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Al Franken
Al Franken Official Senate Portrait.jpg
United States Senator
from Minnesota
Incumbent
Assumed office
July 7, 2009[note 1]
Serving with Amy Klobuchar
Preceded by Norm Coleman
Personal details
Born Alan Stuart Franken
(1951-05-21) May 21, 1951 (age 63)
New York City, New York
Political party Democratic–Farmer–Labor
Spouse(s) Franni Bryson (m. 1975)
Children Thomasin Franken (b. 1981)
Joseph Franken II (b. 1984)
Residence Minneapolis, Minnesota
Alma mater Harvard College
Occupation Comedian, actor, author,
screenwriter, radio host
and political commentator
Religion Judaism[1]
Signature
Website Senate website
Campaign website

Alan Stuart "Al" Franken (born May 21, 1951) is an American politician who is the junior United States Senator from Minnesota, where he has served since 2009. A member of the Minnesota Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party, an affiliate of the Democratic Party, he narrowly defeated incumbent Republican Senator Norm Coleman in 2008. Prior to serving in the Senate, he was a writer and performer for the television show Saturday Night Live (SNL) from its inception in 1975 to 1980 and from 1985 to 1995.

After leaving SNL, he wrote and acted in movies and television shows. He also hosted a nationally syndicated, political radio talk show, The Al Franken Show, and authored six books, four of which are political satires critical of right-wing politics.

Franken declared his candidacy for the U.S. Senate in 2007 and after a close race, he trailed Coleman by 215 votes. After a statewide manual recount, required because of the closeness of the election, Franken was declared the winner by a margin of 312 votes. After an election contest and subsequent lawsuit by Coleman,[2] the Minnesota Supreme Court unanimously upheld Franken's victory on June 30, 2009[3] and Franken was sworn into the Senate on July 7, 2009.[4]

Early life and education[edit]

Franken was born on May 21, 1951, in New York City, to Joseph Franken, a printing salesman, and Phoebe (Kunst), a real estate agent. The family later moved to St. Louis Park, Minnesota, a suburb of Minneapolis.[5] His older brother Owen is a photojournalist, and his cousin Bob is a journalist for MSNBC.[6] Franken graduated from The Blake School in 1969, where he was a member of the wrestling team. He then attended Harvard University where he majored in government, graduating cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in 1973.[7]

Franken began performing in high school where he, along with his friend and long-time writing partner Tom Davis were known for their humor.[8] The two first performed on stage at Minneapolis's Brave New Workshop theater, specializing in political satire.[9] They soon found themselves in what was described as "a life of near-total failure on the fringes of show business in Los Angeles."[10]

Saturday Night Live[edit]

Franken and Davis were recruited as two of the original writers (and occasional performers) on Saturday Night Live (SNL) (1975–1980, 1985–1995). In Season 1 of SNL, as apprentice writers, the two shared a salary of $350 per week.[8] Franken received seven Emmy nominations and three awards for his television writing and producing while creating such characters as self-help guru Stuart Smalley. Another routine proclaimed the 1980s to be the "Al Franken Decade".[11] Franken and Davis wrote the script to the 1986 comedy film One More Saturday Night, appearing in it as rock singers in a band called "Bad Mouth". They also appeared in minor roles in All You Need Is Cash and in the Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd film Trading Places.

Franken mocked controversial NBC president Fred Silverman as "a total unequivocal failure" and displayed a chart showing the poor ratings of NBC programs. As a result of this sketch, Silverman refused Lorne Michaels' request that Franken succeed him as head producer, prompting Franken to leave the show when Michaels did, at the end of the 1979–80 season.[12] Franken later returned to the show in 1985 as a writer, but also as an occasional performer. Franken has acknowledged using cocaine while working in the television business.[13] In 1995, Franken left the show in protest over losing the role of Weekend Update anchor to Norm Macdonald.[14]

Post-SNL[edit]

Franken entertaining troops at Ramstein Air Base in December 2000

In 1995, Franken wrote the original screenplay and starred in the film Stuart Saves His Family, which was a critical and commercial failure.[15] Franken became depressed following the movie's failure.[16] With an aggregate rating of 27% on Rotten Tomatoes,[17] Stuart Saves His Family did receive a number of favorable reviews, including from the Washington Post[18] and Gene Siskel.[19]

