having one party having too much power and believing that they can make the laws and bend the laws and break the loss now as for campaign Finance reform and no one knows this life better than me right now because if if we were just to say that well people that have to raise the money shouldn't go into office we would have what we almost have now that the US Senate is a playground for millionaires over half of the Senators are millionaires are multimillionaires. And that's why when I first started running for this people would say are you sure you know what you're getting into and I sat there at my kitchen table. I still do it. I did it yesterday last night and call for money from people and it's part of the job and I'm not a millionaire. We're to Saturn family in this is what I have to do. I've worked so hard at this Mike. I've raised $15,000 from ex-boyfriends and as my husband notes, it's not an expanding base. And so we have done a lot of innovative things with the internet ways to raise money small contributions from everywhere in the state of At 2.5 million we've raised to point to is from Minnesota, which is phenomenal and it shows the kind of support that we have here in the end. This will be a national campaign and we will get National money that's starting to happen right now. But basically a you have to look at how we've done this compared to say Mark Kennedy a mark Kennedy has had Frist card Hazard. He's had a Cheney and he's had George w-- Bush and we just found out this week. He's doing an event with Karl Rove and the only celebrities we've had our the gear Daddy's band of Austin Minnesota whose most famous song is I want to ride the Zamboni. So it is a big difference in how we've raised this money and I'm proud of the Grassroots work that we've done and the volunteer network that we have gathered around the state. This is part of politics. I'd like to see reform. I'd like to see some kind of matching funds like we have in Minnesota. I like to have in the presidential race for the running for the US Senate because it is an Abomination and it's the why I have so many millionaires in the Senate and it is not representative of the public and that should (00:12:05) change Amy Klobuchar has our guest today. She's running for the US Senate. I should mention that Mark Kennedy. The Republican candidate for Senate will be here on March 2nd and Ford Bell. The other dfl are in the race will be here tomorrow. Let's take a phone call. Bob is on the line for Minneapolis. Hi, according to your website you say that if the president is unwilling to provide a realistic time frame for the drawdown of American troops in Iraq. Congress should direct The Joint Chiefs of Staff to do so. My questions are since when does Congress directed The Joint Chiefs of Staff on Military strategy during war the best of my knowledge, they never have and probably never will and secondly the obviously directly related question is why shouldn't minnesotans Consider your position on Iraq as being that of yet. Another Democrat who is spineless and utterly bankrupt on Iraq is you evade taking a stand yourself on a set date for bringing all of our troops home from Iraq this year next year or (00:13:15) whenever Let me give you my views in my position on Iraq. First of all, I was opposed to the war in Iraq. I was opposed from the beginning. This was a war that was entered into with a go-it-alone attitude on the part of the president didn't tell the truth to the members of Congress. Now you have Colin Powell and others saying, you know, this is a blot on his career when he testified before the UN, we basically weren't told the truth. We were told there were weapons of mass destruction and there were not we were told the mission was accomplished and it was not so from the beginning. I've been opposed to this War. I think it has taken us from matters that are very important like Iran and North Korea and other things that we should be focusing on that are enormous threats to us. Secondly, I believe that there needs to be accountability for the lead-up to the war. We still haven't gotten all of these facts out in public when we've had over 2,000 Americans killed. We've spent over 300 billion dollars. We have lost countless araki's finally. I do believe that we need to see a significant change. Of course in Iraq this year and I have called for a drawdown of the troops. I did ask the president to have a more specific plan than we have now with benchmarks. We haven't gotten that plan. And that was one of the reasons I said, well, you know, if the president is going to do at least Congress can call in a hearing and ask the Joint Chiefs of Staff to come up with some ideas on how to bring our troops home as for the deadline. I know many people would love to bring our troops home tomorrow. I would love to do that too. But we have to do this in a responsible way. We basically went into that country and we destroyed their police force and we destroyed their army and now there are people that were just like us to come out tomorrow and I don't think that's responsible. What I like to see is the UN especially in light of what we've seen happen in the last few days the UN NATO some type of peacekeeping force may be from All countries to come in there. I believe we would have to be a part of that. That's why I don't at this time call for a specific date for every single troop to come out. I don't believe we should have permanent military bases in Iraq. I believe that we need to show that we are drawing down our troops so that we can ask the rest of the world to come in and help us and show the people of Iraq that we are not going to be a permanent occupying force in that country. (00:15:43) So just just to clarify then you're saying that there should be a an immediate plan to (00:15:49) I say that we should draw down our troops if the president isn't going to come up with an immediate plan. We at least have to start bringing us a significant number