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Norm Coleman: Buys His Own Suits, Vows No More Negative Ads

Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman (R) put to rest the question of who buys his suits. (REUTERS/Eric Miller )

After dodging questions all week and irking Minnesota political reporters, endangered Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.) finally answered the question today of whether one of his biggest donors bought suits for the senator.

"Nobody except my wife or me bought my suits," Coleman said unequivocally in a statement posted on his Senate reelection campaign's blog.

Why didn't he just say that in the first place, instead of repeatedly refusing to answer the question and whipping the Minnesota press corp into a mad feeding frenzy?

As you can see in this video, Minnesota reporters this week were outraged with the Coleman campaign for not giving a simple "yes" or "no" answer to the question of whether the donor bought the senator's suits. The video shows the campaign spokesman bobbing and weaving, and the press corps getting exceedingly agitated.

Coleman, who's running neck and neck with his Democratic challenger, the occasionally hot-headed comedian Al Franken, blamed "bloggers" -- a term he used in the pejorative sense -- for creating a bogus story.

The brouhaha developed over an online story in Harper's this week. Citing unnamed sources, the report said a big-time GOP donor and Minnesota businessman named Nasser Kazeminy bought "lavish clothing" for Coleman at Neiman Marcus. Just to review, Senate ethics rules permit gifts from friends valued less than $250. (Has anyone ever found a man's suit at Needless Mark-up for less than $250?)

Until today, Coleman and his campaign staff have refused to answer the question of whether Kazeminy bought clothes for the senator. When Harper's reporter Ken Silverstein repeatedly emailed Coleman's campaign spokesman to ask whether Kazeminy had ever bought clothing for Coleman, the spokesman wrote back each time, "As required, any gift Norm Coleman has received from his friends has been fully reported."

Coleman's unequivocal statement today that no one except himself or his wife bought his "suits" didn't refer to any other type of clothing. But he insisted, "If my friends have shared gifts with me and my family -- or I have shared gifts with them -- if they rose to the level of having to be reported -- they were reported."

Coleman also announced today that after he did some atoning on Yom Kippur Thursday, he has decided to suspend all negative campaign ads. At least the ones that say "I'm Norm Coleman and I approve this message."

"Legally I can't control ads from independent groups," Coleman explained. "I wish I could, if I could they would all be positive."

By Mary Ann Akers  |  October 10, 2008; 3:30 PM ET
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Yeah right. Months of nothing but garbage from him, and only now when he senses the tide is turning does he want to 'elevate' the discourse. Let's face it this guy is and has been little more than a political dog and pony show since his days a Democratic mayor of St. Paul. People outside of MN should make no mistake, Coleman epitomizes the idea of the pandering, career politician. In fact he's only a Senator at the moment because Rove told him to ditch his plans to run for Governor because the Republican Party needed him to shore up their numbers in congress. Had Wellstone not tragically passed away it's unlikely he would have eeked out his narrow victory back in '02.

At any rate people outside of MN should also know that Franken is actually a very intelligent, thoughtful guy. It's obvious when he speaks that he's a student of policy and he has a firm grasp on the issues. He'd make a very effective legislator. Let's hope he gets the opportunity to respresent MN in the Senate.

Posted by: Centient | October 10, 2008 4:17 PM | Report abuse

No doubt, he is saying he will stop all negative campaigns, because if this gets out, it will be most embarrassing !

Posted by: whoa | October 10, 2008 4:21 PM | Report abuse

"only now when he senses the tide is turning does he want to 'elevate' the discourse."

Senator Finger-in-the-wind stays true to form.

Posted by: bsimon | October 10, 2008 4:21 PM | Report abuse

He certainly looks pretty bent out of shape in the photo.

Although he does look good in his suit.

