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Edwards Vet Heads North to Help Franken

Eric Schultz, national spokesman for former North Carolina senator John Edwards's 2008 presidential bid, has signed on as deputy campaign manager for the foundering Senate bid of entertainer Al Franken in Minnesota.

Schultz, who was heavily lobbied by national Democrats to take the job, will have a broad role in the campaign -- overseeing the communications, research and speechwriting arms. He, along with highly regarded campaign manager Stephanie Schriock, media consultants Mandy Grunwald and Saul Shorr, and pollsters Diane Feldman and Roy Temple, will form Franken's political inner circle as he heads for a general election clash against Sen. Norm Coleman (R).

"I'm excited to head to Minnesota to help Al Franken change the Norm in Washington," said Schultz. HEYOOOO!

Prior to his work for Edwards, Schultz served as a spokesman and communications director for Sen. Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) and did a stint a New Hampshire communications director for Sen. John Kerry (Mass.) in the 2004 general election.

He joins a campaign under siege.

Franken got off to an extremely strong start, erasing many of the doubts that observers -- The Fix included -- had about the seriousness of the endeavor. Through a combination of extremely strong fundraising and a focus on grassroots organizing, Franken all but forced attorney Mike Ciresi from the race -- a development that ensured he would be the Democratic nominee.

And then, everything went wrong. Franken and his staff mishandled reports that he owed back taxes in a number of states -- allowing the story to linger for weeks before eventually paying off the money he owed. Then came the revelation of a satirical column Franken had written for Playboy magazine heavy on sexual talk (man does that sound prudish) that brought him condemnation from, among others, Minnesota Democratic Rep. Betty McCollum.

Franken caught something of a break when former governor (and professional wrestler) Jesse Ventura decided earlier this week not to join the race as an independent but recent polling suggests that Coleman has opened up a solid lead over Franken.

All is not lost for Democrats in the state, however. The additions of Schultz and Shriock should help bring order and discipline to Franken's campaign and Barack Obama's presence at the top of the ticket should also provide a boost to the Democratic ticket.

Schultz is the latest alumnus of Edwards's presidential campaign to re-up somewhere within the Democratic campaign machine. Research director Christina Reynolds, one of Edwards's closest aides, is now the director of rapid response for Obama. Andrea Purse, who headed up Edwards television and radio communications team, and James Kvaal, the campaign's policy director, are both at the Center for American Progress. Top aides Joe Trippi and Jonathan Prince have returned to their respective consulting companies.

By Chris Cillizza  |  July 17, 2008; 5:24 PM ET
Categories:  Senate  
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I would agree with Miranda. Obama want hurt Al. Obama more that doubled HRC in MN primary. If Katherine is from MN she should remember that. That was probably his most lopsided victory of the primary season

Posted by: Juan from CHI | July 19, 2008 11:55 PM | Report abuse

I don't know what you're smoking, Katherine, but in no way will Al's support of Obama cause him to lose LMAO! Wishful thinking, perhaps? You sound like an bitter HRC voters till hung up on the primaries--get over it.

How many people flooded the streets in June to see Obama at Excel? 35,000? And he's polling extremely well here too--MN went for Obama big over HRC, remember that?

I think Al is going to surprise a lot of people and win this thing! His commercials are much more punchy than Coleman's, that's for one thing. And they seem to be about the issues--it's Norm who is doing all the dumb "joke" ads. Taking out the trash? Bring hockey back? The guy is LAME!!!

Posted by: Miranda | July 19, 2008 6:14 AM | Report abuse

I just returned from a 10 day vacation in Minnesota. Occasionally, I would relax and watch TV. Apparently, the only thing Mr. Coleman has to brag about is his involvement in bring professional hockey back to the state. We had a good laugh after the 5th or 6th political commercial about hockey and Norm Coleman. I was born and raised in Minnesota and I know from family experience how important the game of hockey is to many Minnesotans. But seriously Norm, is this ALL you got??

Posted by: bella | July 19, 2008 12:34 AM | Report abuse

By backing Obama Al Franken will very likely lose. Al's in the wrong state this year with the wrong party. Hillary could have helped him win. I certainly trust her more than Obama. Any one like Al who votes for Obama deserves what he gets. But not the rest of us! We don't.

