Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., sounded tired on his cellphone when we spoke last Friday shortly after noon as he rode the train from Washington to New York.
He had been through a long but rewarding night.
“I think I got to bed at about 3:30,” he said.
Franken and the rest of the members of the U.S. Senate had been up late debating the Republicans’ latest scheme to derail the Affordable Care Act. The plan collapsed in a dramatic moment at 1:30 a.m. when Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., walked into the chamber and gave the thumbs down sign.
Because of McCain’s decision and the equally defiant “no” votes earlier by two other Republicans, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine, the proposal failed by the narrowest margin, 51-49.
That’s why Franken was happy last Friday, even if he wasn’t energetic and joking around, as he did for 37 years in his previous life as a comedian.
“People often ask me: ‘Is being a senator as much fun as doing comedy on “Saturday Night Live”?’” he said. “The answer, of course, is no! Why would it be? But it’s the best job I’ve ever had. And last night is one of the reasons. We stopped something terrible from happening, by one vote.”
Franken brought up Norm Coleman, his opponent when he ran for the Senate seat in 2008 (and whom he beat by 312 votes). “If I hadn’t been there last night and Norm Coleman was, it would’ve gone the other way. I was happy to be part of the process.”
Franken added, “I look forward to turning the page and working with those Republicans who I think will…
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