July 6th, 2009
02:07 PM ET
5 years ago

Franken poised to join Senate

Senator-elect Franken was joined by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Capitol Hill Monday.
Senator-elect Franken was joined by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Capitol Hill Monday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Al Franken says his main goal is to represent the people of Minnesota when he is sworn in Tuesday as the state's new U.S senator following an election that took almost seven months to decide.

"I'm going to work day and night to make sure our kids have a great future and that America's best days are ahead," Franken said Monday at a brief appearance with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to welcome the Minnesota Democrat to Washington.

A satirist and author who once was part of the "Saturday Night Live" cast, Franken defeated incumbent Norm Coleman by just over 300 votes out of more than 2.9 million cast in November. The Minnesota Supreme Court affirming the outcome last week.

Franken' s victory increased the number of senators in the Democratic caucus to 60, which is enough to overcome Republican attempts to mount a filibuster during floor debate.

However, it is unclear if the caucus will hold on upcoming contentious issues such as reforming the health care system and energy policy.

Franken said his main priority was to be Minnesota's second senator with Sen. Amy Klobuchar, another Democrat.

"A lot has been made of this number 60," Franken said. "The number I focus on is number two. I see myself as the number two senator from Minnesota."

Reid said Franken's election means continued progress toward the policies Americans voted for in electing President Barack Obama in November.

"Democrats are not looking at Sen.-elect Franken's election to ram legislation through this body," he said, adding he hoped the Republican majority would take part in bipartisan negotiations on legislation instead of being what he called a "party of no."

"It's our hope the 'party of no' is coming to an end," Reid said.


Filed under: Al Franken • Minnesota • Senate
soundoff (111 Responses)
  1. Mississippi Mike

    Another clown joins the circus. All he had to do was steal an election. Now he can help ram Obama's disastrous policies down our throats. Can't wait for Stuart Smalley to make critical decisions on my behalf.

    July 6, 2009 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  2. Bassman

    As Washington welcomes this foul mouthed, clown, they turn their back and on a conservative, Christian woman. Gov. Sarah Palin. And then they wonder why Middle America sees them as out of touch.

    July 6, 2009 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  3. RealityKing

    The best team in politics evidently doesn't know the difference between a democrat, a socialists and an independent. No wonder America no longer comes here seeking truth..

    July 6, 2009 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  4. Enough

    Another puppet for the puppeterr Obama, just the change this country needs to sink it a little closer to bankruptcy! Minnesota should be embarrased for sending this clown to Capitol hill. Democrats will have no one to blame, not even Bush for the disaster they are creating. Waiting for 2010 to stop this 3 ring circus.

    July 6, 2009 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  5. windfall

    People outside of MN see him as a clown, but here in MN, we know better. He's extremely educated and very serious about getting the state back on track in Washington.

    Norm Coleman was hand-picked by The Evil Dick Cheney to run for senator. Enough said.

    July 6, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  6. Chris

    Anyone who thinks Franken is not smart enough to be in the Senate should read his books. I've read almost all of them, and I listened to his show on Air America. There is no doubt that he will be a great senator. Calling him names will not change that.

    July 6, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  7. RealityKing

    Oh! And lets not forget the new jester..., some could obviously consider that a whole new party in itself.

    July 6, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  8. Deborah

    Senator-elect Franken is well educated, well spoken and will be a fine representative to the U.S. Senate. If he can do half the job of our Senator Klobuchar, Minnesotans will be well served.

    God bless you Senator-elect Franken! Make us proud!!

    July 6, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  9. Rob Johnson

    This was a razor-thin election, and with the varying and confusing standards employed in Minnesota, I can see how many Coleman supporters honestly think he won.

    However, even if you didn't think Franken was a better choice before the election, Coleman's shameful behavior since the election ended should seal the deal.

    How can anybody say the counting should stop when they are ahead, then when they fall behind, stretch out the process for eight months? Even by political standards, that is a mind-boggling level of hypocrisy.

    July 6, 2009 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  10. CK

    Get a grip, Mikey...Steal the election? Coleman was all ready for Franken to concede when he had a slimmer margin – but when it went to the recount, and the results showed the opposite, did Coleman (for the good of the people of Minnesota) step down? He had to take it all the way to the state Supreme Court.

    The Democratic party is not lock-stepped like the Republicans

    July 6, 2009 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  11. Alex in IL

    Finally someone shorter than I am in the United States Senate!

