Go Al! (Again)
So apparently, after the "question time" featuring endangered conservadems whining about bipartisanship, the Senators really let their hair down in private. And they were led by none other than Al Franken:
Sen. Al Franken ripped into White House senior adviser David Axelrod this week during a tense, closed-door session with Senate Democrats.
Five sources who were in the room tell POLITICO that Franken criticized Axelrod for the administration’s failure to provide clarity or direction on health care and the other big bills it wants Congress to enact.
The sources said Franken was the most outspoken senator in the meeting, which followed President Barack Obama’s question-and-answer session with Senate Democrats at the Newseum on Wednesday. But they also said the Minnesotan wasn’t the only angry Democrat in the room.
In his public session with the senators Wednesday, Obama urged them to “finish the job” on health care but did not lay out a path for doing so. That uncertainty appeared to trigger Franken’s wrath, and the sources in the room said he laid out his concerns much more directly than any senator did in the earlier public session.
The private session was set up in a panel format, with Axelrod joined at the front of the room by Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine and Democratic strategist Paul Begala.
A Democratic source said that Franken directed his criticism solely at Axelrod.
“It was all about leadership and health care and what the plan was going to be,” the source said.
Good for him, although there's certainly plenty of blame for the health care debacle to go around, particularly in the House of Lords.
But it appears the irreverent comedian isn't playing by the rules there either:
Franken — a comedian turned liberal talk show host — vowed to keep a relatively low profile when he arrived in the Senate over the summer after a protracted legal battle with former GOP Sen. Norm Coleman. But he has developed a reputation among his colleagues as one of the more aggressive personalities on the Hill.
Last November, after Tennessee Republican Sens. Bob Corker and Lamar Alexander authored an op-ed in a local paper defending their opposition to a Franken amendment, Franken confronted both men on the floor — and grew particularly irritated with Corker.
He lashed out at Corker and a staff member in a follow-up meeting about the matter, several people said. Franken also clashed with South Dakota Sen. John Thune, No. 4 in GOP leadership, last month in a scathing speech during the health care debate, and staffers have reported other run-ins.
Those delicate little Republican flowers just don't know what to do when a Democrat isn't afraid of them.