Imagine if LeeAnn Tweeden’s picture of Al Franken groping her breasts for laughs while she slept on a 2006 military plane flight had come out during his 2008 Senate campaign. The election result was so disputed that Franken wasn’t seated in the Senate until July of 2009. Add that picture, and the Senate wouldn’t have an Al Franken harassment problem today.
In the thick of that fight, the Republicans pushed to the Minnesota media a New York magazine description of a Saturday Night Live script meeting in which a comedian playing CBS commentator Andy Rooney finds an empty pill bottle on his desk: “when Lesley [Stahl] is passed out, I take her to the closet and rape her. Or ‘That’s why you never see Lesley until February.” Then there was this: “when she passes out, I put her in various positions and take pictures of her.”
In his new book Giant of the Senate, Franken has a chapter called “Franni Saves the Campaign.” To take the rough edges from his rape (and other extreme sex) jokes back then, Franken’s wife made a 60-second ad about how she became an alcoholic, and “How could a mother of two fabulous, healthy children be an alcoholic?” But “Al stood right by my side” during her recovery and he “made two beautiful movies…used in rehabs all over the country.”
Franken wrote it “still makes me cry whenever I see it. In fact, when Chuck Schumer saw it, he called me to say that he had cried. And he also thought it would win me the election.” [Italics his.] Two days later, he boasted, when Mrs. Franken entered the room for a debate he was having, “she got a standing ovation.”
So how will he explain Tweeden’s photo and testimony to Mrs. Franken now?
This post originally appeared on NewsBusters