A broadcast of Meet the Press debate between Minnesota U.S. Senate candidates Amy Klobuchar and Mark Kennedy. The two debated on issues such as Iraq and tax policy. Debate was moderated by Tim Russert, Meet the Press host. Program closes with follow-up commentary by political analysts Bob Meek and Tom Horner.
Read the Text Transcription of the Audio.
(00:00:04) And good afternoon. Welcome back to midday on Minnesota Public Radio news. I'm Gary eichten today on. Midday. We are focusing on the race for the US Senate here in Minnesota a race that is attracting Nationwide attention yesterday. The race was featured on NBC's Meet the Press program with Hennepin County. Attorney Democrat. Amy Klobuchar and Republican. Six District Congressman Mark Kennedy Fielding questions from host Tim Russert during this our midday as part of our continuing meet the candidates series were going to rebroadcast that debate will be talking with political analyst Tom Horner and Bob Meek after the debate to get their impressions of the race and be taking your questions and comments as well. But let's get started here in this is NBC's Tim Russert (00:00:48) and we welcome Democrat Amy Klobuchar Republican Mark Kennedy, welcome both good to be at and let me pick up on North Korea. Mr. Kennedy if the North Koreans simply ignore these sanctions or the Don't enforce the sanctions. What do we do do we use military action to stop their nuclear program? I think we need to continue to ratchet up the Diplomatic efforts, you know, we've had two un resolutions unanimous and we also need to continue to push China China has the novel nozzles that they can push on food on energy. They have far more influence over North Korea if they're going to be a world power they have to act like a world power but President Bush said quote we will not tolerate nuclear weapons in North Korea. Do we hold him to his commitment? Yes, but he also said that we want to have a peaceful and diplomatic solution. So we have to push every channel we can to achieve it in a peaceful and diplomatic way not taking anything off the table and we've seen a step towards that just yesterday. We need to continue and we need to continue to push China but if George Bush leaves office with nuclear devices in North Korea, will it have been a failed policy? We need to take every step we can to prevent. That from happening Miss Klobuchar, you know as a prosecutor. I know that when people cross the line Tim, there's got to be consequences and in foreign affairs. It's the same thing. I believe these sanctions are incredibly important. We can't have North Korea begin to be some kind of weapons Factory and they can't be selling and bartering nuclear materials. And the rest of the world is watching we don't want to create an arms race here and especially Iran is watching and that's why I think these sanctions are incredibly important. But if the North Koreans ignore them, what do we do again? We have to keep ratcheting things up. We have to keep working with our partners, but one of the things that went wrong here is that these multilateral discussions broke down North Korea walked away from the table and I believe we have to keep talking we have to it's good that China's part of this but if it's moving in the right direction and we believe it's in our national security interest. We should be talking to them directly. I mean even during the Cold War we kept talking to Russia and so the discussions Important and we need to keep the Diplomatic pressure on should President Bush sit down one-on-one with Kim Jong-il again. It's too early to say that but I believe that we need to keep those discussions going as well as keeping the sanctions ratcheting up if necessary and keeping the military option on the table. Let me show you with Bill Clinton when he was president 13 years ago said about North Korea right here on Meet the Press. North Korea Korea cannot be allowed to develop a nuclear bomb. We have to be very firm about it. So we've had two presidents one Democrat one Republican when President Clinton said that the North Koreans probably had the potential to build two nuclear devices. It's now up to 13 and if nothing is done when George Bush leaves office, it could reach 70. It seems as though the United States talk stuff with North Korea but allows the program to go forward again keeping the military option on the table is key but these sanctions are the first step and unlike how we handle the rock where it was going alone. I believe we have to work with our allies in the area that's starting to happen more but we have to keep that up. Let me turn to Iraq because it's an issue that's been very important in your campaign and one that I think is affecting elections all across the country Mark Kennedy. You've been there three times. Let me go back to comments you made after your first trip and 03 on the whole the trend in Iraq is very positive. Our troops faced a collection of terrorists and thugs of whom there are fewer each day. That's just dead wrong. If you look at the time in 2003 months afterwards where we potential little bit optimistic possibly and we've seen more challenges than we expected. No question. But if you look at what's happened, we have trained three hundred thousand Iraqi troops. We have a government that is a Unity government. This is the number one issue in this race and there are Stark differences between my opponent Miss Klobuchar and myself. She says it's a distraction. I think that it is one of the central fronts in the war on terror or some have been lied and zarqawi says as well she is set out a specific timetable for bringing our troops home. They would tell the Terrace when they can take over an oil-rich country as a sanctuary for terrorists and I believe we ought to be bringing our troops home as soon as we can after we're sure the terrorists can't win and she's So come out against a bill funding body armor for our troops that a majority of Democrats join me in supporting we have no higher priority than the support of troops in time of war and we have to win this war on terror, but 10 months ago. You said progress was clear. We're making great strides. Why shouldn't voters in Minnesota say, this is Rosy colored glasses. It's not reality. There were no weapons of mass destruction. And the level of sectarian violence is at all-time high and Congressman Kennedy saying everything's fine. We're making progress. I've never said everything's fine. But we are making progress is clear. We're making great strides. It's very positive each and every year I go back to Iraq. I see a government that is further down the path of being independent in addressing serious issue each and every year I go back there military is more closely more fully developed and taking over more and more responsibilities for us. The path is to make sure the terrorists can't win and