    July 6, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  12. sms29s

    To those Republicans disparaging Franken's past, may I remind you of Sonny Bono (sorry, Sonny, I loved your music and your humor but not your politics) and Ronald Reagan (who played sidekick to animals).

    July 6, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  13. Franken Supporter

    Al Franken didn't need money or fame. He could have made much more as an entertainer and author. He didn't need to give up his family's privacy and take the dirty political crap that is only just begun to be flung at him.

    But Al Franken is a man of honor and integrity. He saw a civic duty to step in and DO something, not just complain about the state of affairs. Good for him. Too bad more there aren't more of our elected officials who were in that career path to do what's right for the country and not for personal gain, power and fame.

    Senator Franken is a very intelligent man with a math degree from Harvard. There aren't any successful comedians who aren't smarter than the average citizen. If it was easy everybody would be a comedian. Instead, everybody tries, but few succeed. Billo only succeeds at being funny because we're laughing AT him, not with him.

    Minnesota is lucky to have such a hardworking, intelligent man of integrity as a representative. America is lucky he's one of our 100 U.S. Senators.

    July 6, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  14. Liberal and Proud of It dot com

    Mississippi Mike wrote: "Another clown joins the circus. All he had to do was steal an election."

    Our state legislators are to blame for this. They have still not figured out a way to register voters, hold an election, and provide an accurate count. Every close election is now considered to be "stolen" by the losers. If Frankern had lost, Mike would be satisfied with the results, but because Mike is Conservative, he feels ripped off. Since Franken won, I feel better, but neither Mike nor I know who really got the most votes.

    July 6, 2009 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  15. Robert

    A clown with a Harvard degree.

    July 6, 2009 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  16. Richard-Arkansas

    Wrong on 60 Democratic senators. There are 2 Independents and a whole lot of senators who are DINOs, including both from my state, who support corporate interests over their constituents.

    July 6, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  17. Fair is Fair

    Unless Kennedy gets off his death bed to go to the senate, I only count 59.

    So, Teddy... when are you going to call it quits and allow the people of MA have proportional representation in the US Senate?

    Are you waiting for the MA legislature to change the law back to having the governor appoint a vacant senate seat?

    July 6, 2009 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  18. Andrew, Buffalo NY

    I'm sorry Franken, but being seen anywhere in public with Harry behind you isn't a good start!

    July 6, 2009 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  19. Montana

    Mississippi Mike: Stuart Smalley is smarter and better looking than you. You're just jealous.

    Al Franken did NOT steal the election but Coleman sure tried his best. If you don't like people who steal elections, why were you so fond of George W. Bush? Oh, you know you voted for that miserable failure. Talk about a clown. He was worse than a clown. He was a moronic idiot who made critical decisions that were always wrong. Every time.

    Al Franken is too good for people like you, but lucky for you you get him anyway.

    July 6, 2009 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  20. Dan

    God help the people of MN. After 4 years of Obama and 6 years of clowns like Franken... maybe people will begin to wise up to the leftist agenda that is being crammed down our throats. All of this because the Democrats were able to paint a false picture and attack good people with their lies – effectively. The Democratic party should be proud of the good job that they have been able to do with their "Yellow Journalism" and ability to tell lies until they are perceived as truth. God help us all.

    July 6, 2009 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  21. Angie in PA

    Go Senator Franken!

    July 6, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  22. Nick - Arlington, VA

    You guys do realize that he graduated from Harvard with a degree in Math. He might be a comedian, but he is no idiot.

    July 6, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  23. Chad

    @ Mississippi Mike

    First, he won't be making decisions on your behalf...he will be making decisions on the behalf of the people of Minnesota. Second, he didn't steal the election, votes were counted and he won by 300 votes. Do you not like the democratic process? Third, Obama's policies are not disastrous, the situation he walked into after 8 years of Bush is disastrous. I find it very funny that after the last 8 years of watching Bush and the GOP destroy our country you are hungry for more. Bush punched a 2 trillion dollar hole into our economy and all you can do is blame BO? Try putting the blame on the people that put us in this mess.

    July 6, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  24. Durtch/Bad Newz, VA

    @ Mississippi Mike

    Last I checked, the clowns of Congress primarily reside in the Republican Party. Just to name a few: Boehner, Cantor, Hutchinson

    July 6, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  25. rufus

    Reid and Franken in the same picture? What a dumb clown act!

    July 6, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
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