Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) said, contrary to what voters might believe, there are no simpletons in the U.S. Senate.
He appeared Monday night on “The Daily Show,” where Jon Stewart asked him if he ever wondered how some of his colleagues dressed themselves in the morning – and he pressed the senator to use their first and last names.
“I can name about 15,” Franken joked. “There’s no one there that’s stupid – believe me. They all got there for some reason. People have different kinds of talents, and some – it takes a while to figure out what it is.”
Franken, a former “Saturday Night Live” writer and performer, said he had used his background in comedy to win over some Republican colleagues – such as Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA), who praised his bill that provided service dogs to combat veterans.
“It passed like two weeks after I got there, and a couple weeks later Johnny came up to me and said, ‘I’ve gotten such great reaction to this dog bill -- anytime you want me to co-sponsor one of your bills, let me know,’” Franken said. “I said, ‘I have an abortion-on-demand gay marriage bill,’ and Johnny said, ‘I’ll get back to you.’ And you know what? He hasn’t.”
Despite the collegiality, Franken said there was a fundamental difference between Democrats and Republicans – who each pay lip service to helping the middle class.
“They say this, but if you look at their budget that passed with all Republican votes, this is their latest budget, they give a big tax cut to the richest Americans, they want to eliminate the estate tax – that’s if you have $10.5 million or more, there’s a big tax cut for you – they want to increase taxes for people at the low end by reducing the earned income tax credit,” Franken said.
Stewart pointed out the disastrous budget policies implemented by Kansas Republican Gov. Sam Brownback, which cut taxes for the rich and raised the sales tax on cigarettes and other items more likely to be purchased by poor residents.
“His experiment in Kansas just did not work,” Franken agreed.
Franken said he had agreed to appear on “The Daily Show” to tell Stewart something.
“Is this going to be anti-Semitic? Because I can take it,” Stewart joked.
Franken said he could do anti-Semitic jokes because he was also Jewish, but he had something else to say.
“You have taken this platform, and with the dint of your hard work, your judgment, your intellect, you have engaged a generation of young people in public policy, in politics – not enough to get them to vote, but enough to get some of them to a Rock the Vote party,” Franken said. “And those are fun parties.”
Watch the entire interview posted online by Comedy Central: