March 11th, 2010
10:47 AM ET
5 years ago

Franken to keynote Netroots Nation convention

Al Franken will headline Netroots Nation in July.
Al Franken will headline Netroots Nation in July.

(CNN) – Sen. Al Franken, D-Minnesota, will headline the upcoming Netroots Nation convention, organizers announced Thursday.

Netroots Nation is the most prominent gathering of liberal bloggers each year. The three day convention begins July 22 in Las Vegas and Franken will deliver the keynote address on July 25.

Franken defeated Sen. Norm Coleman by a razor thin margin in 2008, but was not officially sworn in until July 2009 because of a recount.

"Even during the recount, we knew Sen. Franken would be a fighter," Raven Brooks, the executive director of Netroots Nation said in a statement. "Whether he's fighting for health care or education, he's shown that he represents American families and isn't afraid to stand up for strong progressive values."

Former keynote speakers include former President Bill Clinton, former Vice President Al Gore, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean.


Filed under: Al Franken
March 8th, 2010
04:19 PM ET
5 years ago

Comic book series to feature Franken

Sen. Al Franken will appear in an upcoming comic book.
Sen. Al Franken will appear in an upcoming comic book.

Washington (CNN) - It's a bird, it's a plane, it's Senator Al Franken.

While Sen. Scott Brown, R-Massachusetts, might be able to brag about being featured in "Cosmopolitan" magazine, it is his Minnesota colleague who is getting his own comic book.

Franken, the comedian-turned- liberal radio host-turned U.S. senator, will be featured in an upcoming 22-page color spread as part of the "Political Power" series published by Bluewater Productions.

"We want to tell stories about people who are not the Barack Obama's of the world and Sen. Franken isn't someone people would expect us to cover," publisher Darren Davis said in an interview with CNN. Davis said the May issue of the series will "show his early life as a comedian to modern day. "I don't think anyone knows Sen. Franken co-wrote the movie "When a Man Loves a Woman," said Davis, referring to the 1994 dramatic film starring Andy Garcia and Meg Ryan.

As for Franken, a spokesman said the Democratic senator is "looking forward to reading the comic."

The current issue features George W.Bush.


Filed under: Al Franken
December 19th, 2009
03:04 PM ET
December 18th, 2009
04:35 PM ET
8 months ago

MN GOP calls Franken-Lieberman incident an 'embarrassment'

Franken is taking heat for cutting off Lieberman.
Franken is taking heat for cutting off Lieberman.

(CNN) - The Minnesota Republican Party is calling out Sen. Al Franken's over his refusal to grant Sen. Joe Lieberman additional time to speak about the health care reform bill Thursday night.

"Al Franken's petty and petulant behavior on…the floor of the U.S. Senate is an embarrassment to our state," Party Chairman Tony Sutton said in a statement. "In just six months, Franken has established himself as the most uncivil and ineffective senator in Minnesota history."

The incident in question came Thursday evening, when Lieberman asked Franken, then presiding over the Senate, for an "additional moment" to conclude his remarks after the allotted 10 minutes had expired.

"In my capacity as the senator from Minnesota, I object," replied Franken, prompting a surprised Lieberman to ask "Really?"

Franken spokesman Jess McIntosh said Franken was merely following orders from his party's leaders, who asked that floor speeches be kept within their time limits to keep the debate moving.

FULL POST


Filed under: Al Franken • Joe Lieberman
December 18th, 2009
04:33 PM ET
8 months ago

Franken takes on Lieberman as tensions builds in Senate

Washington (CNN) - Tensions stemming from the prolonged debate on health care flared Thursday afternoon when Democratic Sen. Al Franken, who was the presiding officer, refused to let Sen. Joe Lieberman finish his speech on the senate floor.

Lieberman, the bane of the Democratic Party's liberal base because of his opposition to creating a public option and expanding Medicare, was speaking about preserving the Medicare trust fund.

After his allotted ten minutes, Lieberman - an independent from Connecticut who sits with the Democratic caucus - asked for more time to finish his speech, a request customarily granted in the venerable chamber.

"In my capacity as the senator from Minnesota, I object," replied
Franken.

"Really?" Lieberman asked, seeming surprised by the rejection. "Okay," he continued with a chuckle, "I don't take it personally."

Immediately following the exchange, Lieberman's closest Republican ally, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, came to his defense.

FULL POST


Filed under: Al Franken • Joe Lieberman • Popular Posts
September 14th, 2009
04:58 AM ET
5 years ago

Franken draws big laughs at Iowa fundraiser

Comic-turned-Senator Al Franken drew big laughs at an annual Iowa fundraiser Sunday.
Comic-turned-Senator Al Franken drew big laughs at an annual Iowa fundraiser Sunday.

INDIANOLA, Iowa (CNN) - Sen. Al Franken, D-Minnesota, the former comedian who has largely put the funny business on hold as he plays catch-up due to his late arrival in Washington, proved to a Iowa crowd Sunday that he's still got it.

The "Saturday Night Live" alum and Minnesota native was the keynote speaker at Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin's annual Steak Fry party fundraiser.

