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Norm Coleman Limping Along

Times keep getting tougher for Minnesota's Norm Coleman, the former and would-be senator who is caught in a political and legal limbo.

Coleman was spotted this morning struggling on crutches through the Northwest Airlines terminal at Washington's Reagan National airport, on his way, presumably, to catch the 8:30 a.m. flight back to the Minneapolis marathon, otherwise known as his recount court battle with comedian Al Franken.

We wondered if Coleman's battered condition was perhaps a sign that he's ready to surrender to Franken, who a three-judge panel has declared the victor in last November's Minnesota Senate race by 312 votes.

Or maybe not. We've learned that the (former?) senator has been quietly sidelined for a medical procedure. Coleman had arthroscopic surgery on one of his knees last week to repair an injury aggravated by all of his tennis playing, according to a source familiar with Coleman's condition.

These sure are trying times for Coleman, what with FBI agents hot on his trail, a heaping pile of legal bills and mounting pressure on his state's Republican governor, Tim Pawlenty, to urge Coleman to throw in the towel.

The always non-partisan Sleuth certainly wishes Coleman a speedy recovery from his medical woes.

By Mary Ann Akers  |  May 21, 2009; 9:35 AM ET
 
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Comments

Former. As it stands now, the election committee declared Franken as getting the most votes. That presumption must be rebutted for the Supreme Court of Minnesota to overturn. It's over. Why this unnecessary and misleading spin?

Posted by: eddiehaskel | May 21, 2009 9:53 AM | Report abuse

A candidate owes it to the voters to pursue every avenue to see the votes are counted fully and accurately. This election shows that the government is not very rigorous at vote counting. This is part of the decay of our society from its foolish choices 40 years ago. Coleman is doing the right thing. Doing what is right while being ridiculed by radical followers of the liberal establishment religion of equality is hard, but these days the two usually go together.

Posted by: OldAtlantic | May 21, 2009 10:31 AM | Report abuse

"The always non-partisan Sleuth..."

At least Mary Ann has a sense of humor. Keep in mind that journalists like Mary Ann (if you check in on her other posts from time to time) pat themselves on the back as 'non-partisan' if they ask a Democrat a hard question once every few years, to help 'balance' the daily bashing of Republicans that consumes them the rest of the time.


Posted by: dbw1 | May 21, 2009 10:35 AM | Report abuse

OldAtlantic, if you are referring to the election of Richard Nixon, I would have to agree with you 100%. Mr. Nixon's self-interested refusal to contest the election irregularities in the 1960 Presidential election showed him to be unworthy of the voters' trust.

Posted by: songquorunsunyen | May 21, 2009 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Al Franken is an American hero. With his rapier wit, keen sense of humor, intelligence and vision for a cleaner, brighter, safer more prosperous America and future, with this extra superior Democrat, the US Government for the first time in years will have some integrity back. Bush is a MORON, as filthy, greedy, lying, corrupt, evil, disgusting, foul smelling, ugly, ignorant, foolish, destructive, anti progressive, anti life, polluting, racist, traitorous, ill intentioned, war mongering, selfish, arrogant republicans all are. Thank God and Jesus Christ for United States Senator Al Franken, the good Lord has saved us and answered our prayers.

Posted by: Hillary08 | May 21, 2009 10:43 AM | Report abuse

I'm sure Mary Ann checks comments on her articles from time to time, so in case today is the day I have a question I have wondered about a few times over the past few months that maybe a woman like Mary Ann would be best suited to answer. It's off subject, but....

...I've often wondered why Sarah Palin wearing a $10,000 outfit is reported as a scandal, while at the same time (and sometimes in the same day) I'll see a glowing Camelot-is-back piece on Michelle Obama wearing a $25,000 gown to some dinner.

Where I grew up this would normally look like some sort of journalistic hypocrisy, but I'm sure there must be some more reasonable explanation.

As recently as a few days ago there was yet another follow-up article on the continuing "investigation" into the $150k spent on Sarah Palins wardrobe during the campaign. I'm not a fashion expert, but I would wager Michelle easily passed that mark with the closet full of gowns she wore throughout the single evening of innaugural balls.