Posted by: Katherine | July 18, 2008 10:49 PM | Report abuse

LKing excerpts from today --

....Speaking of Al's. Al Franken couldn't shine Al Jolson's shows. Can Franken sing "Swanee" with that black stuff on this face? And Franken ain't funny. Rickles is funny. Shecky Greene. That's funny. Jerry Lewis putting pencils up his nose on Carson, that's funny....Gladys Knight is playing DC but without the Pips. That's like Abbott without Costello, Lewis without Martin, or talking about the Ames brother or the Mills brother. Got figure.....Obama, no fist bumps while you go abroad. Promise me, ok?....That Yvonne DeCarlo, wasn't she something? Any chance of putting DeCarlo with Owen Wilson in Wedding Crashers 2"? Is Hollywood listening?...Anybody hear whether the McGuire Sisters will play the Sands this year? Does it get any better than Phyllis singing "Something's Got to Give"?....Saw H.R. Clinton on something called "HD TV." Not good. I haven't been regular for a month. Sometimes soft focus is a good thing....What does everybody have against East St. Louis? Just asking....Barack's something else, isn't he? Too thin, though. A bagel with cheese every other day wouldn't hurt...Did Vinton ever play Broadway? If not, it was their loss...Happy about Buttons getting the Oscar for "Sayonara" but what about one for "Poseidon." With all the swimming and climbing, Red deserved better....Love the talk about Romney as VP -- George I mean. Wasn't he a great governor? They keep talking "Mitt," but I don't play baseball....No airplay for Bennett's "Stranger in Paradise"? Tony, what can I say?...Can't vote for Crist, you know, not that there's anything wrong with it...And that Rhonda Fleming. Wasn't she something?...That's all the time we have...On Monday, we have.....

Posted by: LKing | July 18, 2008 6:58 PM | Report abuse

A couple of thoughts on Franken. Have any of you who say he's not serious or "trying to joke his way into the Senate" actually been listening to Franken/reading Franken over the past decade? It's been a long time since his SNL gig. Good comedians are often extremely bright people, and Franken is no doubt one of those. I think he genuinely cares about helping turn this country around. I take my hat off that he's willing to do this.

Senator McCain must have told Al it was okay to be late paying taxes since he and Ms. McCain have failed to pay property taxes on one of their SEVEN homes for over four years. Think these"conservatives" are really in touch with us poor folks? Betcha Al still stops off for milk at the store and pumps his own gas. I don't think becoming a senator would influence him to adopt the conservatives'(Sen. Coleman a case in point) attitude of arrogance.

People of Minnesota, you'd do yourselves--and our country--a big favor to elect this man. I wish he were on the ballot here in SC!

Posted by: Luci | July 18, 2008 6:11 PM | Report abuse

Quite a cast of losers heading up to Minnesota...but it could be worse. Why don't they send Bob Schrum, too. After all he's been more losing campaigns than anyone. He'd be perfect for Franken, a liar, cheat and smear merchant. It's too bad, because Franken would fit right in with Reid, Durbin, Schumer and the rest of the Democratic clown factory.

Posted by: twomiler | July 18, 2008 5:08 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: xxxxxxx | July 18, 2008 4:54 PM | Report abuse

If I was a John Edwards campaign vet I am not sure I would put it on my resume.

They were great at organizing in Iowa but fizzled after that in two campaigns where their candidate won one primary. One for fifty or whatever is not much to brag about. In 2004,they were underfunded but this time they had ample money and just blew through it early.

Minnesota has a populist tradition but I am not sure it will work if Eric Schultz tries to transfer Edwards' class warfare message to Al Franken's campaign.

Posted by: danielhancock | July 18, 2008 4:02 PM | Report abuse

"Edwards vet" heads north but Angry Al's senate chances are heading south. The more us Minnesotans get to know Franken the less we take him seriously. He's only a temporary resident, anyway, gambling that he can joke his way into the senate - and that's not going to happen.

Posted by: Bill H | July 18, 2008 2:02 PM | Report abuse


Minnesota Democratic Rep. Betty McCollum was working for the attorney Mike Ciresi's campaign. It was sour grapes on her part.

If Al gets back to the issues, he should win. Norm has yet to explain a lot of questionalbe actions on his part as Senator.

