Go to HHH home page.
Smart Politics
 


Al Franken on Al Franken

Bookmark and Share

"I think I've done a pretty good job, actually."

alfranken10.jpgIn the first of the "Connecting with Government" series presented by the Humphrey School's Center for the Study of Politics and Governance, U.S. Senator Al Franken spoke at the University of Minnesota Tuesday on the subject of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education.

Although Franken set up his speech with a dour evaluation of the economic trend lines in the United States, he remained optimistic that a solution is in sight: the country needs to focus on infrastructure, technological innovation, and the education necessary to produce trained workers to fill jobs in these fields.

In a half-hour long speech and half-hour follow-up question and answer session with Center Director Larry Jacobs, Franken largely struck a serious tone, with only a few attacks against Republicans on Capitol Hill.

(The senator launched a few implied attacks against Republicans for not funding key infrastructure and education legislation and one against GOP U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell for his infamous comment, "The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.")

Although he peppered approximately one-dozen jokes into the event, Franken largely stuck to his policy guns, and that, according to Franken, is because:

"This is a serious job. I have real responsibilities to the people of Minnesota and I take it very seriously."

And why so serious?

Franken stated that when he went to D.C. he had the following concern:

"My Republican colleagues have an image of me because of the satire I've written and, you know, be a little skeptical of me, and my Democratic colleagues may be a little skeptical because they may be thinking I'm coming in here to grab the microphone and jump in front of the camera."

To alleviate these concerns of his colleagues, Franken says he took a cue from Hillary Clinton when she first entered Congress:

"Be a work horse, don't be a show horse...Go to your hearings, go prepared, go early, stay late. Be a good colleague. Make friends with your senators on the other side of the aisle. And I've done all that."

Franken also said he has purposely avoided the national press to help shirk the image that he was an attention-seeker, and says that "I do work in a bipartisan way."

And, for his concluding remark, Franken offered up this final self-assessment:

"I'm just working as hard as I can. I'm learning every day. And I think I've done a pretty good job, actually."

Follow Smart Politics on Twitter.

Previous post: Romney Speaks 8+ Minutes More than Closest Rival at SC Debate
Next post: What's So Special About South Carolina?

1 Comment


  • Senator Franken, isn't it true that comedy is often serious stuff. I wish you continued success. Good luck. David

  • Leave a comment


    Remains of the Data

    Which States Own the Best Track Record in Backing Eventual GOP Presidential Nominees?

    Nine states (each with primaries) have an unblemished record in voting for the eventual Republican nominee since 1976 - and not all host contests on the back end of the calendar.

    Political Crumbs

    Evolving?

    When Scott Walker "punted" back in February after being asked if he was comfortable with the idea of evolution he added, "That's a question a politician shouldn't be involved in one way or the other." However, it may very well be a question that is asked at one of the upcoming GOP debates this year. In South Carolina during the first GOP debate in 2012, FOX News' Juan Williams asked Tim Pawlenty, "Do you equate the teaching of creationism with the teaching of evolution as the basis for what should be taught for our nation's schools?" Pawlenty replied, "There should be room in the curriculum for study of intelligent design" but that it was up to the local school districts if it should be in a science class or comparative theory class. At the fourth Republican debate held in California, Jon Huntsman addressed the GOP becoming "anti-science" thusly: "Listen, when you make comments that fly in the face of what 98 out of 100 climate scientists have said, when you call into question the science of evolution, all I'm saying is that, in order for the Republican Party to win, we can't run from science. We can't run from mainstream conservative philosophy."


    73 Months and Counting

    January's preliminary Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers show Minnesota's unemployment rate of 3.7 percent was once again lower than Wisconsin's 5.0 percent. That marks the 73rd consecutive month in which Minnesota has boasted a lower jobless rate than its neighbor to the east dating back to January 2009 including each of the last 67 months by at least one point. The Gopher State has now edged Wisconsin in the employment border battle for 204 of the last 216 months dating back to February 1997. Wisconsin only managed a lower unemployment rate than Minnesota for the 12 months of 2008 during this 18-year span.


    more POLITICAL CRUMBS

    Humphrey School Sites
    CSPG
    Humphrey New Media Hub

    Issues />

<div id=
    Abortion
    Afghanistan
    Budget and taxes
    Campaign finances
    Crime and punishment
    Economy and jobs
    Education
    Energy
    Environment
    Foreign affairs
    Gender
    Health
    Housing
    Ideology
    Immigration
    Iraq
    Media
    Military
    Partisanship
    Race and ethnicity
    Reapportionment
    Redistricting
    Religion
    Sexuality
    Sports
    Terrorism
    Third parties
    Transportation
    Voting