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DFL attacks Coleman on veterans' issues

* What happened: The Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party held a15-minute news conference Thursday at Duluth's City Hall to blast U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman and to portray the Democrats as the party military veterans ought to support.

* What happened: The Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party held a15-minute news conference Thursday at Duluth's City Hall to blast U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman and to portray the Democrats as the party military veterans ought to support.

* The charge: "If you look at what he's voted against, it raises an issue," said Vietnam veteran Dan Hellie, Duluth, who has two sons serving in Iraq. Hellie and two other veterans pointed to eight bills in which they say Coleman voted against the interests of Minnesota veterans.

To read the descriptions of the various instances the DFL cites, go to www.dfl.org .

Democrat satirist Al Franken and St. Thomas University professor Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer are the two top Democrats vying to unseat Coleman in November.

* The response: An hour after the news conference, Coleman's campaign issued responses from state Rep. Chris DeLeForest, R-Andover, and Sen. Chris Gerlach, R-Apple Valley, both veterans.

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Both said the DFL distorted what Coleman was actually voting on. In all the cases the DFL cited, Coleman voted seemingly against veterans because the bills themselves were full of bad ideas and wasteful spending unrelated to veterans, the lawmakers said.

"They're not accurate," Gerlach said. "On all sorts of occasions, he's been there to support veterans," he said.

Tom Erickson, with the Coleman campaign, said the senator has voted 30 times in favor of increasing spending for veterans.

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