Attending RNC may be difficult for embattled candidates

Norm Coleman
Norm Coleman outside the Secretary of State's office after filing for reelection on Monday, July 14, 2008.
MPR Photo/Mark Zdechlik

Minnesota Senator Norm Coleman says he'll be active and involved during next month's Republican National Convention in St. Paul.

Coleman said his exact schedule, including a convention speaking slot, have not been decided.

At least 8 GOP senators have said they plan to skip next month's convention.

The first-term Republican also does not know if he will spend time with President Bush, who is scheduled to appear at the RNC on Monday, September 1.

Democrats are predicting Coleman will stay as far away as possible from Bush. DFL party spokesman John Stiles said Coleman has been distancing himself from the unpopular president while running for re-election.

"When he thought it would benefit him, Norm Coleman was very close to George Bush. And now that it's clear that those chickens are coming home to roost, Norm Coleman is running as fast as he can from George Bush and from the Republican party," Stiles said.

North Carolina's Elizabeth Dole and Alaska's Ted Stevens lead a list of at least 8 GOP Senators who have reportedly said they will not attend the four-day event.

Coleman said convention attendance is a simple election-year decision for many Senators who are facing tough re-election battles.

"So I think those who come here will have an extraordinary time. But the colleagues who don't come are staying at home only because they have tough races. If the convention wasn't in St. Paul, I wouldn't be at the convention," Coleman said.

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