Franken is the author of four New York Times best selling books.[20] In 2003, Penguin Books published Franken's book Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right, a satirical book on American politics and conservatism. The book's title incorporated the Fox News slogan "Fair and Balanced" and included a cover photo of Fox News commentator Bill O'Reilly; in August that year Fox News sued, claiming infringement of its registered trademark phrase.[21][22] A federal judge found the lawsuit to be "wholly without merit". The incident with Fox focused media attention on Franken's book and, according to Franken, greatly increased its sales through the Streisand effect.[23][24] The publicity resulting from the lawsuit propelled Franken's yet-to-be-released book to #1 on Amazon.com.[25]

Franken signed a one-year contract in early 2004 to host a talk show for Air America Radio's flagship program with co-host Katherine Lanpher, who remained with the show until October 2005. The network was launched March 31, 2004. Originally named The O'Franken Factor but renamed The Al Franken Show on July 12, 2004, the show aired three hours a day, five days a week for three years. The stated goal of the show was to provide the public airwaves with more progressive views to counter what Franken perceived to be the dominance of conservative syndicated commentary on the radio: "I'm doing this because I want to use my energies to get Bush unelected," he told a New York Times reporter in 2004.[26] Franken's last radio show on Air America Radio was on February 14, 2007, at the end of which Franken announced his candidacy for the United States Senate.[27]

Franken also co-wrote the film When a Man Loves a Woman, co-created and starred in the NBC sitcom LateLine, and appeared in the 2004 remake of The Manchurian Candidate.

In 2003, Franken served as a Fellow with Harvard's Kennedy School of Government at the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy.[11] Since 2005, Franken has been a contributor at The Huffington Post.[28]

Franken has toured Iraq several times with the United Service Organizations.[29] On March 25, 2009, Franken was presented with the USO's-Metro Merit Award for his 10 years' involvement with the organization.[30]

Political activism prior to election[edit]

Franken giving a political speech in Rochester, Minnesota

According to an article by Richard Corliss published in Time, "In a way, Franken has been running for office since the late '70s." Corliss also hinted at Franken's "possibly ironic role as a relentless self-promoter" in proclaiming the 1980s "the Al Franken Decade" and saying, "Vote for me, Al Franken. You'll be glad you did!"[31] In 1999, Franken released a parody book, Why Not Me?, detailing his hypothetical campaign for President in 2000. He had been a strong supporter of Minnesota Senator Paul Wellstone and was deeply affected by the Senator's death in a plane crash shortly before the 2002 election. Wellstone was a mentor and political and personal role model for Franken, with Franken stating his hopes of following in the late Senator’s footsteps.[32][33]

Franken said he learned that 21% of Americans received most of their news from talk radio, an almost exclusively conservative medium.[31] Said Franken, "I didn't want to sit on the sidelines, and I believed Air America could make a difference."[31] In November 2003, Franken talked about moving to his home state of Minnesota to run for the Senate. At the time the seat, once held by Wellstone, was occupied by Republican Norm Coleman. In 2005, Franken announced his move to Minnesota: "I can tell you honestly, I don't know if I'm going to run, but I'm doing the stuff I need to do in order to do it."[34] In late 2005, Franken started his own political action committee, called Midwest Values PAC. By early 2007, the PAC raised more than $1 million.[35][36]

Franken was the subject of the 2006 documentary film Al Franken: God Spoke, which was, according to the New York Times, "an investigation of the phenomenon of ideological celebrity."[37]

Franken initially supported the Iraq War but opposed the 2007 troop surge. In an interview with MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough,[38] Franken said that he "believed Colin Powell", whose presentation at the United Nations convinced him that the war was necessary. However, since then he had come to believe that "we were misled into the war" and urged the Democratically controlled Congress to refuse to pass appropriations bills to fund the war if they don't include timetables for leaving Iraq. In an interview with Josh Marshall, Franken said of the Democrats, "I think we've gotta make President George W. Bush say, 'OK, I'm cutting off funding because I won't agree to a timetable.'"[39]

Franken favors transitioning to a universal health care system, with the provision that every child in America should receive health care coverage immediately.[citation needed] Franken objects to efforts to privatize or cut Social Security benefits. He favors raising the cap on wages to which Social Security taxes apply.[40] On his 2008 campaign website, he voiced support for cutting subsidies for oil companies, increasing money available for college students, and cutting interest rates on student loans.[41][42]

