Live-blogging: The U.S. Senate debate

I’m looking forward to this debate more than any of the four so far. With Gary Eichten moderating, and some interesting news over the last half-week, it should be a highly charged debate that could knock the candidates off their stump speeches.

A story broke last week of a lawsuit in a Texas court against a businessman who, his partner claim, funneled money to the firm that has a business interest with Norm Coleman’s wife.

The Coleman campaign went on the air with an ad saying it has Al Franken’s fingerprints on it, even though Franken denies he had anything to do with it.

Meanwhile, Dean Barkley has put together his lone TV ad of the campaign, with the help of Bill Hillsman, the adman behind Paul Wellstone and Jesse Ventura.

Barkley’s support, according to the latest polls, remains around the 15-percent level.

  • Bill L’Herault

    An issue like this at the last minute is very disturbing and possibly unseemly. Couldn’t Coleman make this go away by making his wife’s 1099’s from Hays Insurance available?

    What was her training, preparation and experience to become am insurance consultant?

  • Larry Satrom

    I find it interesting that Coleman points his finger at Franken, without providing a single shred of evidence to support his charges, while the parties that could prove or disprove the more important allegations in the Texas lawsuit, Nasser Kazeminy and Hays Insurance (both Coleman partisans) silently ignore all information requests. I am also puzzled why the Strib has remained silent on Coleman’s allegations that it received a copy of the Texas lawsuit a couple of days before the story broke?

    Since it appears Coleman should be able to prove/disprove the allegations, why has he chosen not to?

  • It will be interesting if as head of the RNC, Norm would be talking about backing off and letting candidates run clean races. My guess is that Norm, will be right back to truth squad attack dog. Please don’t buy the hype.

  • yamazuki

    Norm isn’t originally from MN, is he? His accent doesn’t sound midwestern.

  • Ann

    Norm Coleman doesn’t have a clue about what to do with health care. I’m not sure that any of them do. I don’t think we will ever have affordable and accessible health care when people/corporations are making/looking for profits.

  • Bob Collins

    Coleman is originally from Brooklyn, yamazuki.

  • Being Goode

    Barkley sounds a bit like the old John McCain. The McCain that ran in the 2000 primaries. I believe that I like the “straight talk” Barkley that delivers.

    We as a nation are going to have to take our medicine as a result of our fiscal irresponsibility as a nation.

    I believe that I can hear Barkley saying to us:People, the medicine will not taste good, but it will help cure the illness”

  • I keep thinking back 6 years ago, to the Mondale/Coleman debate.

    Mondale was clearly more agitated for that debate, as Coleman was the even keel guy. Coleman spent so much of that debate talking about reaching across the aisle to get things done. It didn’t work for me, but my impression is that his conduct in that debate moved many people to vote for him 6 years ago.

    The Norm Coleman I heard on the radio today is clearly more agitated. Either very defensive or on the attack. His tone towards Franken when asking him the 3 good things he’s done in MN was very unsettling… not very Minnesota Nice if you ask me.

  • Leslie Kratz

    Where does Norm Coleman get off blaming Al Franken for the allegations about him receiving money/inappropriately. Al Franken had nothing to do with the allegations that have been made. The CEO of a corporation brought these allegations to light… If Coleman believes “there’s got to be a better way” where does he get off treating Al Franken so disrespectfully during the debate?

  • Paul

    I thought Norm sounded angry and didn’t respond or try to prove that he and his wife are innocent on these charges.

    Unfortunately in politics it is necessary if ethical charges come up against you, it becomes necessary to disprove them. All he said was that it was Al’s fault that Paul McKim filed a lawsuit. I doubt a Texas oil man loves Al Franken enough to file a lawsuit, but even if he is – Coleman should still answer the question and should try to prove himself innocent.

    It seems that bank records and 1099’s from the Hays companies along with hours worked for Laurie Coleman on behalf of McKim’s company wouldn’t be that hard to produce and put the whole story to rest. As a small business owner, I have those records at my disposal all the time.

    It is also interesting that Norm is having to say quite a few times that he didn’t take things from his friends that he shouldn’t have – all seems a little fishy to me.

  • Nsiemers

    Make sure to get Al into the Senate on November 4!!!!! Norm’s really gotta go!!!!

  • Larry

    I thought the debate mirrored the presidential debates, with Franken appearing level-headed and senatorial, while Coleman acted McCain-like erratic.