Mary Ann?

Posted by: dbw1 | May 21, 2009 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Hillary08:

Labeling a bitter, intolerant, also-ran comedian an "American Hero" unravels years of media establishment efforts to convince us that Democrats are more intelligent than everyone else. Your statement goes a long way in convincing folks that quite the opposite may be the case...

Posted by: dbw1 | May 21, 2009 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Ann, I'm curious to your usage of "former" and "would-be". I think you meant to write "would have been" in this particular instance. Normie "would have been" senator had he actually won the election, which he did not. The use of "former" is far more appropriate at this juncture.
I'm also curious to the only title you utilized for, well let's face it, Senator Franken. Positions he's held other than comedian, include author, radio-show host, USO volunteer, and now senator.
If you're non-partisan, I'm an award winning author!

Posted by: skier1 | May 21, 2009 11:00 AM | Report abuse

@dbw1

The scrutiny over Palin's clothing was the accusation that it was bought with donations to the GOP.

The Obamas are wealthy, and for inauguration, can't really fault her for wanting to go extravagant and really enjoy herself. Maybe I'm wrong, but her conventional clothing is from J.Crew, or so she says.

This would be much more of a non-story if Coleman didn't get up on his pedestal and the beginning of the recount and tell Franken to do the right thing and concede. Now, after losing the recount and the first appeal he is still committed to fighting it. You can't just say one thing and do another when the wind isn't blowing your way. America loves to point out hypocrisy.

Posted by: petersyms2008 | May 21, 2009 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Whom.
"to Franken, WHOM a three-judge panel has declared the victor in last November's Minnesota Senate race"

Posted by: Lamentations | May 21, 2009 11:16 AM | Report abuse

"Coleman is doing the right thing. Doing what is right while being ridiculed by radical followers of the liberal establishment religion..."

This is one of the most nonsensical things I've read in a long time.

I'm sure Coleman is just wanting to do the Right Thing. That's why the FBI is "hot on his trail" as the article mentioned. I may have voted Democrat in the last election but I will NOT support anyone who is caught breaking the law. To support your party members even when you find out they are crooked, THAT, my friend, is fanaticism!

We, the voters, are the consumers not the team mates of politicians. We should be shopping around like when we buy a TV. We stuck on brand loyalty and not looking at the quality of the set.

Posted by: JohnDeare | May 21, 2009 12:02 PM | Report abuse

I am not a regular to the Slueth, howewver as I read this column on Norm Coleman I am one of those who are still wondering what the heck is the Governor doing holding up the second Senate seat in Minnesota? I think he should recoginize his obligations to the State and Country before his party. It is down right SILLY of him to continue delaying the obvious. For more than 6 months after the election the Governor is holding the state hostage. Yes, there were recounts and a few of them. The results are now known What will or should it take for Governor Plewenty to sign off on the recent court results. Is this Governor up for re-election? there is a great possibility he has plans for the 2012 Whitehouse Race.
I can see that the GOP has a "BIT" in this governor's mouth, sorry someone said a ring in his nose.

Posted by: myBuddy | May 21, 2009 12:08 PM | Report abuse

I am not a regular to the Slueth, howewver as I read this column on Norm Coleman I am one of those who are still wondering what the heck is the Governor doing holding up the second Senate seat in Minnesota? I think he should recoginize his obligations to the State and Country before his party. It is down right SILLY of him to continue delaying the obvious. For more than 6 months after the election the Governor is holding the state hostage. Yes, there were recounts and a few of them. The results are now known What will or should it take for Governor Pawlenty to sign off on the recent court results. Is this Governor up for re-election? there is a great possibility he has plans for the 2012 Whitehouse Race.
I can see that the GOP has a "BIT" in this governor's mouth, sorry someone said a ring in his nose.

Posted by: myBuddy | May 21, 2009 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Just picture the 2nd half of the year with Senator Franken on board. The slapstick and jocularity will be awesome. He will dish it out repubs. Just you wait...

Posted by: DontGetIt | May 21, 2009 1:30 PM | Report abuse

The mentality of a jerk like Franken is just indicative of what the Democrats are... corrupt and despicable.