of our troops home. But how I differ from I'd say some people is some people want to call for a you know, they want to bring everyone home tomorrow or they want to bring home every one and two months and I just don't believe we can responsibly do that despite the fact that I was opposed to this war from the beginning. I believe it's wrong and I actually go back way back. To September 11th, Mike when you know, the president had the whole country unified behind him in the world unified behind him and he could have looked at the faces of the people in this country and said, you know what we just suffered a national tragedy and I'm going to need your help. I'm going to you know, I promised a bunch of tax cuts for the wealthiest, but now things have changed and I'm going to need to you know, invest in our infrastructure in this country and Homeland Security and we're going to invade Afghanistan and I need you to sacrifice and all he asks us to do was to go shopping and he squandered that moral opportunity that comes along so rarely in politics where you can be bigger than you are and ask people to be part of something that's bigger than they are and then he continued I believe that that lack of Direction and that wrong change in course when he made the decision to go into Iraq. And now this last thing I'd say about this is a thought that people are demonizing people who are in good faith trying to come up with ideas both on the right and the left of how to bring Troops home the fact that the Republicans are demonizing some Democrats. I like Martha who you know, I don't agree with everything. He said but demonizing them when they are simply in good faith trying to come up with ideas on how we can bring our troops home safely and not leave Iraq and Chaos. (00:17:32) Well, do you believe the war is basically (00:17:34) lost know? I you know, I believe that I always want to you always want to hope for Success. You always want to hope for success and I see one of the ways to do this and the Bush Administration has been completely ineffective at doing this is bringing in other countries as peacemaking forces and we have to if we ask once we have to ask again and we have to ask again so that it is not just about our country. (00:17:58) Just based on what we've seen the last, you know, 24-48 hours. Do you believe that it's headed toward a Civil War and if so, I mean how does an outside force like the us or any other outside force stop that or fix this the (00:18:13) situation again? I have I do not at all. Of of the way this war has been prosecuted and conducted from the very beginning and I think many Republicans have talked about this Chuck Hagel and John McCain in terms of the number of troops that were brought in the information that we had on the ground and you see a continuation of that right now, but we must we must work with other countries in the world to try to not leave this country and Chaos. We are the ones that went in there and now, you know, three years later we're seeing more and more deaths and we simply need to have the world and bring them together and try to not give up here and I would like to see a significant drawdown of troops. I think that that will be part of the solution but I will not commit to bringing all our troops home tomorrow (00:19:05) just some other questions about this terrorism issue the UN says the US should close the prison at Guantanamo Bay. What do you think about (00:19:17) There have been significant abuses that are being uncovered there. And you know, I'd want to look at that more in terms of of the where we'd have other facilities, but there's a lot of concern that people have been held that shouldn't be held and again, I like I believe in openness in government and I can tell you that in in law enforcement and what I do people get pretty nervous sometimes about prosecutors and what I've tried to do is make reforms that are fair. We have you know, videotaped interrogations. We've done new things with the way we do eyewitness identifications and we've done those things to instill more trust and fairness in the criminal justice system. And that's my concern with how this Administration has has handled this war and these matters of justice that we have to remember what we're fighting for were fighting for freedom and we're fighting for what this country has always believed in this American dream and and more and more you see in a row. None of that not just in terms of some of the rights were talking about but also with the wiretapping and things like that, but also the economy you look at the middle class right now. And yes, you know I go out there and I talk to people we have we go to the living rooms and people say, you know, I have a job but I can't figure out why my kid can't afford to buy a house. Well that because houses in the metro area of gone up 25 percent or a small business owner in northern Minnesota. I want to keep health care for my employees, but I can't afford it. Well, that's because Health Care has gone up at three and a half times the wage of the average Minnesotan and nothing is being done to help the middle class. In fact that just came out that the tax decreases the wealthiest people making over 1.3 million dollars a year their taxes went down 10 times faster than the middle class and I believe there's things we can do here but it's not going the (00:21:06) direction we're going and I want to talk more about some of those domestic issues in just a couple minutes, but just to stay on the foreign policy for a minute and that you mentioned the Surveillance the warrantless wiretapping. Where do you come down on that? Do you think the president broke the law? (00:21:22) You know, I am probably one of the only people running for US Senate in the country that is not only authorized aware tepid actually gone in before a judge personally and asked for wiretap. This is against you know, serious drug dealers and people involved in very violent