by so doing allow us to bring our troops home. But we also need to make sure we're taking care of ourselves here at home again. Key differences in the war on terror Miss Klobuchar Has Come For weakening. The Patriot Act that has allowed us to have five years without a terrorist attack on our country. She's come out against making sure that we were paying attention when Al-Qaeda was talking to somebody in America to make sure that we knew what plots they were planning and she came out against the bill to make sure that we can get the intelligence we need from those we hold in custody to prevent future attacks. We cannot let the same poor judgment the Miss Klobuchar has shown that is made Minneapolis more dangerous to be in the US Senate making America less safe, knowing what you know today if the CIA came to you and said Congressman Kennedy Saddam Hussein does not have weapons of mass destruction. What you still vote to go into Iraq. We acted on the information that we knew at the time knowing what you know today. Would you still vote we acted and you know, you can't really play TiVo and Rewind in the real world. But let me just say this. First of all, I stand by my vote and second of all we just got done talking about Korea. We just got I'm talking about consequences for actions 17 un resolutions. If we had let one of the top sponsors of tears that was paying thousands of dollars to those families that had suicide bombers and we had let 17 un resolutions go by what chance would we have a North Korea or China paying any attention that a resolution just passed your so you'd still go into Iraq. I stand by my vote. We can't rewind we acted on the information we knew at the time and acted correctly Miss Klobuchar. You said on your website 2006 should be a year of transition in which we bring a significant number of our troops home. This is October now of 2006. He told the Star Tribune in Minneapolis. I am saying change the course, I believe we need to bring a significant number of our troops home one would hope by 2007 we would have drawn the vast majority of our troops from Iraq. That's next a matter of months from now. Is that still your position? Tim, you know the congressman was talking about body armor. And of course I support body armor for our troops. I support winning this war on terror by being smart. I supported the Patriot Act but I will say that the best way that we can protect our troops is to get this policy. Right? And I believe that that means changing course in Iraq. We need to transition to a rocky governance. We need to send the clear message that they have to take control of their own government. And that means no permanent military bases the congressman and I differ on this is means not saying 2010. We're going to have the same number of troops and we need to be more accountable for the help that we're giving Iraq you look at what's been happening here, you know ten billion dollars in cost overruns with Halliburton putting a 24 year old in charge of the stock exchange with no Financial experience building a military academy for 70 75 million dollars to the police and then finding out the plumbing isn't right. So they have to demolish part of it. I believe that we do need to start bringing. Our troops home clearly at this time this late date am in October and we can't bring a significant number of home. We have to be reasonable. I have never been one to say bring them all home tomorrow. I have never subscribed to one of those mandatory dates because I understand that despite my opposition to the war from the beginning that we have to be responsible about how we bring our troops over. You did say bring home a significant number this year and you're saying now that's probably not doable. What about a vast majority in 2007, which was what you said. Also these predictions were built on the promises and the predictions of progress from this Administration and we simply haven't seen that so you have to be reasonable and what you're going to do here, but let me tell you this you cannot solve a problem that you don't admit exist and that is what's going on here with the congressman. This war has basically devolved into a civil war eight times. The number of deaths were caused by sectarian violence than my bombs. You have Shiite militia row. In the neighborhoods and taking young men putting him in cars shooting them in the head and dumping them out on the streets. This is a civil war and yes, we need to be more accountable and do a better job of training the police but we also have to realize that this solution isn't going to be more boots on the ground. It's going to be a diplomatic and political solution. It's good. We have done this before with even more difficult situations this war as of Thanksgiving will lasted longer than World War Two. So, I believe that we need to bring people together and help this country to come up with a diplomatic and political solution in addition to giving them the tools that they need speaking of predictions that Congressman Kennedy. This is what you said six months ago. I fully expect that over the next year. There will be a significant number of troops who will be returning home because of success in Iraq flat wrong. I said in November that but this is February 6 months ago in February that we expect the troops. We have less troops not as much as I would like we've run into tougher patches. Significant number why can't you say you were wrong? I was wrong in the significant number. I was right in terms of the fact that there are less troops, but I'm also writing saying whatever I said, I'm going to support with the Commander's in the field say and when we talk about accountability, let's talk about accountability Miss Klobuchar refuses to be accountable for coming out against a bill but funding body armor for our troops. She refuses to be accountable for statements that she says and you didn't get the June of this year MPR where she said she wanted more than half the troops out this year and all of them out by next year that is a clear timetable that is irresponsible. And she's also continues to try to mislead people not just about her own record and where she's taken positions, but about my record as well. I never voted for permanent basis I voted for making sure that we could have an agreement as to keeping our troops in a sovereign country and making sure that we had the base protection that would keep our troops safe. We need to bring our troops home as soon as we can. Sure to tears can't win but we don't need to let politicians predictions or anything else drive this it has to be the Commander's in the field. And what is going to achieve that end to that end Miss Klobuchar. There was a question asked of you back in March question. So your desire to withdraw troops is not depend on the Commander's agreeing with it. They should be told to do