Klobuchar wonders if Cornyn knows what it feels like to be alone
Sen. Amy Klobuchar appeared on MSNBC's 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue on Wednesday to talk about how lonely and tough it is being the only Minnesota senator in Washington, D.C. And when Sen. John Cornyn proclaims that this fight for the second seat could take "years," Klobuchar wonders if he would like to handle all of the Texas business in the Senate. Probably not.
Well, one of the other things he said, David, he said that we could go in Minnesota with one senator for years. And I would love to know how Texas would like that. I think that Minnesota would prefer to make its own decisions. I think we have a process that's taken a while. I think it's a fair process. It's going to--after these votes are opened up, Norm Coleman will make a decision about whether he wants to go up to the Minnesota Supreme Court. There's a process in place for that. Then I'm hoping it's done.
Because I tell you one thing from--I am so proud of our staff. They've literally been doing double the work. These aren't calls about how do you vote. These are calls about veterans' benefits, about baby adoptions that are stalled in Guatemala. They're about Social Security checks. We literally have gotten double the case work since this began. I'm proud of our staff. But it would be nice to get a little help
Read the full transcript below.
SHUSTER: Welcome back to 1600 Pennsylvania avenue. The first big election of the Obama administration came yesterday in upstate New York. After the ballots were counted, Republican Assemblyman Jim Tedisco ended the night behind Democratic businessman Scott Murphy by 65 votes. Election officials will now count the absentee ballots in this traditional GOP district. It appears a final result will not be determined for weeks. Sound familiar? It should. Almost five months after November 4th, the Minnesota Senate race is still undecided. Late yesterday, there was a big development in that battle between Norm Coleman and Al Franken. A three-judge panel ruled that only 400 ballots will still be in play. And they'll be counted in court next week. The ruling serves as a reminder of just how grueling these five months have been. The Minnesota court has reviewed 19,181 pages of filings, pleadings, motions and memoranda. The court has admitted 1,717 exhibits into evidence. So many that if the three-ring binders that hold the paper evidence were stacked on top of each other, the pile would be 21 feet high. In these hard economic times, the ongoing race has cost over $11 million. Joining us is the only person currently representing Minnesota in the Senate, Senator Amy Klobuchar. Senator, how long is it going to take to get this resolved?
SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D), MINNESOTA: First of all, I will say, you have done your research. I had never heard those startling facts. All I knew was that this trial has lasted longer than the Lindbergh baby kidnapping trial. Now we have a significant development. First, we had the recount back in December. That actually went fairly quickly, with a five-person bipartisan panel. That's how Al Franken pulled ahead by 225 votes. Then we had this three-judge panel appointed by the Minnesota Supreme Court. Next week, the ballots will be open. The fact it is 400 ballots that they've been ordered to be opened, these are rejected absentee ballots. No one quite knows what's in them. It certainly bodes well for Al Franken in terms of the numbers.
SHUSTER: Your colleague, Republican Senator John Cornyn, said that if Democrats try to seat Al Franken before this goes all the way to the Supreme Court, he threatened World War III. What's your reaction?
KLOBUCHAR: Well, one of the other things he said, David, he said that we could go in Minnesota with one senator for years. And I would love to know how Texas would like that. I think that Minnesota would prefer to make its own decisions. I think we have a process that's taken a while. I think it's a fair process. It's going to--after these votes are opened up, Norm Coleman will make a decision about whether he wants to go up to the Minnesota Supreme Court. There's a process in place for that. Then I'm hoping it's done. Because I tell you one thing from--I am so proud of our staff. They've literally been doing double the work. These aren't calls about how do you vote. These are calls about veterans' benefits, about baby adoptions that are stalled in Guatemala. They're about Social Security checks. We literally have gotten double the case work since this began. I'm proud of our staff. But it would be nice to get a little help.
SHUSTER: One of the big topics today in Washington involved the House Republicans. They unveiled an alternative budget to what the Democrats are working on. Here's North Carolina Representative Patrick Murphy. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PATRICK MCHENRY, ®, REPUBLICAN: No Blue Dog, if there are such things as Blue-Dog Democrats anymore, should vote for a budget that raises taxes to the magnitude that this--the president's budget does; spends to the magnitude that the president's budget does; and taxes, again, for generations to come to pay off the debt.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHUSTER: I got his name wrong. It's Patrick McHenry. In any case, you made fiscal conservatism a priority. How do you respond to what the House Republicans are trying to do?
KLOBUCHAR: First of all, the president's budget, the budget coming out of the Senate here has tax cuts for the middle class. It takes the tax cuts from the recovery package, that 800 dollar per family tax for the middle class, and puts it in place for a number of years. I don't know what he's talking about there. Secondly, the president inherited a mess here. Basically, the administration had taken a Clinton budget surplus, turned it into a humongous deficit. Now we're crawling our way out of the hole. Under the Senate proposal, there will be a two-thirds reduction in that deficit by 2014. The president's proposal, 50 percent reduction by 2012. That's what we're talking about. They can use all the rhetoric they want, but it's the same old policies this time. They're talking about reversing the recovery, which I can tell you, in our state, we're already seeing the jobs come in to our state. We're seeing the money come into our state for construction and other things. People are glad that instead of putting our heads in the sand, which happened the last eight years, we are working to move this economy forward.
SHUSTER: Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat who, I should note, was in Iowa this past weekend. Senator, I'm not going to ask you about 2016 just yet. But congratulations on all the work you've done and enjoy. And we appreciate you coming on tonight.
KLOBUCHAR: It was great being on. Thank you very much.
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