crimes. And I know that you can follow the law and you can you can get what you want when you follow the law and that's why I'm so concerned about what's going on here. I think there should be an investigation of what happened and if we need to fix the law in some way for circumstances to make it easier to do it that are still legal we should do that. But right now I would say that we need to have an investigation of what went on there because there's they're clearly something went wrong when many people believe that the law was adequate to take care of that and then they circumvented it. (00:22:08) Do you think there is more there than has been reported in the (00:22:10) Press again? We won't know that until we have an investigation and if people are hiding from investigations It's very hard to know that (00:22:18) an online question from James from Minneapolis. That was also on my list. And that is what about this whole situation in Iran right now should the u.s. Be willing to put up with an Iran that has nuclear weapons. (00:22:36) You know, I would say to step back a minute that this is an example of something that kind of got away from us a big thing that got away from us and that is because we put so much focus in Iraq over 300 billion dollars and meanwhile Iran has been developing weapons of mass destruction is not afraid to talk about obliterating Israel and things like that and I believe that we have to leave all options on the table military options sanctions in order to deal with them and we have to make this a top priority (00:23:07) and when you say that does that mean that maybe at some point military intervention might be required there (00:23:14) too. I don't believe you can ever take that. Off the table when you're dealing with a head of this country who is basically said that he wants to obliterate our Beacon of democracy in the Middle East, which is Israel. (00:23:27) We're talking with Amy Klobuchar today on midday as part of our meet the candidates series. She is the Hennepin County attorney and is also running for US Senate as a dfl ER and we'll be back with more in just a couple minutes Minnesota Public Radio news. (00:23:41) Iran has called on Britain to withdraw its troops from the southern (00:23:45) Iraq thoughtful talk that leaves room for your voice 11 percent increase on my property taxes. Can you help this you bet you can blame me for about navigating complex issues and difficult topics. It wasn't pretty it wasn't efficient, but it was democracy with all of its warts and all that. It demands objective intelligent, Minnesota Public Radio news. And speaking of the news here Stephen John with an update of the latest news. All right, Michael officials in Iraq say at least 110 people have been killed across the country in violence that followed yesterday's attack on a Shiite Shrine the victims include 47 civilians who were shot and left in a ditch near Baghdad more reprisal attacks have been reported at 160 Sunni mosques. The Pentagon says for soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division have been killed by a roadside bomb north of Baghdad President. Bush says the more people learn about a deal to transfer some sea port operations to an Arab company the more they'll be comforted that our ports will be secure. Mr. Bush says his administration will keep talking with members of Congress from both parties who oppose the deal at least forty seven people are dead in a market collapse in Moscow officials have ruled out terrorism and blame the accident on heavy snow Mexican officials say there's no trace of to minors swear. They were expected to be found rescue workers have been trying to reach 65 trapped workers in a Coal Mine in Northern Mexico since a blast early Sunday morning, the federal labor secretary says toxic gas concentrations are arising as Rescuers burrow deeper into the mine US Government figures say A Drop in inflation-adjusted incomes in 2004 left the average family income at just over $70,000 the Federal Reserve also reports that net worth group, although at a slower Pace than in 2001 when the last comparison Was Made Red River Valley potato Growers will be able to ship their products to Japan that country has lifted its import ban on Fresh u.s. Potatoes under a new Trade Agreement. It'll allow imports from 14 States, including Minnesota and North Dakota. Minnesota ranchers are being asked to test their cattle for bovine tuberculosis. If they're within 10 miles of one of the five infected herds in Northwestern Minnesota. The state is trying to regain its bovine TB free status and save money for ranchers who ship cattle out of state. It's guys should be partly cloudy today a few flurries in northeastern Minnesota highs in the teens in the Northwest to mainly the lower 20s elsewhere currently in the Twin Cities. Mostly sunny and 23 degrees. Thanks Steven. This is midday on Minnesota Public Radio. I'm Mike Mulcahy and for Gary eichten today coming up at noon today. We'll hear from former Reagan administration policy analyst Dinesh D'Souza. He spoke recently at st. John's University about anti-americanism. (00:26:34) This hour were talking with Amy (00:26:37) Klobuchar. She is a candidate for the United States Senate on the Democrat side. It's part of our meet the candidates series tomorrow. We'll be hearing from Ford Bell. Who is the other dfl are in the race and let's go right to the phones because we have some people have been hanging on Larry is on the line from Bloomington Hi. How are you Amy? (00:26:55) Great, how are you? (00:26:56) Very well pretty good. You know, I got to disagree with you about the scandal in Washington. It's not a republican Scandal. It's and it's not a democratic scan leader to systematic Scandal your lawyer and I think you know that Jefferson and the founding fathers were pretty clear that if you make the government big and give it a lot of power it's going to attract people who want to use it and that's going to lead to