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Political notebook: Ventura pinned at conference

Gov. Jesse Ventura showed his famous anger last week when he refused to answer reporters' questions about buttons he wore to a news conference. At a news conference about flooding, Ventura wore two buttons: A small one proclaiming "Victim...

Gov. Jesse Ventura showed his famous anger last week when he refused to answer reporters' questions about buttons he wore to a news conference.

At a news conference about flooding, Ventura wore two buttons: A small one proclaiming "Victim of the press" and a hard-to-miss one promoting Tim Penny for governor.

He refused to say why he was wearing them, even though the autographed, orange Penny button, in particular, stood out on his navy polo shirt.

Ventura said the buttons would be the media's story about the news conference, not the flooding issues he discussed. At least one television station followed through by reporting on the buttons, but not the flood. Most reporters wrote flood-related stories.

The governor was a bit lighter when answering a question about a line in his prepared statement.

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"I may be a lame duck, but I am not a sitting duck," he read, referring to the fact that he is not seeking re-election.

A speech-writer put that in, the governor said, as an attempt at levity. He indicated reporters should not read too much into it.

Vermont visitor

Vermont Gov. Howard Dean is coming to North Dakota to help Democratic-NPL legislative candidates in Grand Forks. The 2½-hour event is Sept. 15

State Senate candidate Jay Haley of Grand Forks said Dean agreed to come if the event costs $35 or less and if it is a casual-dress event.

The governor wants as many people as possible to be able to attend, Haley said.

Democrats say Dean is considered a possible presidential contender. He became nationally known two years ago after signing Vermont's civil union law (passed by the Legislature) that gave same-sex couples in his state the opportunity for virtual marriage. Republicans targeted him in his re-election campaign the following fall, endorsing a candidate who vowed to repeal the law. He won re-election and the law remains in effect.

Tickets are available from Grand Forks Democrats.

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Where's Hatch?

The Minnesota DFL Party Internet site has glowing things to say about Roger Moe, the party's endorsed governor candidate; Paul Wellstone, the fiery senator running for re-election; and other candidates.

But there is no mention of Mike Hatch, the maverick DFLer -- and former party chairman -- who wants a second term as attorney general. DFL state convention delegates endorsed him in May, after previous years in which he ignored the endorsement process.

No Sept. 11 ads

Neither of North Dakota's congressional candidates will run campaign ads on Sept. 11, the anniversary of last year's terrorist attacks.

Rep. Earl Pomeroy, D-N.D., also won't run ads on Sept. 10, his campaign said.

Many political campaigns around the country have pledged to pull their advertising on and around the time of the anniversary.

Pomeroy said the moratorium is to "honor those who lost their lives, and for all Americans who came together in the spirit of democracy and freedom."

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His opponent, Republican Tax Commissioner Rick Clayburgh, has not yet begun advertising, but his campaign said it also will refrain from advertising that day.

Washington political publication Hotline left Pomeroy off its most recent list of campaigns participating in the moratorium, even though his campaign had issued a press release a week before.

Minnesota's two major U.S. Senate candidates -- Republican Norm Coleman and Democrat Paul Wellstone -- also have promised not to run political commercials on Sept. 11.

Register on a stick

The Minnesota State Fair is famous for putting all kinds of food on a stick -- this year, for instance, macaroni and cheese is attempted -- and politicians like to play off that shtick.

Secretary of State Mary Kiffmeyer offers "voter registration on a stick" in her booth. The gimmick is a normal voter-registration card stapled to a wooden stick.

Take a bow

North Dakota's improvements to the state university system is a winner.

Council of State Governments named the Roundtable on Higher Education a regional winner of its innovations award last week. It happened at the CSG's Midwestern Legislative Conference.

The CSG picks programs it thinks are successful enough to be considered by other states. The roundtable is representatives of the university system, business, state government and the Legislature who are have focused on the university system as a key force in economic development and population growth for the state. A major change so far is the ability of each campus to initiate programs and benefit from any increasing tuition revenue that results, instead of having to turn it over the state general fund.

Wellstone CD

Sen. Paul Wellstone, D-Minn., offers a "Behind the Bus" CD-ROM at his Minnesota State Fair booth.

The computer media is designed for Wellstone volunteers and includes classic campaign commercials from his previous two runs for Senate, as well as background information about Wellstone, campaign literature supporters can print and even absentee-ballot requests.

Another feature is a documentary on the drivers of the green bus he uses in campaigns.

He's their guy

Rep. Earl Pomeroy, D-N.D., has picked up another endorsement for his congressional re-election campaign. The National Association of Social Workers has joined nurses and some unions on the list of groups supporting him.

Wilderness campaign

Theodore Roosevelt IV, great-grandson of President Theodore Roosevelt, will be in North Dakota Sept. 3-4 to meet with conservation groups that want part of the Little Missouri National Grasslands designated as wilderness.

The U.S. Forest Service recently issued a new management plan for the grasslands and the Sierra Club and others were disappointed that it did not recommend any of the roadless acres as suitable for the wilderness declaration.

Roosevelt will tour the grasslands and meet with the press during the visit. He has made several previous trips to the state.

Readers can reach Forum Capitol correspondents Janell Cole at (701) 224-0830 or forumcap@btinet.net and Don Davis at (651) 290-0707 or ddavis@forumcomm.com

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