Posted by: Sam | October 10, 2008 4:28 PM | Report abuse

I'm no longer needing to think through how I'll vote this year: it's clear to me that the republicans have tossed ethics out the window. The "straight talk" of their lead person has long been abandoned, and those in the party are following him down into the muck of (a) Orwellian double-speak and sleight-of-hand rhetoric, and (b) bitter partisan smearing. He can't *legally* control ads of independent groups--true enough. But does he really think we're dumb enough not to see that he could request his supporters, firmly, to stop? Of course he could, but he won't. And his dodges about gifts, not to mention the use of the term "suit" to avoid mentioning clothes, smacks of the same rhetoric as John McCain when McCain claimed Obama's plans would increase small business tax revenues by 50%; the key term there is *revenues*--it's an overall amount that is radically weighted by the top-earning members of the small business category. 95% of small businesses will see their taxes reduced. Sleight-of-hand distortions from the company that Karl Rove built. Now we have the new version of the swift-boaters--those yelling about Ayers but not giving up any real information beyond innuendo. Just insane. "Country First"??? Not when you pick an evangelical dimwit with Cheney-like hunger for power as your running mate to succeed you when you die or get sick in office--that's *me* first, and to heck with the country. People: wake up and take back your country.

Posted by: A former independent | October 10, 2008 4:28 PM | Report abuse

It sounds like the Senator has plans for becoming a great politician by being economical with the truth.

Nasser Kazeminy may have bought "lavish clothing" for Coleman at Neiman Marcus, but the point is he wasn't regarded as one of the Senator's friends, and therefore the Senator's campaign statement is literally true:

"As required, any gift Norm Coleman has received from his friends has been fully reported."

Posted by: John Aidiniantz | October 10, 2008 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Country First seems to be the slogan of quislings.
Who paid for his teeth and hair? Interesting looking dude.

Posted by: Richard McDonough | October 10, 2008 4:56 PM | Report abuse

It sounds like you have some real gems running for Senate in Minnesota.

Posted by: Indy | October 10, 2008 5:14 PM | Report abuse

Senator Al Franken (D-Minn.) will do a fair and balanced job by the good citizens of the great state of Minnesota.

Posted by: Fred | October 10, 2008 5:20 PM | Report abuse

"nobody, except my wife bought me my suits" Why not just say something clearer, like "I paid for all my suits with my money". She might have "bought" them for you, but who paid for them? My old paperback Funk and Wagnalls has as the number two definition, "To obtain by some exchange or sacrifice".

Posted by: hatuxka | October 10, 2008 5:29 PM | Report abuse

What is wrong with his face?

Posted by: boynamedsioux | October 10, 2008 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Naked Truth:

The Sleuth and company now cause celebre starts from the
skin out; mindful of a Carol Bernett -Harvey Korman skit,
in which Carol is set upon at the door, manhandling her
in order to see the union label in her clothes. The Sleuth's
goal to get that personal and directed out at a Republican
is the height of hypocrisy.

Meanwhile the Sleuth and company doesn't seem interested
at pursuing the greatest synergistic theft in the history of the
world. In the end the media will carry the burden of the blame.

Posted by: 3rd-Party Advocate | October 10, 2008 7:29 PM | Report abuse

I watched the press conference with Senator Coleman's spokesman and I thought to myself, no wonder Americans are disgusted by politicians nowadays. It is this kind of political side shuffle that is absolutely infuriating and shame on the Senator or shame on his spokesman - whoever was responsible for this ridiculous and maddening display.

Posted by: Joel H Robbins | October 10, 2008 7:51 PM | Report abuse

Both Coleman and Franken have been running so many negative ads that it makes me want to vote for the Independence Party candidate.

Posted by: Dennis J. Wentzloff | October 11, 2008 1:09 AM | Report abuse

What kind of man buys clothes for another man?

What kind of man accepts clothes from another man?

Do we have another Jim McGreevey here?

Posted by: socalgal59 | October 11, 2008 11:52 PM | Report abuse

The short answer to the question why Coleman didn't say he buys his own clothes is that he doesn't know.

Like so many other fat cat incumbents, Coleman is accustomed to having others take care of his needs.

Like so many other fat cat incumbents, Coleman thinks our tax dollars are the funding mechanism for his upkeep.

