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, J. Patrick Coolican, Patricia Lopez, Ricardo Lopez, Abby Simons, and Glen Stubbe. Contributors in D.C.: Allison Sherry, Jim Spencer and intern Beena Raghavendran.

Posts about President Obama

Minnesota delegation dates to the SOTU

Posted by: Allison Sherry Updated: January 19, 2015 - 3:28 PM

WASHINGTON -- From students to college presidents to business leaders, Minnesota members are bringing a diverse set of guests to tomorrow night's State of the Union address.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar will bring Minnesota State Community and Technical College (M State) President Peggy Kennedy.

Sen. Al Franken will bring University of Minnesota Student Body President Joelle Stangler

Rep. Tim Walz, D, First Congressional District will bring Army  Ranger Sgt. Thomas Block. He is a Minnesota native and was named Army Times Soldier of the Year for 2014.

Rep. John Kline, R, Second Congressional District -- Staffers did not respond to requests for comment on his guest.

Rep. Erik Paulsen, R, Third Congressional District will bring Minneapolis Police Sergeant Grant Snyder. He is a leader in the Minnesota law enforcement community in combating sex trafficking.

Rep. Betty McCollum, D, Fourth Congressional District will bring Matt Kramer, the president and CEO of the St Paul Area Chamber of Commerce.

Rep. Keith Ellison, D, Fifth Congressional District will bring Veronica Mendez, Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en Lucha’s (CTUL) Co-Director.

Rep. Tom Emmer, R, Sixth Congressional District will bring Brenton Hayden, who was named "Young Entrepreneur of the Year" and started his own business at 20 years-old. He is from central Minnesota.

Rep. Collin Peterson, D, Seventh Congressional District gave his extra ticket to North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp so she could bring a couple from her state. The two were among the first responders to a school bus-train crash site last year and helped rescue kids.

Rep. Rick Nolan, D, Eighth Congressional District will bring Sophie Cerkvenik of Britt, Minnesota. Sophie is the daughter of a lobbyist and a senior at Virginia High School. 

Minneapolis mom to sit with First Lady during State of the Union

Posted by: Allison Sherry Updated: January 19, 2015 - 8:41 AM

WASHINGTON -- Among the invited guests to sit in the First Lady's box at Tuesday's State of the Union address is Minneapolis mother Rebekah Erler, who had lunch with the president last summer after writing an inspiring letter to him.

Erler will sit with other guests -- DREAMers, students, small business owners and a couple other letter writers -- and First Lady Michelle Obama tomorrow night at the U.S. Capitol to hear the president deliver the annual address to Congress.

Erler wrote a letter to Obama last year detailing run-of-the-mill middle class struggles of a 36-year-old mother of two.

Erler and her husband moved to Minneapolis from Seattle after the housing crash, because her husband was struggling to find work as a construction worker. In Minnesota, her husband found a job in the re-modeling industry. Erler took out student loans to attend community college and is now an accountant. The two recently bought their first home in St. Anthony. She told the president she felt lucky they were both working, but week to week costs -- from groceries to day care -- were still hard.

The letter resonated with the president, who reads roughly ten letters a night from Americans who write to him. He flew out to Minneapolis for two days last June, had lunch with Erler and delivered two speeches, one on the economy.

From the White House on Monday: "Rebekah’s story is representative of the experiences of millions of resilient Americans: While our economy has made a strong comeback, too many middle class Americans families with two hardworking parents are still stretched too thin. That’s why the President spent a day in Minnesota with Rebekah, and that’s why he’s chosen to lift up her story again."

Iowa GOP poll: Romney leads, followed by Bush, Wisconsin's Walker

Posted by: Patrick Condon Updated: January 13, 2015 - 1:23 PM

A poll of registered Iowa Republicans released Tuesday shows that Mitt Romney, the party's 2012 presidential candidate now mulling another run in 2016, is currently leading a large field of prospective challengers. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker came in third, behind former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. 

The nation-leading Iowa caucus is still about a year off, but prospective candidates have already started to openly discuss the race. The Washington Post reported on Monday that Romney, a former governor of Massachusetts, is "almost certain" to run again, and has been discussing it with a number of close allies including former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty. 

