Video: "Al Franken ... is not this person"

Norm Coleman has a humorous attack ad rolling out today, apparently only on video, in his battle against Al Franken. Called “Once in a Generation”, Coleman underscores the less-than-exemplary manners of his opponent through video clips and concludes that a foul-mouthed tax incompetent doesn’t fit for Minnesota:

Announcer: “Once in a generation there is a person who looks beyond division and strife, and sees the potential of the human spirit. He or she has the moral character to lead, and integrity that inspires others to believe in something greater than themselves. This person has a voice of optimism, and an attitude that pushes other beyond- ”

[Record scratch]

Announcer: “Al Franken is not this person.”

Franken: “‘You number one GI, I [bleep] you ’til tomorrow, I [bleep] you all night long,’ sighed the pouty sex kitten.”

Anchor: “DFL Senate candidate Al Franken is getting fined $25,000 in New York for failing to pay for workers’ compensation for his employees.”

Franken: “And how shameless, how [bleep] shameless these people are. These people are so-”

Anchor: “More controversy tonight surrounding Senate candidate Al Franken. Today Republicans released an article that said Franken joked about rape.”

Announcer: “Al Franken, just not right for Minnesota.”

The last shot somewhat unfair, as I’ve written before, and I’d like to see Republicans stop using it.  Yes, Franken wrote a crude and tasteless skit about Andy Rooney raping Leslie Stahl in a 60 Minutes parody for Saturday Night Live more than a decade ago, but (a) it was never used because cooler heads prevailed, and (b) being a comedy writer means toeing the edge on a constant basis, and occasionally falling over it.  It’s hardly the best disqualifier that the GOP has on Franken, and I doubt it’s even in the top 10.

The tax information, though, should get a thorough airing, because it speaks to Franken’s competence as well as his sanctimonious attacks on corporations.  He declared a few years ago that the government should crack down on CEOs who don’t follow the law to the letter.  As CEO, Franken didn’t bother to pay taxes where they were owed, didn’t get required insurance for his employees, and has his charter revoked in California for failing to keep his paperwork in order.  By his own standards, Franken shouldn’t even be in this race.

Coleman has worked hard to keep that front and center in this race.  Diluting that message with irrelevancies won’t help.