Al Franken near tears after GOP halts Don't Ask Don't Tell debate [VIDEO]

Sen. Al Franken has done seven USO tours to military bases in war zones since 1999. For almost as long, he's been mocking the military's anti-gay Don't Ask Don't Tell policy from the stage, getting big laughs from the troops.

But he almost broke into tears on the Senate floor yesterday, after Republicans crushed even the possibility of debating the law's repeal.

The moment came as Franken recalled a 2006 USO show in Iraq, at the low point of the war. The bleachers were filled with troops getting a break from battle. He joked that a general down in the front row was the "gayest man" he knew, and one of the bravest, too.

As laughter broke out, a group of women soldiers stood up and cheered from the bleachers. The general stood, laughing, and waved back, Franken said, his voice starting to break.

"And at the end of the show the general came up and he gave us this beautiful frame with an American flag that had flown over the base, and he gave it to every member of our troupe. And when he gave it to me he said, 'Al, keep telling those Don't Ask Don't Tell jokes.' I think you may have some fans up there,' pointing at the women."

"And later, those women came up to me and said, 'we're gay.'"

Here's the clip:

And here's a clip from one of Franken's USO tours.

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