Heard on the Hill

Franken: Roll Call’s Coleman Interview Led Him to Politics

The Minnesota Democrat disapproved of a Norm Coleman quote in Roll Call

Sen. Al Franken’s, D-Minn., latest book comes out on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Where was Sen. Al Franken in 2003? He was less than a decade out of leaving Saturday Night Live, had just published a satirical book, “Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them,” and his political idol had just died.

He was also reading Roll Call.

In his latest book, “Al Franken, Giant of the Senate,” he said he was reading a profile of Minnesota’s new senator, Norm Coleman, in Roll Call.

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Coleman had replaced the late Paul Wellstone, who died in 2002 in a plane crash. Franken considered Wellstone his political hero, according to the Washington Post.

Coleman told Roll Call in the piece, “To be very blunt, and God watch over Paul’s soul, I am a 99 percent improvement over Paul Wellstone.”

“I’m sorry, but you don’t say that about anyone who died within the last six months. And, my God, you don’t say it about a guy who everyone agreed was a compassionate, tireless champion of the little guy, a loving husband and father, and a colleague whom every senator recognized for his passion and decency,” Franken wrote in his book.

He confirmed to Esquire on May 30 that he read the first profile about Coleman in Roll Call.

Five years later, Franken defeated Coleman. He’s now in his second term in the senate.

Al Franken, Giant of the Senate” comes out on Tuesday.

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