it and just told to find the best way to do it Klobuchar, correct? And then this if the president is unwilling to provide a plan for the drawdown of American troops Congress should call upon the Joint Chiefs of Staff to do so, so you would overrule the military commanders and you think the Senate has the authority to direct order the Joint Chiefs of Staff that draw down troops come. No, I don't believe that what I was saying here is because the president refuses to bring us a plan and deal with this as it is as a civil war that we need to have the directions coming from Washington. Of course, we should listen to the make commanders and the And in fact, there's generals that have returned from there. That's a we need to change course. Senator Warner just came back from there and said give this a few months and we need to change course at Jim Baker. I went over there and starting talking about this. What I'm hearing is a general consensus around what I'm talking about that we cannot as Congressman Kennedy and the president are talking about just stay the course indefinitely with more troops dying over 300 billion dollars spent and the idea is to listen to the Commander's on the ground. But to have the Direction come from Washington that we need to change course. I was talking about bringing the Joint Chiefs and to discuss with Congress what the plan should be because I just do not see it coming from this Commander in Chief if we withdrew from Iraq and a full-blown Civil War erupted. What do we do? First of all, we aren't going to completely withdraw from Iraq at this moment and I believe that we need to redeploy some of these troops to surrounding areas so that they would be ready to come in when I'm not suggesting or well in Afghanistan where we've seen Complete a deterioration of the situation there in part because we have put some singular focus on Iraq and to surrounding areas perhaps Kuwait other places that we can keep these troops so they can come back in if necessary again reaching out to the regional powers to get their help. You cannot you cannot talk about this unless you acknowledge that this is a civil war that's going on here. Yes, there's terrorists there. In fact 16 agencies of this government who deal with National Intelligence said that this war has fomented more terrorism. So if we look at what we need to do about the war against Terror, we need to get to be smart about this. We need to focus on Afghanistan again and get that situation under control. We need to beef up our homeland security where the 9/11 commission has given us D's and F's, you know, the president identified the axis of Evil when he talked about North Korea and Iran. We have them both now talking about nuclear weapons Republicans have been talking about Rock in a very different way Jim Baker the head of the Iraq study group former Secretary of State former President Bush. I happen to think there are alternatives between the course Cut and Run and staying the course negotiated settlement strong suggestion and this from John Warner Republican chairman of the armed services committee. I assure you in two or three months if this thing hasn't come to fruition and at this level of violence is not under control. I think it's the responsibility of our government to determine is there a change of course we should take and I wouldn't take off the table any option at this time. So you talk about timetables the chairman of the armed service committee. Republican is basically said to the Iraqis you have 90 days to stop the violence or we could very well change the course and every options on the table. Senator Warner is also said in rejected a specific timetable for withdrawal and I agree with Senator Warner we ought to not just in two or three months, but at every stage along the way say is there adjustments we need to be Can we have been making adjustments? I've seen the adjustments in the three years. I've been there and we need to continue to make adjustments. But when you say that the solution as Miss Klobuchar says is diplomatic and political you can't negotiate with people that are ruthless and glory in killing innocent women and children. We need to make sure the Terrace can't win so that we can bring our troops home as quickly as possible or how long it takes. We need to make sure that the terrorists can't win. We cannot let Iraq become a sanctuary and you believe this could work can be won militarily. There's no question that we need to also prod the political forces within Iraq as we have been to make sure they dressed some of the key issues that are causing some of the foam it making sure that we get this federalism issue solved. We understand federalism in America. We have States and federal government. We also need to make sure they get this who owns the oil. I think they ought to take a path where the Iraqi people on oil just like they do in Alaska. We also need to make sure that they see the progress on the ground but these are steps. Need to be pushed politically, but they can't be done. If we're saying we're going to pull our troops away and leave a young democracy without the kind of support necessary to make sure it has time to get a plane you involved with Klobuchar has named will give her a chance to respond Tim. This is just more of the same more of the same this Administration more of the same with Congressman Kennedy. And you know, I just heard Trent Lott a few weeks ago. The Press asked him what he what do you think about Iraq? And he said to the reporters you are the only ones obsessing about Iraq real people in the real world aren't obsessing about Iraq. Well, I guess he didn't talk to the mom up in Mahnomen. Minnesota was child is going on his second tour of Iraq and she can't sleep anymore or Claremont Anderson and Western Minnesota who's driven a hundreds of miles to come to our events and every time he cries when someone asks a question about Iraq because his child was killed over there. These are real people in the real world who are looking for Solutions and the way to get this right for our troops is to give them the equipment that they But also to get this policy, right and to admit that we need to change course not do anything radical not bring all the troops home right away, but to pursue a diplomatic and political solution and I don't think that it's right for Congressman Kennedy to criticize me for that when members of his own party and experts in this area are saying the same thing. What question would you ask him? I would ask him. How come he won't even admit that he was wrong about voting for this war when we are in the situation. We're in when we spent over 300 billion dollars when many members of his own party have admitted that this war was not the right direction that in fact, it has fomented terrorism that we now have 16 agencies of our own government of President