If a Democrat is not winning, just wait and a few hundred new ballots will be discovered in the trunk of someone's car...how convenient!

It is time we called for a CITIZENS ARREST OF ALL THE MORONS IN THE WHITE HOUSE, starting with OBAMA, for having handed over $14 Trillion of our money to his foreign banker friends.

Yes we need to arrest this Congress and their filthy, greedy, lying, corrupt, evil, disgusting, foul-smelling, ugly, ignorant, foolish, destructive, anti-American, anti-life, polluting, racist, traitorous, ill-intentioned, war-mongering, selfish, arrogant, global world-government promoting elitist PRESIDENT, and all the RICH, devious ENEMIES of America that he works for who want to see us ALL DEAD.

(Yes I plagiarized from a Democrat who did very well at showing her HATRED, party of the HATEFUL RICH)

Posted by: username | May 21, 2009 2:34 PM | Report abuse

@oldatlantic

"A candidate owes it to the voters to pursue every avenue to see the votes are counted fully and accurately"

To say that a candidate "owes" something to the voters suggests that they could deliver something. In this case, the only thing Norm Coleman can "deliver" is a delay in seating the Senator. Everything would be over if Coleman conceded. It may be his legal right to contest -- but be clear that he is not contesting the actual election. Let's review a little history:

There was a close election. A statistical tie.
As mandated by law, there was a recount. No fraud or malicious deceptive practices were uncovered.
The recount was also close (still a statistical tie, but favoring the other candidate)
Norm Coleman contested the recount.
Opinion from a 3 Judge panel (appointed by Gov)rules that Coleman's charges regarding the recount process lack merit.
Norm Coleman appeals this decision to MN Supreme court.
Minnesotans have gone 7 months since election, almost 5 months without full representation.

It is the state's responsibility to ensure to voters that the valid ballots are counted. Candidate has no role here. In delaying the representation of Minnesotans, Norm Coleman is making this all about him, nothing about Minnesotans.

Yes, I live in MN. I don't think that either candidate has any "right" to this office. It comes down to a statistical tie of who "won" 42% of the vote. Nothing to brag about there. Coleman won the coin toss on election night. Franken won it Recount night. MN law favors the recount over the election night result. It's a statistical tie -- it could have just as easily gone the other way.

I just want two US Senators. Please!

Posted by: sm35 | May 21, 2009 2:38 PM | Report abuse

OldAtlantic posted | May 21, 2009 10:31 AM
"A candidate owes it to the voters to pursue every avenue to see the votes are counted fully and accurately. This election shows that the government is not very rigorous at vote counting. This is part of the decay of our society from its foolish choices 40 years ago. Coleman is doing the right thing. Doing what is right while being ridiculed by radical followers of the liberal establishment religion of equality is hard, but these days the two usually go together."

Soooo ... what happened in 2000?
Why wasn't the recount in Florida allowed to proceed???

Posted by: The-Historian | May 21, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

myBuddy posted | May 21, 2009 12:09 PM
"...The results are now known What will or should it take for Governor Pawlenty to sign off on the recent court results. Is this Governor up for re-election? there is a great possibility he has plans for the 2012 Whitehouse Race...."

Governor Pawlenty did not see the urgency in repairing Minnesota bridges until I-35 Mississippi river bridge collapsed killing 13 people.
So it's no wonder he doesn't see the urgency to fill Minnesota's vacant senate seat.

As for a 2012 white house race ... he has toasted himself for playing politics. Pawlenty has demonstrated he will be more than willing to give up power to backroom handlers, he can no longer be trusted.

Posted by: The-Historian | May 21, 2009 3:28 PM | Report abuse

He wanted to get that surgery in before he went off the Senate's health insurance policy. The coverage he'll get with the RNC is exactly what you would expect from the "give business a free hand and they will take care of everything" party.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | May 21, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

"...I've often wondered why Sarah Palin wearing a $10,000 outfit is reported as a scandal, while at the same time (and sometimes in the same day) I'll see a glowing Camelot-is-back piece on Michelle Obama wearing a $25,000 gown to some dinner.

