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MINNESOTA POLITICS: The first book about Gov. Tim Pawlenty comes out

ST. PAUL -- Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty must be a serious presidential candidate: The first book about him is out. "Governor Tim Pawlenty: The Sam's Club Republican" is for sale at Amazon.com. The $9.95 book written by a man who bills himself as ...

ST. PAUL -- Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty must be a serious presidential candidate: The first book about him is out.

"Governor Tim Pawlenty: The Sam's Club Republican" is for sale at Amazon.com. The $9.95 book written by a man who bills himself as a New Hampshire political analyst is 100 pages long, and a news release about it says it tells "the story of Pawlenty's humble beginnings in South St. Paul, his action-packed political campaigns and his accomplished tenures in the Minnesota House and governor's office."

Author J.A. McClure analyzes Pawlenty's prospect for a "national career," the news release says.

The governor is traveling the country in support of other Republicans and building his own reputation. While he refuses to say whether he is running for president, political observers say all signs point to that.

A sample of what is in the book: "'We are the party of Sam's Club, not just the country club.' These words define Tim Pawlenty as a politician. By the time he spoke them at the 2001 State Republican Convention, he was already well on his way to transforming Minnesota's political landscape. The goal was to re-brand the Republican Party with a type of 'contemporary conservatism,' broadening the party's base without compromising conservative values. Pawlenty accomplished his goal. He served as governor from 2002 to 2010, successfully shifting Minnesota from center-left to center-right."


Pawlenty said he knew nothing about the book until he heard about it from the press.

Several others have contacted him about writing books, he said, but he accepted only one offer. That book is due out next year.

Reporters and Pawlenty know little about McClure. A telephone number on his news release rings into a restaurant.

Dome to get fixed

The state is spending $4 million to repair the Capitol dome.

Marble domes are not good at keeping out water, so architect Cass Gilbert designed the Minnesota Capitol more than 100 years ago with three domes. Besides the most famous outer, marble one, there is an unseen middle dome that catches water that gets past the marble and drains it away. An interior dome provides the fancy decorations Capitol visitors see from the rotunda.

All domes, and other areas nearby, are getting fixed. Key to the repair is working on the marble dome so less water seeps through, as well as replacing the membrane to better drain water.

The chandelier, lit once a year on statehood day, will be removed for cleaning and repair, to be replaced in the upper reaches of the inside dome before the 2011 Legislature convenes in January.


Money for the work comes from the 2008 public works finance bill, which is funded by the state selling bonds.

Campaign board rejects probe

The Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board will not investigate a complaint against Independence Party governor candidate Tom Horner.

In a letter to Republican Party officials, who asked for the investigation, board Executive Director Gary Goldsmith said the complaint falls outside of his agency's jurisdiction. He referred the GOP to the state Office of Administrative Hearings.

GOP officials said they will take Goldsmith's advice and pursue their complaint in the new venue.

Republicans complained that Horner received what amounted to an illegal corporate donation when his campaign received results of a poll conducted by a friend and supporter. Horner's campaign did not pay for the poll.

Bill Morris, whose company conducted the poll, said Horner did not receive results until he turned them over to the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

"By citing polling results from Decision Resources which are not publically available, it is obvious that Tom Horner and Bill Morris colluded and shared information," GOP officials wrote to the board.


Pentel runs again

Ken Pentel is launching his fourth governor campaign, but this time with a new party.

The three-time Green Party candidate and party lobbyist, and former Greenpeace worker, now is running under the Ecology Democracy Party banner. The new party sprouts from the Ecology Democracy Network, established by Pentel in the past two years.

The Ecology Democracy Party was formed "to transition the thinking and action in our culture from a human to an ecologically centered approach," its mission statement reads.

'Remember rural areas'

Congress has passed health-care reform legislation, but rural senators now are asking that rural areas be included in ongoing decisions.

"Rural Minnesota faces many obstacles when it comes to providing quality health care," said Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn. "Shortages of doctors and nurses, as well as long distances between providers, create distinct obstacles for rural communities. Giving a voice to individuals with firsthand knowledge of how to overcome these problems needs to be a priority when executing health reform."

He, fellow Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar and 30 other senators sent a letter to Obama administration officials pointing out the need to include rural residents on boards that will make health-care decisions and recommendations.


Mark Schoenbaum, director of the Office of Rural Health and Primary Care at Minnesota Department of Health, said the type of people who live in rural areas and distances they must travel make their needs different than their urban cousins.

Don Davis reports for Forum Communications Co., which owns the Herald.

Pawlenty appears on 'The Daily Show'

Republican Tim Pawlenty passed on the chance to poke a potential presidential rival during an appearance on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show."

Host Jon Stewart playfully suggested Thursday that Pawlenty's national aspirations may have been helped if he left the Minnesota governor's office mid-term -- a veiled reference at former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin who resigned with more than a year to go in her term. Palin has been on the paid speaking circuit while dabbling in GOP politics.

Pawlenty said "most people finish out their term. There's always exceptions." He called his job "a great honor."

The interview that aired Thursday night also touched on government spending and education.

Pawlenty's New York trip included fundraising and private meetings before a Saturday return to Minnesota.

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