Coleman camp calls Franken's D.C. visit 'presumptuous'

  • Article by: BILL McAULIFFE
  • Star Tribune
  • November 17, 2008 - 11:55 AM

Although he doesn't have a seat, Al Franken will have the floor Tuesday when he meets with Democratic leaders in the U.S. Senate.

Franken, who is locked in a mandatory recount of the Nov. 4 balloting with Republican incumbent Sen. Norm Coleman, will update Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and others on the recount process, said his spokeswoman, Colleen Murray.

The Senate leaders and the candidate also will talk about upcoming legislation, she said.

"If he should win this election, it would be irresponsible for him not to get ready to take office," she said. "Minnesota deserves a senator who is ready to take office on Day One."

Franken, who was last in Washington in September, will skip a scheduled orientation for new senators also scheduled for this week.

Attending that, Murray said, would be "presumptuous."

Coleman's communications director, Mark Drake, upped that ante, calling it "highly presumptuous for Mr. Franken to undertake such a visit when his real purpose appears to be fundraising and gaining partisan advantage from non-Minnesotans."

Franken will indeed be doing some fundraising, Murray said. "We've been up front about the fact that the recount is very expensive," she said.

Coleman leads Franken by 206 votes; 2.9 million were cast on Election Day. Fifteen percent went to Independence Party candidate Dean Barkley.

The recount, required by state law because the unofficial outcome was so close, will begin Wednesday. A final tally could be reached by Dec. 19, though the counting may very likely end up in court.

Bill McAuliffe • 612-673-7646

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