Bush's Administration saying that this has added more terrorism in this world, but you answer that question and ask her one. Let's talk about what the 16 agencies said. They said that we are clearly activating terrorists in Iraq having taken the challenge today. But they also said we have to Prevail if we don't Prevail it will greatly mushroom this threat. Let it grow in size and come to face our future Generations where we want to be able to ask answer the question that our kids would say to us. Why did you let this happen? They said that if we if we lose that's what will happen if we win we will greatly degrade. What's happening on the other side and when I would say, what would I ask my opponent? How can you change your position from saying we ought to ignore commanders a months ago that we ought to have a specific timetable and call that consistent. How can you say you're going to support our troops in the field during a time of War when you came out against a bill funding body armor for a troops that a majority of Democrats including Nancy Pelosi supported. How can you say that you're going to comply by the 9/11 commission when you came up for weakening the Patriot Act when you came out against making sure we were paying attention to what I was saying in my country about plotting future attacks. And when you came out against a bill for making sure we could get information from those we hold in custody and All this bill that John McCain who still Bears the marks of torture call this bill that is critical for our security a torture Bill. How can you be so disrespecting? It's consistent with what our own employees said about her that this is someone who only cares about her career advancement and nothing else. How can you criticize not just McCain but also our troops in the field last week. She criticized the way our troops were training Iraqi troops. We need to have somebody with a consistent view on bringing our troops home as soon as we're sure the terrorists can't wait a lot of questions there Tim, I would say this is why we're in the mess. We're in and Iraq because of this political gamesmanship Congressman Kennedy didn't even answer my question and instead proceeded to ask many questions and I will tell you a few of these answers. I am committed to this war against Terror. I'm someone who puts people in jail for a living I'm tough on security and I will tell you this. I believe that the people in the front line have to have the tools to wiretap that have to have the tools to do the surveillance that we need. I supported the patriarchy Did support some of the changes that were later made to the Patriot Act which library books library records and things like that. I also believe that we should have gotten that detainee Bill write something like what was originally passed out of the Senate armed services committee the Supreme Court gave this Congress of Duty and the Supreme Court said to this Congress get this right instead. They passed a very broad bill that I don't believe we'll meet constitutional muster. I didn't have to take this position. But I feel it's the best position because they were putting their short-term political gains in front of the bigger quest of winning the war against Terror so that they could go on Sunday morning talk shows like this one and claim that their opponents were weak on security and week on terror. I think democrats should welcome this debate on security and we're having it in our state and the people are listening. Let me turn to a domestic issue but there's a big difference. Mr. Kennedy Miss Klobuchar said that we should roll back the Bush tax cut on those making over $200,000 a year because the Federal It is now eight trillion dollars and we have to get our finances in order and this is a way of raising revenue. She said a lot of things in taxes her own proposal says that she wanted to have a trillion and a half increase in fact we but what specifically what about rolling back the tax cut on those who make more than 200,000 we have had six million new jobs. The economy was flat on its back after 9/11. We passed tax relief to reward and people the let him keep more of their hard-earned money families small businesses those who take risk and create jobs six million new jobs has been created. We cannot be raising taxes putting this economy back and it's flat back and also not a growing jobs. We have to keep the pro chub keeping spending under control and the author The line-item veto. I don't understand why we want to build a bridge to nowhere in Alaska a rainforest and I what you voted for both those proposed I voted for every single Jeff Flake amendment to take out these crazy are my final passage those proposals were legislation you voted they were because I support roads because Support making sure that we're moving forward with Key Programs, but you ought not to hold a whole bill hostage because there's silly stuff in it. We ought to have a line item veto for the president whether Republican or Democrat to cut that junk out of their whole Congress accountable keep spending under control. Simply pop it over Republican president Republican house Republican side it you have a tuner three billion dollar deficit and a trillion dollar debt. There's no question that I would like the president to take a little bit more leadership on spending. There's no question that we have had obstruction in the US Senate that is bogged down. Not only our ability to take further steps on fiscal responsibility, but many other things as well. We do need to push forward and make sure that we have strong fiscal measures to keep spending under control Miss Klobuchar 57 thousand households in Minnesota make over $200,000 here a lot of small businesses people who create the jobs and you want to come along and compound them with a new tax increase by taking away their tax cut why let me talk about why this is important to me and important to the people of our state. Right now, we're in a situation where our dad is approaching nine trillion dollars where this Administration and this Congress took a two hundred billion dollar Surplus and turned it into $250 250 billion dollar deficit. Why does this hurt the people in our state? It's not just some chart on a wall one out of 12 of the federal tax dollars that they're paying goes to interest on this debt. And this is my solution. I'm the only candidate in this race that it's come out with a plan to balance the budget. First of all, let's look at those seventy billion dollars. It's being sheltered in the Cayman Islands and Bermuda for multimillionaires that report came out August 1st get rid of those shelters that's takes in 70 billion. Next. Look at capital gains not changing the rate but having a third party validator like brokerage houses post those because there's underpayment that brings in 17 billion dollars roll back the