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Last weekend, Mark Halperin found himself in the middle of an intense political firestorm because his interview came across to many as questioning Sen. Cruz’s Hispanic credentials. This afternoon, Halperin apologized. Later this afternoon, Sen. Cruz graciously accepted Halperin’s apology. Here’s what started the firestorm:

In the interview, Halperin asked Cruz about his favorite Cuban food and Cuban music. He then asked the Texan to welcome Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) into the 2016 race “en Español.” “Your last name is Cruz and you’re from Texas. Just based on that, should you have appeal to Hispanic voters?”? Halperin also asked.

Here’s Sen. Cruz’s response to Halperin’s apology:

Cruz praised Halperin in a Monday Facebook post as a “serious and fair-minded journalist” who asked “some silly questions.” “The apology was unnecessary; no offense was taken, nor, I believe, intended; but is certainly appreciated,” Cruz said.

Sen. Cruz would’ve been justified if he went ballistic responding to Halperin’s interview. Instead, he reacted with grace by taking the high ground. Not only that but he probably gained a friend in Halperin by the way he handled the situation.

By responding gracefully, Sen. Cruz showed that the left’s accusations that he’s just a bomb-throwing conservative back bencher are baseless. He’s a principled man, something that the Totalitarian Left isn’t used to.

CNN’s Brooke Baldwin and Dana Bash talked about Sen. Rubio’s youth and turning it around now vs. how they criticized then-Sen. Obama about it in 2008:

Here’s what Baldwin said that caught my attention:

BROOKE BALDWIN: Well, they tried to slam the then-Sen. Obama for it and now you have all these freshman GOP senators in the same situation.

It’s fair game to ask whether Republicans should’ve criticized then-Sen. Obama. The answer to that question is simple. Yes, it was fair that Republicans questioned then-Sen. Obama because he was just 2 years removed from being a back-bench state senator when he started running for president.

First, let’s remember that Barack Obama served only a total of 4 years in the Senate. In 2003, Obama was a state senator who frequently voted present. He didn’t have any accomplishments to speak of. Upon joining the Senate, he essentially started running for president. Just 2 years after getting elected to the US Senate, Obama announced that he was running for president. As a result, he didn’t take his committee assignments seriously. That’s one of the reasons why President Obama’s policies have been disastrous. (The other reason why they’ve been disastrous is because of his belief in a failed ideology.)

By comparison, Sen. Rubio and Sen. Paul are in the fifth year of their respective terms in office. They’ve taken their committee assignments seriously. Sen. Rubio, for all his faults, is an expert on national security and terrorism. I said here that Sen. Rubio would mop the floor with Hillary’s behind if they ever debated foreign policy or national security.

It’s substantially different to go from being a state senator to president in 5 years than to go from Speaker of the Florida House to presidential candidate in 7 years. Sen. Rubio’s understanding of the issues is significantly better than President Obama’s understanding of the issues.

I don’t doubt that Sen. Rubio was nervous initially when he started his presentation. It’s an emotional moment for him and his family. I’d be worried if he wasn’t a little emotional. It’s worth noticing that Ms. Bash said that he settled down once he got a little ways into the speech. That’s why I wrote that Sen. Rubio blew Hillary away.

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This part of Megyn Kelly’s panel about Rand Paul’s intemperate behavior during interviews is a great slap down of MSNBC’s Ed Schultz:

Megyn teed things up, then Ann Coulter hit Schultz right between the eyes. Here’s the transcript of that part of the panel:

MEGYN KELLY: It seems like some are trying to exploit maybe an interviewing weakness or a temperament issue for him into making it a gender issue. I give the audience exhibit A, which is Mr. [Ed] Schultz on a competing network. Watch this.
ED SCHULTZ, MSNBC: There is real evidence that Rand Paul has problems with women reporters.
KELLY: Okay, Ann, this is Ed Schultz trying to lecture us about somebody who has a problem with women. Ed Schultz.
ANN COULTER: He is very sensitive with women as I recall.
KELLY: Who called Laura Ingraham a right-wing slut. He’s now lecturing us on how men need to behave toward women.
COULTER: Yes, he is definitely the one who should be taking up the battle on this one. Ed Schultz. When I am worried about how women are being treated, I go to Ed Schultz.

