Coleman apologizes for letter sent to various newspapers, including the Daily

Sen. Norm Coleman’s campaign apologized Thursday for letters written by a staffer which appeared in three different newspapers.

The letters, which were written on behalf of Minnesota’s Republican incumbent and criticized U.S. senatorial candidate Al Franken for his role in a verbal altercation with a Carleton College student, appeared in the Winona Daily News, the Winona State University’s Winonan and The Minnesota Daily.

The letter ran in the Jan. 25 edition of the Daily.

A statement released by Coleman campaign manager Cullen Sheehan said the campaign frequently gives supporters talking points.

“In this case, that policy was not followed, and it is inexcusable,” the statement said. “Our volunteers were not given a clear enough description of what our policy was, and in no way shape or form should they be held responsible for our failure to execute that policy.”

The Franken campaign fired back, and said a number of questions remain about the letters.

“Who wrote the letter, and who approved its distribution?” Franken campaign spokesman Andy Barr said. “Was this the first time the Coleman campaign has used this tactic, or just the first time they got caught?”

Coleman campaign spokesman Tom Erickson declined to answer Barr’s questions.