The Republicans' apparent effort to de-legitimize the coming recount in the Minnesota Senate race continues.
Yesterday, we reported
that the NRSC was distributing to the press a negative research document attacking the man who'll oversee the recount, Minnesota's secretary of state Mark Ritchie, as a partisan Democrat with ties to ACORN, among other alleged sins.
Today, the campaign of incumbent Republican Norm Coleman doubled down on that strategy.
This morning, in an interview with MSNBC, Ritchie was asked about the Coleman camp's criticism of the recount. He replied
: "Their goal is to win at any price. They've invested millions and millions of dollars. We consider this part of the normal political rhetoric."
Ritchie added: "We're used to the political rhetoric being amped up. That's part of their job -- to win at any price."
Ritchie seemed to be trying to say that amped-up political rhetoric is to be expected from both
sides. But his comments were clumsy at best, and they offered Coleman an opening.
Soon afterwards, the Coleman campaign released a statement
calling the remarks "offensive" and saying they underscore "our concerns about his ability to act as an unbiased official in this recount."
With the first count almost complete, Coleman leads by around 200 votes. Although that's easily within the margin that triggers an automatic recount under state law, Coleman has fought the notion of a recount from the start. He originally called on
Al Franken, his Democratic challenger, to waive his right to a recount -- a request Franken quickly declined.