During the 2008 election, New York state officials asserted that Al Franken Inc. had failed to carry required workers' compensation insurance for employees who assisted him with his comedy and public speaking from 2002 to 2005. Franken paid a $25,000 fine to the state of New York upon being advised his corporation was out of compliance with the state's workers' compensation laws.[43] At the same time, the California Franchise Tax Board reported that the same corporation owed more than $4,743.40 in taxes, fines, and associated penalties in the state of California for 2003 through 2007 because the corporation did not file tax returns in the state for those years.[44] A Franken representative said that it followed the advice of an accountant who believed when the corporation stopped doing business in California that no further filing was required.[45] Subsequently, Franken paid $70,000 in back income taxes in 17 states dating back to 2003, mostly from Franken's speeches and other paid appearances. Franken said he paid the income tax in his state of residence, and he would seek retroactive credit for paying the taxes in the wrong states.[46]

U.S. Senate[edit]

Elections[edit]

2008
Franken campaigning for U.S. Senate

On January 29, 2007, Franken announced his departure from Air America Radio,[27] and on the day of his final show, February 14, Franken formally announced his candidacy for the United States Senate from Minnesota in 2008.[47] Challenging him for the Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party endorsement was Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer, a professor, author, and activist. Other candidates were trial lawyer Mike Ciresi, and Jim Cohen an attorney and human rights activist who had dropped out of the race earlier.[48]

On July 8, 2007, Franken's campaign stated that it expected to announce that Franken had raised more money than opponent Norm Coleman during the second quarter of the year, taking in $1.9 million to Coleman's $1.6 million,[49][50] although in early July 2007, Coleman's $3.8 million cash on hand exceeded Franken's $2 million.[50]

In late May 2008, the Minnesota Republican Party released a letter regarding an article Franken had written for Playboy in 2000 entitled "Porn-O-Rama!". The letter, signed by six prominent GOP women, including a state senator and state representative, called on Franken to apologize for what they referred to as a "demeaning and degrading" article.[51] A Franken campaign spokesman responded that, "Al had a long career as a satirist. But he understands the difference between what you say as a satirist and what you do as a senator. And as a Senator, Norm Coleman has disrespected the people of Minnesota by putting the Exxons and Halliburtons ahead of working families. And there’s nothing funny about that."[51]

On June 7, 2008, Franken was endorsed at the DFL convention.[52] In a July 2008 interview with CNN, Franken was endorsed by Ben Stein, the noted entertainer, speechwriter, lawyer and author who is known for his conservative views and generally supports Republican candidates.[53] Stein said of Franken, "He is my pal, and he is a really, really capable smart guy. I don't agree with all of his positions, but he is a very impressive guy, and I think he should be in the Senate."

During his campaign for the Senate, Franken was criticized for advising SNL creator Lorne Michaels on a political sketch ridiculing Senator John McCain's ads attacking Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election.[54] Coleman's campaign reacted, saying, "Once again, he proves he's more interested in entertainment than service, and ridiculing those with whom he disagrees."[55]

Preliminary reports on election night November 4 had Coleman ahead by over 700 votes; but the official results certified on by November 18, 2008, had Coleman leading by only 215 votes. As the two candidates were separated by less than 0.5 percent, the Secretary of State of Minnesota Mark Ritchie, authorized an automatic recount stipulated in Minnesota election law. In the recount, ballots and certifying materials were examined by hand, and candidates could file challenges to the legality of ballots or materials for inclusion or exclusion with regard to the recount. On January 5, 2009, the Minnesota State Canvassing Board certified the recounted vote totals, with Franken ahead by 225 votes.[56]

On January 6, 2009, Coleman's campaign filed an election contest, which led to a trial before a three-judge panel.[57] The trial ended on April 7, when the panel ruled that 351 of 387 disputed absentee ballots were incorrectly rejected and ordered them counted. Counting those ballots raised Franken's lead to 312 votes. Coleman appealed to the Minnesota Supreme Court on April 20.[2][58][59] On April 24, the Minnesota Supreme Court agreed to hear the case.[60][61] and oral arguments were conducted on June 1.[60][62]

On June 30, 2009, the Minnesota Supreme Court unanimously rejected Coleman's appeal and said that Franken was entitled to be certified as the winner. Shortly after the court's decision, Coleman conceded.[63] Governor Tim Pawlenty signed Franken’s election certificate that same evening.[64]

2014

Franken is running for re-election to a second term in 2014.

