Mutally Assured Frivolity?

The Coleman campaign this morning offered an "olive branch" in the recount, after what they said was a sharp spike in challenged ballots in Sherburne County.

Actually, they used the word "debacle".

"The day ended last night with over 700 ballots challenged in this one county alone," said Coleman campaign manager Cullen Sheehan this morning, noting that the number included BOTH campaigns. "We've told our folks that frivolous challenges cannot be the order of the day," he said. "But we can't unilaterally commit to stopping."

It was sounding a little like recount detente.

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Coleman attorney Fritz Knaak even added a little more to the Reagan-esque "trust but verify" atmosphere: "This is the recount version of mutually assured destruction, you know. And it's going to be interesting in terms of diplomacy to figure out... I think the expectation is at some point here the campaigns are going to have to sit down and ferret out the more significant challenges from the ones that aren't."

MPR's Mark Zdechlik asked him what percentage of the ballot challenges were "non-meritorious."

Knaak "Hard to say. We're handicapping that as they come in. I don't have a percentage."

Zdechlik: "Is it the vast majority?"

Knaak: "I think a lot of them are on both sides. But again, that's decisions being made by people on the ground, that's the reason why we have our review process, and hopefully they do too. We look and we evaluate. We don't look. We don't fault, we don't blame."

Zdechlik: "What does 'a lot' mean?

Knaak: "I would say a majority, certainly, as we look at them on both sides, as we're looking at it now. But again, we're scrutinizing these carefully on both sides, and again it's up to the [canvassing] board."