Al Franken on Principles & Values

DFL Jr Senator (MN)


Recount: What do we want? Patience! When do we want it? Now!

[During the Great Minnesota Recount]: "What do we want?" Franken shouted to the supporters in the auditorium.

"Patience!" the troops responded.

"When do we want it?" the underdog trailing by 215 votes asked again.

"Now!" they replied.

"Patience now." That was a purposely oxymoronic notion, but it was an appropriate call-and-response for all that was in store over the next seven weeks of the recount.

Source: This Is Not Florida, by Jay Weiner, p. 47 , Sep 16, 2010

Spent $20M on campaign; more for Great Minnesota Recount

Al Franken's list of contributors was hundreds of pages in the Federal Election Commission's files detailing nearly 14,000 names and about $20 million to back the rookie candidate. A browse through the list revealed donors such as musician Don Henley of the Eagles rock bank, TV journalist Jane Pauley, financier George Soros, movie mogul David Geffen, husband-and-wife actors Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen, and film star Michael Douglas, to name a few. As the recount effort got underway, with Franken needing volunteers and staff at 106 different locations statewide to monitor the hand counting of nearly three million ballots, even more money was needed.

On Nov. 15, eleven days after Election Day and four days before the Great Minnesota Recount was set to begin, more than 1,000 volunteers descended to receive training on how to monitor elections officials' actions, how to collect critical data, and how to challenge ballots.

Source: This Is Not Florida, by Jay Weiner, p. 46 , Sep 16, 2010

OpEd: Franken should have beaten Coleman easily in blue MN

The landscape of the postelection battle was quickly beginning to take shape, and the recount was but one full day old. Franken seemed to own a bit of momentum. The numbers were sure to change over the next few weeks, but one immutable fact couldn't be denied, one piece of data couldn't be spun, one question still could not be answered. In a blue state, with a charismatic progressive presidential candidate at the top of the ticket, against a flip floppy Bush supporter who had been accused of being linked to corruption, Al Franken, with a $20 million treasury, garnered about 42% of the vote. Why couldn't he knock off an incumbent as vulnerable as Coleman? Why had it all come to this?
Source: This Is Not Florida, by Jay Weiner, p. 63 , Sep 16, 2010

2005: Formed progressive Midwest Values PAC

Franken formed (in 2005) his Midwest Values Political Action Committee, which soon raised more than one million dollars for progressive candidates nationwide.

With his New York and Hollywood pals, his great sense of humor, his chutzpah and celebrity, raising funds was Franken's strength. Sculpting a major-league campaign that could lift the Democrats to a filibuster-proof majority was not.

Source: This Is Not Florida, by Jay Weiner, p. 68 , Sep 16, 2010

Decided to take on Coleman when he berated Paul Wellstone

After living for three decades in New York, Franken had moved back to Minnesota in 2005 with the Senate seat in mind and Coleman in his sights. In 2003 Franken's ideological, and sometimes name-calling, campaign against Coleman began. Just three months after formally assuming Wellstone's seat, in a story noting Coleman's rapid rise to prominence among Republicans, the new senator told Roll Call, "To be very blunt and God watch over Paul's soul, I am a 99% improvement over Paul Wellstone. Just about on every issue."

Such puffery--from a man who jumped parties to aid his ambition, who lost in 1998 to former wrestler Jesse Ventura in a gubernatorial election, and who was an accidental senator because of Wellstone's untimely death--rankled liberals. It flabbergasted Franken, who grew up as a middle class Jewish kid in the Minneapolis suburb of St. Louis Park in the 1950's and '60s and who had come to adore Wellstone.

Source: This Is Not Florida, by Jay Weiner, p. 65 , Sep 16, 2010

Response to attack ad "Angry Al":why isn't Coleman outraged?

On September 12 a commercial called "Angry Al," began with Norm Coleman stating, "I'm Norm Coleman and I approved this message because I thought it was important for you to see it."

The words "Does Al Franken Have the Temperament to Be US Senator?" flashed on the TV screen. What followed were quick audio excerpts from confrontations or interviews or his book in which an agitated, argumentative, profane Franken is exposed. At the end of the 30-second spot, the words "Al Franken. Reckless. Ridiculous. Wrong." are displayed.

Five days later, Franken's campaign punched back with a calm, senatorial Franken responding. "Look, I'm not a politician and I guess I get outraged, and sometimes I've gone too far," he said, adding that with gas, grocery, and health care costs soaring and "special interests" succeeding, "My question is, Why isn't Norm Coleman outraged?"

Source: This Is Not Florida, by Jay Weiner, p. 77-78 , Sep 16, 2010

Voted YES on confirming of Sonia Sotomayor to Supreme Court.

Yesterday, the Senate Judiciary Committee kicked off the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Nominee, Judge Sonia Sotomayor. In her opening statement, Judge Sotomayor pledged a "fidelity to the law:"
"In the past month, many Senators have asked me about my judicial philosophy. It is simple: fidelity to the law. The task of a judge is not to make the law--it is to apply the law. And it is clear, I believe, that my record in two courts reflects my rigorous commitment to interpreting the Constitution according to its terms; interpreting statutes according to their terms and Congress's intent; and hewing faithfully to precedents established by the Supreme Court and my Circuit Court. In each case I have heard, I have applied the law to the facts at hand."
Reference: Supreme Court Nomination; Bill PN506 ; vote number 2009-S262 on Aug 6, 2009

Other candidates on Principles & Values: Al Franken on other issues:
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