Posted by: dbw1 |"
========
The distinction is that Palin's overly expensive wardrobe was paid for out of campaign funds while she ran around the country touting herself as a fiscal conservative. Michelle Obama pays for her own clothes with her personal income.

Her aides reported that she even pressured them to use their personal credit cards for the charges (to be reimbursed) so if that is true then she took an active role in acquiring the clothing.

Last time I checked "Hockey Moms" don't shop with 150k of donated money that is supposed to be used for campaign funding.

BTW: She's not even a "hockey mom", none of her kids play hockey. Everything about this woman as a candidate was a lie.

Posted by: JRM2 | May 21, 2009 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Hillary08,

While I like Al Franken, please tell me how he rates being called a hero? By winning an election?

The bar for hero must not be very high...

Also, I hope other states learn from Minnesota's experience and take the time to review their recount procedures BEFORE they are required.

Posted by: mustang946 | May 21, 2009 3:45 PM | Report abuse

"Yes we need to arrest this Congress and their filthy, greedy, lying, corrupt, evil, disgusting, foul-smelling, ugly, ignorant, foolish, destructive, anti-American, anti-life, polluting, racist, traitorous, ill-intentioned, war-mongering, selfish, arrogant, global world-government promoting elitist PRESIDENT, and all the RICH, devious ENEMIES of America that he works for who want to see us ALL DEAD.(Yes I plagiarized from a Democrat who did very well at showing her HATRED, party of the HATEFUL RICH)Posted by: username"

You realize the above rant sounds a little crazy, right?

Posted by: Samson151 | May 21, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

OldAtlantic:

You are a very sick person. Coleman doing the right thing (idealistically?) for the good voters? I'm sure you had wonderfully idealistic things to say in praise of Republican benevolence and Supreme Court rectitude in 2000 Gore vs Bush. You are, however, a better spokesman for the Republican Party than Dick Cheney.

Posted by: walden1 | May 21, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

We all know the outcome of all this. It's as plain as the nose on your face. The Minnesota Supreme Court will send this back to trial court agreeing with Mr. Coleman that his rights under the equal protection clause of the Constitution and the Bill of rights will have been violated by the "Old ladies and other Mn. ballot counters". All rejected votes will be counted and it gives an additional 200 votes to Franken. Before Pawlenty can sign the Election certificate, a injunction is won by the Coleman camp and the case is heard by the Supreme Court. SCOTUS throws out the Minn. Supreme Court ruling and instead subtracts 200 "double-counted" Franken votes and adds 200 votes to Coleman's total "because he asked for them and we are tired of hearing him whine". Coleman wins the election, but after a thorough FBI investigation, is indicted, scorned, humiliated and found guilty and is forced to resign his office, forcefully, as it was found that he was actually chained there by the Republican Senatorial Election committee. So shocked is everyone that Pawlenty, instead of naming a replacement, calls for a new senatorial election. Al Franken, after a huge sympathy vote turnout, wins by 1.2 percent and avoids a recount and his heard saying to everybody; "See! I told you I won"

As plain as the nose on your face!

Posted by: bottlcaps | May 21, 2009 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Coleman still has a shot in the dark to make things work-out his way. But, he doesn't want to take the shot in the dark. He'd rather set fire to The Minnesota Election Laws and The Constitution so he can let the flames help him get a good look at the rejected votes he needs to have opened and counted to prevail. All it will take is a Pack of matches and persuading the Minnesota Supreme Court to apply a New Standard of interpreting Election Laws, in this case, which Norm Coleman wrote-out and handed-in with his Reply Brief.

Former U.S. Senator Norm Coleman’s reply Brief to the Minnesota Supreme Court demands that the Supreme Court side with Coleman and disregard a couple of hundred years of Minnesota Election Law.

Coleman says send the Case back down to the Election Contest Court and have them apply an entirely new Standard of leniency for accepting Absentee Ballots which were rejected by Minnesota Election Judges several times.

Using Norm’s latest set of dreamed-up rules, and his new and improved Standards for determining an Absentee Ballots worthiness, the Lower Court will be instructed to put-aside their Oaths to impart making decisions based upon Law, and to acquiesce to the will of the New Standard’s author and allow more than four thousand previously multi-rejected Absentee Ballots to be open and counted, provided they are a vote for Norm Coleman.