Tenure[edit]

Franken meeting with Vice President Joe Biden in May 2009

Franken was sworn into the Senate on July 7, 2009, 246 days after election.[4][4][65] Franken was sworn in with the Bible of late Minnesota Senator Paul Wellstone, whose old seat was set aside by Senate leaders for Franken.[66][67]

On August 6, 2009, Franken presided over the confirmation vote of Sonia Sotomayor to be an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court.[68] A year later, on August 5, 2010, Franken presided over the confirmation vote of Elena Kagan. His first piece of legislation was the Service Dogs for Veterans Act (S. 1495), which he wrote jointly with Republican Johnny Isakson. The bill, which passed the Senate with unanimous consent, established a program with the United States Department of Veterans Affairs to pair disabled veterans with service dogs.[69]

A video began circulating on the Internet of Franken at the Minnesota State Fair on September 2, 2009, engaging in a discussion with a group of Tea Party protesters on health care reform, and soon went viral.[70][71] The discussion was noted for its civility, in contrast to the explosive character of several other discussions between members of the 111th Congress and their constituents that had occurred over the summer.[70][72][73]

During the debate on health care reform under President Obama, many proposals were made. Franken was one of the strongest supporters of a single-payer system.[74] He authored an amendment, called the Medical Loss Ratio, to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that required insurance companies spend at least 80% of premiums on actual health care costs, rising to 85% for large group plans.[75] In June 2013, it was reported that the amendment had saved consumers $3.4 billion on premiums and resulted in nationwide rebates of $1.1 billion in 2012 and $500 million in 2013.[76] On September 30, 2013, Franken voted to remove a provision which would repeal the medical device tax in Obamacare from a government funding bill.[77][78] Although Franken says he is in favor of the provision, he disagreed with it being used as a condition in preventing the 2013 federal government shutdown.[79]

Citing the case of Jamie Leigh Jones, Franken offered an amendment to the 2010 Defense Appropriations bill that would withhold defense contracts from companies that restrict their employees from taking workplace sexual assault, battery and discrimination cases to court. It passed the U.S. Senate in November 2010, 68 to 30 in a roll-call vote.[80]

In May 2010, Franken proposed a financial reform legislation amendment which would create a board to select which credit rating agency would evaluate a given security; currently any companies issuing a security may select which company evaluates the security.[81] The amendment was passed; however, the financial industry lobbied to have Franken's amendment removed from the final bill.[82] Negotiations between the Senate and House, whose version of financial reform did not include such a provision, resulted in the amendment's being watered down to require only a series of studies being done upon the issue for two years.[83] After the studies, if the Securities and Exchange Commission has not implemented another solution to the conflict of interest problem, Franken's solution will go into effect.[84][85]

In August 2010, Franken made faces and hand gestures and rolled his eyes while Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell delivered a speech in opposition to the confirmation of Elena Kagan to the U.S. Supreme Court.[86][87][88] Franken's actions prompted McConnell to remark, "This isn't Saturday Night Live, Al."[88] Following Kagan's confirmation, Franken delivered a handwritten apology to McConnell and issued a public statement saying that McConnell had a right "to give his speech with the presiding officer just listening respectfully."[86]

Franken has expressed his intention to seek re-election in 2014.[89] Due to his very slim margin of victory, his seat was thought to be a top target for the Republicans, but Politico has reported that his high approval rating, large war chest and the Republicans' struggle to find a top-tier candidate means that he is a "heavy favorite" to win re-election.[90]

The Associated Press has noted that contrary to expectations, Franken has not sought out the media spotlight: "He rarely talks to the Washington press corps, has shed his comedic persona and focused on policy, working to be taken seriously."[91] In interviews he has expressed his desire to be known for focusing on constituency work, keeping his head down and working hard.[74][92]

Committee assignments[edit]

Books and CDs[edit]

Non fiction[edit]

CDs and compilations[edit]

  • The Best Democracy Money Can Buy: The Truth About Corporate Cons, Globalization, and High-Finance Fraudsters with Greg Palast (2004)
  • The O'Franken Factor Factor — The Best of the O'Franken Factor
  • The Al Franken Show Party Album

Filmography[edit]

