Sen. Norm Coleman pushed for market-driven health care changes, offshore drilling and increased use of nuclear power in his second speech in as many days Wednesday at the Republican convention.
The Minnesotan blasted Democrat Barack Obama as a tax-and-spender and big government proponent, saying his policies would limit job growth. Using Obama's recent European trip as an illustration, Coleman contrasted Obama with GOP nominee John McCain, saying McCain would "rather spend his time creating 200,000 jobs in America than speaking to 200,000 Germans in Berlin."
Coleman nevertheless called for bipartisan cooperation to "craft genuine reform" in Washington.
"As Republicans, we have to say what Democrats are unwilling to: Some of our nation's problems are too big for one political party to solve," he said.
Obama's campaign has said his economic plan would reduce taxes for 95 percent of those paying taxes. But Coleman said Obama wants to make government larger by raising taxes. "The biggest expense of struggling families is not energy or food or transportation. It's government. Barack Obama wants to expand it," Coleman said.
Calling the Democratic energy plan "way too little, way too cautious, way too late," Coleman pushed for domestic drilling, expanded nuclear energy and use of clean coal, as well as more conservation and renewables.
"America needs to go all in -- and gain our independence from foreign oil," Coleman said. "Our economy and our sovereignty depend on it all."
Coleman, who is facing campaign opposition from DFL endorsee Al Franken, made no mention of his opposition to drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, a position shared by McCain but in contrast to the sentiments of many GOP delegates.
Coleman also called for changes in health care to allow patients more choices, without government influence.
"I don't want the folks who run the IRS to run my health care," Coleman said.
He also called for cooperation to reform the economy with the focus on producing more jobs.
"Barack Obama will tax them away and John McCain will build them here at home. It's as simple as that. It's about real change; it's about real results that we can deliver together," Coleman said.
After Coleman's speech, the Franken campaign released a statement tagging Coleman with the Bush administration.
"At the end of the day, Norm Coleman stands for more special tax breaks for millionaires and more giveaways to the special interests. I stand for middle-class prosperity: helping every Minnesotan to have a good job, afford health care, send a kid to college, own a home and save for retirement. That's the choice in this election," the statement said.
Mark Brunswick • 651-222-1636