Posted by: Vlad | July 18, 2008 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Great, just what we need, more incompetent beltway consultants to sink another candidate. It's not bad enough that Schultz helped run Edwards campaign into the ground, now he's going to bring down one of our best shots to take back a senate seat.

Posted by: Phil In Denver | July 18, 2008 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Franken detractors: are you really so misinformed or just willfully lying? Either way it's apparent that you never listened to his radio program.

Another Sonny Bono? Did Bono go to Harvard? Franken did and his intellect was apparent on every show.

Air America Radio shut down after 2 years? Really? Somebody should tell that to Rachel Maddow and the other folks I still listen to on that network.

Franken ripped off a charity? Al was on-air talent, not an owner (check out AAR's wikipedia entry). By that standard the janitors at Tyco are responsible for purchasing $5K shower curtains.

Scum? Franken spends several weeks every Christmas entertaining troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. What does Coleman do during that time?

If you don't like his politics or his humor so be it, but try to be honest in your criticisms. Doing otherwise undermines your own arguments and makes you sound like a you're 13.

Posted by: Joe C | July 18, 2008 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Al Franken should be in jail for his role in the $875,000 Gloria Wise Boys and Girls Club Charity rip-off he and the liberal Democrats pulled off in Harlem, N.Y. in order to keep their Airamerica radio show on the air. Minnesotans can't be that dumb to elect this scum.

Posted by: tic | July 18, 2008 11:27 AM | Report abuse

If you listened to Al Franken on Air America, you would know that Franken is thoughtful, intelligent and articutlate. He has been the clearest voice I have heard exposing the role of Coleman (and the rest of the Republican Senate, including McCain) in blocking oversight of the Iraq war rip offs -- 9 billion in missing cash, Haliburton no-bid contracts etc. Many of us have heard of this outrageous corruption, but Franken has carefully traced the role of the Republicans in the Senate and the House in supressing oversight. If the people of Minnesota listen to what Franken has to say and evaluate Coleman's role in the Iraq boondoggle and his record as a Bush lapdog, Minnesota and the nation will benefit.

Posted by: SDProf | July 18, 2008 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Norman Coleman's Senate voting record ought to be the primary reason for his defeat. This is HIS record and he ought to be considered based upon HIS work product. All the rest is just blather. HIS RECORD is HIS RECORD and ought to be the voting criteria.

Posted by: Ron Winer | July 18, 2008 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Go gettum, John Edwards' team!!! They are so good that Ole' John is on the sidelines in his "common man touch mansion."
What are you Minnesotans thinking running the clown prince of everything, Franken, anyway? You want to be laughed out of the Union and become Sonny Bono II?
The snow must be freeaing your brains.

Posted by: doug | July 18, 2008 10:25 AM | Report abuse


Send in a bunch of DC people to tell Minnesotans what to do. Let's see, the campaign will be advised to do direct mail and tv ads (why don't you use our firm in DC perhaps? I can hear them say -- nice cut of the ad buys I'm sure). Everyone will remain in St Paul and maybe venture into Minneapolis for dinners with political elites.
No one will go to the hinter lands where Dems can win, if they try. The only travel will be up north to Duluth and the Iron Range. And god forbid they try to tackle the 3rd tier suburbs that have been the demise of many excellent Democrats from that state.

Rural folks don't necessarily like Norm Coleman -- he is a city guy. But, if Al Franken and crew can't connect with rural voters in the south, west, and northwest, he can't win.

Wellstone connected not only with the liberals in the Twin cities and union folks in the Iron range, he also did well with small farmers in greater Minnesota.

Al needs to figure out how to do that. Unfortunately, he doesn't have too much time.

Posted by: rpinNH | July 18, 2008 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Thank you, Sen.Edwards,we need all the help that we can get here in minnesota
to defeat this scum,carpetbagger,for six years,all he did was lead a witch hunt on the Sec. General on the food for oil scandal,and have fail at that,he really owe the UN a apology,since we found out that that scandal was part of the GOP operation,in addition,someday someway justice must be served on the behalf of Sen.Paul Wellstone,who defied Bush & Cheney
on the war, so they pull this hatchet man
to do the job on our beloved Senator, to bad Mondale,and Humphery won't stand up
and help us defeat this criminal.


