Bad Manners In Minnesota

Mikhail Gorbachev's visit to Minnesota after the summit was supposed to be a PR coup that would give Gov. Rudy Perpich a much-needed lift in the polls. Instead, what the visit raised was eyebrows. U.S. protocol chief Joseph Reed was quoted as saying the Democratic governor "behaved very badly" by failing to invite the state's two Republican senators to the lunch he gave for the Soviet president at his mansion. (Reed later said he had merely called Perpich's behavior "regrettable.") Sens. Rudy Boschwitz and David Durenberger had to eat with the B list in the St. Paul College Club. "They showed up at the mansion and were turned away," said Reed. Perpich did manage to find room for his daughter and son, as well as for a florist and his wife.

Perpich, who faces a tough re-election fight for a fourth term, blames the criticism on Boschwitz, whom he accused of trying to horn in on the spotlight. "[Boschwitz] almost fell down the airplane stairs trying to act like President Gorbachev's Siamese twin," Perpich said. Boschwitz, who flew to Minnesota in Gorbachev's plane, says that's nonsense. "It's all just goofy," says the senator's press secretary, Tim Droogsma (an unsubtle reminder that Perpich has been called "Governor Goofy"). "We need to get the governor on decaf. He's just wound a little too tight." Durenberger,who has political troubles of his own, stayed out of the fray. "[He] enjoyed the people at his table," says Press Secretary Lois West. "He's a grassroots kind of person.