Franken Book Tour Off To Poor Start
Franken On 'Execution' of Bush, Gloria Wise Question
Yes, your ears were properly functioning during Friday evening's David Letterman show.
Did Al Franken really kid about executing the President of the United States? Sure enough, it was loose cannon time for the alleged truth-teller.
Not exactly a solid start to Franken's The Truth (With Jokes) book tour. How nice to plug the release on the Late Show With David Letterman, isn't it?
Is it that hard to keep from bombing in such a friendly setting, however?
On-air implosion is a better way to describe Franken's unfunny, inappropriate 'performance'. Has an angry man overtaken the comedian, in an epic internal struggle for Al's mind?
Adding to the pain: his visit was stretched to a second segment.
Letterman provided the biggest surprise, asking Franken about the Air America/Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club scandal, almost right off the bat. While Al gave an evasive answer, it was stunning to think a late night comedian was willing to raise the issue, when many newspapers haven't.
While there weren't any follow-up questions, it's more than one could expect, given the forum.
The Political Teen has the video of this portion here, meanwhile, Siobhan supplies us with this transcript:
Letterman: "Correct me if I'm wrong but it looks like you have a new set there. Is that what it looks like?"
Franken: "Yes, this year we have a new set."
Letterman: "So things must be going well for you."
Franken: (sarcasm) "Oh........ yes!
"No, Air America is doing great. We've got 70 affiliates, cover about 65% of the country."
Letterman: "What was all that talk about money, somebody had money, didn't have money, loaned money, stole money, wouldn't give it back. Any of that true?"
Franken: "All of it, all of it. No, what happened was, we had a guy running the company at first who turned out to be (makes a face)..."
Letterman: "A goon? A thug?"
Franken: "Keep going..."
Franken: "Worse than that. But he basically led us to believe..."
Letterman: (says something bleeped out)
Franken: "There you are. There you are. You see, I thought I couldn't say that. So anyway, he told us we had enough money to stay on the air for three years before we made a profit and it turned out to be three weeks."
Letterman: (laughing) "So, just a little bookkeeping error."
Franken: "So, we lost two of our stations right away and we had five at the time and they were Los Angeles and Chicago (laughing). So we had to wait a while until we got very good ratings and now we have 70 affiliates."
With much of one segment spent dragging out an unfunny, cobweb-filled rehash of Franken's ancient "the comedy team that weighs the same" routine, the viewer might have believed politics would be left out of the interview.
But sure enough, Al took the chance to shoot his mouth off, with ugly results.
Franken's ongoing Gloria Wise deceit is bad enough, but isn't joking about President Bush's execution way over the line?
The Media Research Center's Brent Baker created a transcript of this interview segment:
Franken: "And so basically, what it looks like is going to happen is that Libby and Karl Rove are going to be executed” because “outing a CIA agent is treason. (to audience laughter)
"Yeah. And I don't know how I feel about it because I'm basically against the death penalty, but they are going to be executed it looks like."
Franken later suggested President Bush is at risk of receiving the same punishment, since Karl Rove likely told him what he did, but added a caveat:
“I think, by the way, that we should never ever, ever, ever execute a sitting President."
Letterman: “The feeling was that this report made the administration's decision to go to war look bad...”
Franken: “Right. So they wanted to smear the guy who came back with the report, and so they out his wife and said she sent him there. This is essentially, you know, George H.W. Bush, the President's father, was the head of the CIA and he has said that outing a CIA agent is treason.”
Letterman: “It is treason, yes.”
Franken: “And so basically, what it looks like is going to happen is that Libby and Karl Rove are going to be executed." [audience laughter over Letterman’s response]
Letterman (mock indignation): “What? What! Really?”
Franken: “Yeah. And I don't know how I feel about it because I'm basically against the death penalty, but they are going to be executed it looks like.
Letterman: “The real crime is that there's an adult man walking around in the current administration named Scooter. I mean, we can agree on that, right?” [Audience laughter]
Franken: “That, but sooner or later he'll be executed, so that, and you worry about because the President at some, he said right away when Novak outed the CIA agent, Plame, said 'I want to get to the bottom of this.'
Well now, Karl Rove is his right-hand man. Did he ask Karl? Did Karl lie to him? If so, we know he should have fired Karl by now so that, and did Karl tell the truth to him? In that case the President -- and I think, by the way, that we should never ever, ever, ever execute a sitting President.” [Audience laughter]
Letterman: “It makes us look bad around the world, I think.” Franken, in jest: “It would. It would be heartbreaking, I think, and I think that we should have a constitutional amendment.”
Letterman: “I see, yeah. Have we ever come close in the history to executing a seated President?”
Franken: “No, this will be the closest.”
Letterman: “This will be the closest, yeah.”
Franken: “Unless we get that amendment passed now.”
End of MRC Transcript
While we've long enjoyed Letterman's show, it's curious how he could allow himself to be so easily sucked into Franken's weirdness. Perhaps Dave hasn't recently spent much time around him?
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