Year Work Writer Actor Cameo Notes
1975–1995 Saturday Night Live Yes Yes Yes
1976 Tunnel Vision Yes Role: Al
1977 The Paul Simon Special Yes
1978 All You Need is Cash Yes Role: Extra
1980 Grateful Dead: Dead Ahead Yes Concert video
Role: Host
1981 Steve Martin's Best Show Ever Yes
1981 Bob and Ray, Jane, Laraine and Gilda Yes
1981 The Coneheads Yes
1983 Trading Places Yes Role: Baggage handler
1984 Franken and Davis at Stockton State Yes
1984 The New Show Yes
1986 One More Saturday Night Yes Yes Role: Paul Flum
1994 When a Man Loves a Woman Yes
1995 Stuart Saves His Family Yes Yes Role: Stuart Smalley
1997 3rd Rock from the Sun Yes Episode: "Dick the Vote"
1997 The Larry Sanders Show Yes Episode: "The Roast"
1998 LateLine Yes Yes
1998 From the Earth to the Moon Yes TV Mini-series
Role: Jerome Wiesner
2002 Harvard Man Yes
2004 Outfoxed Yes Role: Air America host
2004 The Manchurian Candidate Yes
2004–2007 The Al Franken Show Yes Yes Host of radio talk show
2004 Tanner on Tanner Yes
2006 Al Franken: God Spoke Yes Documentary
2011 Hot Coffee Yes Documentary

Electoral history[edit]

2008 Minnesota U.S. Senate Election[93][94]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
DFL Al Franken 1,212,629 41.994% −5.35%
Republican Norm Coleman 1,212,317 41.983% −7.55%
Independence Dean Barkley 437,505 15.151% +13.15%
Libertarian Charles Aldrich 13,923 0.482% N/A
Constitution James Niemackl 8,907 0.308% +0.209%
Write-ins 2,365 0.082%
Margin of victory 312 0.011%
Turnout 2,887,646

Personal life[edit]

