Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) just held a joint media appearance with Sen.-elect Al Franken (D-MN), with each of them giving a short statement, and possibly both seeking to counter the expectation that the former comedian will be a goofy politician — Reid did so by citing the words of a Republican former Congressman, and Franken by simply being a serious, straightforward incoming Senator:
“I’m very happy to welcome to our Capitol, Sen-elect Al Franken. He ran a very hard-fought race and that’s an understatement,” said Reid. “I was talking to Al a few minutes ago and told him about my hectic race that took six weeks before the results were in. His took eight months.”
Franken quite naturally smiled and let out a slight laugh during this discussion of a hectic race that took a whole six weeks to decide.“He’s gonna work hard and be an outstanding Senator. But don’t take my word for it necessarily, even though I think it’s absolutely true,” Reid added. “I served in the house with former Congressman Vin Weber [a Republican from Minnesota, currently a high-profile lobbyist], who was always someone that laid things out the way he saw them. And he said this morning, ‘When people find out he’s a smart guy, who’s serious about the issues, and a hard worker, they’ll be pleasantly surprised.'”
Reid also sought to send a message to Republicans, and to respond to the emerging meme that with 60 Democratic Senators, all responsibilities now lie exclusively with the Dems. “Democrats are not looking to Sen. Franken’s election as a chance to ram legislation through this body,” he said. “At the same time, Republicans must understand that Sen. Franken’s election does not abdicate them from the responsibilities to govern.”
Then it was Franken’s turn, thanking Reid for his support and pledging to work as the second Senator from Minnesota, not as the 60th Democrat. “Minnesotans are a very practical people. They want to make sure that the work we do here in the Senate makes sense, and that the decisions we make for the future have a strong return on investment,” Franken said, then going on to discuss issues ranging from health care to energy, job creation, and education. “I am going to work day and night to make sure that our kids have a great future, and that America’s best days lay ahead. I’m ready to get to work.”
The two of them did not take questions.