John McCain

T-Paw and Rove: Let the speculation resume

Saturday, May 31st, 2008

The twin headliners of today’s closing session of the state Republican Party convention, Gov. Tim Pawlenty and former White House master strategist Karl Rove, broke bread together this morning before the proceedings got underway.

Seated in a corner booth in the restaurant at the downtown Radisson, they conferred intently, interrupted intermittantly by cell phone calls and party functionaries seeking a handshake.

Rove, who famously steered Pawlenty toward running for governor six years ago, has been an informal, unofficial adviser to presumptive GOP presidential nominee John McCain, who, in turn, has reportedly penciled Pawlenty in on his short list of vice-presidential possibilities. Pawlenty, a national co-chairman of the Arizona senator’s campaign, has repeatedly brushed aside speculation that he’s angling for the job.

The noise level in the restaurant made it impossible to eavesdrop effectively on their conversation, so speculate at will on what they were schmoozing about.

GOP delegates send McCain backers to the convention in St. Paul

Friday, May 30th, 2008

The leadership of the Minnesota Republican Party decisively beat back an insurgent challenge this afternoon by supporters of presidential candidate Ron Paul, dashing their hopes of sending Paul delegates to the national convention in St. Paul three months from now.

With 14 delegates up for grabs, Republicans backing de-facto nominee John McCain took all of them, after several hours of sometimes-bitter arguments and confrontations on the floor of the GOP’s state convention.

Boos, shouted protests and parliamentary maneuvers consumed several hours of the convention’s first day, delaying the formal endorsement of Sen. Norm Coleman. At one point, a shoving match broke out between a McCain supporter and a Paul backer.

Marianne Stebbins, a longtime party activist who headed Paul’s campaign in Minnesota, failed to be named a national convention delegate. Taking the podium before voting began, she implored her fellow Republicans: “We do think the party is losing its way … it’s strayed from its core principles. We’re hoping to recreate the 1964 Goldwater movement – he lost, but won the Republican Party back.”

Some Paul backers complained party officials unfairly stacked its slate of preferred candidates, a vetting process defended by party chairman Ron Carey. Serving as a national convention delegate “is not an entry-level job,” he said. “We looked at people who truly had quality, not just people who raised their hand at the last minute.”

Despite the raw emotions on display today, it wasn’t immediately clear how long the obvious fissures in the party will persist.

Not surprisingly, among the GOP heavyweights elected as national delegates were Coleman, Gov. Tim Pawlenty and House Minority Leader Marty Seifert.

A post-mortem on Ron Paul’s apparent setback at GOP convention

Friday, May 30th, 2008

With Minnesota’s Republicans on the verge of choosing their delegates to the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, party chairman Ron Carey this afternoon defended the party’s treatment of presidential candidate Ron Paul and his supporters.

Party officials banned Paul from addressing their state convention today, a move Carey called “consistent with our party’s rules. “We have our presumptive nominee” in John McCain, he added.

Paul’s backers, who Carey estimated represent no more than a quarter of the delegates at the convention, were easily turned back in their attempt to change the convention rules, which would have made it easier to win some of the 14 national delegates that will be chosen later today.

Paul supporters in other states have been able to win delegate spots in an attempt to win Paul a speaking role at the national convention. “In other states, they fought tooth and nail,” Carey said. “Here, it was over and done with in five minutes.”

Even so, the convention was slowed to a crawl this morning with endless bouts of parliamentary wrangling. “They’ve had endless points of order that were not true points of order,” Carey said. “It was an intentional slowing of the process.”

He was somewhat conciliatory toward Paul’s supporters. “We want the Ron Paul people to be part of the party – they are part of the party. But the game’s been played and it was won by McCain.”

Wrangling over the Republican rules in Rochester

Friday, May 30th, 2008

Supporters of Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul lost an initial parliamentary round at the state party convention late this morning, potentially making it less likely they will be able to elect delegates to the national convention in St. Paul.

The Paulites were unable to muster enough votes to change the convention rules that would have allowed delegates to be chosen with a plurality of votes, instead of an outright majority.

Although a few hundred Paul supporters rallied with their candidate this morning before the convention began, once it got underway, it was obvious they’re outnumbered by party regulars who support the candidacy of presumptive GOP nominee John McCain.

State convention delegates are scheduled to pick 14 national convention delegates later today. Two slates are being circulated in the convention hall, one supporting McCain and the other calling itself the “Conservative Conscience Coalition,” which includes several Paul supporters.

The convention has ground to a crawl, with delegates wrangling over several arcane procedural items, with some delegates bridling over party officials’ attempts to move the process along.

Quentin Reece, a delegate from Sherburne County, complained from the floor that party officials were ordering delegates on how to vote on items. “This is not a dictatorship,” he said. “People are telling people how to vote. This is not Zimbabwe.”

Ron Paul’s presidential campaign comes to Rochester

Friday, May 30th, 2008

The curtain was raised on the state Republican Party convention this morning on the lawn outside the Mayo Civic Center before the convention was even gaveled to order inside.

Presidential candidate Ron Paul told a few hundred of his supporters that his longshot candidacy will ultimately fall short to John Mc Cain’s, but he still hopes they will be able to play a part at the party’s national convention in St. Paul.

“If the votes aren’t there, we still have a role to play,” said Paul, a 10-term congressman from Texas. “We want to change this country. We want to change this party. Some we win, some we lose, but we may just have a grand presence in Minneapolis on Sept. 2nd.”

Even as Paul has lagged far back in the race against McCain, his backers have been accumulating national convention delegates in several states with a goal of securing him a speaking spot at the national convention. In Minnesota, they’ve already secured at least six delegates and hoped this morning to snag some of the 14 that will be awarded at the state convention.

Conceding “we don’t have the votes,” Paul said his campaign “for the freedom revolution will continue for a long time to come. We have the rightness on our side. We have the issues.”

Paul’s issues, a libertarian mix of anti-war, anti-tax, anti-big government stands, has attracted substantial grassroots support nationwide, which has allowed him to raise a substantial amount of campaign funds, mostly by way of the Internet.

His supporters, disenchanted with McCain’s supposed lack of conservative bonafides, are devoted to Paul’s cause, win or lose. “It ain’t gonna happen this time, but we’ve planted a seed and are going to keep at this revolution election cycle after cycle,” said Colin Wilkinson, a convention alternate from St. Paul. “I won’t be chattel – we either own the government or the government owns us.”

Paul staged the outdoor rally because Republican officials didn’t invite him to address the convention. But he worked the lobby of the convention hall, shaking hands, posing for pictures and autographing copies of his most recent best-selling book.

The delegate fight is expected to unfold later this morning.

Still more buzz about Pawlenty’s veep appeal

Thursday, October 11th, 2007

lopez.jpgThe more Tim Pawlenty says no, the more attractive he becomes to elements of his party that keep toying with the notion of Midwestern veep on the ticket.

The latest admirer is Mallory Factor, one of the conservative elite who has been called the “George Soros of the right,” for his high-level involvement in politics.

In the latest National Review, Factor lists Pawlenty’s charms, calling tim_pawlenty.jpghim “an obvious choice” for the shortlist. His reasons? Pawlenty’s oft-quoted “Sam’s Club” Republican philosophy, his focus on clean energy, his anti-tax tilt and his basic clean-cut quality

Interestingly, Factor points to one potential problem area for Pawlenty: his veto of the transportation bill prior to the I-35W bridge collapse. “Though he did so for the best reasons _ he thought it was bloated with pork and he wanted the Legislature to try again _ he will nonetheless have to account for the decision,” Factor said.

Factor seems to be particularly fond of the young-old dynamic, saying that Pawlenty’s “youthful demeanor and attractive family would make a nice contrast to an older presidential nominee, such as John McCain or Fred Thompson.” (Thompson, who has children far younger than Pawlenty’s, may take exception to that.)

Recently relocated from his longtime bastion in New York to South Carolina, Factor seems to think Republicans needn’t waste time wooing the South. (If that base isn’t already secured, he said, not much else will matter). Rather, Republicans should focus on a potentially new locus of power: the tri-state super region of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa, which together offer 27 electoral votes. (Just for the record, Bush lost both Wisconsin and Minnesota last time and won Iowa by a hair.)

So why does Pawlenty keep popping up on the national agenda? Here’s a guy who says repeatedly that wants only to serve out his term. If only… he didn’t turn up so often in WSJ, NYT, CNBC’s Power Lunch (on the same day the Factor piece came out).