corruption and I think we see that pretty clearly and that can becomes personal for me because to support that huge institution. We've got I am classified in most of the things I see on websites like is one of the rich I'm a retired army officer my wife's an engineer and you know what? I don't think that being classified as one of the rich who have to have their taxes increase to pay for programs make sense. How are you going to address the problem of the size of government itself automatically leading to corruption no matter who's in power. And remember the Republicans are in power now mostly because the Democratic corruption scandals back in the early 90s. (00:27:48) Okay, first of all, Abraham gave money only to Republicans. So let's start with that. But I'd really rather not debate that Scandal because I want to go fix things and when you look at the fiscal management of government and what's going on here Bill Clinton left with a 300 two to three hundred billion dollar budget. Surplus George Bush is currently given us a 300 billion budget deficit and that does not even include the war costs which are off of that budget. It is to me when you look at middle-class families and you look at people like yourself Larry who have worked hard. You deserve better than this. We are now paying 800 million dollars a day in interest on that national debt. And here's what I'd like to see to help you and others. First of all, we need to go back to the pay-as-you-go rules that we had during the Clinton Administration what we had then was if you're going to do tax cuts fine, but you better show how you're going to pay for it if you're going to do spending you better show you going to pay for it? Re spending it's gone up 50 percent. We should be putting our money into these major challenges facing us now energy Independence and we can talk about that. I hope more later Health Care Affordable Health Care education. That's where our money should be going a next. I would lift the ban on negotiation with the prescription drug companies 90 billion dollars a year. We could be saving with that get rid of these subsidies to the oil companies. Look at where the money is going. I always say follow the money. That's what we do with our White Collar cases in the prosecutor's office follow the money here. It has gone to the wealthiest people. I'm talking here about people, you know, making over $200,000 a year. It's made it harder and harder for average families to get by in this country and I want to go to Washington to help them to put the People First in front of these corporate special interests. (00:29:38) And so you would you would roll back those tax cuts or (00:29:41) I believe we should roll back the tax cuts in the people making over $200,000 a year. I believe we should close these corporate loopholes that allow Companies to set up paper headquarters out in Bermuda and allow them to get rewarded for sending jobs to China and India instead of two, you know, Ali and Faribault. Those are the things that we need to look at when we look at what's going on in Washington. It's really and I know there's always this, you know rhetoric that somehow Democrats aren't as good with the with the fiscal house. Will you just look at the facts of what's happened the last five years and that's not true. You know, there's a there's a diner in my neighborhood. It's a motorcycle Diner and it's called Betty's bikes and buns and my family goes are sometimes on Saturdays and they have this business card. It says Betty's bikes and buns were lies become Legends. Well, what I've seen in this state is that the people of Minnesota are starting to see The Lies Beneath the legends of the Republican leadership in Washington DC and these include moderate Republicans in our own state that are very unhappy with what's going on. You know, they told us that you know, they unite this country and they've divided us as never before they told us they'd get help. Can people and health care costs up three and a half times tuition at the University of Minnesota of 81% You just you just go down the list these things have not helped 95 percent of the families in Minnesota. (00:30:59) But when you talk about balancing the budget or you know, getting the deficit down, aren't you also faced with this big problem of these entitlements and the Baby Boomers retiring and how are we going to pay for that? Can you raise taxes on enough rich people and close enough loopholes to to afford all the obligations that the government has. (00:31:19) Well, first of all, remember we're talking about a lot of money. I'm not I just gave you the prescription drug figure, you know, there's there's a if we roll back the tax cuts on people making over two hundred thousand dollars, we could pay to ensure the kids of this country. There's our big chunks of money when you look at tax fairness and some of the things that have been happening and you really pick apart that budget and figure out where the money is. I think that there is money there as far as Social Security, you know, the president tried to make it a gamble instead of a guarantee and you talk about money that was Trillion dollars in transition costs just to move over to the plan that he had much less putting people's money at the whims of the stock market. There are sensible things we can do like raising the cap and I believe that those things are solvable affordable health care is a much bigger problem and I see this I come at it from two perspectives one is representing one of the major hospitals in our state and I can tell you when people don't have health care. They do have a doctor and it's called the emergency room and its really expensive. I also come at it as taking on the insurance industry when my daughter was really sick. I got kicked out of the hospital in 24 hours and I push for the one of the first laws in the country for a 48-hour Hospital stay for new moms and their babies and I realize what you're up against