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This fall, I’ve made a point of checking the fact-checkers’ analysis. This time, I’m factchecking John Croman’s fact-check of Jeff Johnson’s campaign ad titled Unaware. Here’s one thing that Croman talked about:

The ad begins with video of Gov. Dayton with President Obama, and a pseudo headline “140,000 lose insurance coverage.”

Here’s Croman’s opinion:

In Minnesota policies are renewed every year, so those consumers were being notified they would have to buy more comprehensive, and possibly more expensive, plans for 2014. Within a month President Obama announced people in that predicament could keep their old plans if they wanted to. There’s no way to know how many of those 140,000 became uninsured in 2014, kept their old plans, or bought better ones.

And the truth, according to researchers at the University of Minnesota, is that the share of Minnesotans with health insurance went from 92 percent to 95 percent in the past year.

This is a perfect example of the reporter either not understanding the statement or pretending that he didn’t understand the statement. Republicans started using that fact after the Pioneer Press ran this article:

About 140,000 Minnesotans are receiving letters that describe changes to their current health care insurance policies for 2014 due to the federal health law.

And while the national controversy over individuals finding their coverage canceled because of the Affordable Care Act doesn’t technically apply in Minnesota, state law prevents insurers from issuing cancellation notices unless their entire product line is discontinued, potentially higher prices offer little consolation. Because the changes will drive up costs by mandating richer benefits, Minnesota consumers might well be experiencing the same frustrations as those subject to cancellations elsewhere.

The point of this statement is to highlight Politifact’s lie of the year:

Politifact’s Lie of the Year in 2013 was President Obama’s repeated promises that people could keep their health plan if they liked their health plan. I’ll stipulate that the headline should’ve said that “140,000 lose insurance that they liked.” There’s no question that 140,000 Minnesota families lost the insurance that they liked, though.

This statement is DFL spin:

The share of Minnesotans with health insurance went from 92 percent to 95 percent in the past year.

In 2012, before MNsure’s rollout, 93% of people had health insurance. Of those people that didn’t have health insurance, 60% of them were eligible for taxpayer-subsidized health care. Had the Dayton administration run a $5,000,000 multimedia advertising campaign telling people how they could’ve enrolled in those programs, more than 97% of Minnesotans would’ve been insured…in 2012.

Here’s another verified fact that Croman missed in his ‘fact-check': a higher percentage of Minnesotans could’ve been insured without spending $160,000,000 on a website that doesn’t work.

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If Michael Warren’s article is accurate, then Republicans will have something extra to smile about next Tuesday:

Republican gubernatorial candidate Larry Hogan has a 5-point lead over Democrat Anthony Brown in a surprisingly close race in Maryland, according to a poll conducted on behalf of the Hogan campaign and obtained by THE WEEKLY STANDARD.

The survey of more than 500 likely Maryland voters finds Hogan with 44 percent support, while Brown, the lieutenant governor, has 39 percent support. Fourteen percent say they remain undecided. That’s a 17-point swing from the campaign’s internal poll in July, when Brown led Hogan by 12 points, 48 percent to 36 percent.

The poll also found Hogan winning self-identified moderate voters by 6 percentage points and independent voters by 27 percentage points. The Republican also has a higher favorability rating (49 percent) than the Democrat (41 percent).

I’m automatically suspicious of private polling done on a candidate’s behalf. I won’t dismiss this because it fits with other polls’ trends.

This ad is effective:

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Predictably, South Dakota is rounding into shape:

Republican attacks on Democrat Rick Weiland and Independent Larry Pressler appear to have worked, making it more likely that the GOP will pick up the seat of retiring Democratic Senator Tim Johnson, as long expected. Republican Mike Rounds, a former two-term GOP governor, found himself in shockingly uncomfortable position earlier this month, but his standing has improved in the eyes of both strong and weak Republican voters, as well as among Independents.

Support for Pressler, a one-time GOP senator who has said that he would be a friend of Obama if elected to the Senate and has acknowledged that he voted for Obama, has melted away over the past few weeks.

Rounds’ improved position in the race, assuming that the trend holds, means GOP strategists will now have to worry primarily about only a couple of their own seats, in Kansas and Georgia, two red states where Republican nominees have handed ammunition to their opponents.

