McConnell chides Franken: ‘This isn’t SNL, Al’

WASHINGTON — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell lashed out at Sen. Al Franken over percieved disrespect while Franken chaired the Senate as McConnell gave closing remarks on his opposition to Solicitor General Elena Kagan’s Supreme Court nomination.

Franken officials declined to give details of the exchange, but Franken issued a statement to MinnPost on the matter.

“The Leader thought I was disrespectful while he was giving his speech on General Kagan,” Franken said. “He is entitled to give his speech with the presiding officer just listening respectfully.”

“I went directly to his office after I was done presiding to apologize in person. He wasn’t there, so I’ve sent him a handwritten note.”

Here’s POLITICO’s account of the incident:

Moments before Kagan’s confirmation vote Thursday, the Minnesota Democrat was presiding over the Senate — and the Kentucky Republican thought the freshman senator was mocking his speech. Upon the conclusion of his remarks, a very irritated McConnell removed his microphone, approached the dais and confronted the former comedian.

“This isn’t ‘Saturday Night Live,’ Al,” McConnell told Franken sternly, according to people who overheard the exchange.

A spokesman for McConnell didn’t immediately return a request for comment.

Comments (11)

  1. Submitted by Ed Stych on 08/06/2010 - 09:07 am.

    There are more details among other news sources that should have been included in this report to give people a better understanding of what Franken was doing … which sounds very much like what a middle school kid does when then algebra teacher turns her back.

    Politico also wrote that Franken “appeared to be moving around in his chair, gasping and rolling his eyes.”

    And see “The Hill’s” report:
    http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/112947-mcconnell-scolds-franken-for-making-faces-from-presidents-chair-during-speech

    Interesting that Franken’s people aren’t denying any of it.

  2. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 08/06/2010 - 09:14 am.

    A tactless boor; what did they expect? Al’s a New Yorker.

  3. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 08/06/2010 - 09:20 am.

    I suppose I’d be concerned if McConnell had not spent so much time over this congressional session inventing ever more far-fetched reasons to say, “No, no, no!” to anything and everything the rest of congress has been trying to do. If the Democrats were to have newly proposed something as innocuous as designating the date for Mother’s Day or Father’s Day celebrations (if they did not yet exist), McConnell would have created all sorts of nefarious purposes that MUST be behind such holidays, spoken out strongly against them, and voted against them.

    These folks would have voted against apple pie if the Democrats proposed something to support it.

    I wonder how long McConnell has been waiting to deliver that line? No doubt, according to the “wild and crazy” (and completely overblown to the point of being dishonest) statements about Al from the Minnesota Republican Party, McConnell expected to be able to nail Franken with that one after his first speech in a hearing or on the senate floor.

    I suspect he delivered it more because he’d been waiting so long to do so, than because of anything Franken did or said.

    Still, I can’t help but wonder what the SNL skit (not involving Franken, of course) about this will look like? Since McConnell, himself, is already a caricature, it should be pretty good.

  4. Submitted by Tim Walker on 08/06/2010 - 10:09 am.

    Isn’t there C-SPAN video available so we can all make well-informed opinions on what Sen. Franken was actually doing?

  5. Submitted by Cecil North on 08/06/2010 - 10:10 am.

    New York has it’s tactless boors, but it obviously doesn’t have a monopoly on them, honey.

  6. Submitted by Stephan Flister on 08/06/2010 - 10:21 am.

    Any word on how the legislative initiatives and voting records of McConnell and Franken affect working people, seniors, minorities, rich people, the defense industry, and banks?

  7. Submitted by chuck holtman on 08/06/2010 - 11:24 am.

    There’s no benefit in being “boorish” (if that’s in fact what Mr. Franken was being as opposed to, e.g., scratching his nose), but frankly a bit less civility would be a great improvement. Mr. McConnell and his ilk, in order to serve their sponsors and their own delusions of importance, are doing everything they can to make this world a harsher place for my daughters to live in. A little less civility, and a little more explicit contempt, please. And I second Mr. Flister. Frankly, I could care less about boorishness. I support folks for the principles they stand for and the policies they support, not for their ability to appear civil while doing their best to destroy our society. If our media and our citizenry had the same focus, our prospects for survival might be a tad better.

  8. Submitted by James Hamilton on 08/06/2010 - 11:29 am.

    Whether you’re a Franken supporter or not, it was in sufficiently poor taste for Franken to conclude it warranted an apology. If we want rationale discourse in a civil setting, we need to expect it from all concerned.

  9. Submitted by Robert Ryan on 08/06/2010 - 12:23 pm.

    The CSPAN camera was focused on McConnell, which is why they had no video of Franken.

    The difference between Franken and McConnell is that McConnell delivers lies and distortions with a serious face, and rarely gets called on them. If indeed Franken was mocking McConnell from the presiding officer’s chair, the apology is appropriate. Al does better when he delivers deadpan observations. He probably learned a lesson.

    Overall I think he’s been a pretty good and effective freshman Senator. Really smart, good insights, and has gotten some decent legislation through for a first term senator in the first year of his term.

  10. Submitted by Bob Alberti on 08/06/2010 - 09:57 pm.

    More opportunistic overblown B.S. umbrage from the Right.
    Supreme Court Judge Sam Alito mouths “Not true” during President Obama’s State of the Union address – not a problem for the Right. Rep. Joe Wilson calls the President a liar during a presidential speech. No problem for the Right Wing Media. Vice President Dick Cheney applies the F-bomb to Senator Pat Leahy on the Senate floor – no complaints from the Right. But Senator Al Franken whispers a comment to someone while Senator Mitch McConnell repeats lies about Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan – and Franken immediately takes responsibility for it – and the Right swiftly floods the media with overblown indignation.

    Not only am I sick and tired of the media being made up almost entirely of Right-wing propaganda, it has gotten to be rather predictable and pathetic.

  11. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 10/01/2012 - 11:14 am.

    SNL

    The tragedy is that the writers are far better at their jobs then Sen. McConnell is at his.

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