Posted by: robert chapman | October 12, 2008 1:53 PM | Report abuse

SEN. Coleman you are a day late and a dollar short,you can no longer hide in
congress,and distract attention from
the real pending issue of your criminal
conduct and deeds,we in minnesota,are
requesting a new investigation,with the NTSB,this investiation will be about what
role you and pawnlendy played in sen.
wellstone conspiricy,also Gov.Callahan
of missouri,will be review,in addition
to that when will you face minnesota,
citzens and apology about your witch hunt
of the UN.SEC.GEN.yell how did that come
out?your time with Rush and jason lewis

Posted by: REDEEMER | October 13, 2008 9:26 AM | Report abuse

knowing coleman,he just want's to be nice
so that.our attention won't be on his relationship with sen Ted Stevens,
corruption trial,just another one of coleman sly attemps to distract from the
real issues concerning him,franken was
dead on with that fishy ad,but franken
always stop short of nailing this crook.

Posted by: detroit lakes | October 13, 2008 10:59 AM | Report abuse

There's a loophole in that suit denial somewhere. Maybe he bought him expensive clothing that wasn't suits, I don't know.

But there's no way Coleman used all that evasiveness to hide from nothing. There's something there, all right.

A senator with nothing to hide would never let his press guy act that shifty.

Posted by: Kevrobb | October 13, 2008 11:08 AM | Report abuse

I heard the sentorial debates on wcco
about a couple of weeks ago,and no one
ever mention about coleman's food for
oil scandal,i really felt cheated about that,detroit lakes is right about that,I mean six years coleman,and you have done
nothing,that you could point to except
the x center you we paided for in st.paul
Franken act's like he scared to bring
crap like this about Norm.damm Al we
know he's a thug but he probably be
going to prison with pawnlendy,cheney
and Rush,in the near future,screw a
adamm suit,snakes still look like a snake
with or without a damm suit,wow mary
is this the best you can blog.

Posted by: chief harrington | October 13, 2008 11:53 AM | Report abuse

I don't know which is more hilarious, the comedian Al Franken beating the pants off the Minn. GOP, or this guy Coleman...he really looks like a televangelist ala Earnest Angsly or Reverend Bouffant! Even more than ol' Bob Erlich!

Posted by: Donny | October 14, 2008 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Now if we can just do something about Michelle Bachman....

Posted by: Dale | October 14, 2008 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Every time I look at him, all I can see are his gigantic, bright-white fake teeth.

Were his teeth *so* bad that he had to have them filed down and capped? He looks ridiculous.

Posted by: Finn | October 14, 2008 11:08 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: Anonymous | October 14, 2008 11:23 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: Anonymous | October 14, 2008 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Coleman knows who the mole is! that for
sure buddy!

Posted by: chappie | October 14, 2008 1:36 PM | Report abuse

I heard that Mr.Powell is going to be
sen.ted stevens witness! is he for or against1 why do he keep throwing himself
on the repub's sword?why can't he see that they are playing him like a fiddle,you see
have they keep blameing obama for the guilt by assoc.well they will do the same with you sir! so whats good for the goose is good for the gender!


Posted by: skippy | October 14, 2008 1:42 PM | Report abuse

So long as we continue to spend our time worrying about the small stuff we are goign to keep missing the big stuff. ACORN, Troopergate, McCain's infidelities, Ayers, take your pick. It's like a magician getting you to watch the lovely assistant while the real action is taking place somewhere else.

Our economy is nothing but a house of cards being reinforced by some more cards but we are worried about some possible connection to an ex hippy, ex underground turned college professor, to Obama. We are involved in a war that has killed or permanently maimed tens of thousands of Americans, and drained our treasury, and we are worried about a 72 year old man's past sex life. Come on people, we are in deep deep ^%#$, lets worry about where our trillion dollar wor on terror has gotten us, or where our trillion dollar financial "rescue" plan is going to get us.

Do your research and vote with your brain, not your gut. Forget about the silly stuff and worry about whether or not America will still be a super power in 10 years.

Posted by: captbilly | October 14, 2008 6:26 PM | Report abuse

I once heard a scam "I bet you ten dollars I know where you got your shoes," (which depends on what the meaning of "is" is.) Answer: "On your feet." In this case "On his back, that's where he got his suits."

Posted by: aerospace | October 14, 2008 6:46 PM | Report abuse

Next time ask him if he wears suspenders, ok?
If he says yes, then refer him to Charlie Christ and Alfredo Gonzales for further
dressing down.


dePaul Consiglio

Posted by: dePaul Consiglio NYMetroCityState US | October 15, 2008 12:14 AM | Report abuse

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