Any previously multi-rejected Absentee Ballot rendered acceptable, under the New "Normified" lenient Standard, opened and found to be a ballot for anyone NOT Norm Coleman will be Re-un-un-re-re-re-rejected.

Meaning, the Ballot previously rejected, rejected once again, only to be rejected a third time before being allowed to be opened and reviewed by The Coleman Standard, and found to be a ballot for a candidate other than Norm Coleman will once-again be rejected as it was before the New Standard allowed it to be accepted.

In this way, no voter will be Un-Due Processed and won’t be Dis-disenfranchised when their Non-Norm vote is officially disqualified for ever and ever.

The Three Judges will also all be referred to by “Nicknames”.
The First Judge will be called “Who.”
The Second Judge will be: “What”.
And the Third Judge: “Eye-dunoo”.

Which Judge will be the first Judge to throw this whole concept right out the window?
“I don’t know!”
“Third Judge!”

Posted by: RickCoMatic | May 21, 2009 6:44 PM | Report abuse

Happy Birthday Senator Franken - see you in the District soon!

Posted by: Ridgelander | May 21, 2009 11:15 PM | Report abuse

For the enlightenment of the unenlightened: Before he became a stalwart republican and Bush hatchet man (led the attack on Kofi Annan after Annan made known his disapproval of Bush's Iraqi adventure), Norm Coleman was a Democrat. Not just a run of the mill, middle of the road Democrat-- he actually co-chaired Paul Wellstone's Senate reelection campaign! Then within a year he switched parties.

How can someone, in the space of one year, go from campaign chairman for the most liberal Democratic senator to joining the Republicans? Quite easily actually if one has no bedrock principles and is a craven opportunist.

Good riddance Mr. Coleman, don't let the door hit you on your way out.

Posted by: aardman | May 22, 2009 12:13 AM | Report abuse

in your third paragraph, should be "whom..." not "who." hate being nit-picky, but we (not us) English profs have to keep watch...

Posted by: arussell91 | May 22, 2009 8:58 AM | Report abuse

When I was deployed to Bosnia in 1999, Al Franken came and visited us. Never saw no Norm Coleman. No time. No where.

Posted by: wthu | May 22, 2009 9:46 AM | Report abuse

dbw1:

Several people have responded to this already, but there are some additional facts about Palin's and Michelle Obama's wardrobes you should know:

Sarah Palin's wardrobe expenses were a line item in the list of campaign expenses that the Republicans put out, showing how contributors' money was being spent.

The gowns that most first ladies wear are either loaned or given to them by the fashion designers who designed them. As a result, the designers get a tremendous amount of publicity and attention.

To her credit, the first lady has been wearing gowns and dresses designed by lesser-known designers, so that they can enjoy a bit of publicity and boost their careers.

Very considerate, and very classy.

Posted by: Bondosan | May 22, 2009 10:14 AM | Report abuse

OldAtlantic said: "A candidate owes it to the voters to pursue every avenue to see the votes are counted fully and accurately."

Hmm. That certainly wasn't the Bush/Cheney/GOP line in 2000 when they shut down the legitimate recount and stole the presidential election...such hypocrisy!

Posted by: soonerthought | May 22, 2009 12:02 PM | Report abuse

It is facts that the goppers continue to spin in a direction toward the right. A losing proposition as facts are found in the middle, too far left for them to grasp.

Posted by: tck1 | May 22, 2009 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Hillary08, I think you drank too much of the left wing Kool-aid.
"Franken an American hero?" what planet are you from?

Posted by: effer | May 22, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Reading these comments reminds why I hate politics so much. Norm open your ears the fat lady has finished singing.

Posted by: forjackh | May 23, 2009 1:06 AM | Report abuse

It's not hard to figure out. Your sitting at the dinner table, watching the 6 o'clock news. You've had a hard day at the office and now you just want to relax and take your mind off things.

So who do you want to hear a 30 second political sound bite from? Mitch McConnell or Stuart Smalley???