tax cuts to the Clinton levels for the top 1% the Clinton levels and we had record jobs producing this country that brings us another 56 billion dollars in Then you go to the discretionary spending. I don't agree with the congressman. There's been that this is silly stuff. Even if you reduce half of that discretionary spending, it's fifteen billion dollars get rid of the no-bid contract. So we have competitive bidding ten billion dollars go back to the pay-as-you-go rules that we had during the Clinton Administration and then reduce these oil subsidies and these drug substitution what programs you could well, first of all, we have had a 50% increase in discretionary spending the Cato Institute identified that and you let's start with the ones that Congressman voted for the bridges to Nowhere the rainforest in Iowa. The waterless. Urinals is Michigan 60 percent of our federal revenues go to create Medicare and pensions. Will you go after those? I believe that if we can Shore up this deficit and balance the budget that we can then start showing up Social Security. This Congress has rated nine hundred twenty five billion dollars from Social Security and you go back to the clintons retirement. I don't believe that it's a solution of living increase. I don't believe that's a Action just think back to the Clinton Administration 1995 balance the budget by the year 2000 the plan was to put 200 billion dollars sock it away for Social Security. We had 15 years on what we have now Social Security was safe or 15 additional years. Now. It's been moved back if we can get that balanced budget in place and we can move on this we're going to be able to secure social security for the future. I believe Social Security is the fundamental way that will change look we can have a bipartisan commission. Look at those changes. They should be options to be looked at but the hard sell on me because I believe our priority should be to balance the budget when you talk to a iron ore mine worker up in northern Minnesota where my grandpa worked and my dad grew up. It's easy for us to talk about adding age to the retirement for them. It's a lot harder. So if there is a better way to do this by being fiscally responsible instead of giving, you know, billions of dollars in oil giveaways, I don't lose sleep at night about The CEO of Exxon who's retiring and just made four hundred million dollars whether or not he's doing okay. I'm thinking of those workers in Minnesota Congressman Kennedy. One of the issues in this campaign has been your relationship with George Bush. Here's the National Journal at his Minnesota GOP convention speech Kennedy never mentioned President Bush you have to Congressional quarterly says that during your tenure in Congress you supported the president 92% of the time here's a news clip which talks about Kennedy has considered a George strong George Bush a license joining the house in 2000 according to Minnesota political analysts who say they are surprised by his ads playing down a party affiliation and making no mention of the present. This is a party guy says political scientist Lawrence Jacobs of the University of Minnesota. He ran in a district that lean pretty heavily Republican and the way to win in that district is to run as a loyal Republican now, he's running a Statewide race for the president's approval ratings are poor is an attempt to reinvent himself. Do you believe that George Bush is a great president? I believe history is going to make that decision. This is a guy who's human. Like all of us has made mistakes. We've all made mistakes. You know, they are you wanting is a George Bush Republican. I'm running as Mark Kennedy. I'm running at a guy who believes strong in values that I was raised with the Minnesota the votes based on what's best for Minnesota families for 92% of time you voted for President, you know, I don't know where they get those statistics, but I can tell you, you know, they only take one out of ten votes, but I can tell you there are things I disagree with the president on whether it be No Child Left Behind, but I voted against my first year in Congress or Anwar there are things that I disagree with them on that you get prosperity for our kids not by raising taxes, but by keeping it low and that we keep our family safe by being an offense in the war on terror, but let me just address. We keep hearing Amy Klobuchar walking away from what you said before and trying to mislead the people she comes out against oil subsidies at the State Fair debate. She said that she was for the same Energy bill that I voted for. She comes out and says in an ad. He's in a safe. Ninety billion dollars 90 billion dollars by having government-run prescription drug program on a program that only costs 60 billion. How do you save 90 billion in a program that costs 60 billion and let me tell you on Social Security. It's going to be a lot more than a hard sell for me to be raising. The retirement age that is not the solution. I will oppose that that is just one of many differences on Social Security where she wants to give Social Security to illegal immigrants which would put billions of dollars of risk on a program that is already starting to respond to that. Thank you. I really appreciate that. I will say that the people of Minnesota don't really care if it's 92 percent or ninety seven percent. What they care about is the effect that these policies have had on that and the effect that this kind of negative attacks and this kind of gamemanship have had on the people in Minnesota Congressman Kennedy just started to talk about social security benefits for illegal immigrants. I suggest your readers go on to the Star Tribune website from yesterday, and they can see that the newspaper in Minneapolis. St. Paul I came out and said that his claims were completely false. And in fact the bill that he's talking about which was supported by a Republican. Senator Senator Coleman did not contain that provision. This is the kind of political gamesmanship. We have been hearing from the community for legal reasons. Yes, I do and the reason you know that he has gone off on his attacks again is that he really didn't want to answer your question. He spent the last few campaigns bragging about how close he was with President Bush and now he's spending this campaign bragging about how independent he is from resin Bush, you know, what the people of Minnesota care about they care about their gas prices went up to three bucks a gallon this summer and that is when they when they got a long way to work it's hard to do at their health care premiums went up 60% He's been in office. Let me just ask you a couple of things about President Bush of the pulse of the Twin Cities publication. I want to ask you about question. Would you vote to support the Russ Feingold resolution to Center President Bush called short? No not