Al Franken’s moment of backsliding…
It was one of those moments Al Franken seems to work hard to suppress.
The comedian-turned-politician has kept a mostly straight face through his first year as a senator — listening seriously to hours of committee testimony and posing pointed questions with only the flicker of a smile crossing his face.
Thursday’s Senate debate over Elena Kagan was evidently too much for the clown in him to bear.
As Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell argued that Kagan was too inexperienced and political to be confirmed as a justice of the Supreme Court, Franken couldn’t contain himself.
The liberal Democrat from Minnesota, who was presiding over the Senate at the time, rolled his eyes, let out his breath and finally began to shake his head, a Senate Republican aide said.
He swiveled his head from side to side, threw his head back and showed other signs displeasure during McConnell’s 10-minute speech, the aide said.
McConnell was distracted enough by Franken’s behavior that he approached the Senate dais afterward to complain to him privately.
“This isn’t ‘Saturday Night Live’ Al,” McConnell told him, referring to the NBC television show where Franken worked as a comedy writer for nearly two decades.
Franken went to McConnell’s office as soon as he finished presiding in the Senate.
Not finding McConnell there, Franken sent him a handwritten note of apology.
Josh Holmes, a spokesman for McConnell, said the matter was closed.
“Senator Franken apologized and that’s a perfectly appropriate way of handling the situation.”
Photo credit: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst (Al Franken at a hearing in 2009)