Posted by: jAMES HAYNES | July 18, 2008 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Thank you, Sen.Edwards,we need all the help that we can get here in minnesota
to defeat this scum,carpetbagger,for six years,all he did was lead a witch hunt on the Sec. General on the food for oil scandal,and have fail at that,he really owe the UN a apology,since we found out that that scandal was part of the GOP operation,in addition,someday someway justice must be served on the behalf of Sen.Paul Wellstone,who defied Bush & Cheney
on the war, so they pull this hatchet man
to do the job on our beloved Senator, to bad Mondale,and Humphery won't stand up
and help us defeat this criminal.


Posted by: ST.PAUL | July 18, 2008 9:20 AM | Report abuse

WASHINGTON -- Shoddy electrical work by private contractors on United States military bases in Iraq is widespread and dangerous, causing more deaths and injuries from fires and shocks than the Pentagon has acknowledged, according to internal Army documents.

Reach of War
Go to Complete Coverage »

A blog looking at daily life inside Iraq, produced by The Times's Baghdad bureau.
Go to the Blog »
During just one six-month period -- August 2006 through January 2007 -- at least 283 electrical fires destroyed or damaged American military facilities in Iraq, including the military's largest dining hall in the country, documents obtained by The New York Times show. Two soldiers died in an electrical fire at their base near Tikrit in 2006, the records note, while another was injured while jumping from a burning guard tower in May 2007.

And while the Pentagon has previously reported that 13 Americans have been electrocuted in Iraq, many more have been injured, some seriously, by shocks, according to the documents. A log compiled earlier this year at one building complex in Baghdad disclosed that soldiers complained of receiving electrical shocks in their living quarters on an almost daily basis.

Electrical problems were the most urgent noncombat safety hazard for soldiers in Iraq, according to an Army survey issued in February 2007. It noted "a safety threat theaterwide created by the poor-quality electrical fixtures procured and installed, sometimes incorrectly, thus resulting in a significant number of fires."

The Army report said KBR, the Houston-based company that is responsible for providing basic services for American troops in Iraq, including housing, did its own study and found a "systemic problem" with electrical work.

Posted by: privatization, cheney style | July 18, 2008 9:02 AM | Report abuse

Um, the latest polls look great for Franken.

"The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Minnesota voters shows Democrat Al Franken attracting 44% of the vote and incumbent Republican Norm Coleman earning 42%. A month ago, it was Coleman 48% and Franken 45%."

Posted by: Brian | July 17, 2008 11:25 PM | Report abuse

It figures that the Democrats would send John Edwards who made his millions as a Ambulance-chasing Lawyer to help out Al Frankens Senate campaign in Minnesota. Al Franken is the guy who was the head honcho of the Democratic Party's AirAmerica Radio Show in New York that was caught ripping off the Gloria Wise Boys and Girls Club Charity in Harlem, New York of $850,000 in order to keep their AirAmerica Show on the air. This charity served mostly black children, the elderly and AID's sufferers in Harlem. Because of this $850,000 Al Franken/Democratic Party rip-off this charity also lost their yearly $1 million dollar funding contribution by the City of New York and lost their affilliation with the National Boys Club of America and any charity money comming from them. After the New York City DOI (Dept. of Investigation) concluded their investigations they on June 24, 2005 announced that it was terminating all contacts with the Gloria Wise Boys and Girls Club Charity and it's subsidiaries. Because of this Al Franken/Democratic Party scam to keep their liberal radio show on the air this Gloria Wise Charity is no more. It figures the liberal Democrats would send one of their sue-happy lawyers to help Al Franken win the US Senate seat in Minnesota.

Posted by: madhatter | July 17, 2008 9:49 PM | Report abuse

Al Franken was so successful on Air America Radio that they pulled the plug after two years of operation. He shared the mike with programs like Morning Sedition, Jerry Springer and Randi Rhodes - a real class operation.

I guess Franken felt if Jesse Ventura could be elected governor, he had a shot at the senate seat. Compared to Franken, Ventura is a real mensch with values and common sense.

Posted by: alance | July 17, 2008 9:33 PM | Report abuse

You are right, Sir!

May I call you the Ed McMahon of the chatocracy?

There are enough comedians in the Senate already.

But far too few within the Beltway -- Matthews excluded.

More comedy! Now who's going to be YOUR second banana? BA-RUM-PA-PUM!



Posted by: scrivener | July 17, 2008 5:56 PM | Report abuse

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