now. Do you favor the impeachment of President Bush? No not Now suggesting that you're open to both Center and impeachment. I don't think you should ever rule anything out, but I'm telling you my focus is not impeachment. It's not Center. My focus is to go to Congress and get something done. The questions were would you support these and I said no, I did not not now Hillary Clinton is coming to Minneapolis this week to raise money for you. Do you think she'd make a good president? You know, I think there are a number of good Democratic presidential candidates. I'm not wearing in that I got enough to do in Minnesota, but you'd be proud to support Hillary Clinton if she was the nominee, I believe that any of these Democratic candidates would be better than our current president as you know, mr. Kennedy. There's a lot of concern amongst Republicans about the war in Iraq about the Mark Foley page Scandal and there is an article of sorry comments from the Minnesota Public Radio interview with Norm Coleman and it says here documents filed at Minnesota television station. Kare11 KSTP TV and WCCO TV show that the national Republican senatorial committee has Border scheduled any AD time of behalf of Mark Kennedy Republican. Senator Norm Coleman the Republican senator from Minnesota acknowledged Kennedy faces an uphill battle. Coleman says, he's encouraging the campaign officials to invest in Minnesota, but says they may be more concern about other contests are the National Republicans pulling out of your race. They are not we're getting a lot of good cooperation from the national Republican senatorial committee. We just had six senators in last week. I won my first race one-on-one and I'm happy to win any race that way but if I may respond to some of the charges that Miss Klobuchar made saying in the Star Tribune a liberal reporter in a liberal paper got it wrong. If you look at it she voted for a bill. She said she would support a bill the Senate immigration bill that would give 12 million people that didn't have benefits benefits. The paper says five billion dollars cost the Social Security as if including Medicare and Medicaid that be 50 billion if there's 50 billion more cost. How do you have more costs? If you're not supporting something I would have not supported the McCain Bill the the the bill they McCain Europe raising on the torture your criticism criticizing about immigration. I'm not criticizing him on torture and I'm saying that I would have voted in raising him on the torture Bill indicate that it is also supported by President Bush. I also do not agree with Senator McCain and immigration in that case, but let's go back at to what she supported a bill that had giving Social Security to illegal immigrants and when you talk about bush people aren't going to be focused on Bush they're going to be focused on issues and I can tell you Tim. I've been all over the state of Minnesota people are finding a lot of support for my policies of keeping spending under control so we can keep taxes low and making sure that Health Care is controlled by doctors and patients not lawyers and big government and making sure that we bring our troops home as soon as we can after we're sure the terrorists can't win. I don't see the kind of support out there for Miss Klobuchar has you know proposals to have a trillion and a half increase in taxes the long list of taxes. She covered isn't going to cover two and a half. Just tells you when a liberal says they're going to soak the rich the middle class gets drenched. They don't see a lot of support out there for giving Social Security illegal immigrants for rationing prescription drugs and for bringing the same policies that has made and the same bad judgment is made Minneapolis having twice the murder rate of New York City under her tenure talk about accountability to the sent you a senate isn't that a closing statement I started with you. I'll give you 30 seconds and we're out of time. Okay, I believe that I will be a good senator for the state of Minnesota if they give me that on or I'm the granddaughter of a minor. I'm the daughter of a newspaper man and a teacher. I'm a mother. I'm a wife. I'm a prosecutor and I'm an advocate and I have the determination to make change in Washington. And if the people of Minnesota give me that opportunity, I will get things done for them. Amy Klobuchar Mark Kennedy big differences on big issues. We thank you for sharing them with our (00:35:12) viewers NBC's Tim Russert. The moderator of yesterday's nationally televised debate between Minnesota US Senate candidates Democrat Amy Klobuchar and Public and Mark Kennedy our thanks to NBC's Meet the Press program for allowing us to rebroadcast that debate. Well for the rest of this hour now we've been joined by political analysts Democrat Bob make Republican Tom Horner to talk about the senate race here in Minnesota. And as always we invite you to join our conversation. You've got a comment about the Meet the Press debate or the senate race in general. Give us a call six five. One two, two seven six thousand 6512276 thousand toll free number is 1-800-218-4243 or comment online go to our website, Minnesota Public Radio dot org and click on some to question optom. Thanks for coming over today. Always a pleasure any Minds changed you think as a result of the debate yesterday winners losers Tom. I wouldn't think that any minds are changed. What I do think though is in in a little more than 30 minutes. I think Minnesota voters would walk away. From this discussion and have a very very clear sense of who Amy Klobuchar has who Mark Kennedy is and what kind of senators they would be I think for all of those who are complaining about not enough debates in the gubernatorial contest too many over here there ought to look at this kind of a forum the same kind of forums that MP are often does and and look at that as a model of not just how do you allow candidates to to make headlines? But how do you really present information to the the voters and and I think in this case Meet the Press did a terrific job and both candidates acquitted themselves very well, Bob any Minds change well in conventional terms somehow Amy Klobuchar would have had to quote stumble. I mean when you've got a 20 point leader, whatever it is, that's the kind of thing that Mark Kennedy had. To force and you can just tell by virtue of saying the headlines on the stories that you did and in local papers that you know, Amy acquitted herself very strongly, you know to me I was just impressed. I mean she was the figure of strength that people who are close to her know her who've seen her at issues and in debates, you know, we respect her for her intelligence and her tenacity those came through they also echoed her positions on the issues where you know, she was not going to give any ground to Kennedy on not being a supporter of