Klobuchar trip to Iowa prompts more presidential buzz

12:27 AM, Aug 17, 2013   |    comments
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Sen. Amy Klobuchars' stop at the Iowa Democratic Wing Ding in Clear Lake, Iowa on Friday drew cameras from C-Span and NBC.

That's not entirely surprising, even with the next presidential election three years away, according to Professor Kathryn Pearson at the University of Minnesota.

"When it comes to visits to Iowa from U.S. Senators, presidential politics is always going to be part of the mix," Pearson told KARE.

"Democrats in Iowa, in particular, are really looking toward 2016."

Pearson said that Klobuchar's role in national politics will depend in large part on what former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton decides to do.

Many of those attending the event at the legendary Surf Ballroom wore "Team Hillary" T-shirts, but Klobuchar was the headline speaker at the fundraiser for Iowa congressional candidates.

"Certainly she has credentials of working across the aisle in the senate, yet a solid Democratic vote," Pearson said, explaining how Minnesota's senior senator may appeal to people in the nation's first presidential testing ground.

"She's someone who is a good speaker, known for being funny, but also known as a serious legislator."

Klobuchar, during her opening remarks, delivered a series of one-liners about the differences between Iowa and Minnesota. She also took a light-hearted shot at Sarah Palin.

"I literally am only two hours from here and I can see Iowa from my porch!"

The speech is one of three stops in Iowa for Klobuchar, who spent part of the day stumping with Rep. Bruce Braley, an Iowa Democrat making a run for the U.S. Senate.

During her speech she called on House Republicans to work with the Senate on the farm bill, immigration reform and infrastructure investment.

"I keep asking our staff every day, 'Have the Republicans in the House called to set up that conference committee?' Uh, No they haven't," Klobuchar remarked.

She pivoted from Washington politics to her own life story, citing it as an example of the promise of America.

"My Slovenian grandfather worked 1,500 feet underground in the mines in Ely, Minnesota," she said.

"He never even graduated from high school, but he saved money in a coffee can so he could send my dad to college."

Asked about her presidential aspirations, Klobuchar told a reporter with the Des Moines Register that it's nice to be talked about, but for now she's concentrating on unfinished work in the Capitol.

Minnesota's proximity to Iowa doesn't guarantee success, as supporters of Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Rep. Michele Bachmann learned in 2011.

Pearson said Iowans like to hear from national politicians, regardless of their odds of success in the next presidential sweepstakes.

"People are not just thinking about 2016, but perhaps 2020, even 2024. Iowans really like to think about presidential politics."

Minneapolis Convention

If Klobuchar were to end up on a national ticket in 2016, there's a decent chance she'd be accepting the nomination in her hometown, and enjoying "favorite daughter" status in the parlance of convention politics.

The Mill City was one of four finalists for the Democratic National Convention in 2012, and Mayor RT Rybak said the effort to attract the 2016 event will begin in earnest next year.

Meet Minneapolis, the city's conventions and visitors bureau, has already produced a flyer for visiting DNC members touting the Mill City as the ideal convention site. It pointed out the city's highly rated airport, quality of life and high level of political involvement.

"The DNC would look at the capacity of Minneapolis to host a convention, the space, the hotel rooms, the entertainment, the weather at that time of the year -- late August or early September," Pearson explained.

"Those are all important factors and all factors where Minneapolis and, obviously, St. Paul score highly."

When DNC members toured the city in 2010 they stopped at several possible sites, including the Target Center, Target Field and the Metrodome.

The Metrodome won't be around anymore by 2016 because it's being razed to make room for the new Minnesota Vikings stadium. The new stadium, barring any major complications, may open in time for the 2016 convention.

But the NFL and fans may not warm up to the idea of turning over a brand new arena to the DNC before the first regular season game has been played there. 

When the RNC came to Xcel Center in St. Paul in 2008, it was months before the NHL season was set to begin.

(Copyright 2013 by KARE. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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