Staff writer Patricia Lopez on the mixed up GOP presidential race

Saturday, August 25th, 2007

lopez.jpgA House Republican fundraiser last Wednesday night netted an intriguing _ some might say baffling _ cross section of support for Republican presidential candidates, with Sen. Fred Thompson, R-Tenn., winning the straw poll as a write-in candidate with 21 percent.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was a close second at 20 percent.

But, then, Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, came in a startling third, beating out Rudy Giuliani.

Paul has become the darling of some Republican activists for his anti-Iraq war and anti-immigration stands.

Arizona Sen. John McCain, the personal choice of Gov. Tim Pawlenty, came in a distant fifth, with 11 percent.

House Minority Leader Marty Seifert, R-Marshall, said that hundreds of Republican activists, legislators and campaign supporters showed up for the event at St. Paul River Centre. The results, he said, showed that “opinions of the Republican presidential candidates in Minnesota are mixed and up for grabs.”

Here’s the complete list:

    Fred Thompson (write-in), Former Tennessee Senator: 21%

    Mitt Romney, Former Massachusetts Governor: 20%

    Ron Paul, Texas Congressman: 16%

    Rudy Giuliani, Former Mayor of New York: 13%

    John McCain, U.S. Senator of Arizona: 11%

    Mike Huckabee, Former Arkansas Governor: 8%

    John Cox, Illinois businessman: 4%

    Duncan Hunter, California Congressman: 2%

    Tom Tancredo, Colorado Congressman: 2%

    Sam Brownback, U.S. Senator from Kansas: 2%

    Newt Gingrich (write-in), Former Speaker of the House from Georgia: 2%


Pawlenty praises another presidential hopeful

Thursday, July 19th, 2007

According to this Hotline report, Gov. Tim Pawlenty was in Washington the other day talking to national reporters andtim_pawlenty.jpg pointedly dropped a new presidential candidate’s name — that of Mitt Romney.

Of course, Pawlenty also stroked his longtime favorite, Sen. John McCain, whose campaign is in trouble by all accounts.

But the report says it’s not the first time recently that Pawlenty has seized a chance to speak favorably of the former Massachusetts governor.

Whatever could it mean?

Guestposter Bob von Sternberg on Pawlenty’s lower profile amid McCain’s dimming prospects

Thursday, July 12th, 2007

vonste.jpgAs Sen. John McClain’s presidential campaign is perceived to be (choose your metaphor) imploding, melting down, or hitting the rocks, his marquee Minnesota supporter has been nowhere to be seen or heard.

Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who signed on early as one of the Arizona senator’s national co-chairmen,pawlenty_mccain.jpg hasn’t publicly campaigned for him for weeks, not since McCain made a fundraising stop in St. Paul last month.

But nothing too Machiavellian should be read into Pawlenty’s sudden low visibility on behalf of the onetime GOP frontrunner, said Mike Krueger, the governor’s political spokesman.

“Absolutely,” Krueger said when asked if his boss remained on the Straight Talk Express. “We’ve been in contact with [McCain’s campaign staff] about fundraisers, TV appearances. It is only a coincidence – he’s been busy with a lot of other stuff.”

One indication that McCain still values Pawlenty’s star power as an up-and-comer in the GOP: The front page of his campaign website continues to feature Pawlenty, with a mugshot, videos and a testimonial in which he calls McCain “a strong, tested national leader of uncommon courage.”

Bob von Sternberg

McCain’s campaign is in trouble

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2007

tice.jpgAccording to this New York Times report John McCain’s presidentialpawlenty_mccain.jpg campaign is in crisis, slashing staff and narrowing its strategy to a point — Iowa.

A champion of reducing the role of money in politics, McCain apparently can’t bring in enough to stay competitive.

He’s probably finished. This sort of news will send donors and supporters scurrying for a better place to invest their financial and political capital.

What happened? Who knows? Maybe he’s simply passed his telegenic peak, which matters so much now. But there’s also long been something disjointed about McCain on the issues, something that makes it hard to perceive the unifying idea in his politics. It could be a sign of pragmatic brilliance, but one has to be able to convey it.

What do you make of McCain’s trouble?

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