Franken met his wife, Franni Bryson, in his first year of college. In 2005, they moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota.[95] Together they have two children. Their daughter Thomasin[5] has degrees from Harvard and the French Culinary Institute, and she is director of extended learning at DC Prep, an organization in Washington that manages charter schools.[96] Their son Joseph works in the finance industry.[5] Franken is a second cousin of the late actor Steve Franken known for his appearances in the television series Dobie Gillis.[97]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Franken was elected to the term beginning January 3, 2009, but did not take his seat until July 7, 2009, because of a recount and a subsequent election challenge.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Faith on the Hill: The Religious Composition of the 113th Congress". Pew Forum. November 2012. Retrieved January 5, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b Jason Hoppin (April 20, 2009). "Coleman asks high court to look again at rejected votes". St. Paul Pioneer Press. Archived from the original on May 9, 2009. Retrieved April 22, 2009. 
  3. ^ "Coleman concedes Minnesota Senate race after court decision". CNN. June 30, 2009. 
  4. ^ a b c Huls, Carl (July 7, 2009). "And Here’s Senator Franken". New York Times. Retrieved July 8, 2009. 
  5. ^ a b c Colapinto, John. "Enter Laughing". The New Yorker. Retrieved 9 January 2013. 
  6. ^ CNN Newsnight Aaron Brown. CNN. April 29, 2002. Retrieved November 5, 2008. 
  7. ^ Deborah White. "Profile of Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota". About.com. Retrieved January 30, 2009. 
  8. ^ a b Douglas Martin (July 19, 2012). "Tom Davis, Comedian and ‘SNL’ Sketch Writer, Dies at 59". The New York Times. Retrieved January 12, 2013. 
  9. ^ Davis, Tom (2010). Thirty-Nine Years of Short-Term Memory Loss: The Early Days of SNL from Someone Who Was There. Grove Press; Reprint edition. p. 29. ISBN 978-0802144560. 
  10. ^ Hill, Doug and Weingrad, Jeff, Saturday Night: A Backstage History of Saturday Night Live p. 57. (Vintage Books, 1987) ISBN 0-394-75053-5.
  11. ^ a b Kornbluth, Jesse (March–April 2012). "Al Franken: You Can Call Me Senator". Harvard Magazine. Retrieved September 26, 2012. 
  12. ^ Shales, Tom, Live From New York: An Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live, as Told By Its Stars, Writers and Guests, p. 191. (Back Bay Books, 2003) ISBN 0-316-73565-5.
  13. ^ Ana Marie Cox (April 5, 2007). "Don't Laugh at Al Franken". CNN/Time. Archived from the original on September 19, 2007. Retrieved August 19, 2007. 
  14. ^ Wy Spano, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Senate: Franken Vs. Coleman and the Decline and Fall of Civilized Politics, p. 51. (Zenith Press, 2010) ISBN 0-760-33902-3.
  15. ^ Leopold, Todd (5-7-2002). "Al Franken's guide to life". CNN. Retrieved 31 August 2014. 
  16. ^ "'Stuart Saves His Family'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 31 August 2014. 
  17. ^ "Stuart Saves His Family (1995)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 31 August 2014. 
  18. ^ Howe, Desson (1995-04-14). "‘Stuart Saves His Family’ (PG-13)". Washington Post. Retrieved 31 August 2014. 
  19. ^ Siskel, Gene (1995-04-14). "`Stuart' Funny Without Making Fun Of Self-help Movement". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 31 August 2014. 
  20. ^ Powers, Retha (2005). This Is My Best: Great Writers Share Their Favorite Work. Chronicle Books; 1st Chronicle Books LLC Pbk. Ed edition. p. 549. ISBN 978-0811848299. 
  21. ^ Susan Saulny (August 12, 2003). "To Fox, 'Fair and Balanced' Doesn't Describe Al Franken". The New York Times. Retrieved January 6, 2013. 
  22. ^ "Fox News Sues Humorist Al Franken Over Slogan". Associated Press. August 11, 2003. Retrieved January 6, 2013. 
  23. ^ Saulny, Susan (August 23, 2003). "In Courtroom, Laughter at Fox and a Victory for Al Franken". The New York Times (The New York Times Company). Archived from the original on September 22, 2005. Retrieved October 5, 2005. 
  24. ^ "Comedian and Political Commentator Al Franken". National Public Radio. September 3, 2003. Archived from the original on September 11, 2005. Retrieved October 5, 2005. 
  25. ^ http://www.bookreporter.com/reviews/0452285216.asp
  26. ^ Shorto, Russell (March 21, 2004). "Al Franken, Seriously So —". New York Times. Retrieved July 9, 2009. 
  27. ^ a b Al Franken to leave Air America - Radio - MSNBC.com
  28. ^ "The Huffington Post; Al Franken". Retrieved September 26, 2012. 
  29. ^ Kasindorf, Martin; Komarow, Steven (2005-12-22). "USO cheers troops, but Iraq gigs tough to book". USA Today. Retrieved 29 August 2014. 
  30. ^ Michael J. Carden (March 26, 2009). "USO Metro Salutes Exceptional Troops, Volunteers". Defense.gov. American Forces Press Service. Retrieved January 6, 2013. 
  31. ^ a b c Corliss, Richard (February 14, 2007). "Vote for Me, Al Franken". TIME. Retrieved July 9, 2009. 
  32. ^ Jay Weiner (July 6, 2009). "Tuesday, Franken's hand will be on Wellstone Bible, his thoughts likely on the many Minnesotans he's met". MinnPost. Retrieved January 5, 2013. 
