Franken finds funny voice in campaign e-mails
April 7th, 2012
01:24 PM ET
3 years ago

Franken finds funny voice in campaign e-mails

(CNN) - Al Franken spent decades at the intersection of comedy and politics, so it's no surprise that his latest campaign fundraising pitch combines the two.

"Hello, I'm Woman Picking Out Fruit In Supermarket," opened a fundraising pitch sent to supporters on Friday.

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And sure enough, there was a picture of a woman doing just that.

But the woman isn't famous, nor did she have a personal testimonial of how the Democrat's first term in the Senate has impacted her life in Minnesota.

Instead, her story was as generic as they come.

"You've seen us shaking hands in business suits, posing together on college campuses, and laughing while we eat salads," the e-mail continued. "You've seen us on billboards, in magazines, and on pretty much every political website. We are the people in stock photos."

The senator's campaign spokesman, Ed Shelleby, told CNN, "The idea for an email from 'Woman Picking out Fruit in a Supermarket' came from Sen. Franken, who thought that his supporters would get a kick out of poking a little fun at the use of stock photos - which I should note are sometimes used on the Senator's own website. And so far we've received great feedback from the email."

It's the latest in an inbox full of out-of-the-box campaign e-mails, designed to stand out rather than be junked.

With so much riding on the subject line, some campaigns attempt to pack as much punch and wit as possible into a few characters.

Mitt Romney's campaign went for pith in a March appeal: "Lost?"

"Whether a faulty GPS or a broken Washington has you feeling like things are moving in the wrong direction, we have you covered," the e-mail read. "Show your fellow drivers that you believe Mitt can get us moving in the right direction by displaying an American-made, easy to apply Romney window decal on your car."

An e-mail from Romney's wife, Ann, told supporters, "You didn't hear this from me" - and asked readers to sign a virtual e-card for her husband.

The re-election campaign of President Barack Obama went very casual in a March fundraising message.

"Hey," read the e-mail from the candidate. His campaign's notable messages led to the Twitter hashtag "#ObamaCampaignEmailSubjectLines," which trended at one point in 2011.

Franken has pursued the humor tactic, e-mailing supporters last month about his love of math; teasing supporters that the way to tell the difference between one's boss and one's doctor is by asking "to see a stethoscope (doctors usually have those handy);" and joking that donating to defeat tea party candidates would "make this Monday hurt a little less."

And sometimes he just cuts to the chase.

"So, yes, this is a fundraising e-mail," a 2011 pitch read. "See: Please click here and give me money."

Franken is next up for reelection in 2014.

Also see:

Obama, Romney put politics aside to mark holiday weekend

As Masters tee up, so does Obama

Pro-Gingrich super PAC vows to stay in race

Brown pulls in $3.4 million for Senate bid, Warren says she raised more


Filed under: 2012 • Al Franken • Minnesota • Mitt Romney • President Obama
soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. Bugs

    The people of Minnesota have made themselves irrelevant i political discussion when they put Franken in office. Hopefully they have wised up some before his next election.

    April 7, 2012 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  2. GI Joe

    Romney "fixed" the Olympics problem by getting the money from the U.S.Government.

    Wonder who he will borrow the money from to "fix" the republican-led economic problems we are stuck with. Oh, he'll steal it from grammaw, grampaw, the poor, the children. WOW.

    April 7, 2012 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  3. Truck It Up

    Al Franken is smarter than most think but OBUMMER is tryin to follow him! Gotta lose him AL don't let worst POTUS in history copy your ideas!

    April 7, 2012 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  4. Charlie in Maine

    Mr. Franken: You are smart enough, you are good enough and "Gosh darn it", people like you.

    April 7, 2012 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  5. NVa Native

    Franken is great – but he's at his best as a US Senator working for the people.

    April 7, 2012 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    Go Al!

    April 7, 2012 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  7. bcrunner

    Hmmmm... Bugs thinks that Minnesota is irrelevant because they gave us Franken, who is actually pretty funny... What's not funny is that they gave us Bachman!!!

    April 7, 2012 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  8. bcrunner

    Hey, Truck it up!! The worst President ever is hiding in Texas finishing his vacation!! Nobody wants to copy him!!!! Not even the Republicans...

    April 7, 2012 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  9. marty

    And a Happy Easter to all !!

    April 7, 2012 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  10. Aloha

    Franken is an imbecile. shakes head for Minnesota, what a bunch of losers.

    April 7, 2012 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  11. gt

    keep counting till you win franken is still a joke .....i am not surprise franken didnt dress up drag and do the commerical..

    April 7, 2012 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  12. Squigman

    Possibly the best decision the people from Minnesota made, was to elect Mr Franken, to office. At least he's no boot licking, corporate sucking, rights removing, hypocrite of the republican ilk.

    April 7, 2012 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  13. Mike

    Al is like a number of Senators low key you never really hear much about them, so it is hard to say if he has been good or not, but given the choice he was the best one .............

    April 7, 2012 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  14. Donkey Party

    Bugs –

    Ventura, Pawlenty, Bachmann? Get real, Franken marked a turnaround for MN from those dinks to someone with depth, intelligence, and character.

    April 7, 2012 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  15. Marlee

    Senator Al Franken is a refreshing change to the status quo in DC and funny to boot.

    April 7, 2012 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  16. Norma Vessels

    Senator Franken .. you've become a good senator .. thank you.

    April 7, 2012 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  17. otermbachmann

    He's ok. But he's no Wellstone.

    April 7, 2012 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  18. julien vergara

    Candidates are wasting so much money, while our country is in recession. How could obamas administration could afford to waste money and proud to broadcast to poor people

    April 8, 2012 03:51 am at 3:51 am |
  19. Ray E. (Georgia)

    Didn't I hear Al isn't running for Re-Election? Too much hard work being in the Senate.

    April 8, 2012 05:54 am at 5:54 am |
  20. Please Grow Up

    I stand for OCCUPY STOCK PHOTOS. As a disenfranchised and unphotographed average – possibly below average – citizen, I demand my right to appear in the blurry background of campaign pictures doing what I do best (wandering aimlessely, or lying down - two of my best things, thank you!) and remaining unpaid and unrecognized for the privilege. C'mon. Al, stand up for the medium-sized guy. By the way, you are doing a great job.

    April 8, 2012 05:58 am at 5:58 am |
  21. phil mn

    I'm proud to be represented by Al Franken. Bachmann not so much!!!

    April 8, 2012 06:26 am at 6:26 am |
  22. julien vergara

    At least romneyhad fixed the olympic, unlike obama always borrow but never fix the economy. They say if you are lucky, everything you do is right. I guess obama is not a lucky person

    April 8, 2012 07:01 am at 7:01 am |
  23. Marlee

    Senator Al Franken is a refreshing change to the status quo in DC.

    April 8, 2012 07:12 am at 7:12 am |
  24. Russ in Md

    Al Franken is a JOKE that had to use his democratic counterparts (and Acorn) to beg, borrow, steel, and make up votes to win the senate.

    April 8, 2012 08:03 am at 8:03 am |