you go there they say they're for it and then they try to change the effective date for three years. I had to bring six pregnant women to the conference committee. So when they asked when should it take effect they all raised their hand and said now and it happened, so if you really want to get affordable health care and lift that Anna and the prescription drug companies and what I like to see is, you know, I'd like to see everyone being allowed to buy into the federal health care plan. There's 8 million people on it now small businesses who can't afford health care otherwise to buy into that plan, but if you're going to get there, how does that lower the cost of Health Care well because you have larger pools, I know Senator lourey was on your show earlier this this week talking about that you have you have larger pool of users that can push the companies more and reduce the prices and demand more when they are in a larger group of consumers. So there's actual competition going on and then we also Again by looking at where the money is and helping like we've done in Minnesota with minnesotacare to help some of the families that aren't at the level of Medicaid we can ensure more people and push those push those companies on the cost. (00:33:39) How do you see the job of a senator when it comes to these earmarks and special projects or pork as some people like to Call them is it to eliminate those or is it to eliminate everybody else's and and bring (00:33:54) Minnesota's Health Care Mike. There's the answer now. I think what we need is more transparency instead of you know, these earmarks being attached and no one knows where they are and they turn out to be, you know water parks in Iowa and bridges to Nowhere in Alaska. I believe we have to have a much more visible discussion and easier to understand discussion of what's going on because I can tell you what people care about when I talk to them they care about, you know, sending their kids to college and and they care about having affordable health care and they want to not have these high gas prices and they want to make sure that we're putting money into the cornfields and the energy in the midwest instead of these oil cartels in the Mideast and you've got to pick these three or four major challenges that that's what I did when I came into my job working with our great staff in the county attorney's office to push certain things that we wanted to get done, you know career offenders reducing outside. Council hit you pick the big things you want to do when you get them done. That's not what's been happening in Washington. It doesn't mean that that some of these projects aren't worthy and that we should look at them and that you want to make sure there's fairness across the states, but when they're not even really voted on and every Senator and Congressman just gets to have their own little group of Christmas presents that they give out in the state. I don't think we can afford to do that anymore when we are facing such major challenges in Washington. I believe we should have a 20% renewable standard for electricity and because they've been spending so much time we're looking at their own State. We don't have that kind of standard that's going to push the market up to that standard. So we see real investment in Renewables. (00:35:27) So if you say there are three or four big things that the country should be focusing on what are those three or four big (00:35:32) things they are first of all energy Independence and again getting those standards in place not being afraid to put them in place. Some of them were in the McCain Lieberman bill that never passed went nowhere secondly affordable health care and Hang on expanding coverage, but also reducing costs and making it. So if people lose their job, they can still go and have health care. They can start a small business and be able to afford healthcare tax fairness looking at our tax system right now and making sure that middle-class families are in As Good As situations that can be as they're getting crunched and crunched and crunched and then finally this general idea of Economic and International Security getting out what we were talking about earlier on the show with the priorities and the decisions that we've made that have taxed our military and have not made our country safer. (00:36:25) Let's take another caller Kelly is on the line from Eden Prairie Kelly. Go ahead. Hi there. I was calling I had two questions one was how you felt if this is redundant. I'm sorry on Roe v-- Wade, and my next question was about the VA and Military benefits for those that have served. It seems I'm a I'm a retired veteran Air Force and It seems to me that the Veterans Administration keep scaling back because of budget cuts and now with all our returning veterans coming from Iraq and Afghanistan that seems to be an undue burden especially on this Minneapolis VA day. It's been pretty (00:37:03) hard. Well, thank you Kelly and thanks for your service to our country. I first your question was about a row v Wade and I am pro-choice. I believe that this is a private decision. That should be made between a woman and her doctor. I will say that I'm one of the things I've tried to do as I get around the state. I have a number of pro-life supporters some prominent elected officials like Congressman Oberstar as well as just regular folks I talked to and I do think that there is some common ground in terms of the desire of both sides to reduce the number of abortions. We've done some good work in our County with reducing teen pregnancies and also speeding up the time it takes for adoption for kids that are in out-of-home placement and I Like to work on those issues, but I am pro-choice. Secondly you asked about benefits for the military and that va's hospital we have is one of the leading brain trauma centers in the country. There are so many of our young men and women coming back from Iraq with severe brain injuries