While Al Franken remains fairly elusive, Norm Coleman is keeping a high profile these days as his court challenge of the Minnesota U.S. Senate recount plods along.
Coleman is adept, somewhat too adept, his critics might say, at skillfully tailoring his message to his audience, and that skill set was on full display Friday.
On Friday, Coleman made the media rounds with radio interviews that included conservative nationally syndicated radio talk show host Mike Gallagher. Gallagher, an unyielding fiscal and religious conservative, who hosts one of the Top 10 rated talk shows in the country, has been an outspoken critic of the Congressional stimulus legislation. When Gallagher asked Coleman what he thought of the stimulus bill, Coleman replied that he would not sign on to it. Coleman did not, however, offer any thoughts as to whether a stimulus bill of some kind would be a good thing for the country and the state of Minnesota (no doubt because Gallagher, and perhaps a large share of his 4 million weekly listeners, is opposed to any sort of government ‘bailout’ – of industries or state governments).
When asked about the recount and how it is affecting him personally, Coleman said he starts every day with a prayer and that he knows “God wants me to serve.” Coleman did later temper those rather immodest remarks by adding that he is not indispensable and that others can serve as well. Coleman closed the interview with an appeal to Gallagher’s listeners for contributions to his campaign website.
Also on Friday, Coleman talked to Tom Crann at Minnesota Public Radio, and tweaked his message for a listening audience that is decidedly more liberal than that of Gallagher’s. First, Coleman discussed his desire to serve without mention of God’s will. With more humble prose he stated, “I’ve been blessed to serve. I want to continue to serve.”
With regards to the bailout, Coleman reiterated his opposition to the current legislation: “I do not support the package in its present form.” But when asked if he could vote for a stimulus package, Coleman admitted, “I agree there needs to be one.”
Coleman also stated to MPR that the court in his recount challenge was being “very fair” and it that he has a “great deal of confidence” in the panel. He also acknowledged that if the absentee ballot and double-counting of ballots issues are addressed, and Franken has more votes at the end of the process, then Franken will be the Senator. On Gallagher’s show, however, Coleman made no mention of the possibility that Franken could emerge as the ultimate victor and did not contradict Gallagher’s characterization that the election process to date in Minnesota has been a ‘joke.’
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