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Al Franken hopes Michele Bachmann is the Republican nominee

Al Franken is funnier than Michele Bachmann, unless she's playing a character.

Al Franken is funnier than Michele Bachmann, unless she's playing a character.

Al Franken likes Michele Bachmann. No, really, he does.

In fact, he likes her so much he wants her to get the Republican nomination for president so she can get crushed by Barack Obama in 2012.

Franken disclosed his feelings during a taping of MPR's Midday with the soon-to-retire Gary Eichten yesterday.

"Do you think Michele Bachmann has a legitimate chance to win the Republican Party presidential nomination?" Eichten asked.

Without a moment's hesitation, Franken deadpanned: "I hope so."

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As it turns out, Gary Eichten's kind of funny, too!

As it turns out, Gary Eichten's kind of funny, too!

Franken gets a lot of complaints these days for not being funny anymore, but given an audience at the State Fair, he rolled out a few wisecracks for Midday.

After acknowledging Eichten's contribution to local radio, and telling him he'd be missed, Franken explained why he's not wearing glasses anymore: Franken apparently underwent a second cataract surgery yesterday, and said he's seeing better than he ever has before.

"I had never really seen you," Fraknen told Eichten, "and you are an amazingly good looking man."

At the tail end of the interview, Eichten brought up Bachmann's campaign, and Franken's hopeful answer got huge laughs and applause from the crowd.

"So," Eichten follwed up, "you would like to the see the Congresswoman in a position where she could become president?"

"Okay, now I'm having second thoughts," Franken said.

Zing! Then came the surprising turn in Franken's answer:

"Look,  I like Michele," he said. "Michele is part of our delegation. We fly very often to together to Washington on Delta -- in coach. She went to our hotdish-off at my office, and we've gone to funerals together. We have laughed together, we have cried together. I like her. I disagree with almost every stance she has."

Well, you probably knew that last line was coming in there somewhere. This has to be the most cutting, backhanded endorsement Bachmann has yet.

She'll probably have something really funny and witty to say in reply. She's usually pretty funny, and has been slaying audiences with that whole "crazy churchlady congresswoman" routine for years.

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