  33. ^ "From satirist to senator". CNN. July 6, 2009. Archived from the original on July 8, 2009. Retrieved July 7, 2009. 
  34. ^ Kuhn, David Paul (April 28, 2005). "Senator Franken?". Salon.com. Retrieved February 15, 2007. 
  35. ^ Cilizza, Chris (February 5, 2007). "Minnesota Senate: Is Franken the Dems' Dream Candidate?". Washington Post. Retrieved August 8, 2007. 
  36. ^ "Doggone It, People Like Him". Mother Jones. September 1, 2007. Archived from the original on October 12, 2007. Retrieved September 1, 2007. 
  37. ^ Scott, A.O. (2006-09-13). "Comedian Turned Activist, With His Own Campaign". New York Times. Retrieved 30 August 2014. 
  38. ^ "Transcript, "Scarborough Country"". MSNBC. December 7, 2005. 
  39. ^ "Coleman and Franken on Iraq: Everything you need to know". MinnPost. August 7, 2008. Retrieved August 29, 2014. 
  40. ^ Black, Eric (2014-08-26). "Franken on fixing Social Security and Medicare — and why repealing Obamacare is a terrible idea". Minnesota Post. Retrieved 30 August 2014. 
  41. ^ Al on the Issues (2008). "Higher Education". Al Franken for Senate. Archived from the original on November 27, 2008. Retrieved December 13, 2008. 
  42. ^ Al on the Issues (2008). "Gas Prices". Al Franken for Senate. Archived from the original on November 27, 2008. Retrieved December 13, 2008. 
  43. ^ By Kevin Duchschere, Star Tribune (March 12, 2008). "Franken faces $25,000 workers' comp penalty". Startribune.com. Archived from the original on June 20, 2009. Retrieved July 9, 2009. 
  44. ^ Duchschere, Kevin (April 24, 2008). "Friday: New round of financial questions dogs Franken". Startribune.com. Retrieved July 9, 2009. 
  45. ^ "More furor over Franken's taxes". (registration required)
  46. ^ By Patrick Condon, Associated Press Writer (April 30, 2008). "Comedian turned candidate Franken to pay $70K in back taxes". Fox News. Retrieved July 9, 2009. 
  47. ^ "Al Franken Decides He's Good Enough, Smart Enough to Run for Senate". New York Magazine. February 1, 2007. Archived from the original on January 1, 2008. Retrieved February 16, 2008. 
  48. ^ Pat Doyle (March 11, 2008). "Ciresi in parting: Choose wisely". Star Tribune. Retrieved January 3, 2013. 
  49. ^ "Franken Raises Over $1.9 Million In Second Quarter". Al Franken for Senate. July 8, 2007. Archived from the original on February 3, 2008. Retrieved February 16, 2008. 
  50. ^ a b Mulcahy, Mike (July 9, 2007). "Franken leads the pack in second quarter fundraising". Polinaut. MPR. Retrieved July 17, 2007. 
  51. ^ a b "GOP Targets Al Franken's Playboy Column — ABC News". Abcnews.go.com. May 23, 2008. Retrieved July 9, 2009. 
  52. ^ Les says: (June 7, 2008). "The Big Question » Blog Archive » It’s Franken in One". Ww3.startribune.com. Retrieved July 9, 2009. 
  53. ^ Preston, Mark (July 28, 2008). "Preston on Politics: Bueller? Bueller? — McCain needs Rove". CNN. Archived from the original on September 12, 2008. Retrieved July 29, 2008. 
  54. ^ Martin, Jonathon; Kraushaar, Josh (September 20, 2008). "Franken helps craft McCain 'SNL' skit". Politico.com. Politico. Archived from the original on October 27, 2008. Retrieved October 29, 2008. 
  55. ^ Scheck, Tom (September 21, 2008). "Coleman hits Franken for SNL skit". Minnesota Public Radio. Archived from the original on September 26, 2008. Retrieved October 29, 2008. 
  56. ^ Chris Welch and Ed Hornick (January 6, 2009). "Franken declares Senate race win after state ruling". CNN. Retrieved January 3, 2012. 
  57. ^ "Minnesota Senate Seat Election Contest". Minnesota Courts. January 6, 2009. Archived from the original on December 26, 2008. Retrieved January 6, 2009. 
  58. ^ "Al Franken is the winner of Minnesota Senate Race, court rules". New York: Daily News. April 14, 2009. 
  59. ^ Muskal, Michael (April 7, 2007). "Franken widens lead in Minnesota Senate recount". Los Angeles Times. 
  60. ^ a b Elizabeth Stawicki (April 24, 2009). "Supreme Court recount timeline called reasonable". Minnesota Public Radio. Retrieved January 9, 2013. 
  61. ^ Minnesota Supreme Court (April 24, 2009). "ORDER for briefing schedule". Minnesota Supreme Court. Archived from the original on May 21, 2009. Retrieved April 26, 2009. 
  62. ^ "Minnesota Senate Seat ’08 Election". Minnesota Judicial Branch. Retrieved July 7, 2009. 
  63. ^ "Norm Coleman concedes Minnesota Senate race to Al Franken". Houston Chronicle. July 1, 2009. Retrieved January 3, 2012. 
  64. ^ DOYLE, PAT (June 30, 2009). "Pawlenty will sign Franken election certificate". Salon. Retrieved January 3, 2012. 
  65. ^ Montanaro, Domenico (July 7, 2009). "Al Franken, The Newest U.S. Senator". First Read (MSNBC). Retrieved July 8, 2009. 
  66. ^ Stassen-Berger, Rachel (2009-07-07). "Minnesota Sen. Al Franken sworn in with Paul Wellstone bible". Pioneer Press. Retrieved 14 May 2013. 
  67. ^ Brunswick, Mark (July 1, 2009). "Emotional Franken vows to honor Wellstone". Star Tribune. 
  68. ^ "Senator Franken, at Center Stage, Presides Over Sotomayor Vote". FOX News. August 6, 2009. Retrieved October 18, 2009. 
  69. ^ Chris Steller (July 24, 2009). "Franken’s first bill passes as part of Defense bill". The Minnesota Independent. Retrieved January 9, 2013. 
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External links[edit]

