July 15th, 2009
09:25 PM ET
5 years ago

Franken gets a (temporary) shift to the chairman's seat

Minnesota Sen. Al Franken volunteered to switch seats with Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy after the Vermont senator's microphone stopped working.
Minnesota Sen. Al Franken volunteered to switch seats with Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy after the Vermont senator's microphone stopped working.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - It's only his first Senate hearing, but Sen. Al Franken took the chairman's seat at the Judiciary Committee Wednesday.

When Chairman Patrick Leahy experienced a technical problem with his microphone, Franken volunteered to switch places with the Vermont senator, and sit in Leahy's chair. Faced with little choice, Leahy ambled down to the far end of the dais, and sat in the junior senator's chair to finish his prepared written statement. Franken, meanwhile, sat in Leahy's chair smiling from ear to ear.

Ranking Republican Jeff Sessions congratulated Franken on the move to the chairman's spot: "This is the fastest rise of any senator in history!" But the Minnesota senator's shift was short-lived: he soon relinquished the chair, and waited on the side until Leahy finished his statement. Leahy then returned to the chairman's seat, where a new microphone was in place. And Franken returned to the tail end of the committee seating chart.

Franken is in his sixth day in the Senate.


Filed under: Al Franken • Extra • Patrick Leahy • Popular Posts
soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    That's just a glimpse of what's to come. Out with the old, in with the new. I knew Sen Franken was an intelligent guy, but he asked some substantive questions such as the question about privacy being the Constitution.

    July 15, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  2. Alex

    Now if only the Dems would give him Harry "Droopy Dog" Reid's role as majority leader, maybe they'd get some things done!

    July 15, 2009 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  3. gt

    sen franken is use to playing musical chairs or duck duck goose... what a joke on people of america,,,

    July 15, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  4. Doug, New Jersey

    Franken's nomination is great for the Germans. Now when we bring up their actions and who they supported in the 1930's, they can say yeah, well you guys elected Al Franken to the senate, really its almost a wash now.

    July 15, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  5. Obama=enabler of the lazy

    Let the clown lead the circus!! Another great Democrat that you fools voted for. Are there no standards within the Democratic party that people actually voted for this idiot? Just goes to show how brain dead or brain washed you people are. Or is it just plain lazy that you can't go out and support yourself?

    July 15, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  6. Really!?

    What an embarassment, but they also "elected" Jesse The Body Ventura Governor.

    July 15, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  7. makesUwonder

    And Franken says this about Sonia Sotomayor.................

    "she's good enough, smart enough, and dog gone it, people like her"

    July 15, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  8. This Is Great

    It is such a pleasure to read these rants of losers! God help us is they get in power again.

    July 15, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  9. The Believer

    Oh grow up CNN! Let the man do his job. How are we to take him seriously if you make light of everything he does. He extended some senatorial courtesy and you turn it into some high school prank. Grow up and do some real reporting! Please!

    July 15, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  10. GOP = Party of Tolerance

    Thank you CNN this is the most important news of the day. Thanks for focusing on the real issues facing America.

    July 15, 2009 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  11. Robin

    Let's pop a tent down on that circus!

    July 15, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  12. Barbara

    What I like about Al is that he is a good man with a good heart. He'll do the right thing.

    July 15, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  13. FORMER republican, NEVER again!

    Doug, New Jersey & Obama=enabler of the lazy – and those similar to you guys are the reason the republican party is a shrinking base. We are tired of the hate, divisiveness and the unpatriotic attitudes of you guys. You guys don't love this country because you want the President to fail and you will lie, cheat and steal your way to make sure that he does. Fortunately you guys are a dying minority. There are sooooo many people like me that are FORMER republicans due to folks like you!

    July 15, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  14. Tom

    Not sure how many of you are from minnesota, but I am excited for franken, and those of you joking about ventura, he actually turned out to be a pretty good governer. In any case wether you are a republican or a democrat franken certainly can't do worse for minnesota then norm coleman did. What a terrible senator.

    July 15, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  15. CitizenJ

    You conservatives are hilarious. The party of Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and every other conceivable anti-intellecutual thinks Al Franken is a joke? He graduated cum laude from Harvard. Just because you hate humor and you hate smart people, doesn't mean that every smart person with a sense of humor is a joke.

    July 15, 2009 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  16. Enlightened Voter

    I understand why they chose Franken, he is intelligent and open minded. Doug, New Jersey – wow dude, I sure you hope you take meds for your condition. You are the reason us PROUD LIberal Democrats have the majority. You people hold your bibles and self righteousness while your hearts are wrapped in hate. I could never be a republican, I have a conscience.

    July 15, 2009 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  17. Chad

    Wow the party that elected actors Ronald Reagan, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and singer Sonny Bono think this guy is a clown? I know Senator Franken was on SNL, but that just means he has a sense of humor...that does not mean he isn't smart enough for his current role. Having a degree from Harvard does mean he is plenty educated, and his record for political activism speaks for itself.

    You would think that the party of "pulling yourself up by your boot straps" would be proud of Americnas who worked hard and obtained a lofty status. Oh wait, only if your political ideas match do we appriciate the American dream.

    July 15, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  18. Judy

    Obviously still enjoys the spotlight. What a joke.

    July 15, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  19. Keith in Austin

    Someone needs to turn off all the Democratic microphones! Especially Stuart Smalley's

    July 15, 2009 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  20. UNHAPPY DEM, REALLY AM

    Well, he was a good comedian.We'll see.

    July 15, 2009 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  21. Roger

    Oh that Al Franken, always good for a laugh or two. I cant wait for Alec Baldwin to get in congress he is funny on his TV show. Lets keep electing celebrities. Look at what Ronnie & Arnold have done to California! Using all their old movie quips while running the state into the ground. So what if they are having to use state IOUs. Its hiliraous when Arnold says KALLY-for-nee-I & Ronnie would pretend he was the Gipper. So lets get ready to be entertained by another incompent "celebrity" politician.

    July 15, 2009 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  22. A Free Thinking American

    While not a Dem, I did have the privilege of seeing Sen Franken on a USO tour in Iraq. Pretty funny guy with a big heart to match. I wish him well and hope that he uses his head to make decisions and not tow the party line.

    All you Dems with blind faith in our current administration should read the book The Wave to see how dangerous blind faith and "the political flavor of the day" can be.

    In the words of Bruce Springsteen "blind faith in our government, or anyone, can be dangerous."

    July 15, 2009 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  23. HJA

    Judy July 15th, 2009 5:19 pm ET

    "Obviously still enjoys the spotlight. What a joke"

    At least he has a sense of humor. I laugh with him . With the GOP I laugh at them.

    July 15, 2009 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  24. HJA

    Doug, New Jersey July 15th, 2009 4:53 pm ET

    "Franken's nomination is great for the Germans. Now when we bring up their actions and who they supported in the 1930's, they can say yeah, well you guys elected Al Franken to the senate, really its almost a wash now."

    Uh, Franken is a Democrat, not a Republican.

    July 15, 2009 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |