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Vandals strike homes of six Minn. legislators

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Graffiti on Sen. Norm Coleman's garage
Vandals spray painted Sen. Norm Coleman's garage with the phrases 'U R A Criminal', 'Psalm 2', 'Resign or else!' and 'Scum'. Sen. Amy Klobuchar and several of Minnesota's Congressional representatives were also the targets of vandalism.
MPR Photo/Steve Mullis

Vandals scrawled graffiti on the homes and garages of several members of Minnesota's congressional delegation Tuesday night, targeting both Republicans and Democrats with words including "scum" and "resign."

      Representatives of Sens. Norm Coleman and Amy Klobuchar and Reps. Jim Ramstad, John Kline, Keith Ellison and Michele Bachmann confirmed the vandalism Wednesday.

Spray paint on the front of Coleman's garage
Vandals spray painted Sen. Norm Coleman's garage with the phrases 'U R A Criminal', 'Psalm 2', 'Resign or else!' and 'Scum'. Sen. Amy Klobuchar and several of Minnesota's Congressional representatives were also the targets of vandalism.
MPR Photo/Steve Mullis

Coleman was among the Representatives who discovered graffiti painted on their garages yesterday. Coleman said the conduct is not an example of democracy at its finest.

"The expression of speech and democracy is not to be played out on my garage or Amy Klobuchar's garage. We don't solve problems in America by people yelling at each other. I'm concerned that this is the place we find ourselves in as we come to the end of the campaign -- that the anger and the divisiveness that's out there finds its way into the campaign. And we need to be better than that," Coleman said.

      The similar attacks stretched across the Twin Cities and surrounding communities, taking place late Tuesday or early Wednesday.

      The vandals hit Coleman's house in St. Paul, Bachmann's in Stillwater, Klobuchar's and Ellison's in Minneapolis, Ramstad's in Minnetonka, and Kline's in Lakeville.

Norm Coleman and wife Laurie
Norm Coleman and wife Laurie Coleman stand in front of their vandalized garage following a press conference on Wednesday, October 22.
MPR Photo/William Wilcoxen

      Ramstad and Klobuchar were both home during the night, their spokesmen said. Ramstad discovered the vandalism at his home Wednesday morning and the wives of Coleman and Ellison found the graffiti at their homes.

      At the Coleman residence, spray-painted graffiti on the outside of the garage read: "U R A criminal resign or else" along with the words "Scum," which was written three times; and "Psalm 2."

      The Bible's Psalm 2 warns "kings of the earth" against incurring God's wrath.

      At Ellison's home, campaign manager Larry Weiss said, vandals wrote "scum" on the garage and scrawled "traitor," "resign now," and "Psalm 2" on the house itself.

      St. Paul police spokesman Peter Panos said police were canvassing Coleman's neighborhood for clues and that he expected increased patrols around the Coleman home.

      The U.S. Capitol police are working with local law enforcement agencies to investigate, said spokeswoman Sgt. Kimberly Schneider. The FBI is also coordinating with the victims' offices, the local police departments and the U.S. Attorney's Office to see if there is a federal violation, said FBI spokesman Special Agent E.K. Wilson.

      Coleman examined the damage for the first time Wednesday evening. As he stood in front of his garage with his wife, Laurie, he said he wasn't concerned for his own safety, "but I've often said families should be off limits."

      He said the incidents reflect anger stemming from both a souring economy and a divisive election season, but he said there's no excuse for it.

      "The expression of speech and democracy is not to be played out on my garage or Amy Klobuchar's garage."

      Coleman, Ramstad, Kline and Bachmann are Republicans. Klobuchar and Ellison are Democrats.

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             (The Associated Press contributed to this report)