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Bachmann denies Obama remarks

ST. PAUL - U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, in the center of a national controversy and finding her re-election in danger, tells the Web site Politico that she did not call Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama un-American.

"Despite the way the blogs and the Democratic Party are spinning it, I never called all liberals anti-American, I never questioned Barack Obama's patriotism and I never asked for some House Un-American Activities Committee witch hunt into my colleagues in Congress," the Republican wrote in Politico.

Chris Matthews, host of MSNBC's "Hardball" asked Bachman on Friday if she considered Obama un-American. "Absolutely," she answered. "I'm very concerned that he may have anti-American views."

Bachmann, a House first-termer, complained that the national media is not asking Obama enough questions.

News media and political pundits across the country declared the Bachmann race a toss-up soon after her comments. She widely had been expected to easily beat former state transportation commissioner and minister Elwyn Tinklenberg, a Democrat.

Tinklenberg says he has raised more than $1 million in reaction to Bachmann's "Hardball" comments. And national Democrats say they will pour more money into the 6th Congressional District, which runs from the eastern Twin Cities northwest to St. Cloud.

Jourdain meets

Red Lake Tribal Chairman Floyd Jourdain Jr. meets with a John McCain organization Monday, following a meeting with Barack Obama last month.

Jourdain's Monday meeting, in Bemidji, is with the American Indians for McCain Coalition. Last month, he and about 75 other tribal leaders met with Obama in New Mexico. He was one of just two Midwestern leaders to attend and one of only five who were allowed to ask the Democratic presidential candidate questions.

Jourdain asked Obama how he would protect Indian treaty rights and tribal land. Obama said he would respect dealings with tribal governments and name a senior White House aide on tribal issues.

Senate race close

Recent polls leave no doubt that Minnesota's U.S. Senate race essentially is a tie.

A Star Tribune Minnesota Poll released Tuesday shows Democrat Al Franken leads with 39 percent, but Republican Sen. Norm Coleman is close behind at 36 percent, a statistical tie. Dean Barkley, the former short-time senator and Independence Party member comes in third with 18 percent.

Two weeks ago, the same poll gave Franken a 9-point lead. Even more interesting is that despite being blasted by television commercials, a few more potential voters are undecided now than back in May. The 7 percent undecided is more than enough to sway the election.

One other factor may be especially telling, and troubling for Franken. The Minnesota Poll shows that 53 percent of Coleman's supporters say they strongly back him, while just 39 percent of Franken supporters say that about their candidate.

A Survey USA poll shows Colman with 41 percent, Franken 39 and Barkley 18. Coleman and Franken basically are tied in the Twin Cities, as well as western and northeastern Minnesota. Coleman leads in the south.

'Ditch negative ads'

Democrats say he doesn't mean it, but GOP Sen. Norm Coleman again Tuesday called for an end to negative campaign advertising.

"Minnesotans have seen enough negativity in this race, that's why I'm renewing my call for all campaigns and outside groups to immediately end all attack ads in Minnesota," Coleman said. "I've put my money where my mouth is, pulling my negative ads and asking groups supporting my campaign to do the same."

The Democratic line is that Coleman may say he wants negative ads pulled, but he says it with a wink so his supporters can keep them coming.

Coming up

  • Former New York City Major Rudy Giuliani and Minnesota mayors join Sen. Norm Coleman for a Bloomington rally Thursday afternoon. Giuliani will campaign with Coleman for part of Friday in south-central and southeastern Minnesota.
  • U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson, a western Minnesota Democrat, hosts a meeting on behalf of Barack Obama at 4:30 p.m. Thursday at the Marshall, Minn., Obama headquarters. Peterson is to discuss Obama's stance on rural issues.

  • Don Davis
    Don Davis has been the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau chief since 2001, covering state government and politics for two dozen newspapers in the state. Don also blogs at Capital Chatter on Areavoices.