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Minnesota delegates get fired up

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Al Franken
U.S. Senate candidate Al Franken and his wife, Franni, attend a breakfast Monday morning for Minnesota delegates to the Democratic National Convention in Denver.
MPR Photo/Mark Zdechlik

Minnesota delegates to the Democratic National Convention heard from several of the state's party leaders this morning, including former Vice President Walter Mondale, U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar and DFL Senate candidate Al Franken. The convention begins today in Denver. 

Mondale praised Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's decision to choose Delaware Sen.  Joe Biden his running mate.  Mondale told the delegates gathered for their morning breakfast meeting the party needs to unite behind the Obama/Biden ticket.

Klobuchar and Mondale
U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (back to camera) embraces former Vice President Walter Mondale at the Minnesota delegation meeting Monday morning at the Democratic National Convention in Denver.
MPR Photo/Mark Zdechlik

"Democrats usually defeat themselves if they're defeated, and they usually elect themselves when they're united," said Mondale. "So my plea to you is, please, let's get this family together and win this election this fall."

Mondale also spoke about the diversity of the 2008 delegation, saying the group looked sharply different than past gatherings which were comprised primarily of white men.

Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak also remarked on the diversity of this year's delegation, and continued the appeal for unity.

"As much as we will have different needs that will come up over the next few days -- they are important -- nothing is more important than this delegation, in a united way, getting over any personal issues or anything else and reaching across, finding common ground and making sure that we come out of here incredibly united. Are you ready to do that?" Rybak said.

"Democrats usually defeat themselves if they're defeated, and they usually elect themselves when they're united."

DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar will speak before the entire convention tonight. She gave a preview of her speech to the Minnesota delegates this morning.

"Are you tired of that subprime leadership in Washington?" Klobuchar said. "You've got to be ready because that's what I'm going to say at the beginning of my convention speech. So I need you guys to be loud and to be there," Klobuchar said.

There was plenty of talk about Minnesota's Senate race as well. And many of the speakers, including Mondale and Klobuchar, called for DFL Senate candidate Al Franken's election over incumbent Republican Norm Coleman. 

Franken got a standing ovation on his way up to the podium. Franken outlined what he maintains is a core difference between him and Norm Coleman, and Barack Obama and John McCain.

"Let me talk about maybe the first and most basic difference. They believe  that prosperity comes from the top -- it's trickle down," Franken said, adding that Coleman and McCain think building million-dollar mansions is a sign of prosperity. 

"We think when the middle class is doing well and you're building millions of houses, that's what makes  prosperity," Franken said to the applause of the delegates. 

Franken will head back to Minnesota on Tuesday. Tonight he's holding a fundraising event at a Denver law firm.  Franken told Minnesota Public Radio News that most of the people at that event will be from Colorado.