A year out of the Senate, Norm Coleman's got a new job.
After spending several months largely away from the spotlight following the recount, the former senator greeted the Washington press on Monday to unveil his latest venture: a new "center-right" policy project.
The creation of two linked conservative organizations -- the "American Action Network" and "American Action Forum" -- modeled after the liberal Center for American Progress has been known for several weeks. Monday was merely a formal introduction.
The outline is essentially as follows: The "Forum" will be a think tank focused on policy work and the "Network" will be geared toward spreading that message through forums, education, advertising, etc (not to mention some possible lobbying). Coleman is the CEO of both organizations.
In addition to Coleman, Minnesotans are represented on the both boards of directors -- former Rep. Vin Weber and Metropolitan Council Chairman Peter Bell.
Coleman emphasized that this was not a "Republican organization, but a "center-right organization" -- with ideas that could also appeal to more conservative Democrats.
"If you line up 10 Minnesotans and 10 Texans and 10 New Yorkers, 10 Californians, we believe that six to seven of them without a doubt don’t want the government running General Motors and they don’t want the government running their health care," Coleman said.
The think thank arm will have fellows and conduct its own research, Coleman said, but will also be a "synthesizer and aggregator" of research emerging from other conservative think tanks such as the Heritage Foundation.
Coleman's Q&A with reporters also touched on the exact purpose of the 501c(4) arm of the organization (the "Network"). When asked if the Network would engage in political advertising, Coleman agknowledged that there may be some "direct advocacy."
"We will support center-right principles. Our focus is going to be about principles. We will support policymakers that espouse those principles," Coleman said, adding that it's not a major part of the organization's mission.
The Network might also engage in lobbying, but will he be doing direct lobbying or registering as a lobbyist? “I’m not going to be involved in lobbying, that’s not my purpose," Coleman said.
Their first event is tommorow and is focused on a rather timely topic: jobs.