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Has Coleman been ‘gracious’?

Bill Clements//June 30, 2009//

Has Coleman been ‘gracious’?

Bill Clements//June 30, 2009//

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I must respectfully disagree with my colleague, Sarah Janecek: Norm Coleman did not exhibit the "gold standard" of graciousness in this near eight-month 2008 election recount battle.

This thing dragged on for two and a half months more than it had to or should have. Coleman would have been gracious had he conceded back on April 13, when a three-judge panel issued its trial court findings of fact and order of judgment, rulingthat Franken had received 1,212,629 votes and Coleman 1,212,317 — a margin of 312 votes.

Some would argue that Coleman should have accepted the Jan. 5 ruling of Minnesota’s State Canvassing Board, which found that Franken had won by 225 votes (the trial that the three judges oversaw increased Franken’s favorable margin). I would not say that — I think most reasonable people would have pushed the recount one more step, as Coleman did.

But that was enough. Franken should have been seated in the U.S. Senate sometime in mid-April.

Many believe that Colemanpushed the recount on by appealing that finding to theMinnesota Supreme Court (which, by the way, found that three-judge panel’s April 13 ruling flawless)only because national GOP leaders wantedhim to and were paying for it — in order tokidnap Minnesota’s second U.S. Senate seat and keep it out of the hands of a Democrat.

Given that, perhaps we shouldn’t toss all the blame for this tedious and expensive and damaging recount at Coleman (damaging because Minnesota had only one U.S. senator for months longer than it should have, and that has caused problems).

I thinka politically astute friend of mine from Chicago put it well about a month ago. In a phone conversation, he asked me this: "When a MinnesotanmeetsNorm Coleman on the street these days, do they just startbeating him up?"

Enough was enough. Now let’s see if Al Franken can represent Minnesota well as our junior senator.

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