St. Charles, Missouri (CNN) – While Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri has largely stayed on message regarding her opponent Republican Rep. Todd Akin and his status in their upcoming Senate race, she used the whole controversy to lighten the mood a bit before a stump speech.
Responding to a man who asked how her day was going as she waited for a microphone to be set up, McCaskill said, "You know, everything's pretty boring these days."
Manchester, New Hampshire (CNN) - Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, widely speculated to be a top contender to be Mitt Romney's running mate, said late Friday that he had not received a phone call from the presumptive GOP nominee about Romney's choice as news was breaking that Romney would announce his pick on Saturday.
"I did not get a phone call from him tonight," Pawlenty told CNN, adding that he's keeping his campaign schedule in New Hampshire on Saturday.
MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota (CNN) –It looks like it will take even longer than expected to declare a winner in Minnesota’s historically tight U.S. Senate race between incumbent Republican Sen. Norm Coleman and Democrat Al Franken.
As of Thursday night, it appears as if the state canvassing board’s unofficial deadline of this Friday will be postponed due to an envelope of about 130 lost ballots from the city of Minneapolis. Deputy Secretary of State Jim Gelbmann said Thursday that, due to the “extraordinary circumstances,” the city now has until December 16 to locate the votes. That’s day the board is set to meet and take further action in the recount process.
“We won't meet our goal to have all ballots hand counted by the end of the day [Friday] unless the envelope returns in the next 24 hours,” Gelbmann told CNN.
Minneapolis Elections Director Cindy Reichert said she’s “not sure where [the missing envelope] would have gone” but that they’re “in the process of looking under everything.”
With most of the ballots recounted at this point, Coleman maintains his slim lead at about 300 votes.
Spokesmen for both campaigns would not immediately return requests for comment.
MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota (CNN) - Democrat Al Franken's campaign made yet another attempt Monday to have certain rejected absentee ballots thrown into the mix when the recount officially commences Wednesday. They've now taken their argument straight to Secretary of State Mark Ritchie's canvassing board.
Last week, Franken attorney Mark Elias said the campaign filed a lawsuit with Ramsey County asking for data on rejected ballots. However, the county has set this Wednesday to hear the case - in other words, too late for their decision to make a difference since the statewide hand recount will have begun that morning.
When first laid out last Thursday, Elias gave the example of an elderly woman who's absentee ballot was rejected because, according to the Franken campaign, her signature did not match the one on file merely because she had had a stroke. It was the only example given to reporters after numerous prodding.
That story turned out to be inaccurate, and its taken the campaign four days to offer any other reasons as to why, in their minds, a rejected ballot should ever be counted.
ST. PAUL, Minnesota (CNN) – Democrat Al Franken's campaign filed a lawsuit Thursday in Ramsey County, Minnesota, requesting the names of all individuals who filed a rejected absentee ballot in the Senate race between the former comedian and incumbent Republican Sen. Norm Coleman.
Mark Elias, lead recount attorney for Franken, said many absentee ballots are rejected for insufficient reasons, offering the example of an elderly woman who'd suffered a recent stroke which affected her signature, and kept it from matching the one her county had on file.
"This is not a lawsuit about putting ballots in the count or not in the count," Elias said. "This is about giving us access to the data that will allow us to determine whether or not there are lawful ballots...[that] werent counted."
The current tally of votes puts Coleman 206 votes ahead of Franken out of about 2.5 million cast in that contest. A hand recount of the Senate race is set to begin November 19.
Elias told reporters at a Thursday press conference that the campaign has asked each county for a list of the people whose absentee ballots were rejected. Elias, along with Franken spokesman Andy Barr, could not say exactly how many counties have offered their lists and how many have not, but added that Ramsey County has not.
The campaign's hope, according to Elias, is that Ramsey County would side in their favor and set a precedent that would immediately be followed by all counties in the state.
(CNN) – Amid reports that Bill Clinton is frustrated with his speaking slot at the convention and Hillary Clinton wasn’t considered for Barack Obama’s running mate, the Illinois senator refuted both Monday, telling reporters that former President Clinton can speak about anything he likes and argued that Hillary was in fact looked at.
