Speed Reads


Sen. Al Franken tells Stephen Colbert about the moment McCain sunk TrumpCare, which senators are funny

Before Al Franken was a U.S. senator, he was a comedian, Stephen Colbert reminded the Minnesota Democrat on Tuesday's Late Show. "Now that I'm a senator," Franken replied, "I don't want you for a moment to think that what you do here every night is any less important than what I do each day, even though it is less important." So Colbert asked about what Franken and his colleagues do, and don't do, in their day jobs. "There's a lot of don't-doing," Franken conceded, "and sometimes the don't-doing is good." That led to the most recent, and very dramatic, not-done "skinny" repeal of ObamaCare.

Republicans "had seven-plus years to come up with a repeal-and-replace, and everything they came up with was terrible," Franken said. Colbert slipped in a swear word (bleeped out), Franken fake-balked, and they talked about Anthony Scaramucci for a second before returning to that Senate vote. "Obviously, Sen. [John] McCain, Sen. [Susan] Collins, and Sen. [Lisa] Murkowski were heroes in this," Franken said, nodding to the three GOP "no" votes that sank the last-ditch repeal bill, "but the credit really goes to the American people who showed up at town halls and made their voices heard." He said he believes the Senate will now work to fix ObamaCare's flaws and shore up the exchanges in a bipartisan fashion.

"Were you there when McCain gave the thumbs-down?" Colbert asked. Franken said yes, and that he'd suspected but wasn't sure that McCain would buck his party when tie-breaking Vice President Mike Pence left the chamber before the vote. "What's interesting is there was applause" when McCain cast his vote, mostly from the gallery and staffers, Franken said, but Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) immediately signaled for silence, "and everybody stopped, because we didn't want to gloat, and we shouldn't gloat. This is serious, serious stuff."

"Are the people in the Senate fun, are they funny people?" Colbert asked after the break. "Because it seems like a boring Thunderdome." "Actually, a lot of my colleagues are funny, and that's how I bond with them," Franken said, and then he named names — funny and unfunny — and told stories. Watch below. Peter Weber