This was predictable, especially after this stunt:

Weiland never was a serious candidate. Pressler was a challenger…until he said that a) he’d vote to keep Harry Reid as majority leader, b) he supports Obamacare and c) he’s a personal friend of President Obama’s. It was downhill after that.

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Ed Morrissey’s post about Hillary’s intellectually dishonest statements about who creates jobs is statistically enlightening. Here’s what I’m talking about:

In June 2007, the Household Survey of the BLS showed that the US economy had 146.063 million jobs in June 2007, just before the increase took place. Last month’s data showed that the US economy had 146.6 million jobs, an increase of less than 500,000 in over 7 years, not “millions of jobs” as Hillary claims here. In fact, the 146.6 million is the highest it’s ever gotten since the passage of that law. In the same period, the civilian workforce participation rate has gone from 66% to 62.7%. On a population basis, there are a lot fewer people working after the last minimum wage hike, not more, and wages are actually down, not up.

Compare this to the “trickle-down” era of the Reagan presidency. When Reagan took office in January 1981, the US economy had 99.995 million jobs and the participation rate was 63.9%. By the end of his presidency in January 1989, the US economy had grown more than 16 million jobs (116.708 million total) and the participation rate had leaped to 66.5%. That covers nearly the same length of time since the last minimum wage hike (96 months vs. 89 months), but both include about five years of technical economic recovery.

At the end of the article, Ed made this statement:

At some point, Democrats are going to have to come to grips with the fact that their front-runner is not just a lousy campaigner, but perhaps just as incompetent as the President from which they’re all attempting to run away at the moment.

There’s no doubt that Hillary is a terrible campaigner. That’s a subjective opinion, though. The job creation and labor force participation rates earlier are objective, quantifiable statistics.

Another part of that last commentary is that Democrats will “have to come to grips with the fact that” their frontrunner is just “as incompetent as the President” that they’re running away from. I suspect that they already know that. I’m betting that they simply don’t care whether she’s competent or not. I’m betting that their support for her will be based totally on whether she can win in November, 2016. If the answer to that is yes, they’ll support her. If the answer to that question is no, they’ll try finding a better alternative.

The point I’m making is that today’s Democratic Party is based almost entirely on fulfilling their ideological checklist, not on doing what’s best for America. It certainly isn’t about creating jobs or making life better for the average American.

Republicans everywhere need to repeatedly remind themselves that Democrats are almost totally about gaining, then maintaining control of the levers of government. Public policy is a distant priority that they generally don’t get to.

Here’s the video of Hillary’s boneheaded statements:

It’s terrifying to say but Hillary and Obama are no Bill Clinton. That’s a frightening thought.

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Campaigning with Rick Nolan in the Eighth District, the gaffemeister made another appearance:

It was appropriate that Vice President Joe Biden spoke at an Iron Range community college during a campaign rally for 8th District U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan Thursday afternoon. The vice president’s speech was professorial at times, citing data from several studies that he said proved the rich are getting richer at the expense of the country’s middle class, which he said “is getting crushed.”

Vice President Biden’s speech is an unintentional indictment of the President Obama’s administration. The policies in place affect job creation, wage growth and other important economic realities. By saying that the nation’s middle class “is getting crushed”, Biden was indicting President Obama’s policies, starting with Obamacare.

President Obama can’t claim to be the man that saved the economy one minute, then say that someone else’s policies are crushing the middle class the next minute. Either his policies work or they don’t. Though he and Vice President Biden won’t admit it, they’ve gotten the policies they’ve pushed for. Their policies are the ones in place that are hurting middle class families. The Obama-Biden policies haven’t worked. Their policies have prevented the Keystone XL Pipeline from getting built.

Thanks to that Obama-Biden policy, Minnesota farmers can’t get their crops to market and Minnesota miners can’t get their ore to port before Lake Superior freezes over.

Vice President Biden is the gift that keeps giving. It’s one thing when Biden does something like this:

Everyone chuckled when they saw that video. It’s a boneheaded mistake made by a bonehead. It’s another Bidenism.

