US Senate candidate Al Franken was loose and making jokes as his legal team prepared for Monday’s election contest trial that could determine who is Minnesota’s next US Senator.
After a state-wide hand recount, Franken holds a 225-vote lead over former US Senator Norm Coleman. Coleman is taking the election to court claiming irregularities on how some of the votes were counted and handled. You can watch that trial live on The UpTake starting Monday at 1pm CT/ 2pm ET/ Noon MT/ 11am PT.
Known initially as a comedian, Franken solidified his seriousness about politics while hosting a radio show on Air America. Saturday he recalled those days while speaking at a party thrown by the Minnesota Air America affiliate AM 950, KTNF “The Voice of Minnesota”. While he joked he has “lost his sense of humor”, Franken showed that he still has his comic chops and used them to make points about the right wing, the recount and the future of America.
I feel coming to the Blue State Ball that this is my base. I am very proud of what we did with progressive radio. I am very proud of people like Rachel Maddow who have gone on to such great things. And we’ve really established a foothold. We really have. The other side is really floundering. They don’t know what to do. Rush is now ” I want ‘em to fail”. It’s pretty amazing, huh? Showing their stripes. And don’t they show their stripes.
First of all I want to say something about Amy. Amy really taught me how to run for the Senate. In the ’06 cycle I must have done about 50 or 60 bean feeds and burger bashes and spaghetti dinners around the state. And everywhere I went, out of the 60, say Amy was at 40. And if Amy wasn’t there, her husband John was there. And if John wasn’t there her dad Jim was there. And if none of them were there I wondered ‘why am I here, there must be something wrong with this, must be something wrong with this one’ (laughter)
And when I started, and it’s almost two years ago now, we on the Franken campaign believe the third year of our campaign will be the best ever (laughter and applause)
But when I started two years ago, I said ‘ no one will work harder for this Senate seat than me because Amy Klobuchar isn’t in the race’. (laughter)
And Franni and I worked really hard and we’re really proud of that. (applause) And Franni was amazing, has been amazing this whole time. You know when I first started I called all my friends and said ‘Franni and I are running for the Senate and if we win I get to be the Senator’ (mild laughter) And at a certain point in the race I had a lot of people coming up to me and saying like ‘God I love Franni.’
So I finally had to put in my speech for awhile, then it got cycled out after everyone heard it, was that it’s fine to like Franni more than me, but you just, you don’t have to tell me. (laughter)
I’m the candidate and … (audience member “we love you too”) Well thank you (applause).
What an amazing week. Franni is here, where are you honey? (applause) . We were in Washington last week. An unbelievably inspiring inauguration. To look around and see folks as far as the eye can see. You could not see the end of people. There were people from the Capitol, where Barack Obama was sworn in, all the way to the Lincoln Memorial where 45-years ago Martin Luther King gave his ‘I have a dream’ speech. This has never happened before. It was just awe inspiring.
And the President said something that spoke to me. He quoted the bible and said ‘it’s time to give up childish things ‘ I think. And it made me think, about what I’m doing and the transition I’m making. And there will be some that argue that what I did was ….
Audience member: Please don’t give up humor. (laughter)
No I, the gentleman said ‘please don’t give up humor’. I’ve lost my sense of humor. (laughter). That happened in the …
Audience ” no… boo”
I’m sorry. (laughter) It’s all over. (laughter) I’m just going to have to, you know, get universal health care and not be funny. (laughter and then applause) And early childhood education (cheers and applause) And an electric grid so that we can use renewable energy from all over the country. (applause) And use our leverage over the automobile industry now that we’re bailing it out to change it and go to electric cars and electric hybrids. (applause)
This is what the President was talking about. And I got to tell you, I can’t wait to get there.
Now, you want to know where we are on the recount, what’s going on? (audience yeah) . OK, let me.. basically this is what’s happened: we won the recount. (cheers and applause) We are the opposite of Florida. We hand counted every vote. (applause)
Norm Coleman, the day after I was certified as the winner of the recount, filed a… what’s called a contest in court and the trial of that starts on Monday. And we believe from reading their filing and from hearing their arguments in court that…. ah…that we’re going to win. I don’t want to commit any news here. I just… we feel very confident. We feel very confident, that we got more… that I got more votes than Norm Coleman. (applause)
And I wrote Al Gore. Al Gore has been so great to me and our campaign. He’s done four events for us. And he’s done a couple events since the election. And the day I won the recount I wrote him I said ‘Looks like I won’. (laughter) ‘It seems like I have more votes’ (laughter) ‘and that’s the way it’s supposed to work, isn’t it?’ (laughter) And no one laughed harder than Al. (laughter)
Anyway, the country is changing. That’s what we’re talking about. It’s changing (applause). And We’ve been a big part of this I like to think. I really do. Janet (Robert owner of AM950) you’ve been a part of this, you’ve been a big part of this. (applause)
And, you know, when I was researching the book, a little thing called ‘Lies and lying liars who tell them, a fair and balanced look at the right’ , this was in 2003, I read a Gallup Poll that said that 26 percent of Americans get, say they get most of their news from talk radio. And that meant Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and those guys. And that’s when I decided that we cannot cede this ground to them. And we’ve established this foothold, and we are winning… we’re winning the battle of ideas.
And George W. Bush, as Chris Rock said, was so bad that he made it very hard a white guy to run for President. (laughter, applause)
But I got to tell you, we picked the right guy. We voted for the right man for President. (cheers, applause) And I like to thing we voted for the right guy for the US Senate from Minnesota. Thank you. (cheers, applause)