Ed Schultz is a blithering idiot. There’s a reason why his show is teetering on the verge of being cancelled by MSNBC. (Do you realize how terrible you have to be to get cancelled by MSNBC? It’s almost impossible.) Schultz wasn’t the only object of Coulter’s sharp wit:

COULTER: It does expose liberals and especially feminists for this I think very annoying double standard of, you know, we are rough, we are tough, we can do the same things men can do, but, oh, I’m a delicate flower. Please don’t talk to me that way, which is fine and good and it’s actually why I like how the entire Paul family is kind of cranky with the media.

Some women don’t cave into that “delicate flower” image, with Greta van Susteren, Megyn Kelly, Kirsten Powers, S.E. Cupp and Ann Coulter not fitting that image. Hillary, BTW, loves deploying this tactic. It’s tactical because she frequently uses that tactic when she’s in trouble and she doesn’t want to deal with substantive issues.

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Anyone who watched Rand Paul’s interview with Megyn Kelly last night saw Sen. Paul’s less-than-elegant side:

Simply put, Sen. Paul was combative, argumentative and vague. He was argumentative when Kelly pressed him for a definition of who he meant when he talked about neocons. By comparison, Sen. Paul said that Charles Krauthammer was “just wrong” in his opinion about Sen. Paul. Finally, Sen. Paul refused to even say what the ‘neocon’ philosophy consisted of. The only thing Sen. Paul said about neocons was that Sen. McCain “is always right and wants to have troops in 15 countries…”

That’s just the tip of the iceberg. When Kelly showed clips of Paul criticizing Savannah Guthrie, telling her how to conduct an interview, Sen. Paul looked petulant and thin-skinned. While there’s no denying the fact that Sen. Paul is more open-minded than President Obama, there’s no denying the fact that he doesn’t like getting challenged, either.

Right after Kelly’s interview with Sen. Paul, she interviewed Dana Perino, who had some great advice for Sen. Paul. Ms. Perino said he should put the tapes in of his interview with Savannah Guthrie and the CNBC anchor where his thin skin showed the most. Ms. Perino said that his wife could point out things that he isn’t seeing and offer him an opinion of what comes across through a woman’s eyes. Perino wasn’t harshly critical. She simply offered constructive criticism.

Sen. Paul’s other ‘skin’ problem that showed during his interview was his constant insistence that he was the only Republican who fought against bombing Libya. He wasn’t. I’m hard-pressed to think of a single Republican who thought invading Libya was a good idea. Sen. Paul insisted that he was right about Syria and ISIS and that only a matter of degrees separated Republicans from President Obama.

That’s warped thinking. President Obama didn’t want to take any action. That’s because he’s a pacifist as is Sen. Paul. That’s what Sen. Paul meant when he said that he didn’t support arming the Free Syrian Army. Sen. Paul didn’t think ISIS was that big of a threat until after they beheaded the reporters. Then his attitude changed. That’s what happened with President Obama. It sounds like Sen. Paul is more like President Obama than the neocons supposedly are.

Tonight, Charles Krauthammer will be part of the Special Report All-Star Panel, along with Judge Napolitano and Juan Williams. It’ll be interesting to see if Bret Baier gives Charles the opportunity to defend himself against Sen. Paul’s charges. If it doesn’t happen there, it’ll happen somewhere. That’s something Sen. Paul should fear because he’s a novelty item. He can’t afford taking a credibility hit from a respected conservative like Krauthammer.

If Sen. Paul doesn’t get control of himself, he won’t last long enough to be a flavor-of-the-month candidate. He’ll be able to stay in the race. It’s just that he’ll be treated like a pariah if he’s stripped of his credibility.

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I wish I could say that I’m surprised that the St. Cloud Times Editorial Board is recommending Republicans cave into the DFL’s transportation plan:

Finally and fortunately, Minnesotans have enough details from legislators and Gov. Mark Dayton to weigh in on what they want for transportation funding statewide in the next 10 years.

House Republicans this week put forth their proposal, which spends $7 billion through tapping the state surplus, borrowing, increased efficiencies and spending general-fund money now used in other state programs. It’s unclear which programs would be cut, but it amounts to $3 billion in 10 years. The plan does not raise taxes. It also does much less for public transit than Dayton’s plan.

I can’t dispute the fact that the Republicans’ plan doesn’t do much for “public transit.” I can’t deny it because it’s designed not to do much for “public transit.” The GOP plan tells the Met Council that it’s responsible for metro transit.

That’s only fair because light rail isn’t a big thing in outstate Minnesota. If the Twin Cities wants light rail, let the Twin Cities fund that.

