With an insider’s eye, Hot Dish tracks the tastiest bits of Minnesota’s political scene and keep you up-to-date on those elected to serve you.

Contributors in Minnesota: Patrick Condon, Baird Helgeson, Patricia Lopez, Jim Ragsdale, Abby Simons, Rachel E. Stassen-Berger and Glen Stubbe. Contributors in D.C.: Allison Sherry, Corey Mitchell and Jim Spencer.

Posts about President Obama

Franken urges Department of Justice to focus on ISIL recruiting at home

Posted by: Abby Simons Updated: September 2, 2014 - 7:55 PM

Sen. Al Franken on Tuesday urged Attorney General Eric Holder to focus U.S. Department of Justice resources on recruitment at home by terror organizations--particularly in Minnesota, and expressed concern over the Obama administration's lack of action, according to a letter released Tuesday to the Star Tribune.

“I was troubled by the President’s recent suggestion that the Administration has not yet developed a comprehensive strategy to address the growing threat of ISIL’s activities in Syria,” Franken wrote in a letter dated Tuesday. “As you know, one aspect of that threat is ISIL’s efforts to recruit American and other Western citizens to join its forces."

The letter was drafted in the wake of news that a second American journalist, Steven Sotloff, was purportedly beheaded by members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and one week after former Robbinsdale Armstrong and Cooper student Douglas McArthur McCain was confirmed killed in Syria while fighting with ISIS, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). A second man, also from Minnesota, is believed to have been killed in Syria.

"One American who went to high school in Minnesota has been confirmed to have been killed in Syria while fighting with ISIL, and others have traveled there to fight with ISIL as well." Franken's letter continued. "We must act diligently and responsibly to prevent Americans from taking up arms with ISIL, or from reentering our country if they do.”

Franken also urged Holder to focus DOJ efforts where terrorism recruitment may be happening, such as Minnesota, and to prevent travel abroad by those suspected of joining ISIL.

“I understand the challenges posed by Americans who do not declare Syria as their destination and transit through other countries; nevertheless, the Justice Department, in coordination with other relevant agencies, should use its existing legal authorities to prevent Americans who intend to do serious damage to U.S. national security interests from reaching Syria or returning to the U.S. once they have done so.”

Read the letter here:

Franken Letter

Survey USA poll shows Dayton, Franken leading GOP challengers

Posted by: Patrick Condon Updated: August 26, 2014 - 8:03 PM

Both Gov. Mark Dayton and Sen. Al Franken are leading their Republican challengers, Jeff Johnson and Mike McFadden, in a new poll released this week. 

The SurveyUSA poll was commissioned by KSTP-TV. The poll of 600 likely voters was taken Aug. 8-21. 

In the governor's race, DFLer Dayton led Johnson, a Hennepin County Commissioner, 49 percent to 40 percent. Hannah Nicollet, the Independence Party's candidate, had support from 3 percent of respondents, while 5 percent were undecided.

Franken is sitting on an even wider lead over McFadden, a first-time candidate. Franken, first elected by an extremely thin margin in 2008, is backed by 51 percent of respondents compared to 42 percent for McFadden. The Independence Party's Steve Carlson was backed by 2 percent while 3 percent were undecided. 

The margin of sampling error in both cases was plus or minus 4.1 percent. 

Franken's approval rating in the poll was 56 percent positive, while 35 percent disapproved of his performance. But the news wasn't all good for Democrats: the poll found that 52 percent disapprove of President Barack Obama's performance, while just 38 percent approve. The margin of error in those cases was plus or minus 3.7 percent. 

Senate candidate McFadden delivers weekly Republican address

Posted by: Allison Sherry Updated: August 9, 2014 - 5:39 AM

WASHINGTON -- GOP Senate candidate Mike McFadden has been plucked to deliver the Republicans’ national weekly address — a sign establishment Republicans are grooming the political newbie and trying to garner him some name recognition.

The Republican response is customary and runs along with President Barack Obama’s weekly radio address.

According to a copy of the prepared remarks, McFadden pushes a message of “independent leadership” in Washington. He touches on slimming down regulations, which he says would create more jobs. He also touts the importance of education as key to having a “highly-skilled workforce” that will move the economy forward.

McFadden’s remarks were recorded earlier in the week.

McFadden, who is challenging Democratic Sen. Al Franken in November, still faces a primary himself Tuesday against state Rep. Jim Abeler.

“This November presents a tremendous opportunity for America to elect new leaders,” McFadden said.

Obama will address why he authorized air strikes in Iraq this week.

According to the White House Saturday: "The president detailed why he authorized two operations in Iraq -- targeted military strikes to protect Americans serving in Iraq and humanitarian airdrops of food and water to help Iraqi civilians trapped on a mountain by terrorists."

Minnesota House members vote along party lines to sue President Obama

Posted by: Allison Sherry Updated: July 31, 2014 - 1:48 PM

WASHINGTON -- Minnesota's eight House members voted mostly like the rest of the U.S. House of Representatives Wednesday on a measure to sue President Barack Obama over executive powers -- the state's three Republicans supported it, the five Democrats voted against it.

At the heart of the House resolution, which authorizes GOP Speaker John Boehner to sue the president, is Obamacare. Republicans say the president has not adequately enforced the law, which they oppose, because his administration has delayed some parts of its implementation, including the requirement that employers provide health coverage.

Republican Rep. Erik Paulsen's spokesman sent over this statement Thursday:

"Congressman Paulsen is concerned about the continued growth of executive power and its impact on our political system. The vote made by the House seeks more accountability of the executive branch through this narrowly defined action. This is more about making sure the president – and any future president – is constitutionally required to faithfully execute our nation’s laws or go through Congress to have them changed."

Joining Paulsen in a yes vote were GOP Reps. Michele Bachmann and John Kline.

Democrat Rep. Betty McCollum said ahead of the vote she was going to vote "no on the Boehner lawsuit and will instead focus my energy on the needs of the families of the Fourth District."

Democratic Reps. Tim Walz, Keith Ellison, Collin Peterson and Rick Nolan also voted no.

"Republicans have failed to get their work done in Washington and they use stunts like this lawsuit to distract attention from that simple truth," McCollum said.

St. Paul radio host honored at White House

Posted by: Allison Sherry Updated: July 28, 2014 - 3:31 PM

WASHINGTON -- A St. Paul spiritual radio host received the National Humanities Medal at the White House Monday.

Krista Tippett hosts "On Being" a syndicated radio show exploring faith issues that broadcasts on more than 300 radio stations. Tippett was among a handful of artists, critics, historians and filmmakers who were honored by President Barack Obama Monday as Humanities and Medal of Arts winners.

Tippett gave an interview to the Star Tribune about her honor last week. She says she never interviews "sitting"politicians and didn't plan to press the president with any questions while in Washington today.

Among the other winners:

  • M.H. Abrams, Literary Critic, Ithaca, NY
  • David Brion Davis, Historian, Orange, CT
  • Darlene Clark Hine, Historian, Chicago, IL
  • Anne Firor Scott, Historian, Chapel Hill, NC
  • William Theodore De Bary, East Asian studies scholar, Tappan, NY
  • Johnpaul Jones, Architect, Bainbridge, WA
  • Stanley Nelson, Filmmaker, New York, NY
  • Diane Rehm, Radio Host, Washington, D.C.

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