Happy Al Franken Day!

It has been a long journey that has taken a great number of twists and turns, but today Al Franken will be sworn in as United States Senator from the state of Minnesota. This news is particularly exciting given that, as Franken said to MyDD two years ago, he is one of us.


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Jonathan Singer: Final question, kind of getting back to the politics. What's the message that you'd like to send to the progressive blogosphere, if there's one? Is there something you'd like to hammer home to the netroots today?

Al Franken: I'm one of you. Air America is certainly something that was attempting to counter the incredible right wing dominance of the dialogue in this country and we tended to have people from the netroots on our show.

So I kind of think I'm one of you. I might be a little too old. But certainly my staff - I'm tooling around, too - but my staff is on top of it. And that's just as far as a mode of communicating. But I think that if you go to my website and follow the stuff I'm talking about you can see where I am politically and I think you'd agree with an overwhelming majority of it. You might disagree with some of the things I say, but I would urge them to go on this thing called the internet. And go to AlFranken.com and look at stuff. Did you know you can stream video on the internet?

Singer: I've heard that.

Franken: Well, we have video.

[Laughter]

So to everyone on this site I wish a happy Al Franken day!

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Senator Al Franken

Norm Coleman concedes following unanimous Minnesota Supreme Court ruling favoring Al Franken. Congratulations Senator Al Franken.

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Norm Coleman Reportedly Under FBI Investigation

Sam Stein has the scoop for the Huffington Post:

The FBI is investigating allegations that former Senator Norm Coleman had clothing and other items purchased on his behalf by a longtime friend and businessman Nasser Kazeminy, according to a source in Minnesota who was interviewed recently by federal agents.

[...]

The Minnesota source said the FBI questioning focused on whether Kazeminy had purchased clothing on Coleman's behalf, reports of which surfaced in October. At the time, Coleman vehemently denied the allegations. "Nobody but me and my wife buy my suits," he said.

The St. Paul Pioneer Press separately has the story again:

FBI agents in Minnesota have begun asking questions about the relationship between former U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman and a close friend and donor, according to a Minnesota source to whom the agents talked.

It's not clear that this will make the Republicans any less likely to try to further drag out litigation to keep Al Franken from being seated in the Senate. After all, as Republicans have already conceded, keeping Franken out of the Senate -- even if just for a few more weeks or months rather than for good -- means that they can still filibuster when they want to.

But with this news out there, it will be increasingly difficult and potentially even untenable for Minnesota's Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty to continue resisting to certify Franken's victory in the seemingly likely event that the state's Supreme Court does not overturn the current count in the election. Pawlenty could try to hold out -- but for a former Senator reportedly under FBI investigation? It will be a tough argument to make, one that could not only harm his chances at reelection (should that be his goal) but even his hopes of challenging Barack Obama in 2012 (should that be his goal).

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Ad Watch: Seat Our Senator

From Chris Good over at The Atlantic comes a photo of a new billboard on I-94 between Minneapolis and St. Paul from Americans United for Change, AFSCME, Alliance for a Better Minnesota, and the Minnesota affiliates of AFL-CIO and SEIU:

I like the sentiment, as well as the fact that these liberal groups are taking assertive steps to try to apply pressure to Minnesota's Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty to seat the winner of the Senate election  that happened more than six months ago (!). What's more, I do realize that this is aimed at least as much at elites -- the news media, both inside the Beltway and in the Twin Cities -- as it is at the folks actually driving on I-94.

That said, it seems to me that it would worthwhile to make the billboard a little more direct. There's nothing on the outdoor advertisement, save for the posted URL SeatOurSenator.com, indicating what the specific message intended to be imparted is. Yes, the message might get through to Minnesotans and politics watchers all around the country through news reports (and, yes, even blog post) on the billboard. But wouldn't it be worth it to be slightly more clear to the drivers seeing the billboard each day that what Pawlenty is doing is putting his national ambitions over the good of the state by blocking Al Franken from being seated? Then again, maybe it's clear enough to the people of Minnesota, who have been enduring this GOP obstructionism for half a year, what the ad is talking about without further information?

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Nearly 2/3 of Minnesotans Say Coleman Should Quit

These numbers are what you'd call overwhelming.

A strong majority of Minnesota voters think that Norm Coleman should concede the race for US Senate, that Tim Pawlenty should certify Al Franken as the winner, and that Franken should be seated immediately, the newest survey from Public Policy Polling finds.

63% of voters in the state think that Coleman should just concede the race himself. That includes almost all of Franken and Dean Barkley's supporters, as well as a third of respondents who voted for Coleman last fall.

59% express support both for Pawlenty certifying Franken as the winner and for Franken being seated immediately.

It's hard to see how these numbers could be worse for Norm Coleman. Not only do voters think he should stop his quixotic bid to hold up Al Franken from being seated in the Senate by nearly a 2-to-1 margin (63 percent to 37 percent, to be exact), but even a significant portion of Coleman's own supporters think it's time for him to throw in the towel. Add on top of that the finding that a strong majority of Minnesotans want Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty to side with their state instead of toeing the line for his party, and you have a situation in which the GOP's serial obstructionism is losing its base of support. Republicans may want this dragged out indefinitely, but with the state turning as well as the establishment media, there may be an end in sight.

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