Latest Twist in MoveOn Ad Saga: ‘Star Tribune’ Refunds Money to Al Franken — After Sen. Coleman’s Attack

By: E&P Staff and the Associated Press

The Star Tribune of Minneapolis will be refunding about $12,000 spent on a full-page ad to Al Franken’s Senate campaign, a Franken campaign spokesman says.

This week, Sen. Norm Coleman’s campaign took out a full-page ad in the newspaper criticizing Franken for not condemning a New York Times ad by, which had attacked General David Petraeus.

Coleman’s campaign says it paid a little over $23,000 on the ad – far less than the $37,000 that Franken’s campaign says it paid for a full-page ad two months ago.

Franken campaign spokesman Andy Barr says that after contacting the Star Tribune, the paper agreed to refund a little over $12,000. That’s slightly less than difference between what the two campaigns paid – which Barr said was probably because of the different days of the week the ads ran.

Benjamin Taylor, senior vice president for communications and marketing at the Star Tribune, said today: “We are refunding Franken’s campaign $12,165 to rectify this particular situation. In fact, Coleman was charged the wrong rate, and Franken was charged the correct rate….

“A new sales rep made a mistake and gave the Coleman campaign a rate from the local retail rate card, rather than the national rate card,” he told a reporter for his paper. “We only discovered the mistake when the Franken campaign complained. We thought the best way to make it right is to give the Franken campaign the same rate we gave Coleman on this particular ad. Going forward both campaigns will be charged the national rate.”

Franken wrote a commentary piece for the Star Tribune earlier today, in which he commented: “[Coleman] voted last week against a resolution that condemned personal attacks on anyone who had served our nation honorably. That would include Democrats like Max Cleland, John Kerry and John Murtha — proud American veterans who were the targets of political attacks not just on their character, but on their patriotism. In 2004, when Murtha (a Silver Star winner) called for better armor for our troops, Coleman himself accused him of ’emboldening the enemy’ and ‘undermining the morale of our troops.’

“And as his reelection campaign gets underway, it’s worth noting that Coleman has hired the same media consultant who ran ads in Georgia that juxtaposed pictures of Cleland, who lost two legs and an arm in Vietnam, with Osama bin Laden.”

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