that are now getting help there and I do get concerned when people sort of wrap themselves in the flag and talk about their patriotism. And then we see cutbacks. I was just I just saw yesterday that of these huge delays were seeing for veterans people coming back and getting their college funds and things like that and that's just wrong. We should be heralding our troops as Heroes. We should be funding them adequately and we need to put our money where our mouth (00:38:34) is back on the issue of health care for a minute. We had online question from John and Prior Lake who said do you favor a single-payer universal health care plan? And if so, what would you do to make it happen? (00:38:48) You know, I favor universal health coverage and I think we must have Universal Health Coverage single payers went option. But what I want to see is progress now and I know when Paul wellstone introduced his single-payer Bill, he waited and waited and waited and he finally ended up introducing a bill to allow states to experiment and things like we've seen with minnesotacare we need progress. I don't want to look at another Mom with her kids going to the emergency room because she didn't have any kind of preventative care. She couldn't go in, you know to get them their checkups and things like that that has to change and that's why I have suggested as an initial step opening up that federal health care plan with 800 people to allow small businesses in the self-employed and regular people to buy in second step of that is to make sure that our kids have a set level of benefits within that plan or some other plan so that they are covered as well and we can do that we can pay for that. We have to have the will to do it. I can tell you were paying for it. Now. Those kids are going to the emergency room and Hennepin County and other places in this state, but they're not doing it in a smart way if they're not going preventive care because they're not insured and it's costing us more (00:40:00) money. Let's take another call or David on the line from cook. David you're on go ahead. Yeah, I mean thanks for answering our questions today. I am a Democrat. All right, but I do cross party lines because we have hey, we have some certain specific things, you know, we're called the outstate Minnesota. Like we're a foreign country up here in northern Minnesota. We're solidly Democrat, but we do like to hunt and fish and that requires guns and there are guns are always on an attack up here and even with conceal and carry, you know, we have a long time before we're going to get a response. I believe we have the first right to defend our family. How are you going to answer those issues? Okay. Well, first of all, you know, my (00:40:46) roots are up on the Range my dad grew up there and my grandpa was a minor and then he was a logger and he was a great hunter I have run into people that have told me stories about his hunting trips and I can tell you that I'm going to do nothing to hurt hunting and nothing to take your You're hunting guns away your guns away. I just think that that's one of those things that you're right there that people say about Democrats and you know, it's not it's just not true. I always like to ask people how much money you think that we spend in the state of Minnesota on worms every year where we spend fifty million dollars Mike on Bait Tackle and worms and it just shows what worms don't kill people but it just shows how important fishing and hunting and other forms of recreation are to our economy and to our culture in Minnesota in terms of Greater Minnesota. I will say this is that with my relatives up on the Range and my husband and his five brothers from Mankato. If I didn't represent Greater Minnesota, I'd have no place to go for Thanksgiving dinner, you know, there was a mayor of Minneapolis named Hubert Humphrey that did a pretty good job representing Northern Minnesota and our rural areas and there was a college professor from Northfield named Paul wellstone the did a pretty good job representing the cities we have never. Let this state be divided geographically and we have sent people to Washington who believe that one senator from Minnesota can make a difference. One of the committee's that I have requested to be on. The first committee is Agriculture and Forestry. That's because I know that the farm bill is up in 2007. I've had extensive conversations with Congressman Collin Peterson and Congressman Oberstar about this is critical agriculture is our biggest export out of Minnesota and what we've had trade agreements that have heard some of our farmers and I see how critical this is. So I'm eager and and looking forward to representing Greater Minnesota. Energy is going to be a huge (00:42:42) issue and what a good sulfur I found would you would you support a ban on assault style (00:42:47) weapons? Yes. I did support extending that ban. I worked with some of our police officers and our Chiefs on that and I believe that there was some evidence showing we had seen from The Brady group that we had seen some decrease in the use of those types of assault. Weapons we're not talking here about hunting weapons and we're not talking here about General guns. We're talking about very specific assault weapons and I want to differentiate that because you know, this gun issue has been used so much as a wedge issue up in northern Minnesota and I can't tell you how much I support hunting and those forms of recreation. I think we should be working on developing more habitats so that there can be more hunting in our state. I was talking to a hunter last night who was so concerned that he always was going to North Dakota and South Dakota because we haven't done a good enough job in preserving our habitats for hunting and this is you know, under a republican leadership in our state and in our country and I think that should be a major focus and we want to make sure people might have the money to be able to afford to buy their guns. So when you look at what's happening again to middle-class families, we have to get the facts out there that this is about a systemic change in Way, we're doing business and government where these families have been systematically hurt because of the tax policies and because of the ways that we haven't addressed their their needs for for Affordable Health Care and and affordable gas and things that they need in their everyday (00:44:20) lives. Let's talk a little about the energy issue. When you look at a ethanol is that primarily an environmental issue for you or is that an economic development issue, you (00:44:32) know the great thing about the energy Independence for Minnesota is that it's both of those things. First of all, it's a national security issue because if we keep going the way we are as we are more and more dependent on these these foreign countries. It's hurting us for National Security to making us make decisions that we would rather not make secondly environmental you look at these the studies on global warming and you look at what we just found out last week about the ice caps. This is a real problem and we need to address it and we can't hide from it anymore. Finally for Minnesota. It is an economic. Mike issue if we just went to that twenty percent standard for renewable for electricity, which they already have in Denmark 5,000 jobs in the wind turbine area in Minnesota. Someone told me down there when I was down there touring some of the wind turbines actually have a bed and breakfast down in South-Western Minnesota because people want to come down and see the wind turbines. It's very exciting. We've always believed in the future and Science and Technology in our state whether it's the Post-it note or the pacemaker we've been on The Cutting Edge to the University of Minnesota and through our farmers and our workers and we can be on The Cutting Edge for energy Independence in this (00:45:39) country are related question from Nate online question. He asks, would you support a national gas tax increase to reduce emissions and reduce dependence on foreign oil and encourage conservation, (00:45:51) you know, one of the things I was just talking to them Transportation people yesterday that we're seeing as we see more and more of our cars being we hope hybrid cars and Ethanol the only answer may not be the gas tax as we look at how we fund transportation and other things that we may have to look at other funding sources. And as I said, I would like to sit back and look at all of our taxes and I've talked about a few of them today to make sure that they are not regressive that they're not hurting the middle class that the people who are working hard and going home every day and taking care of their kids or taking care of their mom and dad that they're not hurt by these policies. So that's what I'd look like a look (00:46:38) at so you're not going to say yes or no on a gas tax right now. No. Okay. Let's take another caller Amber on the line for Minneapolis. Hi. Yes. My question is where do you stand on trade? We need fair trade and I've heard that your for free trade you seem to be kind of waffling on this issue. (00:46:57) You know, I couldn't be more clear on this issue and I don't know where you got that indication. I was the first US Senate candidate to be up. At American Crystal, I did a vent up there probably. I don't know if you're up in the Fargo-Moorhead area, but that's where we were and I came out against cafta. I believe that we must have fair trade not just free trade and what bothers me about what happened with that calf to agreement is they didn't list a people listen to people like Colin Peterson and Byron dorgan and and Kent Conrad. They just went off on their own and didn't put the labor standards and environmental standards that we should have. You know, we made progress with the Jordan trade agreement and since then they've been backsliding. I think it's wrong it reminds me of when you go back to the robber baron era back in the late 1800s. We made changes in our lives to help people, you know, right to organize environmental laws child labor laws. We are now in the global economy and there's many good things for Minnesota out of that. There's no doubt about it. But at the same time we have to have trade agreements and laws that make sure that we're remembering why we're here and that's to help improve people's lives. In this country and in this (00:48:05) state, you don't want agricultural issues. What about these Farm subsidies and should a farmer was a high income, you know, $250,000 a year. Should they get Farm (00:48:17) subsidies? You know, I support this cap that's been proposed for the 250 thousand dollar cap on Farm subsidies. Actually a Minnesota of the Farmers Union and other groups have supported this because most Minnesota's Farms Farmers understand what these subsidies are for and it's not for huge corporate conglomerates, but a general matter as I mentioned before Farm exports, 20, 25 percent of our products here that we export out our biggest export and we must support our farm economy. I've come out with some ideas and Farmers. I think we need to have country of origin labeling in place, you know, the administration keeps saying they want to do it be a great help to Minnesota and they only thing they've done it for is seafood now, we don't have a lot of That's produced here in Minnesota. So I'd like to see country of origin labeling for Minnesota homegrown products and to continue fair prices for our farmers. And that's why this farm bill is so important to 2007. We look back at the freedom to farm bill that we had Collin Peterson Paul wellstone how to go in and fix it with the current farm bill. It's not perfect but it's sure a lot better than what we had back there. And I don't want to go back to what we had back then that was so bad for Minnesota Farmers. And that's one of the reasons I want to be on the agriculture (00:49:33) forestry