November 19th, 2008
03:52 PM ET
14 years ago

With Minnesota recount underway, Al Franken visits Capitol Hill

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[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Al Franken traveled to Washington on Wednesday."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - As Minnesota begins to re-count the nearly three million ballots cast in the state’s tightly-contested Senate battle, the two candidates in the race - Democrat Al Franken and Republican incumbent Norm Coleman - were on Capitol Hill meeting with Senate leaders.

Franken met with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for about 20 minutes on Wednesday morning in Reid’s office on the second floor of the Capitol building. After the meeting, he told reporters he had briefed the Majority Leader on the mechanics of the recount and said he is "cautiously optimistic" he will win.

"We believe that if they're all counted, we think that we’ll prevail given the sort of history of all this,” Franken said of the recount.

The former comedy writer said he had scheduled meetings at the DSCC, where he will meet with experts who know about setting up transition offices and organizational things along those lines. He said it would "be irresponsible not to start thinking about that stuff before in case we do win."

Franken also said his campaign will continue fundraising while the ballots are being counted to pay for field organization and potential legal costs.

"We anticipate that there will be more litigation," Franken said. Lawsuits have been filed by both campaigns.

Franken's trip to Washington, however, was largely symbolic. A congressional aide told CNN the underlying purpose of the Reid meeting was to blunt Coleman’s public posture that he has won re-election and to demonstrate that Franken will be ready to immediately assume office should he win.

Another aide said the reason for Franken’s optimism is that in Minnesota recounts are done by hand and election officials are supposed to determine the intention of each voter. There is a school of thought that elderly voters, poor voters, and others who might favor Democrats are more prone to having mistakenly marked their ballots - for example, circling a name instead of connecting the arrows.

Coleman, meanwhile, visited the office of his Republican colleague Ted Stevens, where he met with the embattled senator for about 10 minutes. Stevens was defeated in his re-election bid Tuesday night after the outstanding ballots in the Alaska senate race were counted.

Coleman did not answer questions after leaving Stevens' office.

Filed under: Al Franken • Minnesota • Norm Coleman
soundoff (46 Responses)
  1. lovable liberal

    Not a big fan of Franken until "Rush Limbaugh is a Big, Fat Idiot" and "Lying Liars", which are both spot on. Sarcasm would be a much-needed addition to the Democrats' message. It's a shame Franken wasn't in the Senate to ridicule Duhbya and Darth.

    November 19, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  2. Phil

    Franken to D.C.
    Coleman to Jail with his buddies Dick & George

    November 19, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  3. O & Joe '08!!!

    Admittedly, I do not know enough about Al Franken to comment.

    That being said, the thought of the Dems having a 60-seat filibuster-proof majority just makes me giddy...the cherry on top of one helluva November ice cream sundae.

    On second thought, Franken is a great politician. GO AL!!!!

    November 19, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  4. Jen

    If the you Democrats do get the 60-seat majority, you can't blame Republicans anymore if things go bad. It really frightens me that people like Pelosi, Reed, and Schumer are going to be running the show. God help us all....

    November 19, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  5. No Hillary = No Obama

    Al Franken should be back on SNL doing his Stuart Smalley skit as leader of the self-help group Recount Rejects. He's going to need those daily affirmations.

    November 19, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  6. Henry Miller, Cary, NC

    Anyone can visit Capitol Hill–I've been there myself. Does that mean I can be a Senator too?

    November 19, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  7. Tom , Flagstaff, AZ

    I hope Al wins. More Democrats, fewer Republicans.

    November 19, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  8. GA for Obama

    Jen- it doesn't frighten me..they didn't do anything but get bashed by the likes of you..they truly are moderates..let them do their jobs and see

    November 19, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  9. Milhouse van Houten

    I hear Bill O'Rielly endorsed Franken.

    November 19, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  10. Ron , West Coast

    Good Luck , Al ..... We need you to become the next senator of Minn., ...... You would represent Paul Wellstone in great fashion !!!!!

    November 19, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  11. Jim Doyle

    All of you morons (not maroons Desert Storm Vet- where did you learn to spell?) who deride Al Franken because he's a comedian (and you didn't get his jokes) probably never read his books, or listened to him on Air America Radio, where he was a talk show host. I'm sure you were too busy tuning in to Rush and Ann (adam's apple) Coulter and all those other lying liars. Al Franken is highly intelligent, has a great sense of humor and speaks the truth to power. Lots of us are sick and tired of Republicans ruling with fear and lies (and not much humor, by the way)

    November 19, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  12. California Girl

    Hopefully Al Franken will prevail. No more crooks in the White House (republicans)!

    November 19, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  13. Debbie

    It's pretty funny to see how the GOP likes seeing a clown not concede the election. At least Franken's good at being a clown. Bush is only good at screwing up.

    November 19, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  14. Go Al

    I think he'd be a great senator. D.C. needs more humor. The only problem is that he said he was cautiously optimistic, which he said in his book "The Truth, With Jokes" is an optimist's way of saying "We're screwed".

    November 19, 2008 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  15. tennisguypitt

    I really don't care.

    November 19, 2008 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  16. That Other Jerry

    Oh yeah, not to be presumptuous or anything. By the way, Al, have you met with Obama about your transition team? You know, the one you're putting together for when he leaves the White House?

    November 19, 2008 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  17. Texas Teacher

    You go, Al! Way to show confidence! 🙂

    I really hope he wins. I think he would make an outstanding Senator!

    November 19, 2008 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  18. bill depp

    With a hand recount the "will of the voter" or his/her intentions should be the rule and if that is the case then Franken might have the advantage. After all it should be whoever gets the most votes. Even if that jerk Coleman does win.

    November 19, 2008 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  19. DougH

    I'd rather see a Harvard educated clown in the Senate the a poser like Coleman. Competence and substance over ideology.

    November 19, 2008 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
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