Invitation to a defrauding

This afternoon John Edwards appeared before an audience of 2,000 students at the University of Minnesota. Edwards gave his standard stump speech, modified to strike a note of desperation. In a quote missing from the Star Tribune’s account of his speech, Edwards urged his auditors to “Get your friends and neighbors and take 10 people with you to vote on Election Day.” (Click here for the AP account of the speech that carries the quote.)
Under ordinary circumstances this might be construed as no more than an innocent effort to get out the vote. In the context of events elsewhere, and in a state with unbelievably lax same day voter registration, it sounded to me like a rather bald invitation to a defrauding (apologies to Vladimir Nabokov).
Looking on the bright side, however, the arrival of Edwards in Minnesota was timed to benefit from an unusual briefing by Republican Senator Norm Coleman on the Kerry campaign’s position on snowmobile usgage in national parks — a hot button issue in northern Minnesota, where Edwards appeared last week. As we noted in “Nothing was delivered,” Edwards had addressed the issue when he spoke last week in Hibbing, Minnesota, promising to fight for the right to “go in the national parks and national forests and ride on a snowmobile.”
In a devastating column published in today’s Star Tribune, Coleman notes that Edwards appears to be unfamiliar with the position of the Kerry campaign on snowmobile usage:

Although I agree with what Edwards said, this, according to his own campaign’s Web site, is not a promise a Kerry administration would keep. Let me quote “John Kerry will reinstate the Clinton Administration’s phase-out of noisy and polluting snowmobiles that have been overrunning some of our most precious lands, including Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park.” The Web site goes on to explain that snowmobiles and recreational vehicles simply “do not mix with sensitive wildlife resources and our nation’s most treasured wild places.”

Edwards returns to northern Minnesota (Duluth) on Thursday, as does Vice President Cheney (International Falls). We trust that the vice president will seize the opportunity to set the record — the Kerry record — straight. It might make a difference. The Bush and Kerry campaigns evidently agree on two things; Minnesota remains a battleground state, and knowledge of Kerry’s position on the parochial issue of snowmobile usage is not to the advantage of the Kerry campaign in Minnesota.


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