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Peterson Q-and-A set in Moorhead

It's not being billed as a town hall, a sore subject for some when it comes to U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson, but area Minnesotans will get a chance to talk to their congressman this morning.

Peterson, a Democrat who serves the state's 7th District including Moorhead and Clay County, has agreed to participate in a question-and-answer session with local conservative radio host Scott Hennen on his morning program on AM 1100-The Flag.

However, despite this Q-and-A session being interactive and conducted live at the new Trollwood in Moorhead at 10 a.m., neither the congressman's staff nor Hennen is calling it a town hall.

Peterson came under fire in late July after telling Politico, a Washington, D.C.-based political Web site, he did not like doing town hall meetings because a quarter of his constituents believed the 9/11 terrorist attacks were linked to the Bush administration. He later backed off those comments, apologizing to his constituents. He also then held town hall meetings in Bemidji and Willmar during August, Peterson spokeswoman Allison Myhre said.

Hennen said Monday that the Peterson segment kicks off a "Good News Tour" that he'll be doing on his radio show and anyone is invited to attend and participate in it.

The tour of shows will aim to feature successful building and infrastructure projects in North Dakota and Minnesota communities, Hennen said. Peterson's visit today will highlight Trollwood as a "Good News" project.

Since Peterson was scheduled to be on his show anyway, Hennen asked him to spend an hour answering constituents' questions.

"There's been a lot of interest of late in folks having a chance to talk one-on-one with their member of Congress, so what a perfect opportunity," Hennen said, adding that he can't predict the turnout for the event.

Myhre, of Peterson's office, stressed that today's program is not a formal town hall event because it is not organized or sponsored by the congressman.