In his book Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them, Al Franken recalls an episode in Paul Wellstone’s 2002 run for re-election when, prior to his untimely death, the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) ran an ad called “Pork” that savaged Wellstone for voting “to spend thousands of dollars to control seaweed in Maui.”
The implication, as Franken pointed out, was that Wellstone had “prioritized seaweed control over national defense.” The only problem was that while Wellstone had in fact voted for the legislation, so did “Strom Thurmond, Trent Lott and 84 other senators. That bill did appropriate the seaweed control spending—but it also provided $21 billion for veterans' health care, $27 billion for veterans' compensation and pensions, and block grants to assist New York City's recovery from 9/11.”
When Wellstone’s son David confronted then NRSC-chair Bill Frist about the ad at his father’s memorial service, Frist declared that “it wasn't personal,” to which David responded "'My dad took it personal.”
And so it is only fitting that this time around, with Franken running against Norm Coleman, the man on whose behalf the NRSC ran that original ad, they would again stoop to such tricks.
Take a look at this ad the NRSC is running against Franken – especially the clip playing in the background of a screaming Franken while the narrator declares him prone to “violent outbursts” around the fifteen second mark:
Now take a look at this video from the Franken campaign explaining the history of that clip:
That’s right, the NRSC took clip of Franken telling this anecdote about Paul Wellstone and his son, stripped it of its context and then used it to try and portray Franken as dangerously unhinged.
I was reminded of this today when I stumbled upon this “breaking news” piece from Minnesota Democrats Exposed that recounts how, after a recent debate, Franken supposedly attacked Norm Coleman and to be all but dragged away from him:
According to dedicated readers of Minnesota Democrats Exposed who were at tonight’s U.S. Senate debate in Duluth, Al Franken got in U.S. Senator Norm Coleman face as soon as the microphones were off at the end of the debate.
My sources said that Franken was very upset and was speaking with a raised voice. Mrs. Franken reportedly ran on stage to get Franken away from Coleman … Franken, visibly upset, continues to get in Senator Coleman’s face. Franken is seen on film staring Coleman down as he finally recognizes that Mrs. Franken is trying to get his attention.
Wow. That sounds pretty heated. I can only imagine what that scene must have been like. Oh wait:
Apparently, talking to your opponent after a debate is the equivalent of being on the verge of a complete meltdown. Maybe next time, Franken should just snub his opponent all together.