Here are some suggestions to make this much-needed initiative a reality by session’s end in mid-May:

New revenues (also known as taxes and user fees) are more forthright and stable than funding shifts (aka cutting other programs.) Higher taxes and fees, which admittedly nobody likes, clearly identify who will pay them. Shifting $3 billion from unidentified state programs not only creates unintended consequences for residents with no stake in transportation, but future legislators could easily trump these choices, further delaying much-needed improvements.

Contrary to Rep. Thissen’s spin, there aren’t any funding shifts in the Republicans’ transportation plan. The Republicans’ plan proposes dedicating the sales tax on auto parts, car rentals and car leases for fixing roads and bridges. Those existing taxes would be part of the Transportation Stability Fund.

In the latest KSTP-SurveyUSA poll, 75% of Minnesotans said that they didn’t want a tax increase to be part of the transportation plan. Republicans shouldn’t cave on this. If the DFL wants to fight an election over this, I’d just tell the DFL that we’re willing to fight that fight anytime anywhere.

Compromise isn’t necessarily a virtue. Doing what the vast majority of people want is a virtue.

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The SCTimes: Community Watchdog Redux?
by Silence Dogood

On February 23, 2015 Laura M. King, Vice Chancellor of Finance and Chief Financial Officer for MnSCU testified before the Ways and Means Committee in the Minnesota House with Chairman Knoblach.

http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/htv/programa.asp?ls_year=89&event_id=880862

In her testimony relating to the Composite Financial Index (CFI), she stated:

The trends for the universities is concerning.”

Vice Chancellor King also stated that we are:

“very engaged with the campuses from a planning standpoint.”

“On a scale from 1 to 5, we want to be in the 3 range.” (referring to the CFI)

Ms. King later mentioned four MnSCU universities by name—Metropolitan, St. Cloud State University, Southwest, and Mankato. As a result of their poor financial performance they were each being required to produce a “Financial Recovery Plan.”

Later in her testimony, she stated:

“In the case of St. Cloud State, umm…they had operating losses in Fiscal 14…umm. were pretty substantial.”

As shown in budget documents released by the SCSU administration last Fall, SCSU had a deficit of $708,000 for FY14:

In a public Town Hall meeting, President Potter stated that the $708,000 deficit for FY14 was due because of last year’s cold winter requiring an additional expenditure of $700,000 for heat. Clearly, President Potter did not want to mention the $1,200,000 loss on the Coborn’s Plaza Apartments in FY14 and instead wanted to blame the weather for the deficit.

In Laura King’s words, the “operating losses in Fiscal 14…umm. were pretty substantial.” I’m not really sure that anyone familiar with budgets would say that a loss of $708,000 out of a total operating budget of $233,152,000 would be described as substantial—especially when you are required to keep a minimum of 5% of your budget in reserve, which in this case would amount to over $11,600,000.

The following document was released in January 2015, to assist in planning for SCSU’s “Financial Recovery.”

This documents shows a deficit in the Net Operating Income for FY14 totals $11,555,000. Perhaps as Laura King might say, $11,555,000 is “pretty substantial.” The difference between a loss of $708,000 and $11,555,000 is, by anyone’s definition, indeed “pretty substantial!”

It has been said by members of the administration that you have to “understand” that these documents can’t be compared because they contain different information. This is a fairly common trick when someone asks a question that you don’t want to answer; just deflect the question by saying that it’s ‘complicated’ or that they just don’t ‘understand.’ Wouldn’t it be important to have documents that clearly show SCSU’s budget deficit? However, one thing is clear, based on MnSCU’s CFI, SCSU is financially in pretty bad shape. The figure below shows a plot of SCSU’s CFI over time:

The two-year decline from a CFI of 3.58 in FY12 to a value of 0.07 in FY14, is a decline of 3.51 and might be a MnSCU record! Unfortunately, it’s probably not a record that will make it into a University News Release any time soon and those SCTimes’ watchdogs might just think a loss of $11 million in net operating income is a rounding error not worthy of sniffing out.

Last night on the Kelly File, Megyn Kelly and Charles Krauthammer had a great discussion on President Obama’s imminent executive order that would prevent authorities from deporting Hispanics fitting a certain description. First, here’s the video of the interview:

Here’s the key part of the interview:

“Look, I believe it is an impeachable offense,” Krauthammer told Kelly. “If the circumstances were different, if we were at the beginning of a presidency, if we hadn’t had years when the Congress has been supine and unresponsive at other grabs of their authority by the executive–like Obama unilaterally changing Obamacare after it was passed about 30 times with no response from the Congress–the same as Obama essentially re-writing some of the drug laws.

