The Daily Digest

Gov. Pawlenty and legislative leaders will meet privately this afternoon to discuss the upcoming legislative session and the budget.

Republican House Minority Leader Kurt Zellers and GOP Senate Majority Leader Dave Senjem will be on MPR’s Midday at 11 this morning.

DFL Senate Majority Leader Larry Pogemiller and DFL House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher were on the show on Monday.

MAPE wants to cut Pawlenty’s appointees to save the state money.

Federal investigators ratchet up their investigation into the Metro Gang Strike Force.

The Pi Press says the Vikings may be looking to the suburbs for their new home.

State prosecutors say an anti-Muslim cartoon is free speech.

A Senate panel looks at charter school leases.

The Lessard Council approved legacy funding.

Congress

President Obama orders changes after the terrorist attack on an airliner.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates will stay on for at least another year.

DFL Sen. Al Franken wants to visit Afghanistan before he decides whether to back President Obama’s plan.

A strict new smog limit set by the EPA could hit rural areas. It would require changes in Minnesota.

The Great Lakes locks stay open as the U.S. Supreme Court considers the Asian Carp lawsuit.

Legal scholars differ on the constitutionality of the health care bill.

Some high value hospitals stand to benefit from the health care overhaul bill. DFL Rep. Betty McCollum is mentioned.

An I-94 interchange in Rogers and Dayton get federal funds. GOP Rep. Erik Paulsen is mentioned.

DFL Rep. Keith Ellison signs on to a bill that would prohibit employers from doing “consumer credit checks by employers as part of the hiring or firing process, unless the job involves national security, FDIC clearance, or significant financial responsibility (such as bank managers, loan officers, or financial managers).”

GOP Rep. Michele Bachman doesn’t want terrorists to “lawyer up.”

The Essar Steel Project gains ground. DFL Rep. Jim Oberstar is mentioned.

Pawlenty for Prez Watch

Romney polls ahead of Pawlenty among GOP insiders.

A new book says Sarah Palin was not prepared for her debate with Joe Biden. The aide said she kept calling him O’Biden.

Palin will skip CPAC (which Pawlenty will attend) but will attend the Southern Republican Leadership Conference (which Pawlenty will attend).

2010 Race for Governor

Former MNGOP Chair Ron Eibensteiner says in an op-ed that Norm Coleman should not run for governor and throws Coleman’s 2008 campaign team and strategy under the bus. The op-ed doesn’t say if Eibensteiner has endorsed another candidate.

DFLer Paul Thissen and Republican Tom Emmer released their fundraising numbers on Thursday. Thissen raised $253k (which includes a $20k loan). Emmer raised $115k.

DFLer Tom Bakk says he wants to mend fences between the Governor’s office and the Legislature. He was campaigning in Morris.

Republican Marty Seifert talked with KEYC about his support for Pawlenty’s unallotment power.

PIM says the Star Tribune is surveying the entire 2010 field to see if the candidates have substance abuse problems, anxiety or depression.