body armor or somehow having an exact timetable for Iraq. The you mentioned the 20-point lead Star Tribune poll indicates her Klobuchar according to their survey with a Any one point lead Mark Kennedy says nobody believes that those numbers that the race is much closer than that. What sense do you have? Bob is to approximately how far ahead if Klobuchar is ahead how far ahead she might actually be. Well, I think those numbers in context are realistic. I mean if Mike hatches ahead of Tim pawlenty by nine points in that same poll, I think to say the Klobuchar might have twice the margin is true. I don't think even a Republican or I don't know in many Republicans who would pretend that Mark Kennedy, you know carries a candle compared to Tim pawlenty Tom. I think one of the concerns always is that the the Minnesota pole as do a lot of media poll polls get too focused on the the head-to-head and and really three weeks out from Election that's not as important as as two other factors one is what are the the issues in the values really driving voters on both sides and and can you tap into those kinds of values? I think you look at the Minnesota pole with with Mark Kennedy trailing. I don't think it's 21 points. I do think that that Amy Klobuchar has a comfortable lead and and even more importantly than that when you look at some of the the issues that really are driving voters does the candidate have a well-defined vision of the future is that the candidate speaking to Minnesota values? You see Amy Klobuchar leading in some cases by a two-to-one margin on those kinds of values and Mark Kennedy has very high negatives. That's tough to turn around. You don't see that in the gubernatorial race. I mean they are I think it is still a very very competitive race the other big issue though is who actually goes to vote on November 7th and While the Star Tribune does try to account for that and some would argue. In fact, that's the Fatal flaw of the Star Tribune is that they wait too heavily for who they decide is going to vote. It really does come down to who is going to vote and I think that's a huge question mark this year. I think there are a lot of Voters who are just disenchanted with the whole process the national Republicans apparently have withdrawn at least some of the support some of the money they were planning to spend in Minnesota. Is that a significant factor? I think anytime you lose money in in a race like this. It's a significant factor, even though you see the the national Republican senatorial Committee consolidating in a lot of races pulling out of some races that they once saw were competitive because the the race for control of the Senate is going to be very very close and and they're going to invest the money where they think they have the best chance to stop the Democrats from picking up six seats. So yes. Sure. It's at this point in a race. Three weeks left money is at a premium. It's a huge factor for Mark Kennedy to lose that support Bob. Do you see it as a big deal huge and I think Tom has mentioned this before that you see it evidenced in Kennedy having to finance and forward or close. Is it his own negative attack ads? It's not the national Republican senatorial committee or some other version of the Republican Party doing it, but it's Kennedy himself the negatives you look at that. Kennedy is currently running suggest. He's really not in a position to keep throwing attacks at Klobuchar you in politics. It's true that you can land a negative but you do it at a price to yourself and and you can see that In those same poll numbers that Mark Kennedy is unfortunately introducing himself to the Statewide constituency bigger than his congressional district as the same sort of negative figure that the ran that negative campaign against Patty wetterling two years ago. David has an online question for you. Gentlemen, David says in the debate, I heard a lot of that was a lie particularly on print material how and where can I get the facts asks David? Well, I would suggest you can make a examination of the candidates own websites. You can go to the Klobuchar for Senate website and they have a section on get your facts straight. They specifically address the some charges that Kennedy has made and both in the debate and an ads and you can go The Kennedy sidon and find the same information for a third party. Well, I might go to that liberal newspaper with the liver reporters or you know, if you want to check the social security thing out that charge about illegal immigrants and the rest. I've always charge that's being used against Democrats in about 20 races around the country and there's actually, you know, National independent organizations that will allow you yourself to look at it and decide whether it's bogus or not Tom. Yeah, I would go to the same two sources to both Mark Kennedy's website and Amy Klobuchar has website, but I also think that the the Star Tribune has done a terrific job this fall of running a series of articles about the major campaigns and and identifying what are the key issues and where do all three candidates including the Independence Party candidate lineup on? On those issues and doing it by removing a lot of the rhetoric and really getting down to the facts. Mmm. You were mentioning the fact that so many races are on the country tend to Echo each other and this brings me to a subject dear it near and dear. I got to thinking about this about a week ago. Is there somebody or somebodies I suppose in Washington or somewhere typing out hot-button words hot-button phrases that they had end disseminate to the candidates across the country Republican and Democrat because it seems like all many of the campaign's use the same rhetoric just change the name Tom well and there's even an interim step that you forgot about Gary. It doesn't go right from the word processor to the campaign's it goes through focus groups and research and testing before it goes to the campaign's. I think this trend really started about 25 years ago late. Of these early 1980s. When a lot of the campaign's started to bring in National political consultants and media consultants people people on the Republican side like Roger Ailes now the president of Fox network who earned a reputation for being really good at messaging really good at developing political strategies and translating them into advertising and that spread to the the political parties. The senatorial Campaign Committee is the Congressional Campaign committees, the DNC Democratic National Committee and Republican National Committee who yes do exactly what you're suggesting. They have people buried in the the back hallways and dark recesses of those Washington DC buildings who are coming up with phrases and words and messages that then get get thoroughly tested and then out to the campaigns and so yes, when you see campaigns around