For obvious reasons, this year's speeches centered largely around health-care reform.

Harkin was recently named chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, taking control of the seat held by the late Sen. Ted Kennedy.

Also a member of that committee now, Franken, in his deadpan delivery, used sarcasm to highlight the importance of the post.

"Its not really that big a deal," he said to laughter, as he slowly went through the list of the group's topics. "I mean, it's only health. Education. Labor. And pensions. I mean, who really would care about those things? Except for maybe people who are concerned about their health or their kids' health or maybe want their kids to go to, oh, a good school, or I don't know, people who work."

FULL POST


Filed under: Al Franken • Health care • Iowa • Tom Harkin
September 13th, 2009
09:26 PM ET
5 years ago

Franken draws big laughs at Iowa fundraiser

Comic-turned-Senator Al Franken drew big laughs at an annual Iowa fundraiser Sunday.
Comic-turned-Senator Al Franken drew big laughs at an annual Iowa fundraiser Sunday.

INDIANOLA, Iowa (CNN) - Sen. Al Franken, D-Minnesota, the former comedian who has largely put the funny business on hold as he plays catch-up due to his late arrival in Washington, proved to a Iowa crowd Sunday that he's still got it.

The "Saturday Night Live" alum and Minnesota native was the keynote speaker at Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin's annual Steak Fry party fundraiser.

For obvious reasons, this year's speeches centered largely around health-care reform.

Harkin was recently named chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, taking control of the seat held by the late Sen. Ted Kennedy.

Also a member of that committee now, Franken, in his deadpan delivery, used sarcasm to highlight the importance of the post.

"Its not really that big a deal," he said to laughter, as he slowly went through the list of the group's topics. "I mean, it's only health. Education. Labor. And pensions. I mean, who really would care about those things? Except for maybe people who are concerned about their health or their kids' health or maybe want their kids to go to, oh, a good school, or I don't know, people who work."

The crowd of a couple thousand chuckled and gave him cheers and applause. He then got a bit more serious.
FULL POST


Filed under: Al Franken • Extra • Health care • Iowa • Popular Posts • Tom Harkin
September 11th, 2009
02:30 PM ET
5 years ago

Steak draws Al Franken to Iowa

Al Franken's headed to Iowa, and a good steak may be one of the reasons.
Al Franken's headed to Iowa, and a good steak may be one of the reasons.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Al Franken's headed to Iowa, and a good steak may be one of the reasons.

The junior senator from Minnesota is the headliner Sunday at Sen. Tom Harkin's 32nd annual Steak Fry in Indianola, Iowa.

"Tom is a good friend. I admire him a lot," Franken, best known from his years as a comedian on "Saturday Night Live," told the Des Moines Register. "But also, I like steak."

The Harkin Steak Fry is one of the Iowa Democratic Party's biggest events, and in years when the party's presidential nomination is up for grabs, it's a draw for Democratic White House hopefuls. Barack Obama's appearance at the 2006 steak fry was a signal that the then-senator from Illinois was seriously considering a bid for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination.

FULL POST


Filed under: Al Franken
August 20th, 2009
01:00 PM ET
5 years ago

Coleman headed to Harvard

Former Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman has a new gig.
Former Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman has a new gig.

(CNN) - Former Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman has a new gig - at successor Al Franken's alma mater.

Harvard University's Institute of Politics announced Thursday that the former Republican senator will be part of its latest class of teaching fellows.

Other political luminaries joining Coleman at Harvard as resident or visiting fellows this fall include former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe, former Kerry and Obama advisor Stephanie Cutter, Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan.


Filed under: Al Franken • Norm Coleman
July 20th, 2009
04:43 PM ET
5 years ago

Franken's first goal: Dogs for vets

Sen. Al Franken unveiled his first legislative goal Monday.
Sen. Al Franken unveiled his first legislative goal Monday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Newly-minted Sen. Al Franken, D-Minnesota, unveiled his first legislative goal Monday - providing funding to train dogs to work with wounded veterans.

"Service dogs … can be of immense benefit to vets suffering from physical and emotional wounds," Franken wrote in a column published in the Star Tribune. "Yes, they provide companionship. But they can also detect changes in a person's breathing, perspiration or scent to anticipate and ward off an impending panic attack with some well-timed nuzzling. They are trained to let their masters know when it's time to take their medication and to wake them from terrifying nightmares."

Franken, who was recently sworn-in after a nine month battle over the election results, said it costs about $25,000 to train and place a dog and noted his bill would provide hundreds of them to veterans.

The Minnesota Democrat also said there is evidence to show that this kind of program could help reduce the suicide rate among veterans.

"Frankly, I believe it is enough simply to improve the lives of those of whom we asked so much," Franken wrote. "But this program isn't just the right thing to do. It's the smart thing to do. This is win, win, win, win. I've been a senator for only a few days. But I've learned that it's better to listen than to talk, that you don't have to be a lawyer to be impressed by a tremendous jurist like Judge Sotomayor, and that I enjoy working with my Republican colleagues as much as I do with my fellow Democrats."


Filed under: Al Franken
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