Not your average U.S. Senator
When the front page story about Senator Amy Klobuchar visiting Blue Earth last Tuesday night says there was very little fanfare, it is almost an understatement.
There was actually no fanfare. Zilch.
It seems to be the modus operandi for Minnesota’s senior DFL senator.
Klobuchar wanted to stop in Blue Earth on her way back from Worthington to her home in the Twin Cities, so she added it to her schedule.
She had three items on her agenda: deliver a flag which had flown over the Capitol; visit with some local veterans; and say thanks for an invitation to Blue Earth’s Memorial Day program, but explain she was unable to be here.
Her visit was less than 45 minutes long. After she enjoyed a little popcorn at the Blue Earth Legion bar, she and her two aides headed out the door.
The patrons seated around the bar hardly took notice when she came in. When she left, one of them said “Hi, how are ya doin’? as a Midwestern, Minnesota greeting.
Imagine that lack of excitement happening in New York or California.
Klobuchar says she is just fine with this kind of low-key response when she stops in at a small town. She isn’t seeking a crowd to orate to, or a visit with all the local dignitaries. She doesn’t need to be catered too or fawned over.
She says she prefers to visit with just a few local, average folks and get to know their thoughts and concerns.
Tuesday she wanted to talk to some veterans. There were nine present in the back room of the Legion when she arrived.
It seemed to be just what she had in mind. She didn’t feel the need to give a speech to a roomful of people. This was more one-on-one conversation.
It was not the first time Klobuchar has visited Blue Earth in this manner. Two years ago she came to town and talked to a small group of industrial development people at the Ag-Star building.
It was a similar scene on Tuesday in the Legion.
After she presented the flag, discussed veterans issues with the Legion and VFW members present, Klobuchar joked a bit with others, telling several stories about the senate and about her father, Star Tribune columnist Jim Klobuchar.
Unfortunately, she noted the stories were “off the record” so I can’t repeat them here.
Suffice it to say that the senator has a real good sense of humor.
Klobuchar also was able to visit with A. B. Russ who was indirectly responsible for her Blue Earth stop. The local historian had written a letter to her office asking her to come to the local Memorial Day program.
Her aides say she gets dozens and dozens of invites to all kinds of community events in many of Minnesota’s 800 plus cities and towns.
And, she answers all of them, usually with regrets that she cannot attend.
But, on Tuesday she was able to express those regets about not being able to attend the service on Monday in Blue Earth in person.
Russ told her he understood why.
Klobuchar also visited with the one member of the press who was present.
The senator’s six-year term in office is up in 2012, and it is not a secret she will be seeking a re-election bid. She was elected in 2006 as the first woman to ever serve as a U.S. Senator from Minnesota.
Already one person has declared himself as a candidate intending to run against her. She says that right now running a campaign is not her major concern, and that this visit to Blue Earth was not meant to be political.
I also asked her about the presidential campaign race and how it is shaping up in her eyes.
Klobuchar says the feeling in Washington is that former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty has a pretty good shot at being on the GOP ticket.
The other Minnesotan looking into a Republican Party nod is Michele Bachmann. Klobuchar says Bachman’s ability to gain the nomination might be determined by whether or not Sarah Palin runs.
As far as Klobuchar herself ever having an interest in running for president at some time down the line, she gives a laugh.
It seems that WCCO radio host Dave Lee had asked her that very same question during an interview earlier that morning.
“I told him that I?had no interest in running for president,” she says. “I’d rather stay in the senate and do the work there.”