Media offices
Preceded by
Andrew Smith
Head Writer of Saturday Night Live
1985–1986
Served alongside: Tom Davis
Succeeded by
Jim Downey
Preceded by
Bob Tischler
Party political offices
Preceded by
Walter Mondale
Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party nominee for U.S. Senator from Minnesota
(Class 2)

2008
Most recent
United States Senate
Preceded by
Norm Coleman
U.S. Senator (Class 2) from Minnesota
2009–present
Served alongside: Amy Klobuchar
Incumbent
Preceded by
Dick Durbin
Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law
2011–present
Incumbent
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Kirsten Gillibrand
D-New York
United States Senators by seniority
66th
Succeeded by
Joe Manchin
D-West Virginia

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233402 videos foundNext > 

Al Franken At The White House Correspondents Dinner, 1996 pt1

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MarkWhitney.com.

Franken Talks Down Angry Mob

Follow Dusty Trice on Twitter: http://twitter.com/DustyTrice I got to witness something really special. About a dozen tea party activists had staked out Sen....

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more at talkingpointsmemo.com.

Infamous Debate between Bill O'Reilly and Al Franken (Incl. Molly Ivins) 2/6

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233402 videos foundNext > 

3486 news items

 
NewsBusters (blog)
Mon, 01 Sep 2014 07:15:00 -0700

Al Franken is currently attempting to present to the general public the image of someone who is willing to forge alliances with Republican senators as well as avoiding controversy by engaging in sweet corn filibusters when answering campaign questions.
 
CBS Local
Sun, 31 Aug 2014 14:53:07 -0700

FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn. (WCCO) – Senator Al Franken is making the rounds at the Minnesota State Fair. On Sunday, he sat down with WCCO's Roshini Rajkumar, the host of News and Views, and talked about the campaign. “We are heading into the last ...

The Atlantic

The Atlantic
Thu, 28 Aug 2014 09:01:56 -0700

Since defeating Republican Senator Norm Coleman in a nasty, down-to-a-recount race in 2008, Al Franken has made himself a stranger to the national press, dodging reporters in the halls of the Capitol and rarely granting interviews to national media ...
 
Huffington Post
Wed, 20 Aug 2014 22:48:45 -0700

Republican Mike McFadden introduced himself to voters earlier this summer by taking a punch from a pint-sized football player and joked about cutting out his son's stitches himself. Meanwhile, Democratic Sen. Al Franken -- once better known as Stuart ...

The Hill (blog)

The Hill (blog)
Mon, 18 Aug 2014 03:03:11 -0700

After winning by just 312 votes in 2008, Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) sought to keep his head down and shed his comedian persona. But as the one-time funny man heads into a reelection contest this year, Republicans are hoping there is one thing he can't ...
 
TwinCities.com-Pioneer Press
Thu, 28 Aug 2014 12:11:38 -0700

Holding traffic cones to his chest to mimic breasts was a "thoughtless moment" that he regrets, Democratic U.S. Sen. Al Franken said Thursday. Franken was captured on video in 2012 joking around with the cones, and Republicans have called on him to ...

ABC News

ABC News
Wed, 13 Aug 2014 07:58:54 -0700

Al Franken. Now, as the Minnesota Democrat and former comedian faces reelection, entertainers are once again pitching in on his behalf in his contest with Republican challenger, Mike McFadden. Hollywood has helped Franken's campaign raise more than ...

CBS News

Huffington Post
Tue, 12 Aug 2014 19:33:47 -0700

Al Franken (D-MN) speaks at a news conference March 21, 2012 at the U.S. Capitol March 21, 2012 in Washington, DC. A group of Democratic senators held a news conference to announce new legislation 'to blunt the worst effects' of the Supreme Court's ...
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