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Coleman visits Bemidji

U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., stopped in Bemidji Monday afternoon to rally his supporters with less than a month to go before Election Day. "This is what it's about," said Coleman, speaking to a standing room-only crowd at The Cabin Coffee Hou...

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U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., held a political rally followed by a question-and-answer session Monday afternoon at The Cabin Coffee House & Café. Pioneer Photo/Monte Draper

U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., stopped in Bemidji Monday afternoon to rally his supporters with less than a month to go before Election Day.

"This is what it's about," said Coleman, speaking to a standing room-only crowd at The Cabin Coffee House and Café. "It's about what I can do for you."

Coleman's appearance in Bemidji was one of six in northern Minnesota Monday -- he also stopped in Brainerd, Grand Rapids, Roseau, Crookston and Moorhead.

Billed as an opportunity to discuss the economy and health care, Coleman mostly stuck to the economy.

"These are the most challenging economic times that' I have ever been through," he said.

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It seemed to be foremost on the minds of those in attendance as two people asked Coleman for more information about the bailout bill.

The $700 billion bailout is planned to rescue the ailing economy. Both Coleman and U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, DFL-Minn., voted for the package.

Coleman said Monday that he doesn't know if the bill will solve all of the economic problems -- but he said he believes it will prevent the economy from collapsing.

In the current economy, he said, small businesses are suffering. They are losing their ability to get credit that would allow them to order and maintain their stock, and without that stock, they are forced to close down and people lose their jobs.

"This is not about Wall Street; it's about what's happening here," Coleman said.

He said that he continues to believe in and have faith in this country and its resources.

"Leadership is how you tap into that," he said.

Coleman also spent time critiquing the plans from the Democratic challenger Al Franken.

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"You don't grow jobs by raising taxes," he said. "And I don't want the same people running the IRS running my health care."

In response, Kelly Bjorklund, spokeswoman for the Minnesota DFL Party, said Coleman has been a "rubber stamp" for the Bush administration and has voted with President Bush 98 percent of the time.

"We believe the people of Minnesota want more," she said.

Coleman also faces a serious challenge from former U.S. Sen. Dean Barkley, the Independence Party candidate.

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