Saying that the middle class is “getting crushed”, however, is different. That isn’t a boneheaded mistake. It’s a truth that Iron Rangers know altogether too well. The percentage of Minnesotans living below the poverty line is 11.2%. In St. Louis County, though, that percentage shoots up to 16.1%. By comparison, 8% of people living in Sherburne County live below the poverty line. St. Louis County, which has the biggest number of votes in Nolan’s district, has 50% more people living under the poverty line than the statewide average. The percentage of people living below the poverty line in Sherburne County is half that of St. Louis County.

The truth be told, there isn’t much of a middle class in Hibbing, where Thursday’s rally was held. Income disparity is the rule, not the exception. Thanks to Vice President Biden, Rick Nolan is faced with the challenge of running against a top tier opponent while defending the Obama administration’s economic policies.

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When it comes to national security, Sen. Franken is a lightweight. This article provides additional proof of that:

Franken said Obama doesn’t have authority to bypass Congress, but he has long backed closing the military prison and handling suspects through the American judicial system. Franken said he worries Guantanamo’s continued existence has only boosted terrorist recruitment efforts, and said there are plenty of high-security prisons in the United States to house the dozens of terrorism suspects at Guantanamo.

Sen. Franken isn’t serious about fighting terrorists. Check out this statement about taking on ISIL:

There are no good options on Syria. But as I’ve said, the use of chemical weapons to kill over a thousand people and injure many more is a horrendous act, and there have to be consequences for that. Whatever action the United States takes, it has to be limited action. This can’t be an open-ended commitment, and it definitely should not lead to American boots on the ground. Congress now has an important role to play, and I look forward to participating in a vigorous debate about the use of force and the best interests of our country.

Destroying ISIL isn’t possible without putting American boots on the ground. If you’re opposed to putting American troops into harms way, Sen. Franken, then just say that you aren’t really interested in doing what it takes to destroy ISIL.

There’s no doubt that Sen. Franken thinks that that’s the best poll-tested statement he could issue. Similarly, there’s no question that half-hearted airstrikes without boots on the ground is a political action. It isn’t a serious attempt to destroy ISIL. The Democratic Party, led by pacifists like President Obama and Sen. Franken and Sen. Klobuchar, is going soft on national security again. Closing Gitmo, not taking the airstrikes on ISIL seriously and ruling out putting boots on the ground in Anbar Province and in Syria says one thing unmistakably clear.

It says that Obama, Franken and Klobuchar aren’t serious about national security.

Why wouldn’t you keep Gitmo open? Why give these terrorists the opportunity to radicalize American prisoners? Back in 2006, Amy Klobuchar said that it was important to get out of the war responsibly. In 2008, Franken campaigned on the same message. Then-Sen. Obama campaigned on getting us out of Iraq. Franken, Klobuchar and Obama didn’t talk about winning wars. I wrote about that multiple times in 2006-2008.

As George Will and Charles Krauthammer highlight, the fastest way to end a war is to lose that war. That’s what Franken, Klobuchar and Obama are about. If they aren’t about losing winnable wars, then they’re doing the same things that people who want to lose wars would do.

Politicians that aren’t interested in killing terrorists and winning wars are anti-American. Sen. Franken and President Obama, it’s sad to see that that shoe fits.

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During Wednesday’s debate, one important point kept getting made. Though the DFL and Al Franken want the point to that Al Franken voted with Harry Reid and President Obama 97% of the time, that isn’t the important point. These videos highlight the truly important point:

Here’s the transcript of Sen. Franken engaging in DCSpeak:

So much of the rail use is for the Bakken crude. Now I’ve been going to the Surface Transportation Board since I got to the Senate. Captive rail is something that I’ve been very interested in. I actually worked with Sen. David Vitter, the Republican of Louisiana, to get the cost of filing a complaint with the Surface Transportation Board, which regulates the railroads, from $20,000 to $350 so people can file a complaint.

Here’s Mike McFadden talking about solving the railcar shortage crisis:


Here’s the transcript:

Al, with all due respect, your lack of an energy policy and the lack of an energy policy from President Obama has caused the rail car shortage. There’s not been one pipeline built. You haven’t approved any pipeline. The Keystone Pipeline has been under the review process for 6 years. That is crazy. That is too long. Pipelines are proven to be the most effective, the most efficient, the most environmentally sensitive way to transport oil. Until you start passing pipelines, we’ll have a railcar shortage. I know how to fix this economy. I know how to get us back on the road to growth and prosperity and you are putting Band-Aids as opposed to going to root causes. We need pipelines in this country. I want everyone in this room and in this state I am for pipelines. I will get them built.

