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Franken Finally Gets Sworn In

By Star Tribune, Star Tribune - July 8, 2009

WASHINGTON - Al Franken was sworn in Tuesday as Minnesota's second U.S. senator. No joke.

In a ceremony that started a few minutes late -- and 246 days after the election -- the former Saturday Night Live comedian joined the Senate with a simple "I do."

Flanked by Sen. Amy Klobuchar and former Vice President Walter Mondale, Franken received a standing ovation from family members, supporters and others in the public galleries. Vice President Joe Biden offered his congratulations, and a packed Senate gallery that included Franken's wife, Franni, erupted into hugs and applause.

"You don't see Norwegians with tears in their eyes," said Minnesota's former U.S. Attorney David Lillehaug, one of Franken's recount lawyers. "Today was mine."

Delivering the first public joke of his Senate career, Franken attended a Minnesota reception after the swearing-in and talked about the emotional support he received from Franni.

"I choke up every once in a while and the press has had to find ways to say choke up -- because I don't actually cry, I just choke up, right?" Franken said, prompting laughter from the crowded room. "So they've had to find synonyms for just short of crying -- you know, 'his throat full of emotion,' something like that."

His wife offered some back-story after the reception, attended by Minnesota lobbyists, campaign workers, and new staffers. "He's an old softy," she said. "He's Mr. Pussycat."

Mixing with Franken at the reception were Grateful Dead founders Bob Weir and Mickey Hart, who took a photo with the new senator.

Despite Franken's studied seriousness leading up to his swearing-in, he was heard erupting in ebullient laughter several times on the Senate floor. As Franken mingled and backslapped, Klobuchar, a fellow Democrat, tugged him back to the well of the Senate to sign the official register.

Moments later, Sergeant-at-Arms Terrance Gainer affixed an official Senate pin to Franken's charcoal gray suit. The new member then proceeded to the Old Senate Chamber for a ceremonial swearing-in before cameras.

Into the partisan fray

WASHINGTON - Al Franken was sworn in Tuesday as Minnesota's second U.S. senator. No joke.

In a ceremony that started a few minutes late -- and 246 days after the election -- the former Saturday Night Live comedian joined the Senate with a simple "I do."

Flanked by Sen. Amy Klobuchar and former Vice President Walter Mondale, Franken received a standing ovation from family members, supporters and others in the public galleries. Vice President Joe Biden offered his congratulations, and a packed Senate gallery that included Franken's wife, Franni, erupted into hugs and applause.

"You don't see Norwegians with tears in their eyes," said Minnesota's former U.S. Attorney David Lillehaug, one of Franken's recount lawyers. "Today was mine."

Delivering the first public joke of his Senate career, Franken attended a Minnesota reception after the swearing-in and talked about the emotional support he received from Franni.

"I choke up every once in a while and the press has had to find ways to say choke up -- because I don't actually cry, I just choke up, right?" Franken said, prompting laughter from the crowded room. "So they've had to find synonyms for just short of crying -- you know, 'his throat full of emotion,' something like that."

His wife offered some back-story after the reception, attended by Minnesota lobbyists, campaign workers, and new staffers. "He's an old softy," she said. "He's Mr. Pussycat."

Mixing with Franken at the reception were Grateful Dead founders Bob Weir and Mickey Hart, who took a photo with the new senator.

Despite Franken's studied seriousness leading up to his swearing-in, he was heard erupting in ebullient laughter several times on the Senate floor. As Franken mingled and backslapped, Klobuchar, a fellow Democrat, tugged him back to the well of the Senate to sign the official register.

Moments later, Sergeant-at-Arms Terrance Gainer affixed an official Senate pin to Franken's charcoal gray suit. The new member then proceeded to the Old Senate Chamber for a ceremonial swearing-in before cameras.

Into the partisan fray

WASHINGTON - Al Franken was sworn in Tuesday as Minnesota's second U.S. senator. No joke.

In a ceremony that started a few minutes late -- and 246 days after the election -- the former Saturday Night Live comedian joined the Senate with a simple "I do."

Flanked by Sen. Amy Klobuchar and former Vice President Walter Mondale, Franken received a standing ovation from family members, supporters and others in the public galleries. Vice President Joe Biden offered his congratulations, and a packed Senate gallery that included Franken's wife, Franni, erupted into hugs and applause.

"You don't see Norwegians with tears in their eyes," said Minnesota's former U.S. Attorney David Lillehaug, one of Franken's recount lawyers. "Today was mine."

Delivering the first public joke of his Senate career, Franken attended a Minnesota reception after the swearing-in and talked about the emotional support he received from Franni.

"I choke up every once in a while and the press has had to find ways to say choke up -- because I don't actually cry, I just choke up, right?" Franken said, prompting laughter from the crowded room. "So they've had to find synonyms for just short of crying -- you know, 'his throat full of emotion,' something like that."

His wife offered some back-story after the reception, attended by Minnesota lobbyists, campaign workers, and new staffers. "He's an old softy," she said. "He's Mr. Pussycat."

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