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CNN SUNDAY MORNING

Bush Focuses on Midwestern Congressional Races

Aired November 3, 2002 - 11:02   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Among the key Senate races President Bush is focusing on is in Minnesota. Republican Norm Coleman and Democrat Walter Mondale are neck in neck and national correspondent Bob Franken is with us now from St. Paul -- Bob.
BOB FRANKEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: As a matter of fact, so neck in neck that two of the main papers in the state have polls, which show one in the lead and the other one shows the other in the lead. "The Minneapolis Star Tribune" shows a five-point lead for Mondale and the "St. Paul Pioneer Press," a similar lead for Norm Coleman. Both of those, by the way, are statistically insignificant. It's going down to the wire.

Proof that this is going down to the wire, of course, it's been an extremely short campaign because of the death of Paul Wellstone and the entry into the race of Walter Mondale. And it's going to be highly unusual because on the very last day of the campaign, there's going to be the only debate between the two. It's going to be at this theater behind me, the Fitzgerald Theater here in St. Paul, 10:00 a.m. local, 11:00 Eastern. The two face to face under the auspices of the local TV location, KARE and Minnesota Public Radio. It will be broadcast throughout the state and, of course, on CNN live. It will be the face-to-face encounter and it could be so incredibly important given the fact that the two of them are in effect neck in neck.

Now, both of them have been out campaigning. Walter Mondale, who hasn't done this since 1984, has been going all around the state. He was in the Duluth area, pressing the flesh talking to people yesterday. He's continuing today in the northern part of the state, returns to Minneapolis later today and then he'll hunker down and prepare for the debate.

Meanwhile, Norm Coleman is a little busier today. He's going to be spending some time with President Bush who will be visiting him on his whirlwind campaign tour of the United States. The president will be here in late afternoon for a campaign appearance in St. Paul. The president follows the First Lady, who was here yesterday, and Vice President Cheney the day before. So this is a race where the cliche is as meaningful as it will ever be, this is a race that is going down to the wire -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: All right, Bob Franken, thank you very much.

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