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Dem Challenger: I'll take down Michele Bachmann

Meet the woman who insists she can take down Michele Bachmann.

Dem State Senator Tarryl Clark says she's planning a campaign against Bachmann that will turn her national notoriety against her: Bachmann has spent so much time making extreme statements and cultivating her national profile with speeches at Tea Party and GOP rallies that she's lost touch with her constituents.

"Michele seems to be more focused on creating headlines and controversy than on doing things for the people of this district," Clark told me in an interview just now. "She has been out there making outrageous claims that don't bear up under scrutiny. She's been off promoting herself."

Is Bachmann vulnerable? Republicans scoff at the idea. They point out that Clark is way too liberal for Bachmann's Catholic, socially conservative, heavily Republican district and that Bachmann defeated a more moderate challenger two years ago -- in a landslide Dem year. Bachmann's national Tea Party celebrity means she'll raise huge sums for the race.

But Clark insists voters are in a far different place today than two years ago, because of the economy and rising frustration with incumbents.

"People are struggling," Clark says, citing the district's high unemployment rates. Clark will paint Bachmann as a tool of special interests, arguing that she's taken huge sums from "Big Oil, Wall Street and insurance companies" while she's "going around the contry promoting herself and her personal agenda."

Clark faces an uphill climb. Minnesota Senator Al Franken only got a third of the vote in Bachmann's district last year. But Clark insists the district's residents are not party-line voters.

"It's a district that votes for a person over a party," Clark says, pointing out that Dem Senator Amy Klobuchar has won there. "I can tell you that I've won with independents and Republicans and Democrats."

Clark is striking a moderate posture: She says Obama's health plan has "flaws" and wasn't willing to say she backed the American Power Act, the energy reform bill working its way though the Senate, calling instead for "common sense" efforts to take on polluters.

Clark brushed off the notion that Bachmann's national profile would give her a lopsided financial advantage. "Because people are struggling so much in the district, we've been outraising Michele with small donors," Clark says. "I'm confident we're going to have he resources we need to win."

The DCCC has moved Clark into their "red to blue" program, arguing that they do view Bachmann as vulnerable. But it remains to be seen whether the DCCC will invest any real cash in the race, which would indicate that they genuinely view the race as winnable.

Republicans view this as highly unlikely. But it's not completely outside the realm of possibility that this could emerge as a semi-contested race. As steep a climb as it is, it's clear that in Clark, Dems have themselves a serious challenger.

By Greg Sargent  |  June 16, 2010; 12:42 PM ET
Categories:  2010 elections , House Dems  
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Next: Cantor rips Van Hollen for citing BP on DISCLOSE act


New meme emerging:

Bachmann has the hots for Sarah.

So, now that the 20 billion escrow is being established, does this mean Obama is now strong like bull or what?

Strong like bull new meme unfolding as we speak among DC'ites.

At least that's what I hear everyone talking about. It's the new thing emerging, hot off the press.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | June 16, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

It would be much more satisfying to have MN lose a seat after the post-census redistricting, and have that seat be Bachman's, given her buffoonery regarding the census.

Posted by: oldabandonedbeachhouse | June 16, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Bachmann has never won with a majority, only a plurality. This is totally gettable.

Posted by: adammc123 | June 16, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Having Bachmann in congress showing the GOP as crazy and extreme helps the Dems overall.

Posted by: Rokker | June 16, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Rokker, wait until Republicans control the committees. There will be endless investigations and hearings from the Bachmann's, King's and the Issa's.

If they get a majority, this country will become even more ungovernable than it is now. They will not rest until they are back in power.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | June 16, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Reid has withdrawn cloture on the jobs/tax extenders/unemployment extension bill, signalling that he doesn't have the votes to pass it.

Posted by: obrier2 | June 16, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse


NYT is reporting that while negotiations are still going seems that BP has agreed to setting up a $20 billion dollar escrow fund to be managed by a third party.


also, since everyone and their mother are gleefully comparing Obama to Carter, Jed Lewison did a quick rundown of the two...and does a good job framing why Obama may know what he's doing.

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | June 16, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Get the 20 Billion from BP now, and put it in escrow, so they can not touch it.

If that is not done fast, BP just might end up filing for Bankruptcy Protection. Their credit ratings have been lowered to junk bond status, so they may have trouble surviving. They could very easily collapse, just like Enron did.

President Obama, take the money and stash it now.

Posted by: Liam-still | June 16, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Grizzly Sarah Found A Way To Rescue The Gulf Coast.

Quitter Palin has come up with the solution on how to plug the leak.

