Afternoon Fix: Bachmann took ‘sex appeal’ comment as a compliment, Pawlenty adviser says

at 05:29 PM ET, 07/07/2011

There’s no deal in Minnesota, Mitt Romney met the British prime minister, Janice Hahn debated Craig Huey and Democrats have a candidate to replace Anthony Weiner.

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FIRST ON THE FIX:

Vin Weber, an adviser to former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty, said he received a call today from Rep. Michele Bachmann, roughly 24 hours after he drew negative headlines for referring to her “sex appeal.” “She said she knows I’ve always bent over backwards to say good things about her and that she took my comments as complimentary,” Weber, a former Minnesota congressman, said in an email to The Fix. “We have been and remain good friends.” Bachmann, like Pawlenty, is pursuing the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.

WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED:

* Bipartisan negotiations in Minnesota appear to have broken down. Minnesota Republican leaders have rejected the latest offer from Gov. Mark Dayton (D), calling it “incredibly disappointing” and “a giant step back.” Dayton proposed two options: A temporary 2 percent income tax surcharge on Minnesotans making over $1 million a year or an extra $1 tax on packs of cigarettes, along with some smaller revenue-raising measures. “If this was a step backward ... then they took the step backward,” Dayton said after the offers were dismissed. Meanwhile, the high-profile bipartisan budget commission has released its recommendations, which include a temporary four percent tax increase on all Minnesotans.

* In England for an expat fundraiser, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney met with conservative British Prime Minister David Cameron and tweeted a picture of their sit-down chat to his 60,000 Twitter followers. Romney also met yesterday with former Prime Minister Tony Blair and his wife.

* Assemblyman David Weprin will be the Democratic candidate for former Rep. Anthony Weiner’s seat. It's not a huge coup, because redistricting will likely eliminate this seat in 2012. But Weprin ran unsuccessfully for comptroller in 2009, so there’s speculation that he’s hoping to raise his profile for another bid. The special election is on Sept. 13; Republicans have yet to pick a candidate. Random trivia: if Weprin wins, it will be the first time in 40 years that a Weprin has not sat in the state Assembly.

* Former state Rep. Adam Hasner (R) raised $560,000 in the second quarter for his Senate bid — a good total in some races but dwarfed in this GOP primary by state Senate President Mike Haridopolos’ $900,000. The tea party favorite spun the numbers as a positive: “We always expected the two establishment opponents to start off raising more money than us, because that’s what the establishment does,” Hasner said in a statement. “But we’ll ultimately win this race because of our positive conservative principles and a growing grassroots movement.” A third Republican candidate, former senator George LeMieux, has yet to release his numbers.

* Raja Krishnamoorthi is planning to give Tammy Duckworth a serious fight for the Democratic nomination in Illinois’ 8th district. The former Obama adviser just brought on three heavy-hitting Democratic consulting firms: Pollsters Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, Media strategists Adelstein Liston, and direct mail experts Mission Control.

WHAT YOU SHOULDN’T MISS:

* An outside group urging Rick Perry to run for president raised $400,000 in the past three weeks. Americans for Rick Perry, run by California consultant Robert Schuman, can accept unlimited donations and is starting to expand its operation outside of Texas. Schuman is hoping to turn out Perry supporters for the Ames Staw Poll in Iowa on August 13.

* Former governor Tim Kaine (D) has hired a campaign manager for the Virginia Senate race: Mike Henry, who ran Kaine’s gubernatorial campaign in 2005, Mark Warner’s Senate campaign in 2008 and Terry McAuliffe’s gubernatorial campaign in 2009. Most recently, Henry has been working for ONE, Bono’s global campaign. Kaine also brought on Eli Kaplan of Rising Tide Interactive as his new media consultant, Warren Thompson as treasurer, Jody Wagner as deputy treasurer, and Austin Ligon as finance chair.

* Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) is out with her first campaign ad, ”Waterloo.” It was released in Iowa, unsurprisingly (the title refers to her hometown), and in it she declares that she will not vote to raise the debt ceiling. Her campaign also bought time on Fox News starting tomorrow through the next two weeks.

* Democrats are going after Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) for suggesting yesterday that the poor need to pay more taxes. “I hear how [Democrats are] so caring for the poor and so forth,” Hatch said in a Senate floor speech. “The poor need jobs, and they also need to share some of the responsibility.” Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee spokesman Shripal Shah responded in a statement: “It’s bad enough that Republicans are doing everything they can to protect tax breaks for millionaires and special interests, but the fact that the Republican idea of shared sacrifice means going after those who are struggling the most is completely reprehensible.”

* Los Angeles Councilwoman Janice Hahn (D) and businessman Craig Huey (R) faced off today in the first and only public debate before the July 12 special election for former Democratic Rep. Jane Harman’s seat. At the forum, Huey said his campaign was hurt by a strange third-party ad that tied Hahn to gang members. Hahn called for higher taxes on millionaires and called her opponent out of touch.

* Montana state Sen. Dave Wanzenried (D) has dropped out of the race for governor and is instead backing Attorney General Steve Bullock, saying he just didn’t raise enough money. Bullock has yet to announce, but he’s widely expected to run, and the only declared candidate left — state Sen. Larry Jent — has failed to bring in much cash so far. There’s a crowded field on the GOP side for this open seat, with former Rep. Rick Hill (R) leading in fundraising.

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