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The 'Flat Earth Club'

From NBC's Abby Livingston
The trial to determine the occupant of the Minnesota U.S. Senate seat began this afternoon in St. Paul.

Meanwhile, the campaigns sparred with dueling conference calls. The Franken campaign held the first one, crying foul against the Coleman camp, saying, "The truth is, that they are seeking to disenfranchise Minnesota voters left and right which has been their pattern throughout this entire effort."

Franken attorney Marc Elias accused the Coleman campaign members of doing "an about-face" and as "charter members of the Flat Earth Club."

The Flat Earth line was reiterated throughout the call.

"Don't believe them when they say they want every vote counted," Elias continued. "That has never been their posture in this recount…. So don't believe the hype you get from Ben Ginsberg, from Washington, D.C., when he comes in here and tells you that's what they're here to do."

Not long afterward, that same Ben Ginsberg, the Bush 2000 recount attorney, held his own conference call with reporters on behalf of the Coleman campaign.

He continued the Coleman push to re-examine all 12,000 rejected absentee ballots. Ginsberg said he was "surprised" that the Franken campaign did not join their call to review the 12,000 ballots.

Later in the day, Coleman himself put out a statement, saying, "I had hoped that Mr. Franken would join me in ensuring that every valid vote is counted. Unfortunately, his campaign is actively proceeding to take whatever legal action is necessary to try to stop these votes from being counted. Let me be clear: We don't know, nor do we care, the party affiliation or the candidate choice of the individuals whose ballots were rejected.  It's not in anyone's interests to have a process in which rejected absentee ballots are being cherry-picked -- every valid vote must count."