Coleman still harping on Star Tribune "ambush attack"
Unfortunately Norm Coleman is on the losing side of an extremely long and dirty fight for a U.S. Senate seat that is still sitting open on Capitol Hill. So instead of looking forward, Coleman continues to look back and find people to blame for the embarrassing spot he finds himself in.
Coleman met with the Star Tribune Editorial Board Thursday morning to talk about the recount and answer other questions including those about the allegations against his buddy and campaign donor Nasser Kazeminy. Kazeminy is accused of trying to funnel $100,000 to Coleman's family through his wife's workplace. Coleman is not charged or accused of any wrongdoing.
But instead of answering the questions straightforward and continuing to assert his innocence, he took the opportunity to once again blame the Star Tribune reporters for doing their job: investigating allegations.
Did you forget about all this drama? We sort of did too because it's so ridiculous. But Coleman brought it up again, so here's the recap and then we'll bring you up to speed.
Days before Election Day, Star Tribune investigative reporters Paul McEnroe and Tony Kennedy attended one of Coleman's appearances. As he was leaving the event, the reporters tried to get Coleman to respond to allegations in a lawsuit that Kazeminy was funneling money to his family. Coleman did not answer the questions and sped off in his getaway car.
The incident was recording by the campaign trackers for the DFL and turned into an ad against Coleman.
First, Coleman accused this lawsuit as being a fake attack by Franken's team to steal the election. There has since been no proof that Franken or any Democrat had a part in this lawsuit which has sworn depositions made by Republicans. And once again, Coleman is not directly charged or accused of any wrongdoing in the case.
Now Coleman is harping on the Star Tribune reporters for knowingly "inserting themselves" in the DFL ad because they obviously knew the political trackers were there. Any journalist knows full well that in this instance they are trying to write a story and get questions answered days before a major election and could care less about how their public appearance could be used. Coleman doesn't care.
He thinks the Strib reporters were out to destroy his campaign and cost him the election. That's what he said in February when he appeared on WCCO for an interview. Watch the video here.
COLEMAN: But they knew the cameras were there. They could have gone back and had a quiet conversation if that was the purpose. My point being they appeared in a Democratic Party ad four days before an election on something that never happened.Those claims quickly backfired when the Strib's reporters explained their numerous attempts to ask about these allegations in private away from the cameras. The reporters were pushed around, ignored, and flat-out avoided by his campaign staff, which made the reporters try their last resort in a public setting.
And so in the end, I welcome -- let's take a full look at this. But, I can't, you can't recreate that. You can't take that back. And so in the end it's the nature of this business. But no -- you know, my wife never got any money that she didn't earn. There was no money funneled to her. You had two guys involved in a lawsuit. And perhaps using that relationship, my relationship with that person to maybe squeeze more money out of him.
But that could have been a quiet story. It could have been a story that came out the day after the election.
Instead you had two reporters in front of cameras confront a candidate on something they could have had a quiet conversation about if that was the purpose.
First, Esme Murphy is to be commended for correcting Sen. Coleman's claims that we inserted ourselves into a campaign ad that aired showing us trying to ask him questions regarding the lawsuit. We made every attempt to have a "conversation," as the senator put it, but we were continually stonewalled by his staff in the days prior to our attempt to talk to him during his campaign stop in St. Cloud. You have to remember the last thing we would want to do, given the nature of our work, is to ask these questions in public because we had this exclusively and didn't want to alert other reporters. When we got to work on the morning of Wednesday, Oct. 29th, there were no messages or emails -- not even a no comment -- from Coleman' staff.Instead of realizing that his campaign staff screwed up by hoping that avoiding the issue would make the Strib give up, Coleman is still convinced he can openly blame the Strib for his loss on Election Day.
Here is the transcript of the interview conducted by the Strib's editorial board with Coleman Thursday morning:
Star Tribune: Have you been contacted by the FBI in the Kazeminy investigation?Watch the video here.
Coleman: I've made my point that we did nothing wrong. ... There has never been a single allegation that either my wife or I did anything wrong. Not one, that we did anything wrong. I've made it clear that I'm just not going to comment about that. ... You've got a business dispute between two guys who got fired and a guy who took over a company. And we've talked about this, and I'll say this: You've got two reporters who inserted themselves into a Democrat campaign commercial four days before an election, which I found stunning.
Star Tribune: That's not true, Senator. They didn't insert themselves --they were there, they became part of that commercial, but they did not have anything to do with producing it.
Coleman: ... That is true. ... The trackers [from opposing campaigns] are there. Everything we do is tracked. So you're telling me that two seasoned reporters who bring up an allegation four days before an election -- it could have waited until afterwards -- in the midst of, in front of which ... the cameras weren't hidden, were they? Were the cameras hidden?
Star Tribune: The reporters tried to contact you. ...
Coleman: But get to the point of, they inserted themselves. Did they raise an allegation four days before an election in front of TV cameras that they know are filming? Is the answer to that yes or no? ... You said they didn't insert themselves. They did.
Star Tribune: I wouldn't have been conscious of the cameras if it had been me and I'm guessing they weren't either.
Coleman: Goodness gracious, we've covered by cameras, OK? Then you're thinking these guys are dumber than ... OK? That's an absurd proposition. In front of a bevy of cameras, they raised allegations of something -- I'll just end it again -- no basis in fact. Not a single allegation made to date of anything done wrong by myself or my wife, because there was nothing. So I'm not going to comment on it, but I take great exception to the fact that you say two seasoned reporters didn't insert themselves in front of cameras and the next day have a Democrat commercial running on that very issue. I take offense to that.
Coleman is getting desperate and pointing fingers. Can this be over already?