Fox host: Franken 'writing' McCain SNL skit can't 'possibly be legal'
David Edwards and Muriel Kane
Published: Monday September 22, 2008

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The already convoluted story linking comedian-turned-candidate Al Franken to a Saturday Night Live sketch mocking John McCain was blown further out of proportion on Monday, when the hosts of Fox and Friends insisted that Franken had personally written the sketch in question.

"Not only is he running for Senate in Minnesota, he also had to phone in a sketch to Lorne Michaels," began Brian Kilmeade. "They've been friends for 30 years ... and they've both maxxed out on their contributions to Barack Obama."

"We've talked extensively on this program about how NBC does appear to be in the tank for Barack Obama," added Steve Doocy. "They've got this hit job on John McCain written by Al Franken, who is running for Senate in the state of Minnesota."

The current flap began with a Politico story last Saturday which claimed that Franken "helped craft the opening sketch mocking John McCain that kicked off the NBC comedy show Saturday, according to two well-placed sources inside the network."

Franken, who both wrote for and performed on SNL from its inception in 1975 to 1980 and again from 1985-95, is currently the Democratic candidate for Senate in Minnesota. The Politico's anonymous sources claimed that he had "phoned in" his idea for a spoof of McCain campaign ads to SNL and then helped current head writer Seth Meyers finalize it. Video of the sketch can be viewed here.

However, according to Franken's campaign staff, he had merely been joking around on the phone with his old friend, SNL producer Lorne Michaels, about how the required tag line "I'm John McCain and I approve this message" was becoming increasingly ridiculous as McCain's campaign ads grew more over the top. It was Michaels who decided the joke would make a good sketch and suggested that Meyers talk to Franken before writing it up.

Franken himself, who appeared to be caught off balance by the story, insisted at a campaign event on Sunday, "I didn't write a word. ... I thought he might write it but I didn't know. I didn't know anything about it."

The Politico article warned that "word that the network’s signature comedy show has allowed a liberal Democrat Senate candidate to shape content mocking the Republican presidential nominee may fuel sentiment that the network is sympathetic to the left."

Fox has now taken that particular ball and run with it. "How could this possibly be legal?" demanded Doocy. "One candidate for federal office essentially orchestrating talking points on a grand scale against another."

"The onus falls on NBC for this," agreed Gretchen Carlson. "The proof is in the pudding when they first denied it."

This video is from Fox's Fox & Friends, broadcast September 22, 2008.

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