Posted by: patrick10 | May 26, 2009 2:45 AM | Report abuse

dbw1- I didn't see a mention of this point in other responses to your post. I watched the Inaugural night coverage on TV and never saw where the first lady had gowns (plural), I only saw her wearing the one gown. Because her clothing choices made the news coverage for days, I seem to recall the price of her gown being rather low as it came from a lesser known designer.
As others have pointed out, the first lady does have a tendency to wear clothing that is readily available to many women (such as J Crew). Palin talked about being a hockey mom but had no qualms going out to purchase suits costing more than some peoples' yearly salary, as well as clothing her entire family on other peoples' dollars. That was why the investigation- campaign funds going to her wardrobe.

Posted by: alaskan2 | May 26, 2009 11:59 AM | Report abuse

MAA - how can U receive 3 1/2 votes ??

Posted by: harveyharv | May 26, 2009 12:12 PM | Report abuse

I would like to hear the comments coming from the far right-wing nut jobs, if the shoe were on the other foot. By now, Franken would have been labeled unpatriotic, selfish, uncaring for the people of Minnesota, and slapped with many other labels I cannot post here. But, since it's a Republican, who lost the election, we hear nothing but asinine comments about "poor" Norm Coleman, and how patriotic he is in prolonging an election that should have been over months ago. Well, keep it up Republicans. The great majority of the American people already view you as nothing but a bunch of clowns and fools so stupid that you are now eating your young. Keep it up as money is filling Democratic coffers as long as you prolong this nonsense. However, please don't cry and complain, when the fruits of your labors are harvested in the 2010 elections and the G.O.P. becomes completely irrelevant in American politics.

Posted by: Caliguy55 | May 26, 2009 1:07 PM | Report abuse

dbw1

You are one the most uniformed persons on this site.
1. The dress First lady Obama wore at the ball cost less than a 1000 dollars.
2.Her wardrobe was not purchased with campaing or tax payers money. (Princeton Grad., Harvard law degree) Palin couldn't be a pimple on Mrs. obama's Butt

Posted by: jasbas3 | May 26, 2009 2:40 PM | Report abuse

As a 1st timer in this section, and one that remembers the 2000 Florida debacle, I would like to point out that I saw no one in MN standing outside the recounters yelling "Sore Loserman" or otherwise trying to obstruct what appeared to me to be a very responsible recount process. Minnesotan's really should be proud of this process, even if it can be subject to abuse in some circumstances. I wish Mr.Franken every success, as he is a very intelligent and articulate person, and holds the possibility of being a worthy successor to Senator Wellstone.

Posted by: jimhistorian | May 26, 2009 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Norm, you not only lost the election, your career is over now because or your refusal to admit you lost and stop your partisan legal warfare. No loss at all. Good riddance to bad rubbish!

Posted by: owens1 | May 27, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse

(((I'm sure Mary Ann checks comments on her articles from time to time, so in case today is the day I have a question I have wondered about a few times over the past few months that maybe a woman like Mary Ann would be best suited to answer. It's off subject, but....

...I've often wondered why Sarah Palin wearing a $10,000 outfit is reported as a scandal, while at the same time (and sometimes in the same day) I'll see a glowing Camelot-is-back piece on Michelle Obama wearing a $25,000 gown to some dinner.)))posted by DBW1......

Mainly because Michelle actually has the taste and the money to BUY her own clothes, with her own money or at the very least knows the designer as a personal friend, and knows how to put an expensive outfit together, Ms Palin has't a clue,they aren't even her clothes,they were "costumes" and she shops in thrift stores, at least that's what she admits to. Ms Palin barely graduated college,if she really did, and without the stroke of luck in running for city council some years ago would be basically an ex beauty pageant queen about as literate as a 17 year old and Alaskan fisherman's wife,on the other hand, Michelle is a highly sought after attorney in her own right and Mr Obama got lucky. Also ,Michelle Obama is the First Lady of The United States of America whereas Ms Palin is a soon to be unemployed half wit politician from Alaska,the biggest welfare state in America.

Posted by: houndog | May 27, 2009 12:46 PM | Report abuse

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