Former comedian Al Franken on Monday made it clear in his first appearance in the U.S. Capitol as senator-elect that he had not come to entertain.
Franken did not crack a single joke, nor did he take a single question as he spoke briefly to reporters outside the Senate chamber. Instead he vowed to work hard and tried to downplay expectations now that his election has clinched a super-majority of 60 for President Obama’s Democrats in the Senate.
“A lot has been made of this number 60. The number I’m focused on is the number two. I — I see myself as the second senator from the state of Minnesota,” Franken said. (The other Minnesota senator is Amy Klobuchar).
Franken said voters expected him to work on the economy, energy, education and health care issues. “I am going to work day and night to make sure that our kids have a great future and that America’s best days lay ahead,” he said.
Majority Leader Harry Reid welcomed Franken to the chamber with a pledge that Democrats would not use their expanded numbers to “ram” legislation through the Senate despite a full plate of proposals on healthcare and climate change.