Sen. Franken essentially told Minnesota he talked to the Surface Transportation Board to show he wasn’t ignoring people. It wasn’t that he’d solved farmers’ problems. It’s that he did something.

Meanwhile, Mike McFadden told Minnesotans that he’d find a solution to the railcar shortage that’s hurting farmers and miners. He presented himself as a solutions-oriented man and as a leader. Al Franken isn’t a leader. He’s a rubberstamp. He’s kept his head down because opening his mouth on important issues would expose him as an ideologue who does what Harry Reid tells him to do.

In the past, Minnesota’s senators have been leaders. Al Franken isn’t following in those footsteps. He’s just doing what Harry Reid and the environmental extremists have told him to do.

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Sen. Franken is more than justified in looking over his shoulder in his race against Mike McFadden. This poll shows the race tightening:

From the Magellan Strategies memo:
Q 8: If the elections were being held today, for whom would you vote if the candidates were Mike McFadden,
Republican and Al Franken, Democrat or Steve Carlson, Independent?
Mike McFadden 42%
Al Franken 48%
Steve Carlson 4%
Undecided 7%
The race for U.S. Senate has tightened with independent voters being the largest segment of undecided voters.

Currently, 14% of independent voters remain undecided (12% among independent men/17% among independent women). Among independent voters, McFadden leads by 6 points (43% McFadden/37% Franken/7% Carlson/14% undecided).

That isn’t the worst news for Franken. This is:

Among undecided voters, Franken’s image is an abysmal 21% favorable/66% unfavorable with 100% name recognition. This leaves him with little room to grow.

That’s pathetic. Saying that Franken has “little room to grow” is understatement. Franken doesn’t connect with people who aren’t his base.

That’s why Franken doesn’t do public appearances. If you don’t meet with potential voters, you won’t get their vote.

By comparison, McFadden is travelling all across the state, meeting with people in diners in southern Minnesota and with miners on the Range. Simply put, he’s accessible and personable. As his name recognition grows, he’ll have the opportunity to close that gap further.

I hope the McFadden campaign will cut through Franken’s clutter of bipartisan this and anti-war that. Sen. Franken’s votes haven’t strengthened the economy. Corporations are doing well because the Fed is artificially propping up the economy with ‘Monopoly money’ but families are getting hit hard with higher health insurance premiums and higher out-of-pocket health expenses.

Franken has supported an economy where high-paying full-time government jobs and low-paying part-time private sector jobs are the norm. That’s foolish. Sen. Franken hasn’t voted for the things that families need to get back on their feet. Minnesota’s unemployment rate is artificially low by way too many part-time, $10-an-hour jobs.

Minnesota needs tons of high-paying full-time private sector jobs. That’s an area where Minnesota stinks. Another thing that Minnesota doesn’t need is a rubberstamp for President Obama’s failed economic policies. Instead, Minnesota needs someone with job-creating experience. Sen. Franken fits the description of the former. Mike McFadden fits the description of the latter.

Finally, this won’t help Franken:

Undecided voter’s attitudes and opinions regarding Obama and the direction of the country are more in line with a typical McFadden voter than Franken’s supporters. Void some seismic shift in the political environment; expect undecided voters to break in large part toward McFadden.

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This article presents this year’s vulnerable Democrats as hawkish:

Democrat Kay Hagan didn’t mince words about the Iraq War during her 2008 Senate campaign against Republican Elizabeth Dole. “We need to get out of Iraq in a responsible way,” Hagan declared in May of that year. “We need to elect leaders who don’t invade countries without planning and stay there without an end.”

Hagan is striking a different chord these days. Locked in a tough reelection battle, the first-term senator boasts that she’s more strongly supportive of airstrikes against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant militants than her Republican challenger, Thom Tillis, and says she’s been pressing the Obama administration to arm Syrian rebels since early last year.

“This is the time for us to come together, Democrats and Republicans, to confront the challenges that are facing our nation,” she said this month.

What’s interesting (noteworthy?) is that the terrorists haven’t changed their belief that the infidels must be killed or put into servitude. I’m confident that these doves haven’t changed their opinion of war, either. I’m certain that they’re acting hawkish now…to an extent.

