Sen. Al Franken has granted Roll Call his first major interview with a national publication.
What do they want to know? How come you granted us your first interview with a national publication? Answer: He didn't want to be a showboat.
Franken is not prepared to open himself up to all comers by taking questions from reporters in the hallway on the story of the day, be it health care or any other topic. He says he doesn't yet know when he will be ready to do that. But he said he feels he is still working to make sure his colleagues and his constituents know he is not taking his job lightly and that he wants to be a valuable asset in the Senate.
"People had a right to be skeptical, I guess, that here I am in show business and you know, [ask] 'Is Al going to jump in front of the camera or is he going to be focused on the people of Minnesota?'" Franken said.
Franken thinks -- and the Roll Call reporters quote supportive colleagues as saying -- his strategy has worked for the folks back home who elected him:
Franken has taken on both a public and private role of liberal agitator. Though he is better known for his comedic turns on "Saturday Night Live" and has made extra efforts to stay out of the national spotlight since he was sworn in, Franken has proved himself well-versed in the policy ins and outs of health care reform and recently decided to become an outspoken voice pushing for a public insurance option.