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U.S. Senate race: One Al to help another

ST. PAUL - Al Franken's Senate campaign is getting a boost from another well-known Al.

Former Vice President Al Gore will campaign for Franken and other Democratic candidates next month.

Gore, who lost the 2000 presidential race, will speak at the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party's Founders Day Dinner Oct. 4 on the University of Minnesota's Minneapolis campus, the party and Franken's campaign announced recently.

"Al Gore is a champion for clean energy and a good friend to me and to progressives across the country," Franken said in a statement. "Believe it or not, he's also hilarious. Don't believe me? Come to Founders Day."

Women for Obama

The introduction of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin into the national political scene forced the Barack Obama campaign to court women, with events across Minnesota in recent days.

Women watched a Webcast with Sen. Hillary Clinton and vice presidential candidate Joe Biden, then hit the phones to call other women. Another Web video, featuring Obama foreign policy advisor Susan Rice, was followed by women going door-to-door promoting Obama.

On Friday, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak was joined by women for Obama at a downtown Minneapolis rally. That is the same time Sen. John McCain and Palin held a suburban Twin Cities rally.

The weekend was to feature more door-knocking and house parties.

Polls show McCain and Obama pretty much tied in Minnesota.

Senate truth squads

Sen. Norm Coleman's campaign announced the "Coleman Truth Squad" to squash what it says are distortions of the senator's record by Democratic Senate candidate Al Franken and his supporters.

The Coleman squad includes former State Auditor Pat Anderson, former U.S. Attorney Tom Heffelfinger, state lawmakers and others. They will send e-mail updates, write letters to the editors and appear in advertising.

The Franken campaign responded with a news release that said Coleman might not want to talk about truth squads given his role in a 2004 Republican effort to smear Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. John Kerry.

Then, on Friday, the Franken campaign announced its own truth squad to debunk Coleman claims, including on the issue of Medicare.