News Agenda – Monday November 3, 2008

Hmmm. You know, it really didn’t seem noticeably brighter this morning. Anyway, here’s what the afternoon headlines will look like. The day before Election Day is generally a slow news day.

This is “surrogate day” in Minnesota. Compared to 2004, the main players have pretty much ignored Minnesota, sending the second string into Minnesota. Today, Hillary Clinton will campaign for Obama and Al Franken in Duluth. What’s Hillary’s future? The New York Times pokes at that question today.

On the talk shows today, Midmorning discusses civic literacy in the first hour. Should there be some sort of prerequisite to voting. Minnesota pats itself on the back — and appropriately so — for leading the nation in voter turnout. Still, it’s also a state where candidates do better if they’re named Anderson.

In the second hour, they’ll fact-check the latest campaign ads. It’ll be news if they find one. We should change the name of these things to a context-check. Many of the ads I saw this weekend were accurately quoting headlines and such… from statements made 10 years ago. The fine print tells the tale.

The first hour of Midday features political scientist Stephen Smith talking about Senate races around the country. The second hour will replay last night’s Senate debate.

By the way, the New York Times considers the Minnesota Senate race and the 6th District race in a story about a shift in strategy and spending by the GOP to defend what it already has.

Rudi Giuliani is in St. Paul to ampaign for Norm Coleman. Prior to that, Coleman is in Winona, Rochester, Owatonna, Mankato, Willmar, Alexandria, St. Cloud, Brainerd, North Branch, Forest Lake. The mayor gets around. Yesterday Giuliani was in Florida campaigning for Mel Martinez.

Tonight on All Things Considered, MPR’s Elizabeth Stawicki will report on Supreme Court arguments on whether the Constitution requires public defenders for poor people accused of misdemeanors. The public defenders budget has been slaughtered in recent years, leading some to contend there are now two systems of justice in the state. You might also be interested in the News Cut piece I did a few months ago on a day in the life of a public defender.

Also on the program this afternoon, Tim Pugmire will follow the 6th District candidates around. Tom Scheck and Mark Zdechlik are trailing the Senate foes.

Non-elections: Perhaps by afternoon the standoff in Fargo will be over. The downtown area is sealed off.

In Wausau, Wisconsin, there’s a court hearing for Dale and Leilani Neumann. They prayed as their 11-year-old daughter died of untreated diabetes. They’ve been charged with second-degree reckless homicide. They considered the illness “a test of their faith.” This is a huge story nationwide that’s gotten scant attention around here.

And here’s the big question, as asked last summer by the Wall St. Journal:


The Wisconsin case against the Neumanns also highlights an obscure area of child-protection law that will force judges to weigh seemingly conflicting laws: If a state permits people to employ prayers for healing, can it then hold a parent criminally liable if those prayers fail?

Now, as for tomorrow, I’m not quite sure how News Cut is going to approach things. Obviously I’ll be live blogging, but is there any interest in a live chat? Let me know below. Oh, and if you vote tomorrow, Starbuck’s will give you free coffee.

The “only in Minnesota” story of the day. In Cass Lake a couple has made a big donation to Habitat for Humanity: the heads of animals (reg. possibly required) they shot while hunting. “It’s an unusual donation for us,” a Habitat official said.

  • R Bruns

    “Still, it’s also a state where candidates do better if they’re named Anderson.”

    Really? Why such a narrow view on Minnesota.

  • fasolamatt

    The Bean Factory on Randolph is giving free coffee to folks with an “I Voted” sticker as well.

  • Bob Collins

    Just stating a fact, R Bruns. The fact a voter votes doesn’t mean he/she/it always votes in an informed way. See Anderson, Sharon. Or Awada, Pat (you might find her under Pat Anderson Awada).

    Now, that certainly doesn’t define the Minnesota voter. We are what we are.

  • LK

    Whatever happens on News Cut tomorrow, it’ll be the only news source I’ll be going to until after the polls and the election watching party begins! A live chat later in the day might be fun.

  • MacAlum

    I vote for a live chat as well. I think we all probably rely on such a variety of news sources, that’ll be nice to have a place to congregate/discuss/share links tomorrow.

  • R Bruns

    Either way Bob, this comment is a narrow view on Minnesota. Yes, it happens that there are a lot of people here with the “fill in the blank” + son (or sen) name. However, that does not define everyone here.

    I believe the Pat Awada to Pat anderson Awada is the outcome of a divorce.

    I’m not attacking you. I read this blog on a regular basis. I would just like see something better than the standard cut on Minnesota.

  • Bob Collins

    My view of Minnesota is made up of many snapshots. That is just one. And, of course, I didn’t say the Anderson factor defines a Minnesotan. It is merely one fascinating aspect of Minnesota.

    Pat Awada took on the “Anderson” part of her name (maiden name, I presume) during her first campaign and prior to her divorce.

    Margaret Anderson Kelliher, by the way, only recent election cycles has been e known in the media as Margaret Anderson Kelliher