Itâ€™s not every day that two Minnesotans sit side by side before a U.S. Senate panel as potential American ambassadors. But that was the scene Wednesday in a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing room, where DFL attorney Sam Kaplan and St. Johnâ€™s theologian Miguel Diaz appeared as nominees for ambassadorships to Morocco and the Holy See, respectively.
The formalities were provided by Minnesota Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, Democrats who read laudatory opening statements.Â Then came friendly questioning from Pennsylvania Democrat Robert Casey, who did all he could to lend the impression of a smooth ride to confirmation later this month.
Kaplan spoke briefly about Moroccoâ€™s role as a mediator in the Mideast peace process. Diaz made a few remarks about President Obamaâ€™s recent meeting with Pope Benedict XVI. Significantly, the word abortion was never mentioned.
The startling two-fer ended amid handshakes and family photographs. But Casey warned the denizens of Lake Wobegon not to get used to it: â€œMinnesotaâ€™s not always going to getÂ two.â€