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Associated Press, Published October 25 2010

Clinton rallies Minnesota crowd for Bachmann foe Clark

BLAINE, Minn. — Former President Bill Clinton criticized Minnesota Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann as too far right as he made a campaign stop late Sunday to support Democrat Tarryl Clark in the nation’s most expensive House race.

Clinton said Bachmann, a tea party favorite, and the conservative strain she represents makes “Richard Nixon look like members of the Students for a Democratic Society. They make George W. Bush look like garden-variety liberals.”

Clinton said great GOP presidents including Theodore Roosevelt and Dwight Eisenhower would vote for Clark.

Clark, a state senator, is running to unseat Bachmann in Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District.

About 500 people waited about three hours to see Clinton, who was running late after several campaign appearances in Michigan. He spoke just before 11 p.m. at a union hall in the Minneapolis suburb of Blaine, greetings supporters after they watched the Minnesota Vikings lose to the Green Bay Packers.

Clinton’s appearance caps a weekend of big-name visits, with President Barack Obama leading a rally at the University of Minnesota and later holding a fundraiser with Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in Minneapolis on Saturday.

Those who attended the Clark rally were asked to make a $35 contribution, but could get in for a donation of any size.

Earlier Sunday, Bachmann wore a Vikings jersey as she campaigned in the core of her district, greeting supporters at a Caribou Coffee cafe and a Dairy Queen in Andover. She said the visits from Clinton, Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi show that Democrats see her as a “high-value target.”

“What this says to me is that Team Pelosi sees that my opponent will be a very reliable vote for them,” Bachmann said.

Bachmann has raised more than $11 million this election cycle, putting her far ahead of any other House candidate. Clark lags behind with total fundraising of $4.2 million, which still makes her one of the country’s top House fundraisers. Also in their race is the Independence Party’s Bob Anderson, who drew 10 percent of the vote two years ago with a minimal campaign.

Despite all the focus on the Bachmann-Clark contest, independent groups have spent less than $50,000 on the matchup.

Instead, federal spending reports show that outside groups have funneled more than $800,000 into the race between Democratic U.S. Rep. Tim Walz and GOP challenger Randy Demmer in southern Minnesota’s 1st District. Walz has been hit with more than $500,000 in negative TV ads funded by national Republicans, while national Democrats have put almost $250,000 into anti-Demmer messages.

An unexpectedly lively race between longtime Democratic Rep. Jim Oberstar and Republican Chip Cravaack in northeastern Minnesota has also drawn more than $100,000 from pro-GOP and anti-abortion groups, with Minnesota Republicans spending $70,000 on radio ads to boost Cravaack in his first run for office.

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