Grams: We want more money in our own pockets at the end of the day and fewer dollars in the hands of the bureaucracies. We want to save Social Security for this generation and improve it for the next. We want to protect Medicare as well. We want a strong economy that creates better jobs and more of them. We want safe schools and safe neighborhoods. And we want our farmers and workers and job providers to be the most productive in the world.But Grams' personal life, rather than his legislative agenda, has dominated recent headlines, a fact Grams seemed to allude to later in his speech. Grams' divorce and his subsequent relationship with a key staff member generated controversy. Another scandal surrounded his son, Morgan, when Grams was accused of interceding with law enforcement on behalf of his son last fall. But an investigation by law enforcement found Grams did not seek any special treatment.
Grams: It's a road I've travelled with great humility. I've made a lot of mistakes. But I've been blessed to travel this road accompanied by and blessed by a supportive family, good friends and neighbors and the decent people I've come to know across the great state of Minnesota.Grams told reporters he wants to run on his Congressional record, rather than slinging mud at Democratic opponents. Grams cites the $500-per-child tax credit as his proudest achievement during his first term. He says the centerpieces of this campaign will be his proposals to privatize Social Security and to abolish the Internal Revenue Service.
Grams: The next major step in putting fairness into our tax system is also to rip out the entire tax code by its roots and replace it with something fair, friendly and easy to understand.Grams plans to introduce a bill that would replace the income tax and other federal taxes with a national sales tax of approximately 20 percent on goods and services.
Cralley: I think in this area people are looking for the conservative views that he has, people are pro-family here, pro-life, especially being from the church.Despite the affectionate atmosphere, Grams and his supporters are not blase about his chances and say they know a tough race is ahead.
Erlandson: I think Rod's biggest weakness clearly is that he's been in office now as U.S. Senator for over five years, he spent two years in the House of Representatives and he really hasn't connected with voters. There's been several polls that show his name identification is very low, what he stands for is even lower and so I think one thing Minnesotans expect from their politicians is a sense that they're working hard for them in Washington, D.C., and I don't think they have that.Even a campaign ally, former Senator Rudy Boschwitz, says Grams can't be overconfident.
Boschwitz: Well I think he's vulnerable, I think any Republican in Minnesota has to be considered vulnerable but I think he's a good campaigner and it's very uncertain what's going to happen on the other side of the aisle, so it's very undecided.But Grams says he's ready to raise his name recognition around the state.
Grams: I can guarantee you this, Minnesotans are going to know more about me and what I have done before this campaign is over.Grams also has greater means than any of his opponents, despite his claims that he can't outspend Democratic candidate Michael Ciresi. Grams campaign staff says he has raised $2.2 million. Ciresi's latest filing shows him with an eighth of that amount on hand.