Al Franken still doesn’t want boots on the ground, though he wants ISIL defeated. That’s what a focus grouped response sounds like. That isn’t a substantive answer. It’s a political answer aimed at getting him through this election. Without angry men with rifles, ground can’t be take and terrorists can’t be defeated.

We don’t need idiots in the Senate fulfilling faux advise and consent responsibilities. That’s what the Democrats are providing and it’s disgraceful. I’m betting that Sen. Hagan couldn’t have explained the definition of getting out of Iraq “in a responsible way” meant then. I’m positive that Sen. Franken can’t explain how to decapitate ISIL without putting boots on the ground. Sen. Franken is a policy lightweight and a political rubberstamp.

The only thing more frightening than getting lectured about national security by President Obama is the thought that Al Franken and Kay Hagan are giving President Obama advice on how to decapitate ISIL.

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James Taranto eviscerated Thomas Friedman’s article in this column. Still, this part of Friedman’s column needs more evisceration:

These days there is a lot of “if-only-Obama-could-lead-like-Reagan” talk by conservatives. I’ll leave it to historians to figure out years from now who was the better president. But what I’d argue is this: In several critical areas, Reagan had a much easier world to lead in than Obama does now.

I don’t need years to decide who the better president was. President Obama is the worst modern president, worse than even Jimmy Carter. Friedman’s argument that “Reagan had a much easier world to lead in than Obama does now” isn’t serious stuff. Obama’s world isn’t tougher to lead. It’s that President Obama won’t lead.

It’s shameful, too, that Friedman has forgotten the catastrophe that President Reagan stepped into. During the last half of Carter’s administration, it was fashionable for pundits to talk about how the world had grown too demanding for a president to handle it himself. The fashionable talk then was the need for a co-presidency. Friedman’s column didn’t dismiss this information. Friedman ignored it entirely.

When Reagan called the Soviet Union an “evil empire”, doves like Ted Kennedy, John Kerry and Joe Biden criticized Reagan as being utterly naïve. Their opinion was that détente was the only way to manage the Soviet Union.

President Reagan emphatically disagreed. President Reagan was right.

The chief reason why Friedman can look back and say that President Reagan had it easy is tied directly to the quality of President Reagan’s decisions. In hindsight, it’s easy to see the wisdom of President Reagan’s strategy. President Reagan’s strategy was revolutionary and contrarian to everything that the establishment thought. The Soviet empire couldn’t be defeated, the realists told us. President Reagan will get us into WWIII with that Neanderthal thinking, they told us.

President Obama’s world is complicated, too, partially because his attachment to a failed ideology has informed him that being liked is more important than being feared. President Obama said that his administration’s first responsibility was to end wars, which sounds great until you think things through.

George Will recently said that the fastest way to end a war is to lose it. President Obama unilaterally repeatedly declared that war will be part of the past during his 2012 campaign. ISIL didn’t get the notice.

Shortly after 9/11, a reporter told Mayor Giuliani that, on 9/11, terrorists declared war on the United States. Giuliani’s response was that that isn’t true, that terrorists had been at war with the US for years, if not decades. It took 9/11 for us to finally confront the terrorists.

This paragraph needs dismantling:

Obama’s world is different. It is increasingly divided by regions of order and regions of disorder, where there is no one to answer the phone, and the main competition is not between two organized superpowers but between a superpower and many superempowered angry men. On 9/11, we were attacked, and badly hurt, by a person: Osama bin Laden, and his superempowered gang. When superempowered angry men have more open space within which to operate, and more powerful weapons and communication tools, just one needle in a haystack can hurt us.

That’s why President Obama’s strategy to pull our troops out of the world’s biggest hotspot was instantly viewed as foolish. That’s why President Bush’s strategy of taking the fight to the terrorists where they live was instantly seen by serious people as the right option. The Commander-in-Chief can’t afford to let “superempowered angry men” have “open space within which to operate.”

President Reagan understood the importance of confrontationalism in fighting the Soviet empire just like President Bush understood the importance of confronting terrorists in their sanctuaries.

It isn’t that Reagan had it easy. It’s that he knew what he was doing. President Obama doesn’t know what he’s doing. That’s the chief difference between presidents.

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