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Senate candidates touring the state
Vice President Dick Cheney campaigned Friday afternoon outside of Duluth for Republican U.S. Senate candidate Norm Coleman. Coleman has been canvassing areas outside of the Twin Cities since Wednesday, when he restarted his campaign following the death of Sen. Paul Wellstone. Wellstone's replacement, Walter Mondale, took his campaign to southern Minnesota for two town hall meetings.

St. Paul, Minn. — Republican Norm Coleman's campaign got a boost Friday afternoon from Vice President Dick Cheney, who appeared at a Republican rally that drew more than 2,000 people to a school in Hermantown, just outside of Duluth. Cheney said he and President Bush as enormous respect for Coleman.

"Under his leadership, Minneosta's capital city attracted hundreds of millions of dollars of new investment and thousands of new jobs. Mayor Coleman kept the tax burden low, revitalized the downtown, and brought the National Hockey League back to Minnesota," Cheney said.

Coleman started the day in Alexandria. He also made stops in Brainerd, in Bemidji and in Duluth.

Shortly before noon in Bemidji about 300 Coleman supporters crowded into a hotel meeting room to cheer on the Republican. Flanked by his father and his son, Coleman loudly proclaimed the era of big government is over -- a campaign cry the former St. Paul mayor has been frequently using since Democrat Walter Mondale became his opponent.

Coleman has not been mentioning Mondale, by name but is clearly referring to the former vice president in his rhetoric. Mondale last sought voter support in his unsuccessful 1984 bid for president. At the time, Mondale distinguished himself from Ronald Reagan by saying he would raise taxes to address the skyrocketing national deficit.

"The world has changed. It's very different than it was 20 and 30 years ago," Coleman says. "But I can tell you one thing hasn't changed -- you do not grow jobs by government raising taxes, OK?"

Mondale says if elected, he would take back the tax cuts the Bush administration steered through Congress, and direct the revenue toward deficit reduction and payroll tax relief.

In Bemidji, Coleman made an impassioned plea, not only for their votes, but for their hard work to help him win next week's election.

"Talk to your friends and you talk to your neighbors, and be bold -- even talk to your relatives about his campaign," Coleman says. "If you do that -- you give me the next four days of your lives to make that happen -- I'll give you six years of the finest leadership in the United States Senate, I'll make you very proud. Thank you. Thank you."

Mondale set out from the DFL headquarters in St. Paul for town meeting appearances in southern Minnesota. About 1,000 people turned out to hear from the former vice president at Minnesota State University, Mankato. Mondale, who grew up along the Iowa border, reflected on his rural Minnesota roots.

As he campaigns, Mondale has not been directly referring to Coleman, but like his Republican challenger, Mondale too is making inferences. Mondale's frequent comments about growing up in Minnesota draw a distinction between his and Coleman's Brooklyn, N.Y. background.

"This is right around here where I grew up, so you know what makes me tick. And you know what will make me tick if you send me to the Senate," he says.

Mondale talked about the importance of preserving civil liberties amid the post Sept. 11 security crackdown. Mondale also reiterated his position on a possible war with Iraq.

"We need to do what Paul Wellstone did -- vote no against going it alone," Mondale says. "Instead, work with the United Nations or work with our allies and our friends. In fact, do what his father did and try to get the world with us as we deal with it."

Mondale also spoke out against proposals to allow workers to privately invest a portion of their Social Security withholding.

"Leave Social Security alone, and protect people on retirement so they can count on it," Mondale says.

Coleman supports using a portion of withholding for personal retirement accounts.

Mondale will campaign in northern Minnesota Saturday, while Coleman will make a southern swing.

Sen. Wellstone's death and Mondale's re-entry into politics have all but blacked out coverage of the already overshadowed campaigns of Independence Party candidate Jim Moore and Ray Tricomo from the Green Party.

Tricomo and Moore will share the stage Friday evening for a broadcast debate that will also include Coleman, but not Mondale.

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