“This idea of prosecutorial discretion is really a travesty. It is intended for extreme cases. For a case where you want to show mercy for an individual or two where it’s an unusual incident, unusual circumstances and you say, okay, we’re going to give this person a pass. It was never intended to abolish a whole class of people subject to a law and to essentially abolish whole sections of a law. And that’s exactly what’s happening here.”

When statutes are drafted, the legislative language often has descriptions of who’s subject to specific parts of the law. That’s especially true with income tax codes, where the language must include a description of who pays what tax rate. If they didn’t include that description, the legislation wouldn’t apply to anyone or it would apply to everyone.

The only constitutionally-sanctioned remedy for what President Obama wants to do is to work with Congress to change the United States’ immigration statutes. Therein lies the problem. President Obama doesn’t play well with others. He doesn’t even get along with Harry Reid, much less with Mitch McConnell or John Boehner.

At the end of the interview, this interesting exchange took place:

MEGYN KELLY: What would happen, Charles, in this country if we had a Republican president who said, ‘you know what? I’m gonna use my prosecutorial discretion to just not go after those who harass women going into abortion clinics. I realize that there are laws on the books that say we should go after them but I just see them as worthy of my mercy and I tried to push a bill through Congress but those darn Democrats wouldn’t allow it. So with the stroke of my pen, I’m now gonna say we’re just not going to prioritize those prosecutions…’ This may be a precedent that the left might not want to set
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: Well, the example I like to use, let’s say you get a Republican president who says ‘I’ve tried to get the abolition of the capital gains tax because it’s hurting our economy but the congress simply won’t cooperate and I will not wait so I have issued an executive order that the IRS will no longer collect capital gains taxes or pursue anyone who doesn’t pay them.’ Everyone would say that this is obviously a breech of the Constitution and it would be an impeachable offense.

They’re both right. There’s no question whether the left is willing to transfer large parts of the legislative branch’s authority to the executive branch. They did that with the ACA and with Dodd-Frank. There’s no question, either, about whether President Obama sees himself as an autocrat. Finally, there’s no question that these Democrats are willing to ignore their responsibility to defend their branch of government against intrusion by the other branches of government.

The only positive that’ll come from this is that President Obama’s executive order is politically stupid. If he signs that executive order, Democrats will be criticized as being anti-law enforcement and pro-chaos. Then they’ll be tarred and feathered for looking the other way when laws were being broken just because the man who broke the laws was from their political party.

This isn’t a solution to a real problem but it is a political headache for Democrats.

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The biggest takeaway from the Strib’s latest Minnesota Poll article is that Jeff Johnson has cut Gov. Dayton’s lead in half:

Gov. Mark Dayton maintains a lead over Republican Jeff Johnson in a new Star Tribune Minnesota Poll, but Johnson gained some ground while Dayton’s support stayed flat.

The poll taken Oct. 20-22 shows Dayton leading Johnson, 45 percent to 38 percent, with Independence Party candidate Hannah Nicollet at 5 percent. In September, the poll showed Dayton at 45, Johnson at 33 and Nicollet at 1 percent. With Election Day just over a week away, the DFL governor has shown a consistent polling advantage.

More Minnesotans also now say they have made up their minds about the race, with 10 percent still undecided, compared to 20 percent five weeks ago. They would have to break in large numbers for Johnson if he is to overcome Dayton’s lead.

Jeff Johnson is still fighting an uphill fight. Still, he’s got to be happy that he’s closing the gap while he’s getting better name recognition.

Johnson’s campaign has leveled charges of incompetence against Dayton, and spokesman Jeff Bakken said the Star Tribune poll shows Johnson has room to catch up and pass Dayton amid a national political climate that Republicans see as favorable. “All the momentum in this race is on Jeff’s side, and the result is going to come down to turnout,” Bakken said. “And in the midterm election in this political environment, we like Jeff’s odds.”

The DFL’s GOTV operation is generally thought of as being superior to the GOP’s GOTV operation. This election will tell the tale of whether those reputations are deserved or not. It wouldn’t surprise me if the GOP’s GOTV operation performed better than expected.

Today marks the start of the final sprint to the finish line. Thanks to these poll results, it’s likely to be an interesting finish.

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Recently, I got another smear campaign mailer from the DFL smearing Jim Knoblach. It isn’t shocking that the DFL is into smearing Republicans. It’s that the DFL’s mailer has a picture of a senior citizen with the caption “Tell Jim Knoblach to keep his hands off our Social Security and Medicare.”

