Politics

Franken Recalls Telling Cruz He was ‘Full of S---’ in New Book

Suggested new punchline for a joke Klobuchar was going to tell about Texas senator

Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., and David Letterman talk with climate change activists ahead of the People’s Climate March in April. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As a former comedy writer, Minnesota Sen. Al Franken is not uncomfortable with insults or swearing, and his new book describes a particularly saucy insult he hurled at Ted Cruz.

Franken’s new book — tongue-in-cheek titled “Al Franken: Giant of the Senate,” has a chapter called “Sophistry” dedicated to the Texas Republican.

One passage tweeted by Jonathan Tilove of the Austin-American Statesman recalls when Franken’s fellow Minnesota Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar tried to clear a joke about Cruz with him before the annual Gridiron Club Dinner .

According to Franken, Klobuchar’s original joke was “When most people think of a bad cruise, they think of Carnival. But we Democrats in the Senate think of Ted.”

But Franken said that Klobuchar softened the joke from “bad” to “difficult.”

Cruz in turn suggested softening it further from “difficult” to “challenging” before relenting. “I’ll tell you what,” Franken recalls Cruz telling Klobuchar. “I believe in the First Amendment. You go ahead and tell your joke.”

But Franken said he told Cruz he had an alternate punchline: “When most people think of a cruise that is full of s---, they think of Carnival. But we think of Ted.”

“And there went Ted’s smile,” Franken writes. “For once, he had no words. I nodded, turned around and walked away.”

In the USAToday interview, Franken joked, “You have to understand that I like Ted Cruz probably more than my colleagues like Ted Cruz. And I hate Ted Cruz.”

Cruz was not pleased by the remarks, telling Politico Franken is "obnoxious and insulting" in an attempt to sell more books.

Franken and Cruz have a fraught history in the Senate. During Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ confirmation process, Franken criticized Cruz for misrepresenting his views when Franken was not present.

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone or your Android.