A new U.S. Senate poll showing a nail-biter between Norm Coleman and Al Franken — and a yawning gender gap where women favor the Democrat — a new Republican ad sports this tag line: “Al Franken. Rape Jokes. Physical assault.”
The nearly subliminal linkage flashed at the 20-second mark. A moment later, there’s Franken’s face, seemingly behind bars.
Though the “bars” are originally shown as a TV wall, watch it and see if it doesn’t leave the impression Franken has criminally assaulted women.
[Update: The PiPress’ Rachel Stassen Berger notes a rather obvious bit of innuendo I missed: the narrator says, “Al Franken writes about committing rape.” Stassen Berger says that “could read that Franken committed rape, which is false, rather than suggested a joke that included a rape, which is true.”]
The National Republican Senatorial campaign committee ad is based on published reports.
According to AP, Franken did help create a never-aired “Saturday Night Live” sketch about 60 Minutes’ Andy Rooney raping fellow correspondent Lesley Stahl. And the New York Post wrote in 2004 that Franken “body-slammed” a demonstrator trying to shout down then-Vermont Gov. Howard Dean.
However, the Rupert Murdoch-owned tabloid’s characterization isn’t backed up by contemporaneous reports.
At the time, CNN noted protesters allied with perennial presidential candidate Lyndon LaRouche “began screaming that Dean is ‘a liar’ … Franken, a comedian and self-described liberal well-known for his attacks on the Bush administration and conservative-leaning media, helped carry out one of the disrupters. In the process, Franken’s glasses were knocked off his face and broke in two.”
Now, if you discount CNN as a hotbed of on-air liberalism, consider this report from the conservative National Review:
One questioner then ignored the instructions to use a microphone and started shouting from the audience.
“Why are you covering up for Dick Cheney? You are going to lose!” he screamed. “Drop out of the race. You’re no Democrat. Only Lyndon LaRouche and John Kerry are real Democrats.”
After ranting away for a few more moments, Dean’s security staff and a few Deaniacs managed to yank this crank into the back of the auditorium.
But just then, a second protester stood up and began his own high-volume tirade.
“Dean’s a liar!” he hollered.
At that point, comedian Al Franken rose from among the journalists and others near the stage and said, “Let’s get him out of here.”
Franken and a few others hustled the second man outside. As they did so, the first ill-mannered LaRouchite reemerged, this time standing in the balcony to the left of the proscenium, bellowing as before and looking ominously like John Wilkes Boothe just before he leapt from the balcony onto the stage of Ford’s Theater and landed with a bang in the history books.
Throughout all this commotion, Howard Dean’s fuse stayed long and moist. He focused on the questioner who had the floor, somehow discerned her question through the clamor and gave a coherent answer about Iran’s mullahs while bedlam prevailed around him. Perhaps exhaustion and a cold had tempered Dean. Maybe he had drilled into deep reserves of self-discipline. In any case, Dean remained refreshingly composed as two clowns tried to turn a successful campaign stop into a one-ring circus.
After Dean thanked the crowd and waved goodbye, someone approached Franken who had returned to his spot at the front end of the right aisle. The Saturday Night Live veteran’s trademark horn-rimmed glasses now were held together in the middle with tape. They broke as Franken foiled the attempted Palace coup.
“I never thought of you as a bouncer,” the man said. “Maybe they could pay you do that.”
Franken replied: “I think we security guards deserve a working wage.”
Were charges ever filed in the “assault?” No, says Franken spokeswoman Colleen Murphy, “unless by ‘charges’ you mean being given a key to the city.”
Courtesy of the PiPress’ Political Animal blog, here’s the ad’s text, though again, the visuals are the key:
Is Al Franken fit for office?
Franken writes about committing rape
Writes pornography so vile Democrats denounced him
His profanity laced anger…followed by violent outbursts. He physically assaulted a protestor.
Then there’s the $70,000 in unpaid taxes.
Al Franken, degrading to women…to us all
Al Franken, frankly unfit for office
The National Republican Senatorial Committee is responsible for the content of this advertising.