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Washington Post: Al Franken was a jerk, now he’s funny and cool

A deep dive today into Senate atmospherics from Post reporter Jason Horowitz, who pens this opening scorcher: “…by so effectively suppressing the punch lines, Franken exposed an irascible, sometimes nasty side of his personality.

A deep dive today into Senate atmospherics from Post reporter Jason Horowitz, who pens this opening scorcher on Minnesota’s junior Senator: “…by so effectively suppressing the punch lines, Franken exposed an irascible, sometimes nasty side of his personality. In a chamber where goodwill helps a freshman rack up legislative achievements, that can be just as damaging.”

The piece is noteworthy as a catalogue of Franken’s supposed outrages, which, when you dig into them, don’t seem too outrageous, at least in the truth-telling department. Holding Barack Obama accountable for something he promised and didn’t do, and John Thune for something he said but didn’t want heard … it actually has a certain populist charm about it — though Horowitz is right, it probably doesn’t grease D.C.’s wheels.

Still, the redemptive power of mirth is dappled throughout the story: “…some colleagues and Senate analysts are noticing flashes of the old Franken humor — tempered to suit a stodgier audience — as the Democratic junior senator from Minnesota seeks to find the appropriate balance between humorist and humorless scold.”

From a hometown perspective, the most risible thing in the piece — and it will be fun to see if our own D.C. correspondents touch this — is the alleged tension between Franken and Amy Klobuchar:

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Several senators and Senate insiders said that a tension between Franken and his Minnesota colleague, Amy Klobuchar, was palpable. (“There’s always some of that in a state,” said Bob Casey of Pennsylvania.)

There are no other details, save for two paragraphs of A-Klo’s denials, but that certainly won’t stop the chattering now.

Franken’s schmooze deficit apparently extended to Horowitz. The senator stuck to his policy of not doing national-media interviews — though Franken did break that policy earlier this month for the D.C. publication Roll Call. You might at least tell the national media a few jokes, Al.