On Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough again suggested that Al Franken is willing to "steal" votes in order to prevail against Sen. Norm Coleman. In making the suggestion, Scarborough again gave no evidence of any wrongdoing by Franken. Gov. Tim Pawlenty stated as recently as November 16 that "[a]s of this moment, there is no actual evidence of wrongdoing or fraud in the process."
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On the November 21 edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe, co-host Joe Scarborough declared that Minnesota Democrat Al Franken "only needs to steal 130 more votes to win" his Senate race against incumbent Sen. Norm Coleman (R), which is currently undergoing a recount. Scarborough similarly asserted on November 19, "If Al Franken can steal enough votes in Minnesota, that's get -- that gets Democrats to 59" Senate seats. In neither case did Scarborough offer any evidence of any wrongdoing by Franken or any willingness on Franken's part to do anything wrong to win. As Media Matters for America noted, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) stated as recently as November 16 that "[a]s of this moment, there is no actual evidence of wrongdoing or fraud in the process." Media Matters can find no evidence that Pawlenty has since revised his assessment. According to a November 15 Minneapolis Star-Tribune article, Pawlenty also said "he had complete confidence in the integrity of the recount that will be overseen by the state Canvassing Board" and quoted him stating: "That five-person Canvassing Board ... will run a fair and appropriate process, and they will render a fair and appropriate result."
Scarborough also falsely asserted on the November 21 edition of Morning Joe, "all the votes that were mis -- miscast were all miscast for the same guy, huh?" In fact, during the recount, some votes that were originally counted for Franken have been reassigned to Coleman, and vice versa (precinct by precinct results from the recount can be found here).
Additionally, shortly after Scarborough said Franken can win by "steal[ing]" votes, MSNBC analyst Pat Buchanan replied: "Look, you've got a station wagon up in the Iron Range that's hold -- got more of them in there, I'm sure, Joe." Later in the broadcast, Scarborough similarly said, "Buchanan says Al Franken can steal 130 votes easily. He said he can usually hide 130 votes in the back of a station wagon." Buchanan and Scarborough were echoing the widely discredited rumor that 32 absentee ballots from Minneapolis were mishandled in the course of being transported by car, an allegation that has been dismissed by both the Coleman campaign and Pawlenty.
Fritz Knaak, a lawyer for Coleman, reportedly said on November 8, "We were actually told [ballots] had been riding around in [Minneapolis director of elections Cynthia Reichert's] car for several days, which raised all kinds of integrity questions." However, the Associated Press reported that same day that Knaak "said a Minneapolis attorney reassured Coleman's campaign that no one but an elected official had access to the 32 ballots and there was no tampering." On November 10, Knaak reportedly said of the purported incident, "It does not appear that there was any ballot-tampering, and that was our concern." Similarly, Pawlenty -- who also initially forwarded the car-ballot rumor -- said on the November 16 broadcast of Fox Broadcasting Co.'s Fox News Sunday that "[t]here's a news report in Minnesota that the ballot-in-the-trunk story has now been retracted, that it wasn't accurate."
From the November 21 edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe:
ANDREA MITCHELL (guest co-host): And in Minnesota, Republican Senator Norm Coleman's edge over Democrat Al Franken faded somewhat in the second day of a statewide recount. According to the secretary of state in Minnesota, Franken now trails Coleman by just 129 votes out of nearly 3 million cast.
SCARBOROUGH: All right, so, Pat Buchanan, Al Franken only needs to steal 130 more votes to win that thing, and you've got to be thinking, "That's child's play."
BUCHANAN: Look, you've got a station wagon up in the Iron Range that's hold -- got more of them in there, I'm sure, Joe.
MITCHELL: These are the good government guys in Minnesota. They don't work that way, you know --
SCARBOROUGH: Yeah, these are the good government guys, but they're -- that all the votes that were mis -- miscast were all miscast for the same guy, huh? And again, Buchanan's thinking, "This is child play. I can steal 130 votes" --
MITCHELL: This is Michael -- now this is -
SCARBOROUGH: -- "by the time I went to get a beer."
MITCHELL: This is Walter Mondale country. These guys are reformers.
SCARBOROUGH: Yeah, they are, reform -- whatever.
BUCHANAN: I can find those, easy, Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: Yeah, 130's nothing. Nothing, nothing.
MITCHELL: And in Minnesota, Republican Senator Norm Coleman's edge over Democrat Al Franken faded somewhat in the second day of a statewide recount. According to Minnesota's secretary of state, Franken now trails by only 129 votes out of nearly 3 million cast.
SCARBOROUGH: All right. And Buchanan says Al Franken can steal 130 votes easily. He said he can --
MITCHELL: Out of the Iron Range.
SCARBOROUGH: -- usually hide 130 votes in the back of a station wagon.