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

With Minnesota recount underway, Al Franken visits Capitol Hill

, ,

[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. Ryan

    Did he travel commercial or take a private jet?

    November 19, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  2. Rob

    If Al Franken makes it as a US Senator, than truly all hope is gone.

    November 19, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  3. Alaskan Fame Junkie

    I'm a democrat and I think this guy is out of his gourd.

    November 19, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  4. Steve from Florida

    Only in Minnesota...or California!!!

    November 19, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  5. Desert Storm Vet

    What a maroon

    November 19, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  6. Frobama

    Franken is a joke.

    November 19, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  7. john m sandoval

    That is all we need in Washington – another Comedian, to join the $170,000 dollar a year politicians.

    November 19, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  8. worriedmom

    Franken is a idiot! Never thought of him as ever being funny. If he wins, it is because he "bought" the vote. Go home Franken and live your miserable life somewhere else other than D.C.

    November 19, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  9. LiberalChris

    Woohoo!! Go Franken. Get us one more closer to 60.

    November 19, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  10. Sarah in the South

    Al, You're NOT good enough. You're NOT smart enough. And dog gone it, hopefully people DON'T like you!

    November 19, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  11. Irony

    count every vote.

    don't believe the lies

    don't be sore loosers if your pick doesn't win
    don't gloat if your pick does

    just count every vote

    November 19, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  12. Brian from Fort Mill, SC

    Rob November 19th, 2008 3:59 pm ET

    If Al Franken makes it as a US Senator, than truly all hope is gone.
    I dunno. I kinda liked him in "Trading Places."

    November 19, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  13. Rick

    I used to like Minnesota. Now I wonder what sort of lunatics live up there.

    November 19, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  14. john m sandoval

    That is all we need in Washington, another $170,000 a year plus lobbying money politician.
    History states that the Greeks actually out lawed "Democracy" because it facilitates political favors. Corrupted Lobbyists with grey money control government political actions. Besides; we are a Republic, a Republic cannot be a Democracy – it is ruled by Congressional Representatives.
    John M Sandoval
    Bastrop Texas

    November 19, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  15. happy thanksgiving

    franken 59, martin, 60.

    November 19, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  16. Conor O

    What's wrong with having a accomplished comedian and writer for Senate? Better than having a second-rate actor as President.

    Franken is smarter and more capable than 99% of Congress folk, and he's not a womanizer or hypocrite like most of Congress.

    November 19, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  17. James

    I wanted say something about how suggesting that Mr. Franken is an idiot is also to insult the many, many people who supported him with their ballot, and that it was strange that so many would think to support a "joke" for a high office. Then, I remembered that we as a country elected the 43rd president, twice...and maybe it would be okay to insult vast scores of fellow American citizens because they choose poorly. Also, I began thinking about how if Franken is such a joke, Senator Coleman must be an even bigger joke to have had to fight as he did to keep (maybe keep?) his office.

    November 19, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  18. Lisa

    Bill Clinton's everywhere!!

    November 19, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  19. Sean Chong

    Al Franken is a comedian, but he's a well-informed comedian. George Bush is a President and an ex-Governor, but an ill-informed one. If Ronald Reagan, an actor, can become a President, why not a comedian just for the Senate?

    November 19, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  20. Lisa

    I think Bill and Hillary owns the democrated party. Everyone including Obama need their approval. I agree!!! This country was the best it has ever been with Bill Clinton as the President.

    November 19, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  21. alvino

    It would be a shame to have Norm elected and then get booted out for illegal activities. Hopefully, the recount will be the end of Norm's political career.

    November 19, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  22. Mari, Obama junkie

    I don't know if, after watching him on Saturday Night Live for years, if I can actually take him seriously as a Senator...however, his IS a brilliant man and if an ex Pro-Wrestler can be Governor, all is well on the political scene with Franken as senator.

    November 19, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  23. karen-phoenix

    Go Franken!!!! You would be great!!! I do hope you win!!! AND you would be soooo good for MN! Had a summer home there for years!!!!
    Just to cold for me!

    November 19, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  24. David, Silver Spring, MD

    The difference between Al Franken and George Bush is that no one ever died from one of Franken's jokes.

    I used to listen occasionally to Franken on his Air America show. Despite his occasional lame jokes, he is really a pretty sharp guy with a good understanding of the issues. I think he'll do a fine job as a Senator.

    November 19, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  25. EW

    Lisa November 19th, 2008 4:36 pm ET
    "This country was the best it has ever been with Bill Clinton as the President."

    So, the President who can't keep it in his pants was a better President than the man who ended slavery or the man that brought our country out of the depression? There are probably 30 other Presidents that were better than Bubba.

    November 19, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
1 2