    I expected Coleman to at least make some attempt to disprove the allegations in the Texas complaint, but he chose to simply slam Franken rather than present any evidence of innocence. Sorry, but Coleman’s position just doesn’t pass the smell test.

    Franken won my vote tonight.

  • Here’s my debate reaction. Basically I think that Franken “won” because Coleman was kept on the defensive about corruption through the entire debate, starting with the lawsuit question, and continuing with the “revolving door” question.

    I’ve got a blog post up about it, if you’re interested.

  • Al

    I was at the debate. The only people on stage who could accurately have been described as ‘level-headed’ were Gary and Barkley. That exchange at the beginning regarding the money funneling was un-nerving. To think that one of these guys will make it to the Senate! They were both quite un-professional. The reactions from both over the past day or two show they are clearly exhausted and shouldn’t say anything more until they sleep for a few days.

  • Chris

    I’m a Franken voter, but I don’t think Al articulated his positions very well. He sounded nervous and rambling much of the night and kept getting cut off by Gary Eichten when he was taking too long to answer.

    He also passed up way too many opportunities to knock down Coleman. For instance, during the lobbyist section, Coleman’s whole “You shouldn’t run down Congress as an institution,” answer was ripe for a rebuttal along the lines of “So, you’re saying I shouldn’t tell the truth about Congress because then people might think less of it?” He also let Coleman get away with BS about “I would never increase spending” when, all during this campaign, Coleman has bragged about voting to override Bush’s vetoes of increased spending measures like the Farm Bill, a bunch of water projects, S-CHIP, and attacked Franken for advocating a prescription drug plan that would cost significantly less than the current Part D plan that Norm is such a fan of.

    I think Franken’s got the superior product, but if he can’t sell it effectively, he’s in trouble. There may still be enough of a DFL/anti-GOP undertow to pull him in to victory on Tuesday. After all, Jim Bunning ran an abysmal campaign in Kentucky in ’04, but squeaked through a 51%-49% win on Dubya’s coattails, and Franken’s campaign has been better than Bunning’s. I don’t know how this will end, but if Al wins, it’ll be in spite of his performance this last week, not because of it.

  • Nancy Zupfer

    Norm Coleman can not deny the charges in the Texas lawsuit which was filed by a Republican

    If Coleman knew this lawsuit was out there what a wonderful trump card to his fake “I’m pulling away from negative campaigning only to let the RNC do his dirty work” ploy is this. Blaming Al Franken is the only way Norm could think of to invoke the words porn and rape into the debate and the campaign in the last week.

    Gosh it almost makes you lonesome for Karl Rove. Norm got the money…..Al had nothing to do with it…Norm’s gotta go

  • The “prove himself innocent” comment has come up several times on people slamming Coleman. What ever happened to presume innocence? I am no Coleman supporter but some of you need to look a little closer, one thing Coleman said in his press conference ( that I have not seen covered in the press by the way) is that two Star Tribune Reporters were sent the allegations two weeks ago, before the lawsuit was filed. That alone should prove to some people that a Texas business man or at least someone familiar with him or the potential (at the time) Texas lawsuit, has interests in embarrassing the Coleman family in Minnesota.

    For Discloser – My company does work for Barkley for Senate.

  • Bob Collins

    Brian, “presumed innocent” is only applicable to the justice system. It has to abide by a presumption. Public opinion and political campaigns do not.

    There is, to be sure, a gleeful piling on on Mr. Coleman in the last few days and in a political campaign, it really is up to Mr. Coleman to explain himself. He doesn’t HAVE to, of course, and the voters are under no obligation to vote for him, either.

    the Star Tribune thing has been worked over on the blogs pretty well. David Brauer does a good job at MinnPost of parsing the words of the reporters involved. Broken down, they may not have been sent the information, but it’s clear someone at the Star Tribune was.

    The timing of this is extremely uncomfortable to me. But Norm Coleman made a mistake weeks ago when he refused to answer questions, because they came from a blog.

    That showed a lack of understanding of the media in 2008 and it has blown up in his face. It’s too late for him to do anything about it now. Whether it sinks him, we’ll just have to see.

    If he loses the election, and the lawsuit is withdrawn, someone will have a lot of explaining to do.

  • Bob – I really don’t need to get started on my views of “Public opinion” in regards to politics. This year I have 23 clients on a ballot in 6 states, my blood pressure is high enough.

  • Scooterbum

    I don’t know how any sane person who listened to that debate could possibly vote for anyone other than Dean Barkley.