Committee of the US. The last farm bill was huge wasn't it? And and didn't it have a bunch of those subsidies in it for for people who you could argue really didn't need them. (00:49:42) Well, there are some that's why one of the reasons is that there's a lot of discussion about this $250,000 cap, which I support. There are some changes that can be made but overall we want to have that support and therefore our Farmers. I mean, they're things happen, you know droughts happened acts of God happen and we have to be there for them because it is such an important export from Minnesota and as I mentioned there's other things That we can do as well like country of origin labeling. (00:50:08) Let's take a quick call William for Minneapolis quickly William. Amy really impressed with what I hear from you and I support you because you're such a progressive politician. (00:50:18) Well, that's a great last (00:50:19) question. I want to ask a question. I have a question here quickly. I get emails regularly from various people that I think are basically anti-government wondering why doesn't our legislature and Senate at the national level all go on Social Security and get rid of the fat pension plan that makes them all kind of prima. Donna. And what would you think about all right being on Social Security rather than a pension plan as a result of (00:50:45) serving, you know, I think in general that as I've said about opening up the health care plan that the people of this country should get the same kind of benefits that the members of Congress get and if you know, they're not going to be doing their job. They shouldn't be getting a wage increase and they shouldn't be getting the salary increases if they can't even balance the budget. So in that way we're in agreement because I'm really sick and tired of what's going on in Washington in terms of not getting solutions for people for a change and that's what I want to go and do in Washington. I've been doing it for the past seven years and getting results putting the interests of people first and that's why I want to go to Washington because I truly believe one senator from Minnesota can make a difference. (00:51:28) We are running a little short on time. But let me ask you this question, you know, Minnesota has never sent a woman to the US Senate. Why do you think that is and do you think that's an obstacle for you or I think it doesn't matter (00:51:40) anymore. Well, you know, they've sent women from Arkansas and Texas and I think if those dates can do it we can I do think that the past few races were women have run. There's been such a focus on we got to get a woman we got to get a woman that's not how I'm running my campaign. I'm running it based on my record and what I want to do in Washington and I'll end with one quick story. I when I was up on the Range talking to retired steelworkers 200 of them. They were yelling at me like get my relatives do when it's not even your fault and it all came to an end a woman stood up. She says my name is mrs. Rose bradovich. I'm 65 years old and you just talked for 45 minutes without notes and our president can't do that. She then paused and she said, you know my 65 years. I've never voted for a woman. I kind of think they should be home with their kids. But in your case, I'm making an exception. We turned the corner with rose. She sent three twenty dollar checks in and I know that we can overcome whatever thoughts are along those lines because this is really about change from Minnesota. It's really about I'm putting the interests of the people first. I've got a record that supports I've done that. I've got experience not only to make change in Washington, but more importantly right now to win this election and take on these corporate special interests and take on Mark Kennedy and his Pals Karl Rove and George Bush and Dick Cheney. But this is going to be a real Grassroots effort. It's not about gender. It's about putting Minnesota (00:53:02) first. Well, Amy Klobuchar, thank you so much for coming by today. (00:53:05) Well, it was great to be on Mike. Look forward to being on again. (00:53:08) That's Amy Klobuchar. She is the Hennepin County attorney and also running for Senate as a dfl are and I will just remind you that tomorrow we will have afford bail in our studio as part of our meet the candidates series. He is also running as a DSLR for the US Senate and then we will have the aforementioned Mark Kennedy the Republican candidate. He'll be in our Studios on March 2nd. So you can listen for that. Of course, we have much more on the campaign and the candidates at our website. Minnesota Public Radio dot-org, so be sure to go there too for more information and I'll just remind you that coming up after the news. We will hear a speech from former Reagan administration policy analyst Dinesh D'Souza talking recently at st. John's University about (00:53:54) anti-americanism. I'm Carrie Miller and I hope you'll be there February 28th for our next talking volumes Pulitzer prize-winning author. Marilynne Robinson will join me on the stage of the Fitzgerald theater to talk about a book that was nearly 25 years in the riding critics have called Gilead radiant and luminous. So join me Tuesday, February 28th at 7 p.m. For talking volumes with Marilyn Robinson talking volumes is a partnership between the Star Tribune The Loft literary Center and Minnesota Public Radio. (00:54:27) This is Minnesota Public Radio news 91.1 knnow Minneapolis, st. Paul and streaming online at Minnesota Public Radio dot-org. It's 25 degrees partly cloudy in the Twin Cities right now. And that is about as warm as it will get today some clouds move in tonight and chance for snow as well a load of night around eight degrees tomorrow. Mostly cloudy with a chance for snow, especially in the morning and a high tomorrow around 30 again right now in the Twin Cities partly cloudy and 25 degrees.


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