Republican Says Photo Could Have Helped Him Sink Franken In 2008

(Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Kerry Picket Political Reporter
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Former Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman believes he would have defeated current Minnesota Sen. Al Franken in 2008 if the 2006 photo showing the Democratic lawmaker groping a sleeping woman had surfaced at the time.

Coleman, a Republican, lost his seat to Franken by 312 votes after a statewide recount and a bitter court fight.

“You’ve got to believe that photo is worth more than 312 votes,” Coleman told TalkingPointsMemo on Friday.

The former Republican senator told TPM that the photo of Franken grabbing the breasts of  KABC anchor Leeann Tweeden “speaks for itself” and that he didn’t want to “sound like sour grapes.”

The race between Coleman and Franken lasted nine months after Minnesotans went to the polls in Novemebr 2008. Initially, Coleman led Franken by 726 votes, but he tanked after a recount by the Secretary of State. Eventually, the election results were recounted in Franken’s favor, despite the months-long court challenge from the Coleman camp.

Franken had to apologize during the 2008 campaign for rape jokes he made in the past.

“The things I said and wrote sent a message to some of my friends in this room, and the people in this state, that they can’t count on me to be a champion for women and for all people of Minnesota in this campaign and in the Senate. I’m sorry for that,” Franken said at the 2008 Democratic-Farmer-Labor state convention.

Franken walked back that apology in a book he wrote  this year titled “Al Franken, Giant of the Senate.”

“To say I was sorry for writing a joke was to sell out my career, to sell out who I’d been my entire life,” he writes. “And I wasn’t sorry that I had written Porn-o-Rama or pitched that stupid Lesley Stahl joke at 2 in the morning. I was just doing my job.”

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