Giuliani: Coleman is proven
By Scott Wente
St. Paul Capitol Bureau
BLOOMINGTON, Minn. - An experienced leader belongs in the U.S. Senate, not someone needing on-the-job training, Rudy Giuliani told Minnesota Republicans.
Sen. Norm Coleman has demonstrated leadership both as a former mayor and in his current position, and he deserves a second Senate term, Giuliani said Thursday as he kicked off two days of campaigning with Coleman.
Giuliani, the former New York City mayor praised for his efforts following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, said Coleman learned the importance of getting things done when he was St. Paul mayor. The two met during that time.
"Norm has taken that with him to the United States Senate; he has to produce," Giuliani told Coleman supporters gathered at a Bloomington hotel. "He works hard for the people of Minnesota, and he has an authoritative voice in Washington with Republicans and with Democrats because he's done something really constructive before he was in the United States Senate."
Giuliani's Minnesota visit comes after Sen. Hillary Clinton campaigned Tuesday in the state for Coleman's Democratic challenger, Al Franken. Giuliani attended a Coleman fund-raising event Thursday night before hitting the campaign trail today. The two were scheduled to stop in Owatonna, Mankato and Rochester.
In a seven-minute speech Thursday, Giuliani did not mention Franken by name, but did refer to Coleman's Democratic challenger.
"It's not a game, it's not entertainment, it's not a joke," Giuliani said. "Government's for real."
Giuliani, who bowed out of the 2008 Republican presidential primaries after a poor early showing, told the Minnesota crowd that being a senator "is not an entry-level job." Coleman already has a record of accomplishment, he said.
"When he gets up in the United States Senate to speak, nobody's going to be laughing, nobody's going to be giggling," Giuliani said of Coleman. "Nobody's going to say, 'How did this guy get here?"
Coleman did mention Franken. The Republican said his opponent is "for all the right things in theory, but he's against them in practice."
Coleman cited Franken's support for renewable energy, but claim he would have voted against a 2005 energy bill. The senator also said Franken says he wants to help the middle class, but would have voted against an economic stimulus package.
"You just can't be against; leadership is about being for something," Coleman said. "You don't lead by saying no."
Democrats said Coleman has not said "no" enough to his own party. For someone who claims to work in a bipartisan way, Coleman too often has sided with the Bush administration and his own party on key issues, Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party spokeswoman Kelly Bjorklund said. She and other Democrats are following Coleman around Minnesota ahead of the Nov. 4 election, trying to pin him to President Bush.
Coleman called on his supporters Thursday to help him in the campaign's final days. He asked that they make phone calls and talk to neighbors.
"You do that and I will give you six years of the kind of leadership in the United States Senate that will make you proud to be a Minnesotan and proud to be an American," he said.
Other mayors who joined Giuliani at the rally said they are pleased with Coleman's work in Washington. They said he responds to their needs.
Willmar Mayor Les Heitke, who is part of a Minnesota Mayors for Coleman Coalition announced Thursday, said the Republican senator has visited his city frequently. Heitke said Coleman has helped secure federal funding for important local projects such as an airport and wastewater treatment plant.
"I like the way Norm works," Heitke said. "I like his responsiveness, and he's very consistent and he's very professional."
Stillwater Mayor Ken Harycki said he was glad to attend the rally after Coleman's campaign invited him. Harycki said Coleman helped restore funding for a Stillwater levee project and has met with the mayor and other Stillwater officials during their three trips to Washington to lobby for local projects.
"I wouldn't do it for too many other people, but he's been responsive to us and since he's been responsive, I feel it's the least I can do," Harycki said. "And I do believe in the guy."
Other members of the Mayors for Coleman Coalition include: Bob Marvin, Warroad; Brad Walhof, Walker; Mark Voxland, Moorhead; Jim Millis, Grand Rapids; Dan Ness, Alexandria; Bob Brynes, Marshall; Ed Williams, Elbow Lake; Jim Ellefson, Ada; Eric Seanger, Melrose; Evelyn Larsen, Grand Marais; Glenn Weibel, Cannon Falls; Brian Zeller, Lakeland; Jeff Pelowski, Roseau; Rick Rone, Baudette; Gary Revier, Redwood Falls; Jane Robbins, Pine City; Jeff Backer, Browns Valley; Bruce Ahlgren, Cloquet; Wayne Runningen, Pelican Rapids; and Fran Miron, Hugo.