It’s painfully obvious that the DFL knows that state legislators don’t have anything to do with Medicare or Social Security. Just because the DFL is without character and can’t be shamed because they don’t have a conscience, that doesn’t mean that they’re stupid.

They’re just disgustingly unprincipled and utterly without virtue.

While it’s true that Jim Knoblach supported giving people the option of putting a portion of their FICA taxes into a government-approved equity account when he ran for Congress in 2006, that’s utterly irrelevant in this race. Jim Knoblach, if he’s elected, will never cast a vote on Social Security or Medicare because they’re federal programs.

This DFL’s intent with this mailer is to scare senior citizens into voting for Zach Dorholt. If’s apparent that the DFL doesn’t care that it’s fearmongering at its worst. It’s important to remember what Howard Dean said after being elected chair of the DNC:

It’s a battle between good and evil…and we’re the good.

In Dean’s mind, the ends justified the means. If that meant smearing people with lies, that’s the path he’d take without hesitation. That’s the mindset that Ken Martin brought with him from ABM to the DFL.

In Martin’s mind, the only thing that matters is winning elections and checking items off the DFL’s ideological checklist. It’s irrelevant if it helps Minnesotans. It’s only relevant if it makes their special interests’ lives better.

The DFL insists that it’s for the little guy. That’s BS and it’s verifiable. The Metrocrat wing of the DFL, made up mostly by plutocrats and elitists, has done everything to prevent PolyMet from getting built. If the DFL cared about Iron Range voters, they wouldn’t say that building the mine is important but dragging the regulatory review for 9 years is more important.

If the DFL cared about the little guy, they wouldn’t have shoved forced unionization onto child care providers.

Zach Dorholt voted for the forced unionization of child care providers. He voted for major business-to-business sales tax increases and the Senate Office Building. After the session, he caught hell from St. Cloud businesses for creating these new taxes. These businesses lobbied him hard during the session. He ignored them then. It wasn’t until after the session that he started listening to these businesses.

Dorholt is chair of the House Higher Ed Committee. That’s a position of authority yet he hasn’t lifted a finger to investigate the wasteful spending at MnSCU’s Central Office nor has he looked into the financial mismanagement at SCSU. Despite the fact that SCSU is facing $8,000,000-$10,000,000 of budget cuts this year and despite the fact that the Potter administration hasn’t published a budget report yet, Zach Dorholt hasn’t looked into these issues.

All he cares about is whether he can report that he increased spending on Higher Education.

How does that qualify as helping the little guy or middle class families? That’s before asking Mr. Dorholt how the Dayton-Dorholt-DFL budget is creating part-time, low wage jobs helps grow the economy from the middle class out?

The truth is that the DFL doesn’t care about prosperity. They don’t care about great jobs throughout the state. They don’t care if public institutions foolishly spend the taxpayers’ money. How dare they send out mailers that frighten senior citizens while smearing a great policymaker.

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If there’s anything that’s obvious about this article, it’s that the Burke campaign and the security detail for Michelle Obama went too far last week:

Political campaigns make otherwise reasonable people go over the edge. The latest example surrounds Michelle Obama’s campaign visit to Milwaukee this week in support of Mary Burke, who is trying to unseat incumbent Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

A Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter, Meg Kissinger, was trying to interview people who were attending the event when campaign workers stopped her.

This sounds too much like a totalitarian state:

The partisan attacks worry Burke campaign spokesman Joe Zepecki. He called the Journal Sentinel newsroom and tried to have the mention of press restrictions deleted from the online news article. Editors refused. Zepecki then complained bitterly in emails to Kissinger and said it wasn’t news, nor was her inclusion in the article that people at the rally who needed to sit down were having trouble finding chairs.

Zepecki later told me no other reporters mentioned any of this in their news accounts. That just proves Kissinger is the only one who got it right. We can’t have politicians or their staffs dictating how news is covered, because you know they’d love to.

There’s a difference between controlling the message and controlling the reporters. Zepecki tried controlling the reporters. There’s no justification for that.

Fans of press freedom, and, yes, there are some left, praised Kissinger for exposing such a ridiculous rule and then interviewing anyone she darn well pleased. Opponents of Burke seized the opportunity to say, see, she would make a lousy governor who will keep all the people’s quotes for herself.

This isn’t proof that Burke would make a lousy governor. It’s proof that her first instinct is to control the media. That’s un-American. It shouldn’t be tolerated.

Thankfully, Ms. Kissinger didn’t let the thugs masquerading as campaign workers prevent her from telling the world what happened.

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