- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Suddenly serious

It took no time for the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) to respond to the news that Al Franken was giving up his comedy routine (USO performances of late) and radio hosting to run for the U.S. Senate from Minnesota, drafting what promises to be only the first installment of “Frankly Franken,” an examination of the funnyman’s “record.”

And if you thought former Miami Heat guard Tim Hardaway was outspoken last week when it came to homosexual players on the basketball court — referring to retired NBA center John Amaechi stepping out of the closet — get a load of what Mr. Franken once told the Harvard Crimson:

“It’s not preppies, ‘cause I’m a preppie myself. I just don’t like homosexuals. If you ask me, they’re all homosexuals in the Pudding. Hey, I was glad when that Pudding homosexual got killed in Philadelphia.”

Mr. Franken, a 1973 graduate of Harvard, was referring to Harvard’s Hasty Pudding theatrical club.

Those remarks were made back in 1976 when Mr. Franken, like former Virginia Republican Sen. George Allen and others, was a careless young man blurting insults that he now lives to regret.

This first “Frankly Franken” installment also features the new Democratic candidate’s previous thoughts on Ronald Reagan, as well as who he feels was responsible for the September 11 terrorist attacks.

Finally, for somebody with no political or public service record suddenly entering a campaign for national office, the NRSC recalls Time magazine asking Mr. Franken in 2003 whether he was “ever tempted to run for office yourself?”

His reply: “Oh, no! First of all, if I took one vote away from a serious candidate, it would be a sin.”

Regulation run amok

The American Medical Association (AMA) was holding its annual conference in recent days at the JW Marriott Hotel in Washington, practically a stone’s throw from the White House.

Heading to the same hotel to attend a dinner was Patrick J. Cleary, senior vice president of communications for the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), who also served in the Reagan and Bush administrations, including as chairman of the National Mediation Board.

While in the lobby area, Mr. Cleary ran into a friend who works for the AMA. He joked to his friend by saying, “Is there a doctor in the house?” The friend just shook his head, Mr. Cleary now recalls, and related an incredible anecdote that the NAM vice president has posted on NAM’s official Web site, ShopFloor.org:

“Because there is a crowd of several hundred people, District of Columbia government regulations require that they have a paramedic (which they must pay for) on duty and on the premises. Nevermind that this is a room of over 600 physicians, a paramedic is still required on the scene.

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