the country that have sometimes even the same video in in a Television advertising not only the same messages call Bob Meek. Tell him that we can't take this anymore. What about this Bob? Is this a is this a good development in one sense? It would seem like real valid and important support and help for the candidates to to help them narrow their message and present their message on the other hand. It seems Not not so pleasant. I mean I just gotta catch the backwash listening to the debates in the interviews and such because the the opponent says well, you're just reading off the national committee's talking points and well, there's probably both of them are having their the parties. They do polling. The focus groups is Tom's talked about and you know, just so the politics itself doesn't come off as not pure here, you know talk radio. I mean, there's a sheet that comes out every day that gets circulated to conservative talk radio hosts that say here are the points that you know, these are the lady who sends us out. You can go on the web. There's two or three sources of them and what they'll tell you is that this is driving your listeners to the phones. This will help build your audience. These are the things To move on and then if you just go one step further whether you're Bill O'Reilly you go to his website and you'll get a thing called talking points which are his version of the facts and G if you want the liver one go to Al Franken and and so you can in some cases you can have the argument without even inviting the candidates there. If you just check the the pre list, which is y and this is the worst word that I've heard this year. Everybody in politics is buzzing about the word authentic. There's a neat book called Applebee's America where both Republicans and Democrats that got together and they listened to focus groups of you know, these exurban Suburban Folks at the Applebee's and what people are saying is it's not a problem to do. TiVo as Mark Kennedy argues No. In fact, what voters are saying is we just want you to correct your weight. We know you're making mistakes. We know the world is really messed up. We know the policies aren't working. We know that you're you know, you've got troubles but we want you to admit it quickly and then make the situation better. Try to fix it. Okay, Donna quick question here. Yes. Hello. Yes, you're on the air. Yeah, you know I just listening to your wonderful thing between Kennedy and Amy culture and Kennedy had to cute ad on the TV. Where's our park bench and little Grandma walks up and says all your mark Kennedy and a McGee says Amy Klobuchar is for giving Social Security totally illegible aliens. Well, then right after that I was a Channel 4 had, you know, they have their right a reality check and that they said that was absolutely false. How can a guy like Kennedy come out with an out-and-out right Li and someone doesn't go and slap his face. Well, I'm a fair enough. I think that what reality check and other measures like that have said is it's misleading. It's a different interpretation of the facts and it's not just Mark Kennedy musi that from Democrats as well as Republicans, but I think that that what would be really The interesting this year after November 7th is to go back and take a look at the impact of Television ads and I think this might be a year in which negative advertising had a lot less impact than what we've seen in years past. I think this is is a year in which campaigns not just Kennedy Klobuchar, but the gubernatorial race and other races around the country are being decided on issues on vision for the future and and that these negative ads fortunately I hope are losing some of their their impact because there are more reality checks and there are more people who are willing to say, wait a second that just doesn't meet the smell test. Well consumers voters have had 20 years of these to get used to them and you would think that by now that they would have been able to sort out the wheat from the chaff and I think there is some of that going on. I mean certainly in in some cases, you know, the the Well Done ads that draw Mention that that legitimately say, here's where I'm at. Here's where my opponent is at. I think they'll still have an impact the the sledgehammer kind of negative attack I think is losing some of its appeal very briefly. The senate race will appear at the top of the Minnesota election ballot. Will that have much ripple effect down the rest of the ballot all the way down to Governor Bob huge effect. If you're looking at that scar Tribune poll as indicative of a double digit margin for Klobuchar and and that's going to drive Democratic voters to the polls as can be great Tom. I think the problem is that you have Mark Kennedy who really is the surrogate for President Bush and President Bush as we see has a record low approval rating. That's what's going to be a huge problem for Republicans all the way down the ticket. Thanks for coming over today. Gentlemen, we will talk to you again many times before election day three weeks from now Tom Horner Republican analyst Bob make dfl analyst joining us here on our midday program tomorrow. All our focus on the US Senate race continues. We'll talk with Amy Klobuchar at 11:00 still hoping to get Mark Kennedy scheduled hopefully on Wednesday for conversation and a quick reminder that Sunday right before the election on the fifth will be up to Fitzgerald theater for the big last debate of the campaign Senate candidates at seven government gubernatorial candidates had eight and that will be open to the public. So put that on your calendar. Meanwhile, thanks for tuning into. Midday today programming is supported by Klein Volvo featuring a full line of Volvo vehicles built for safety in all weather model year end event is happening now Klein Volvo on Highway 61 and maple wood or online at Cline Volvo.com. Your tuna, 91.1 Kenner wfm Minneapolis, and st. Paul programming is supported by the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota offering part-time an Executive MBA programs with scheduling options designed to meet the needs of working professionals. You can call or attend an information session Carlson School dot Mn Dot edu, Minnesota Public Radio is proud to serve as the radio backbone to the state's Amber Alert System providing Amber Alerts. Our nation's child abduction warning system to all radio and television stations and cable providers in Minnesota. We have some drizzle 52 degrees in the Twin Cities in the Weather Service says, there's a good chance for rain or light rain all afternoon with a high possibly hitting 55 degrees or 60 degrees tonight 50/50 chance for some rain overnight low of 50 degrees pretty moderate and then tomorrow 30% chance for some more rain and a tad warmer tomorrow should hit 60 in the Twin Cities. Today's high again 55 to 60.