WASHINGTON (CNN) – Minnesota Senator-elect Al Franken's arrival on Capitol Hill some eight months after Election Day has set off a message battle in anticipation of the 2010 midterm elections.
"60," a new Web video released Tuesday by the National Republican Senatorial Committee, features campaign footage of Franken and invites viewers to hold Democrats responsible in 2010 now that there are 60 Democrats in the Senate.
"With 60 senators, [t]he Democrats have total control. No checks. No balances," flashes onscreen over the Franken footage.
The video suggests that Democrats have the power to push through legislation on a number of issues all with "no debate," because Franken potentially gives Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid a filibuster-proof majority.
"They own everything. . . . and have no onto blame now . . . In 2010, you can hold them accountable."
The release of "60" comes a day after Franken made his first appearance on Capitol Hill since his opponent Norm Coleman conceded a razor-thin race in the wake of a ruling for Franken by the Minnesota Supreme Court.
"A lot has been made of this number 60," Franken told reporters Monday. "The number I focus on is number two. I see myself as the number two senator from Minnesota."
"Democrats are not looking at Sen.-elect Franken's election to ram legislation through this body," added Sen. Harry Reid, who appeared with Franken. The Senate Majority Leader said that he hoped the Republican minority would take part in bipartisan negotiations on legislation instead of being what he called a "party of no."
Franken's arrival does not automatically guarantee Reid a filibuster-proof majority. Due to health problems, Sen. Robert Byrd of West Virginia and Sen. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts have frequently been absent from the Senate since the start of the 111th Congress. Even with the Senate Democratic caucus at full force, with Byrd and Kennedy were present, every one of the 60 Democrats in the Senate would have to vote in lock-step to break a filibuster.