July 17th, 2009
11:38 AM ET
5 years ago

Franken handles Senate debut with a light touch

WASHINGTON (CNN) - It was the role of a lifetime for comedian-turned-inquisitor Sen. Al Franken this week during Judge Sonia Sotomayor's Supreme Court nomination hearings.

The Senate's newest star seemed comfortable in front of the cameras, but less at ease with Senate procedure.

In one instance, Franken looked to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, to approve a request.

"I would ask for it to be entered into the record ... can I enter it into the record?" Franken asked. He was given the green light to go ahead.

Franken's national debut is also amusing his old peers on the comedy circuit.

"I just kept expecting 'Live from New York!'" said Jon Stewart on "The Daily Show" this week.

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Filed under: Al Franken • Sonia Sotomayor • Supreme Court
July 16th, 2009
05:15 AM 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 • Patrick Leahy
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
July 13th, 2009
05:19 PM ET
5 years ago

'I know I have a lot to learn from each of you,' Franken says

Sen. Franken was the last senator to give his opening statement Monday as the Sotomayor confirmation hearing got under way.
Sen. Franken was the last senator to give his opening statement Monday as the Sotomayor confirmation hearing got under way.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Sen. Al Franken, fresh off a win in a contentous Senate race in Minnesota, found himself at the center of the national political stage Monday as confirmation hearings began for Supreme Court nominee Judge Sonia Sotomayor.

"I know I have a lot to learn from each of you," Franken told the other members of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The Minnesota Democrat also described himself as "truly humbled" to join the committee "which has played and will continue to play such an important role in overseeing our nation's system of justice."

The former cast member of "Saturday Night Live" quickly turned serious during his opening statement.

Pointing out that Monday was his fifth day in office, Franken observed "I am the senator who most recently took the oath of office.

Last Tuesday I swore to support and defend the Constitution of the United States and to bear truth faith and allegiance to it. I take this oath very seriously . . . ."

Franken focused the substance of his opening remarks on the impact of the courts on Americans' lives - and told the packed hearing room that he sees challenges to the rights of Americans as citizens and voters.
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Filed under: Al Franken • Sonia Sotomayor • Supreme Court
July 7th, 2009
01:58 PM ET
5 years ago

Biden swears Franken in on Senate floor

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Satirist-turned-politician Al Franken was sworn in as the newest member of the U.S. Senate Tuesday, officially closing the books on one of the longest post-election recount struggles in recent American political history.

He was sworn in on the Senate floor by Vice President Joe Biden.

Franken, a Minnesota Democrat, became the 60th member of his party's Senate caucus. The Democrats now have a potential filibuster-proof majority in the chamber.

Franken will take a seat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, giving him an opportunity to take part in next week's confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor.

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Filed under: Al Franken
July 7th, 2009
12:20 PM ET
5 years ago

Franken sworn in as U.S. senator

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Satirist-turned-politician Al Franken was sworn in as the newest member of the U.S. Senate Tuesday, officially closing the books on one of the longest post-election recount struggles in recent American political history.

Franken, a Minnesota Democrat, became the 60th member of his party's Senate caucus. The Democrats now have a potential filibuster-proof majority in the chamber.


Filed under: Al Franken
July 7th, 2009
11:53 AM ET
5 years ago

Senate Republicans highlight Franken's arrival in new Web video

The NRSC is out with a Web video that highlights Al Franken's arrival in the Senate.
The NRSC is out with a Web video that highlights Al Franken's arrival in the Senate.

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.
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Filed under: Al Franken • Senate
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.
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Filed under: Al Franken • Minnesota • Senate
July 6th, 2009
11:07 AM ET
5 years ago

Eight months after Election Day, Franken reaches Capitol Hill

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Senator-elect Al Franken is in the nation's capital Monday, in advance of his official swearing-in Tuesday by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.


Filed under: Al Franken
July 2nd, 2009
03:57 PM ET
5 years ago

Franken to be sworn in Tuesday

Sen.-elect Al Franken will be sworn in on Tuesday.
Sen.-elect Al Franken will be sworn in on Tuesday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Senator-elect Al Franken will meet with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and be sworn in Tuesday, according to Reid's office.

Franken has been assigned suite 320 in the Hart Senate Office Building, the same office used by former Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman, who conceded the race earlier this week.


Filed under: Al Franken • Harry Reid
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