Clinton stumps for Dayton and Franken
MINNEAPOLIS -- Worried that turnout will fall without a president on the ballot, Minnesota Democrats brought their party's hottest star to Minneapolis on Friday to fire up the troops.
MINNEAPOLIS - Worried that turnout will fall without a president on the ballot, Minnesota Democrats brought their party’s hottest star to Minneapolis on Friday to fire up the troops.
Former President Bill Clinton headlined an afternoon rally that drew a near-capacity 2,700 students and partisans to Northrop Auditorium on the University of Minnesota campus.
Clinton pleaded with the crowd to go to the polls and vote for Gov. Mark Dayton and Sen. Al Franken on Nov. 4.
“Two different Americas show up to vote in presidential and midterm elections,” he said. Democrats turn out in large numbers in presidential years, but many stay home during non-presidential elections.
“We think this would be a better democracy if the midterm election looked more like the presidential election,” he said.
Speaking before Clinton, Dayton noted that 100,000 fewer Minnesotans voted in the 2010 midterm, when DFLers lost control of the state House and Senate and he was narrowly elected, than in 2008, when President Barack Obama won the state in a landslide.
Franken told the crowd, “What happened in 2010 was not your fault, but making sure that it doesn’t happen again is your responsibility.”
Both candidates hoped Clinton’s appearance would juice up the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party faithful.
They had reason to expect it would. A poll released this week showed Clinton is the politician who can deliver the biggest boost for a candidate.
The Wall Street Journal/NBC News/Annenberg survey found the former president’s endorsement would prompt 38 percent of people to look at the candidate more favorably, while 24 percent would take a less favorable view.
None of the other seven prominent politicians tested in the poll had a positive impact of more than 1 percentage point.
Obama would leave voters with a less favorable view of a candidate he endorsed, according to the survey.
Minnesota Republican Party Chairman Keith Downey said in a statement that, as Obama’s stand in, Clinton was trying to defend an increasingly unpopular president and prevent Obama supporters Franken and Dayton from being ousted.
“Bill Clinton was sent to Minnesota to try and save his Democratic allies from Barack Obama, but Minnesotans won’t forget that President Obama’s policies are on the ballot in November along with the full support of Al Franken and Mark Dayton,” Downey said.
A spokesman for Republican gubernatorial candidate Jeff Johnson said Clinton’s appearance confirms that Dayton is in trouble.
“Former presidents stump for incumbent governors who need help - and with his terrible record and competence in question, this governor needs all the help he can get,” said Johnson communications director Jeff Bakken.
Clinton said he came because he wants the state to maintain its progressive traditions.
“I’m here because Minnesota has led the world and America for decades in education,” he said, “and both the governor and the senator have kept faith with the obligation to help you lead further.”
Minnesota also has been a leader in providing quality health care, Clinton said, “and I want to see you keep doing that and not take a wrong direction.”
Clinton loves to campaign, and he seemed to lament that his role as a world leader isn’t what it used to be.
The Pioneer Press is a media partner with Forum News Service.