The Associated Press is carrying a story today that says Sen. Norm Coleman has “previewed” his message that he’ll use against presumptive DFL nominee Al Franken.
“The reality is I’ll run against somebody whose temperament has
been such, whose style has been such of being incredibly divisive
and incredibly angry,” Coleman told reporters Wednesday. “How do
you expect to work with somebody when you have called every
Republican the most vile and negative thing that one can imagine?
Values, experience and temperament are issues.”
In five minutes, Coleman used the word experience nine times and
Here’s the audio, which sounds very much like the “tone” theme Coleman used in his 2002 victory. When Coleman debated DFL candidate Walter Mondale on the eve of the election, he stressed “tone” over issues.
It worked. The “money quote” (the quote that made the TV news) was this exchange, as reported on Minnesota Public Radio at the time.
What you’re doing is sticking with the right wing and pretending to change the tone. It’s not the fluff of what kind of words, and, Norm, we know you we’ve seen you; we’ve seen you shift around. We know about all of this and now you’re in this location and you have to take responsibility for the position you’re taking,” Mondale said.
“Again this is the tone that you don’t want to see in Washington,” Coleman replied. “This is the tone that’s resulted in where we’re at today. Where we don’t have an energy bill, we don’t even have a budget. We don’t have a prescription drug bill. We don’t have disaster assistance for northwest Minnesota because it’s this tone.”
Coleman’s strategy in his first statewide campaign — his 1998 run for governor — emphasized a similar theme… that the nuts and bolts of issues were often secondary to feelings and optimism. Take his defense of the Xcel arena project.
The return of the NHL! That was about hope! It was about hockey, but it’s also about a new arena that’ll bring as many as 1.4 million people to the core downtown. And, by the way, without any St. Paul property-tax dollars and the help from the state in an interest-free loan. We’re getting a business that’s coming in and generating between $3 and $8 million a year in taxes. But it’s not just about that, it’s about hope!