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    Convention thoughts from Tom Webb

    Wednesday, July 28, 2004

    Minnesota's 2008 Senate race starts early 

    As up-to-speed Minnesotans know, U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., blew into Boston yesterday to give the Republican perspective on Democratic nominee John Kerry. Coleman did an impressive job at appearing on every possible media outlet, but evidently, he skipped one.

    Comedian Al Franken is in Boston, too, to host his liberal Air America radio program. Franken told the Minnesota delegation breakfast Wednesday that Coleman walked by, but didn't stop.

    There's a certain amount of ill-will between Franken and Coleman, due partly to Franken's needling, and partly to Franken's ongoing hints that he might consider running against Coleman in the 2008 U.S. Senate race. Here is Franken's version of their non-encounter:

    "Norm Coleman came by yesterday, but not by my booth. But he was close by. And a guy from Roll Call (magazine) came by and asked, 'Why don't you say hello to Al Franken?'...(Coleman declined, saying) 'Because he's not a Minnesotan and he's not a constituent.'

    "So add 'petty.' But you know that already."

    DFL Party Chairman Mike Erlandson did nothing to tamp down the Franken speculation, by giving Franken a big introduction.

    "Because we're at a national political convention and we're having a great time, we will introduce him (Franken) potentially as the next senator from the great state of Minnesota."

    Tom Webb

    Tom Webb is the Washington correspondent for the St. Paul (Minn.) Pioneer Press. He can be reached at

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