The poll by Gravis Marketing, a Florida-based pollster, found Romney leading a field of eight other potential candidates with the support of 21 percent of respondents. "Romney's name recognition and the loyalty Republicans have for their last nominee give him an opportunity that no one else has," said Doug Kaplan, the manager partner of Gravis Marketing. 

Bush, the brother and son of the two former President Bushes, was next with 14 percent. Walker, recently re-elected to a second term as Wisconsin's governor despite a divisive first term that saw a failed recount attempt, was in third place with 10 percent. A number of additional potential candidates scored support below 10 percent. In order, they were: Mike Huckabee, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Paul Ryan, Chris Christie and Marco Rubio. Another 18 percent of poll respondents were undecided.

Ryan, a Wisconsin congressman, said Monday he would not run in 2016. The poll of 404 registered Iowa Republicans was taken Jan. 5-7. 

The Iowa caucuses are tentatively scheduled for Jan. 18, 2016, though that date is not final. In 2012, Romney finished a close second in Iowa to former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum. 

On the Democratic side, former Secretary of State and First Lady Hillary Clinton is seen as the prohibitive frontrunner. She has not made her candidacy official but is widely expected to announce this spring that she's running. 

Clinton lost the 2008 Iowa caucus to then-Sen. Barack Obama, delivering an ultimately fatal blow to her candidacy.

Bachmann urges Congress to defund Obama's immigration action

Posted by: Allison Sherry Updated: December 3, 2014 - 12:38 PM

WASHINGTON -- Calling President Barack Obama "lawless," Rep. Michele Bachmann said Wednesday that he had forgotten the voters' mandate a month ago and urged her colleagues to support a spending bill that would defund the implementation of his executive action on immigration reform.

"I want to know, have members of this body in the House of Representatives and the United States Senate forgotten the message that the American people loud and clear and unmistakably on Nov. 4?" Bachmann said. "Secure our borders, keep our families safe, uphold the laws of the land ... We stand in solidarity with the American worker and the American people and we are going to uphold ... the laws of the land."

The retiring congresswoman from the Sixth Congressional District shared a microphone outside the Capitol Wednesday with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King, among others. The gatherings had the trappings of a small Tea Party rally, with several people dressed in period clothing and carrying "Don't Tread on Me" flags.

Bachmann's message arrives at a time House and Senate leaders are trying to hammer out a plan to fund the federal government through next September. Senate Democrats are hoping for a "clean" spending bill that doesn't defund any aspect of the federal government, which technically runs out of money Dec. 11. GOP House Speaker John Boehner earlier this week indicated support for a clean bill, as well, but he vowed they would take a closer look at the president's executive action on immigration next year.

Cruz urged Congress to use its "power of the purse" to defund the president's plan. Several people stood by and yelled "monarchy!" in chorus and said they think Obama has overstepped his bounds. 

Rep. Bachmann goes to border to hear "firsthand" from agents about immigration proposal

Posted by: Allison Sherry Updated: November 21, 2014 - 5:01 PM

WASHINGTON -- In her final few weeks in office, Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann squeezed in a trip to the Mexican/American frontier Friday, a day after President Barack Obama unveiled a sweeping executive order that will protect millions of people from deportation.

Obama traveled to Las Vegas Friday to promote his order at a high school. Bachmann opposes the order, which she called amnesty that flouts the Constitution. She is traveling with Republican Rep. Steve King, of Iowa.

“While President Obama travels to Las Vegas to give another speech about his executive amnesty plan, I want to hear firsthand from those tasked with patrolling the border about their thoughts on the impact of the president’s actions," Bachmann said, in a statement. "We need to secure the border, stand up for American workers, and follow the Constitution—and the President’s unilateral decree undermines them all.”

The outgoing congresswoman sparked controversy this week in comments she made to the Washington Post calling immigrants "unskilled" and "illiterate". Bachmann tweeted out a link of the story and called it a "perfect example of the media sensationalizing a headline and creating a false perception."

*Will update with photos from the Bachmann/King trip as soon as they're made available by the congresswoman's office.*

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