When the Mark Foley scandal erupted in Washington D.C., Patty Wetterling took it especially hard, “It was heartbreaking. I know Mark Foley. He co-sponsored a lot of child safety legislation. He started the missing and exploited children’s caucus.”
The timing also affected her because it was so near the anniversary of the 1989 abduction of her 11-year-old son Jacob. “October 22nd will be 17 years that I've been screaming about this and holding people accountable and making a difference. And I believe a whole nation is watching and wondering HOW is this going to be handled in Washington?”
Wetterling's campaign launched an ad calling for the expulsion of house leaders who may have ignored or covered up reports of Foley’s behavior. An ad her opponent found surprising, “It just struck me as ironic that Patty Wetterling would rush to have an ad on television calling for lopping off Republican heads before we even know what's happened on this issue,” said Michele Bachmann.
Senator Bachmann was the star attraction Thursday for the Saint Thomas Chapter of The College Republicans. “What are you hearing on campus right now, what are you hearing, tell me,” she asked the young members of her audience.
But a much larger audience is tuning into the sixth district race. Bachmann sat down with a national network TV crew in Saint Paul that had already interviewed Wetterling on the Foley affair.
She told them house leaders needed to get to the bottom of the issue quickly, “We need to fully investigate, but the number one concern is, the number one concern that I have is about children, and the protection of children.”
That’s the same reason Wetterling gives for running her TV ad. She says in any other profession those in charge are held responsible, “It's what you'd expect in church, if somebody said, this is happening, and somebody reported it to a minister and he did nothing for six months or a year and then the community found out, he'd be fired. Same thing in a school, the principal would be fired.”
Because of the spotlight this race is getting, the democrats have picked Patty Wettlerling to give the democratic response this Saturday to the president's weekly radio address.
The latest poll indicates Wetterling trails Bachmann by three percentage points.
By John Croman, KARE 11 News