The content of this article is disgusting from the standpoint that it questions documented fact. Here’s what I’m talking about:

Lyle Fleck doesn’t appreciate being called a liar.

That was Tuesday’s message from the president of the union for workers at Sartell’s shuttered Verso paper mill and other mill workers who appeared in a recent campaign ad for congressional candidate Jim Graves, DFL-St. Cloud.

The ad criticized Graves’ opponent, Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., for what the workers call her failure to personally reach out to them after an explosion halted most mill operations on Memorial Day. Verso announced in August that it would permanently close the century-old paper mill, leaving more than 250 employees out of work.

At Tuesday afternoon’s event, the mill workers in attendance reacted to Bachmann labeling the Verso ad “a lie” in an interview with the Times last month.

Mr. Fleck needs to wise up. KSTP put Mr. Graves’ ad through their Truth Test to see if the claims in it were accurate. KSTP’s final grade for the ad was a D:

“Bachmann was in the district on Memorial Day weekend in Stillwater attending events when the explosion happened but didn’t go to the scene. However, a Bachmann staff member was there within an hour.

The ad said Mrs. Bachmann didn’t care about the workers. That’s verifiably false. Mr. Graves knows it’s verifiably false. Mr. Fleck knows that’s verifiably false.

First, a Bachmann office staffer there in less than an hour on a Sunday morning of Memorial Day Weekend. Second, that was just the first of many contacts between Rep. Bachmann’s office and plant workers:

“Meanwhile, the Bachmann staff member said she attended meetings at Sartell City Hall focused on the Verso plant on June 4th and June 11th. On August 2, Verso announced that it wouldn’t re-open. Later that day, Bachmann issued a press release offering assistance to the city and workers.

Within hours of Verso announcing their decision, Rep. Bachmann issued a statement offering assistance to the city and the workers. Mr. Fleck insists this was a PR stunt:

Fleck called that meeting “an orchestrated photo-op” and said he and other mill workers were miffed that union officials weren’t invited. “The whole thing seemed staged, too little, too late,” Fleck said.

If Fleck is truly upset with politicians doing photo ops, then Sen. Klobuchar should top that complaint list, not Rep. Bachmann. I know the staffers in the Bachmann congressional office. I’ve attended some of their meetings with the community.

They’re detail-oriented and thoughtful. They stay at the event or meeting until the last question is answered. In short, they’re consummate professionals.

Mr. Fleck needs to get his head screwed on straight. Rep. Bachmann didn’t call him a liar, as he insists. Rep. Bachmann simply agreed that many of the statements in Mr. Graves’ ad weren’t accurate. That’s a far cry from calling Mr. Fleck a liar.

It isn’t a stretch to wonder if Mr. Fleck and/or Mr. Graves are engaging in a bit of political gamesmanship. Graves certainly has the motivation after having his content ad given a D for content. Mr. Fleck certainly has ample motivation for such a PR stunt because unions have frequently fought with Rep. Bachmann because she didn’t hesitate in saying she wouldn’t support EFCA, aka Card Check. Card Check was the unions’ highest priority in a generation or more.

Finally, it’s interesting that this is the first complaint I’ve heard about Rep. Bachmann’s attentiveness to constituent services. Purely by coincidence, the first complaint about Rep. Bachmann’s office is part of a paid political ad by her opponent.

What are the odds?

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2 Responses to “How low will Graves campaign stoop?”

  • Jethro says:

    Fleck called that meeting “an orchestrated photo-op” and said he and other mill workers were miffed that union officials weren’t invited. “The whole thing seemed staged, too little, too late,” Fleck said.

    So…Bachmann is solely responsible for inviting union officials? Obviously, Amy Klobuchar is the queen of photo ops. Where is the outrage? Is the Times that desperate to make their own news?

  • Gary Gross says:

    Jethro, I’d put the blame on the unions, not on the Times. WJON carried the same story.

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