Caucus Day 2012: Ron Paul doubles down on Minnesota

20120206_ron-paul-in-st-cloud_33.jpeg Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) waits backstage before he speaks to supporters in St. Cloud, Minn. AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast

Presidential hopefuls vie for bragging rights in caucus

MPR News: “There are no delegates up for grabs at the Minnesota Republican Party caucuses, only bragging rights. The straw poll also is non-binding, so the results will have little to do with how Minnesota’s delegates will eventually be allocated at the Republican National Convention in August.”

National Journal: “When former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty was campaigning for the Republican nomination, he frequently joked about hailing from the state that elected liberal icons such as Eugene McCarthy, Hubert Humphrey — and here comes the punch line — Al Franken, the comic-turned-senator. But running alongside the state’s progressive streak is a conservative insurgency that is personified by Pawlenty’s one-time rival for the White House, Rep. Michele Bachmann, and that helped the GOP in 2010 take over both chambers of the Minnesota legislature for the first time in nearly four decades. The heavy influence of the conservative and tea party movements make Minnesota’s caucus on Tuesday one of Newt Gingrich’s best and possibly only hope for an outright win in the month of February, which mostly features contests in states favoring Mitt Romney. Gingrich allies point to exit polls in Florida, where he lost badly to Romney but siphoned support from the most conservative voters, the strongest tea party supporters and voters who consider abortion the most important issue.”

Searching for a win, Paul makes Minnesota caucuses a beachhead in Republican nominating race

Washington Post: “Ron Paul has invested days of campaigning and money for television ads ahead of caucuses in Minnesota, where he’s hoping he can eke out the first win of his Republican presidential campaign.”

Ron Paul, reeling from Nevada loss, enters crucial stretch

LA Times: “This is the mystery of Ron Paul, or one of them, anyway: how a 76-year-old Texas congressman who bears a slight resemblance to Mr. Magoo and sounds like he’s running against Woodrow Wilson can draw some of the biggest, youngest and most ardent crowds of campaign 2012.”

Rep. Paul: “Freedom Is a Young Idea”

Wall Street Journal: “‘There is a good reason why young people are more open to it … Freedom is a young idea,’ Mr. Paul told a sizable crowd in St. Cloud. “Young minds are not muddled up’ by conventional wisdom and the media, he added.”

As campaign heads to Midwest, Romney turns his focus to Santorum

New York Times: “Even as Mitt Romney tries to fend off the continuing challenge from Newt Gingrich and focus his attention on President Obama, he is now being forced to deal with another rival.”

Ron Paul rallies St. Cloud-area supporters

St Cloud Times: “Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul rallied supporters in St. Cloud on the eve of the Minnesota caucuses, urging support for a non-interventionist foreign policy and for ‘sound-money’ monetary policies he says would boost the middle class.”

Q&A: Minnesota’s precinct caucuses

MPR News: “At Minnesota’s precinct caucuses today, voters begin the long process of choosing candidates who will appear on the 2012 ballot in November. Whether you’re a Democrat, Republican, Independence Party-backer or Green, here’s a quick guide to Minnesota’s caucuses.”

Also on MN Today

Minnesota Power files report on coal plants

Duluth News Tribune: “Minnesota Power filed a report with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission on Monday that looks at how the utility might generate electricity into a future with new federal pollution regulations and aging coal-fired generators.”

Red River flows well above average despite driest winter on record

Forum of Fargo-Moorhead: “The Red River’s volume of water is flowing at more than twice its long-term average this winter despite months of abnormally dry weather.”

Landowners dispute snowmobile trail

Saint Cloud Times: “After her child had a near miss and her dog died, Tanya Pufahl became more vocal in the small group of residents upset about the snowmobile trail just outside her front door in Rice.”

MillerCoors buys Crispin, Mpls. maker of hard cider

Star Tribune: “The Minneapolis company, launched in 2008, is the country’s third-largest hard cider producer.”

Minnesota storm chaser killed in Oklahoma collision with wrong-way driver

MSNBC: “Storm chaser Andy Gabrielson survived the hunt for tornadoes for more than 10 years, but driving home Saturday afternoon after two days of chasing storms in north Texas, he could not avoid a wrong-way driver on an Oklahoma highway, The Weather Channel reported.”