MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – It seems Minnesota can’t avoid big political controversy. Right now, the state government is shut down.

And just two years ago, we were divided by the seemingly never-ending Al Franken/Norm Coleman senate race. The State Supreme Court sided with the Democrat Franken, and Thursday marks his second year in office.

As he traveled between St. Paul and Minneapolis last month, Franken snuck in a joke about the most controversial election in Minnesota history.

“July 7 is my anniversary. I don’t know if you recall but we had kind of a close election,” Franken joked.

It wasn’t just the election that was unusual, it was his path to the office. When it comes to the show business background that made him famous, and his new career, the Senator seems at times uncomfortable.

When asked about the misconception people had about him, he said, “I don’t know that there still are.”

Then, he took three minutes to complete his answer.

“When I was first doing this people in Minnesota were skeptical of people in show business, and well, they should be,” said Franken. “I think if they meet Franni that is the No. 1 validator of me.”

Franken references his wife of 35 years constantly. He said she came from an impoverished background. Her father died when she was very young, leaving her mother 29 years old and widowed with five children.

It’s her story in part, he said, that motivates him to seek prosperity for the middle class.

“All of the kids made it, and they made it because of social security survivor benefits. They made it because of Pell grants and the G.I. bill. Probably my biggest goal is to rebuild the middle class.”

In the Senate, Franken has been a solid supporter of President Barack Obama. Franken authored key parts of the health care reform bill, including a measure that regulates the amount of money insurance companies can pocket from health care premiums.

“This has already saved people money, and in some cases driven down the cost of insurance,” Franken said.

His path to Washington D.C. has been distinct for his advocacy of issues surrounding the Internet and privacy. One of his signature concerns is net neutrality.

“It sounds esoteric but it actually is enormous,” Franken said. “Everything travels at the same speed, and net neutrality says let’s continue it that way.”

His work on these issues coupled with his celebrity background has insiders in Washington D.C. taking notice.

“He has surprised a lot of people, including me,” said CBS News Chief Washington Correspondent Bob Schieffer. “I mean, here is someone who has been on Saturday Night Live and he was just hilarious. He is Mr. Serious now, just as serious as he once was about comedy and I think that’s a good thing and I think he is going to be effective.”

The most recent public opinion poll from January found that Franken’s approval rating is at 45 percent. That’s significantly below that of Senator Amy Klobuchar, who is at 59 percent.

But for a Senator who won that infamous election by 312 votes and is up for re-election in 2014, that leaves plenty of time to make his case. The Franken/Coleman election was closest race both in Minnesota and U.S. history.

“I think Minnesotans are very fair and as time goes on they will be paying more and more attention to the work I have been doing and I feel that will take care of itself,” Franken said.

Comments (24)
  1. M says:

    You should be reflecting on the last 2 months you’ve had to plan the budget. Get the priorities in order please.

    1. Dumber and dumber says:

      What are you talking about? Franken isn’t involved in the state budget planning.

      1. Name fits you says:

        Federal budget.

  2. Jules says:

    He is such a hack..I can’t believe he was elected but than again so was Dayton. We have to try and recruit some better politicians, this is bad.

    1. Sean says:

      Norm Coleman was elected once after it became evident he was just another self serving politician, Jesse Ventura, Michelle Bachman, Rudy Perpich, Other than being a Democrat name something Franken did that was disgraceful.

      1. Jules says:

        Well for one he didn’t pay his taxes, he is a crook. He is incompetent. top two, you want more….

      2. KeepItReal says:

        He helped author the largest entitlement program in US history. The one that is unfunded and will end up taking money away from the middle class and bankrupt our country….Obama/Franken-care!

        1. Sean says:

          @ Jules, also. Franken hired a bad accountant. He paid what was due. Could you tell me what entitlement bill he authored? I can’t find one other than the service dogs for veterans bill. Do you have a problem with veterans getting benefits? Unfunded bills in congress, try the Bush wars. Neither party funds what they start. Incompetence? he does not misspeak, he can keep facts straight

  3. T says:

    The cost of insurance has been driven down in some cases? Some. Mine doubled in 2011 solely as a result of Obamacare.

    1. KeepItReal says:

      Mine only went up by 30%, with larger deductibles and out of pocket costs. It also has a much smaller network, so I spend 2 hours before every appt making sure Dr X and clinic Y on in the correct network.

  4. Oye! says:

    I thought he quit smoking dope. Our Jewish friend Al; lie, cheat, and grovel. You should have seen this guy aat St. Louis Park high. He was a leader all right…

  5. Mark from Minnesota Tax Waste says:

    Rebuild the middle class? He raised taxes on the middle class by 8% He tells you one thing with a good spin!

  6. Mark from Minnesota Tax Waste says:

    Yes Al we will be paying closer attention to the work you do, or work you say you do and don’t do.

  7. Middle of the road says:

    who? Whoever this is, he must be up for re-election and a democrat, I see cco is starting to pitch their favorites already. What about that Muslim,, is he up too? No fluff peice on him, so I am guessing he is not up for re-election yet.

  8. Sarah in Outstate MN says:

    That leaves 3 years for WCCO to hype any democrat and denounce all republicans as evil and demonic.

  9. LeRoy says:

    He still the comic without a punch line. Because of Obama care my company dropped my health care and my costs went up. I would like to meet the ones that actually saved money.

  10. Esme is bias says:

    Let’s give this jewish drug addict pig some free air time Esme. Hurry and erase this.

    1. Mike says:

      What does being Jeiish have to do it with you crazy, disrespectful moron.

  11. TW says:

    Hey wait, Bob Schieffer likes him so Bob is a biased media guy now also. Oh wait, we already knew that. So this is a PUFF UP AL moment. He’s nice enough, he’s smart enough and dog gone it Franni loves him.

  12. PLEEEEEEEASE says:

    This is the best CCO has… We in Minnesota call the last two years “the Wasted Years” …. Soon WCCO will be throwing more dirt on Hecker to fill air time…. Al Frankin… BARF

  13. Kevin says:

    I love Mr. Frankin! He makes my willie purr….

    1. Pink BOA removal program says:

      Was he in the parade with you?

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