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Capitol Chatter: Biden in Minneapolis: 'I'd trade it all' to play football

Republicans want to go back to economic policies that did not work before and will not work again, Vice President Joe Biden tells an audience Tuesday in Minneapolis. Tribune photo by Don Davis

ST. PAUL -- Joe Biden is ready to give up his job.

Well, only if he could become a high school football player.

The vice president made a surprise stop at South Minneapolis high school football practice after delivering a 37-minute speech to a campaign rally.

"Hey guys, how're you doing? My name's Joe Biden," the vice president said as he approached the team.

Biden, a U.S. senator from Delaware for 36 years, said he dreams about playing football, much like his boss, President Obama, dreams about playing basketball.

"I'm vice president, and let me tell you, I'd trade it all to go back and play my senior year again," Biden told the players, wearing black and white jerseys.

A reporter providing coverage for Minnesota media wrote that Biden had changed out of the dress shirt he wore during the rally at downtown Minneapolis' The Depot into a blue polo shirt.

When he asked for questions, some players asked such things as where he went to high school and college.

Then senior Tysean Wallace asked: "So, are you and Obama going to put Mitt Romney down?"

Biden laughed and delivered an answer more politically correct than some things he has said:

"The answer is, just because the way the press is, I will rephrase your question, because if we said 'put down,' I'm going to hear the headlines now. 'Biden says Obama's going to (have Romney) put down.'"

Then came the answer: "I think we're going to win this race."

Unlike many high school football players, Wallace admitted that "I love politics. That's what I plan to do."

Pawlenty in Cabinet?

Time magazine says former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty could be a good fit into a Mitt Romney Cabinet.

Pawlenty friend Charlie Weaver said a trade or education post would fit the ex-governor well.

After Pawlenty dropped out of the Republican presidential race a year ago, it took him little time to become a Romney surrogate, now speaking for the GOP presidential candidate more than anyone else.

"They just got along great on a personal level. They're very similar in a lot of ways," Time quotes a former aide as saying.

"I think that's how they've become good friends in the last couple months."

"Even if Romney loses, Pawlenty's boosters see a bright future," Time reports. "There has been some talk of Pawlenty potentially running against Minnesota Sen. Al Franken in 2014. If he has soured on politics, there's always the private sector."

Pawlenty has remained a strong Romney backer even after he was passed up as a running mate.

Bills backs Romney

U.S. Senate candidate Kurt Bills is supposed to be a Ron Paul delegate to the Republican National Convention, but opted to stay in Minnesota to campaign at the State Fair and to support Mitt Romney.

The Republican state lawmaker from Rosemount said he expects other former Paul supporters also to convert to Romney.

A majority of Minnesota's national delegations, now in Florida for the national convention, were elected supporting Paul. Bills ran, and was elected, as a Paul delegate in the May state GOP convention.

'Grab and run'

Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak said Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney came to the Twin Cities last week "to grab cash" and run without meeting with the public or answering questions.

While Rybak's vice presidential candidate, Democrat Joe Biden, spoke Wednesday to 1,556 people in Minneapolis, he also avoided answering questions. Presidential candidates often do not talk to reporters or deal with the public any more, other than in controlled circumstances.

Tackle box addition

Rod? Check. Reel? Check. Lures? Check. Smartphone? Check.

Minnesota anglers can take the state's fishing regulations with them. The Department of Natural Resources has made its LakeFinder smartphone application compatible with more mobile devices.

The app now contains special fishing regulations, invasive species information, lake contour maps and public access locations.

LakeFinder can be found on most devices with a Web browser at

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.