Former president Bill Clinton drew some 4,000 people to the Minneapolis convention center last night to stump for Barack Obama and longtime friend Al Franken, who is battling Republican incumbent Norm Coleman in a must-watch U.S. Senate race in Minnesota. Franken has called on both Clintons for support as he vies for the hotly contested seat. A roundup of recent polls shows a four to six point lead in either candidate’s favor according to Talking Points Memo.
Also in the rally lineup were local mayors, Representative Keith Ellison, Senator Amy Klobuchar, and former vice president Walter Mondale. The speakers made repeated cries for door knocking, and reminders to fight complacency in the home stretch, and nearly everyone mentioned grassroots hero and former Senator Paul Wellstone, who occupied Coleman’s seat before he was killed in a plane crash in 2002.
Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak drew lots of applause when he briefly diverted from the Franken love fest and encouraged everyone to do what they can to oust Representative Michele Bachmann, who has occasionally thrust Minnesota politics into the spotlight during her term with her fondness for President Bush and more recently, her Hardball appearance—which even led to a call for her to be censured.
Clinton did not disappoint when took command of the hall and praised Franken for running a more serious campaign than his opponent—despite being a comedian. He also stressed that an Obama win wouldn’t be enough without Democratic support in the Senate, but he emoted and sang Obama’s praises as the candidate who can execute and turn “good intentions into real changes.” Then he called for America to do better in this election by taking a quick dig at his successor by saying: “So we gotta pick us a good decider.”
Image by Elizabeth Ryan