Republican strategist Mary Matalin asserts Congressman Mark Kennedy's still on track to win his Senate race despite trailing Hennepin County Attorney Amy Klobuchar in the polls.
In town to raise money for the Kennedy camp Matalin told KARE-TV the only poll that matters is the one in November.
"This campaign has just started," Matalin said in an interview at the Graves Hotel in downtown Minneapolis.
"It's not about where you are in the polls. It's what happens at the polls on election day, and it's not just a platitude."
Matalin said her advice to Kennedy is to keep doing what he's doing. Her advice for his Democratic opponent?
"Stop with the empty rhetoric and start laying something out," Matalin said, as her classic sparring form rose to surface.
"I'm telling her that's the way to lose a campaign is what she's doing now. This boiler plate liberal, backward looking Bush-bashing is not what the people of Minnesota want."
Klobuchar's campaign manager, Ben Goldfarb, rejected the notion that her rhetoric is all about Bush-bashing.
"I think Amy's laid out a very positive, very thorough vision of how she's going to bring change to Washington on ethics, energy, how she's going to reduce the deficit," said Goldfarb from Klobuchar headquarters in Southeast Minneapolis.
"Amy's actually stood up and said here's how we're gonna make some tough choices, pay down the debt and get this thing done."
It's a thought echoed by the big name Klobuchar brought to town this month, former President Bill Clinton.
"She doesn't just say what she's against, she tells you what she's gonna do if you hire her," said Mr. Clinton at a September 16th Minneapolis fundraiser.
TV Ad Wars
What Klobuchar pledged to do when she ran for county attorney is now the subject of a Kennedy TV ad dubbed "Broken Promises."
The ad uses a video clip of Klobuchar saying, "The best way to look at someone is to see what they've done in the past."
Her words "in the past" are repeated with echo or reverberation added for effect as the text on the screen accuses Klobuchar of breaking her vow to rein in the practice of plea bargaining.
Matalin said she thought the ad was on target because it attempts to make the prosecutor accountable for her own record.
Goldfarb uses other words to describe the ad.
"People know, the reason they like Amy Klobuchar, she's been a very tough prosecutor. She's happy to run on her record and the attacks are nothing more than an attempt to distract from Kennedy's record of failure."
Matalin, repeating a point often made by the Kennedy campaign, blames Klobuchar for last year's large spike in Minneapolis violent crimes.
"It is shocking, shocking" said Matalin Thursday, "And she bears a huge responsibility for this. That's her job."
On the crime rate question Goldfarb restated what Klobuchar has said in several debates.
"Outside Hennepin County crime has gone down about 14% in the last few years. Inside Hennepin County it's gone down 20%. The facts are she's been a tough prosecutor."
In fact, the latest Klobuchar entry in the TV ad wars features the mother of child murder victim Tyesha Edwards.
"When our little girl Tyesha was murdered," Linda Longino says in the ad, "Amy made sure those gang members were put away."
The spot closes with Longino responding to Kennedy's ads about Klobuchar's record.
"Mark Kennedy, you should be ashamed."
The candidates themselves were not available Thursday, both tied up with their current jobs. Kennedy was in Congress taking part in votes, while Klobuchar was attending to business in the Hennepin County government center.
The two meet again October 10th for a debate in Moorhead along with the Independence Party's Robert Fitzgerald.
By John Croman,KARE 11 News.