She wants to find a Little Dutch Boy, with Gills, and send him down, to stick his finger in the pipe leak.

Posted by: Liam-still | June 16, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

" By AMY TEIBEL, Associated Press Writer Amy Teibel, Associated Press Writer – 28 mins ago

JERUSALEM – Israel is likely to significantly ease the land blockade of Gaza in coming days in an effort to blunt the international outcry over its deadly raid on a blockade-busting flotilla, officials said Wednesday."

Posted by: Liam-still | June 16, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

adammc123 writes
"Bachmann has never won with a majority, only a plurality. This is totally gettable."

In that vein, the proper strategy for Clark is not to try to peel off Bachmann voters, but to get half of the 10% that voted for non-factor Anderson in '08. Anderson has two things going for him: 1) his last name (yes, some Minnesotans are so uninformed as to vote for the more Swedish sounding surname) and 2) the IP label next to his name. As far as taking on Bachmann, yes paint her as ineffective, as an uncompromising idealogue who has accomplished nothing for MN-6. But there is a significant base of Bachmann voters - perhaps nearly all of them - that are unconvertible. If Clark can get half of the voters who went for the guy who doesn't have a campaign, she'll pull out a 2 pt win over Bachmann. But if Anderson gets 10% again, Bachmann keeps the seat.

Posted by: bsimon1 | June 16, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Dems to Boehner: Put Up or Shut Up

Democrats are asking House Minority Leader John Boehner to put his money (or at least his signature) where his mouth is. Boehner took to the Sunday shows this weekend to say he supports forcing BP to pay for the full cost of damages in the Gulf, but has been largely mum on how, legislatively, he proposes to do that. Now, Reps. Rush Holt (D-NJ) and Jay Inslee (D-WA), authors of a bill that would retroactively and permanently remove the $75 million liability cap on BP and other oil companies, are inviting him to join their efforts

In a letter delivered to Boehner today, which was passed my way, Holt and Inslee question Boehner's commitment to forcing BP to pay up, and suggest a way for him to clear the air. "[W]e ask that you personally state whether you will lead your caucus in supporting legislation to amend the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 to require BP to pay, in a timely manner, for all containment and removal efforts and reasonable damages resulting from this disaster."

Posted by: suekzoo1 | June 16, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse


While I certainly understand the mentality of "get the money now", to do so would basically be causing the collapse of BP.

Instead, sign a contract for the funds to be paid in some timeframe. This gives BP the slight flexability of managing the cashflow, so they can at least attempt to stay together. If they don't, then the Government is first in line to take their assets and sell theme to the highest bidder until we hit the $20 billion mark.

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | June 16, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse


See, I think this was the wrong tactic. I don't think the forceful attack letter is the best way to undermine him on this one. I would have liked to see a semi-mocking kindness resposne.

"We'd like to thank Rep. Boehner for admitting that the oil co. liability cap needs to be removed. It took guts, considering the heavy sway the oil industry has over the Republican caucus, for him to reach across the aisle and support this move. We've introduced legislation that encapsulates Rep. Boehner's ideas, and look forward to his support for this bill. We also hope that more of his Republican colleagues show the same kind of courage, and stand with their leader for removing the caps on oil companies' liability for spills."

Something along those lines.

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | June 16, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

From BP financial statements, at the end of 2009, they had $8.1 billion in cash, and an additional $29 billion in accounts receivable (payments due them), plus $16.8 billion in inventory. I will be interested to see if they pledged their receivables as collateral in trust.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | June 16, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

The Survival Of BP is secondary to making them pay up now. They have a history of not doing what they promised to do, and if they make it onto Bankruptcy Island, we will never see that 20 Billion. Guess who then picks up the tab.

You are falling for that same old "too big to fail" BS again.

If they fail, it is because they caused a massive disaster. Take the money now. They just paid out a huge amount in dividends, instead holding on to it, to ride out the storm.

Let me remind BP, with an old adage, from their homeland.

You were Penny Wise, and Pound Foolish.

You cut corners, and took big risks, just to save a penny, and now all your Pounds are lost.

Another apt old adage:

For the want of a penny worth of tar, the boat was lost.

Posted by: Liam-still | June 16, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Obama news conference just started, fyi.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | June 16, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse


Financial and legal framework.

$20B Escrow not headed by BP or govt.

BP agreed to $100M fund for oil workers put out of work by moratorium.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | June 16, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

All, check out Eric Cantor's latest claim that Dems are politicizing the spill:

Posted by: Greg Sargent | June 16, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

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