Al Franken criticized for ducking DC press corps


Is Sen. Al Franken, who used to tweak the press on Saturday Night Live, developing a distaste for Capitol Hill reporters? The Politico thinks so. After trying yet again to chase him down in person for a quote, one of the Beltway news site's reporters says he and others are seeing a pattern: "He's just about the only senator to flatly refuse reporters' questions around the Capitol these days."

The silent treatment reached an apex (or nadir) of sorts on Tuesday, when I caught Franken on the way to the Senate Democratic policy lunch to ask him the obvious question-of-the-day: What did he think of the Obama administration's plan to increase Afghanistan troop deployments by 34,000.

Franken turned slowly to face me and pursed his lips as if to speak. Just then his body man intervened and flicked out the business card of Franken's well-regarded spokeswoman, Jess McIntosh.

A pattern? If there is one, the Strib's Rachel Stassenberger suggests that it's because Franken wants to be  seen as a workhorse and not a showboat. The Strib was also able to pry a quote from Franken, who says he's leery of a troop escalation "in no small part because I am deeply skeptical of the Afghan government." 

Maybe Franken just prefers talking to the home team.