Vice president rallies Republican backers in Minn.

His visit is the third by a major candidate to Minnesota in two weeks.

by Stephanie Kudrle

Under a shower of confetti, Vice President Dick Cheney rallied Republicans during his campaign stop in Minneapolis on Saturday.

“Looks to me like Minnesota is Bush-Cheney country,” Cheney said before a crowd of 1,000 at the Minneapolis Convention Center.

Cheney spoke about terrorism, the economy and Iraq, and made repeated jabs at presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., during his 25-minute speech.

“These are not times for leaders who shift with political trends,” he said. “(President George W.) Bush has set the course for the war and the economy.”

He defended Bush’s decision to go to war with Iraq and said the United States has rid the world of a “murderous dictator.”

The economy is also flourishing, Cheney said, and Bush’s tax cuts are saving families hundreds of dollars every year.

Cheney was joined on stage by other prominent Minnesota Republicans, including Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Sen. Norm Coleman.

Many of the speakers used their time on stage to praise Cheney and to contrast him with Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C., Cheney’s opponent for vice president.

Pawlenty asked the crowd about the qualities it would rather see in a vice president.

“What matters more in a vice president – what’s on his head or what’s in his head?” he said.

Coleman said there were two types of people in Washington: “show horses” and “work horses.”

“And Cheney is the number one work horse,” he said.

Cheney’s visit was the latest in a slew of candidate stops to Minnesota. Bush was in Duluth, Minn., last week and Kerry visited Cloquet, Minn., two weeks ago.

Minnesota College Republicans co-chairman Nick Norman said he felt Cheney has a wealth of experience in important issues.

“He has a commitment to national security and a solid record of defense,” he said.

Protestors gathered outside the Convention Center before and after Cheney’s speech.

Protestor Michelle Gross got into a shouting match with Republican onlookers.

“Bush is about death and destruction,” she said, adding that her nephew was killed in Iraq. “People really die so these people can get rich.”

She also said that Halliburton, an oil company with ties to Cheney, was getting uncontested access to Iraq.

“It’s sickening,” she said, referring to the Bush and Cheney supporters. “How stupid can people be?”