CNN reported Monday morning that President Clinton is not happy he was asked to speak Wednesday night when the theme is national security. Clinton prides himself on his administration’s economic success, a pillar of his 1992 campaign.
Obama says he told Clinton last week he could discuss whatever he likes.
“Bill Clinton is a unique figure in our politics,” Obama told reporters at a hastily assembled news conference Monday afternoon. “This is the only person, the only Democrat that has been re-elected since FDR and he is somebody who is equally adept at talking about domestic issues and foreign policy issues.”
“Wednesday night most of the focus is going to be about foreign policy, but Bill Clinton knows a little bit about trying to yank an economy out of the doldrums and trying to help middle class families,” Obama added. “It wouldn’t make much sense for me to want to edit his remarks to prevent him from making a strong case about why we need fundamental economic change in this country.”
MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota (CNN) – Football quarterback Brett Favre may not be running for political office, but take one glance at a new campaign poster in Minnesota and you might be a bit confused.
Dean Barkley - an Independence Party candidate running for U.S. Senate - has decided to capitalize on the recent Favre hoopla and print the phrase "Brett Favre for Minnesota Quarterback" on one side of all his campaign signs. Barkley said it's not just a campaign gimmick, and that he genuinely hopes Favre will eventually end up in Minnesota.
"I firmly believe that Brett's the answer, [and] could bring the Vikings to the promised land," Barkley said. "So I said why not combine my run for the U.S. Senate with our effort to get Brett in Viking purple and get us that Super Bowl victory that every Viking fan wants."
(CNN) - The Republican National Committee has officially taken the reins of St. Paul, Minnesota's Xcel Energy Center, site of the party's 2008 national convention.
In an informal ceremony held at the site Monday morning, a cardboard "key" to the arena was presented to Republican officials, who have officially rented the facility until at least September 4. Soon after, around 100 workers began filing in to begin the physical changes.
Eventually, 600 workers are slated to labor on-site. Rows of chairs will be removed; box suites will be turned into television studios.
"It's technically a construction site, but we're not really constructing anything," said convention press secretary Joanna Burgos. "It's really just aesthetics inside - a lot of refurbishing and transforming into something else."
BLUE BELL, Pennsylvania (CNN) – It's now been ten days since Democrat Barack Obama has made himself available for questions from his traveling press corps, and it appears as though that number could rise even higher.
Aides have said it's unlikely he’ll hold an availability with reporters before Tuesday's Pennsylvania primary, but that they "could always add one." Given their track record over the past few days, however, that doesn't sound promising.
Since the start of the weekend, the possibility of a press conference has been dangled in front of reporters twice—only to be snatched away at the last possible moment.
On Saturday, reporters were teased for the majority of the day with a possible evening avail, only to be told at the eleventh hour that it would not be happening. To make it up, staffers said they were aiming to put him in front of cameras on Sunday but that, too, did not happen.
And at a diner Thursday morning, a reporter slipped in a question about former President Jimmy Carter's meeting with Hamas, but Obama responded by saying he just wanted to eat his waffle. Later that afternoon while taping an interview for "The Daily Show," a reporter tried to ask Obama about a new Clinton ad and the Obama ad that came as a response. According to a pooled report, the White House hopeful asked the reporter if she was "supposed to be" asking a question then. He added that he would consider answering but that it would depend "on how well behaved you are." In the end, he did not take the question.
Traveling press secretary Jen Psaki declined to comment on exactly why no time has been allotted for traveling press questions since a press conference in Indianapolis April 11. Obama did, however, make time Thursday for a few one on one interviews.
WASHINGTON, Pennsylvania (CNN) – Barack Obama said Tuesday he was "amused" by accusations he is an "elitist" in the wake of the 'bitter-gate' controversy.
"It is true I am amused about this notion of elitist," Obama said, citing the fact that he was raised by a single mother, lived off food stamps, earned scholarships, and had to finance his own law school education.
"[Michelle and I] lived for the first 13 years of marriage up until three years ago, in a three bedroom condo without a garage," the White House hopeful said. "So if you live in Chicago, that means you are scraping ice every morning."
Hillary Clinton has called Obama "elitist" and "out of touch" for remarks he made at a fundraiser where he referred to some Pennsylvanians as "bitter" people who "cling to guns and religion."