Apparently the junior Senator from Minnesota can draw the continental United States free-hand, almost perfectly. But he doesn’t include Alaska or Hawaii. (You can see him draw the states in the video below.)
So Alaska Sen. Mark Begich hears about this, and sends Franken a letter asking for his state, and Hawaii, to be included, (concluding with a P.S.: “Don’t forget Little Diomede Island (You can see Russia from there).”
Franken’s response, via Anne Schroeder Mullins’ article:
“Please allow me to explain why I don’t include Alaska and Hawaii in my impressive free-hand map of the United States,” Franken begins.
Apparently the puzzle his parents gave him as a child didn’t include Hawaii or Alaska. Moreover, “it wasn’t until years later, sometime in the early to mid-sixties I believe, that Hawaii and Alaska became full-fledged members of the union,” Franken writes. “Please know that I have assigned a staffer to get me the hard data on this.”
Franken contiues to explain, his rationale. “To include Alaska and Hawaii, while certainly common-sensical, would, I’m afraid, dishonor the memory of both my mom and dad.
“However since you are a colleague this is a sacrifice I’m only too happy to make,” he says.
And then Franken did what he could to appease his pal, Mark Begich, and drew the United States with Alaska and Hawaii “from memory.”
The senator’s artistic ability is better than his history: Alaska and Hawaii were admitted to the union in 1959.