Coleman on Kennedy: "I'm not sure Mark could have done anything"

class=img_thumbleft>Though pretty much everyone in the ballroom at the Sheraton Bloomington saw Mark Kennedy's demise coming last night, nobody at the GOP election party thought the Kennedy/Klobuchar race would be over so quickly.

The word came so soon, in fact, that no one really had the time to ask what happened.

I ran into Norm Coleman just as he stepped off the stage in the back of the ballroom, fresh from giving the troops a little mid-evening pep talk, and asked him just that.

"I'm not sure that Mark could have done anything. He was in an environment where there is deep concern about the war in Iraq, there's no question about that. I don't think ... look, the economy is as strong as it's been in five years. There's been great economic growth, but I don't think that resonated from Mark.

"But I think people are troubled about Iraq, and I think people are troubled about the President, and I think that impacts him [Kennedy]. I'm not sure what else he could have done in this race. I think under those circumstances, it perhaps made it impossible.

"I think in the end, in local races, people vote their pocketbooks. But in a national race, which was the case with this Kennedy race, I think the war and other national concerns really played themselves out. And he couldn't get away from it. He didn't get away from it.

"I can work [with Amy Klobuchar] very, very well. I'm going to wait until Mark concedes, and then I'll call her right away. I'll do everything I can to make her successful.

"In spite of all the stuff, you know, you guys print about partisan politics, Mark [Dayton] and I worked very, very closely. We may have disagreed on the floor or at committee, but we found ways to work together.

"I know Amy very well, and I look forward to working with her, to helping make her successful--she is successful.

"Really in the end, that's what it's all about. In spite of all the bickering you see, Mark Dayton and I were friends, continue to be friends. I stood on the floor of the Senate when he left, speaking about his virtues. And I'll work with Amy and do all the things I can to help her be successful for the people of Minnesota."

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