Franken Pulls Ahead — For Now

That, and other news, in today’s Roundup and Recap.

First off: Apologies for the scarcity of blogging in the past 24 hours — a few hard and fast print deadlines to meet.

For the first time, Al Franken now leads Norm Coleman in the Senate race in Minnesota. It’s a milestone — but perhaps not too great a one, as the slow as molasses process of going ballot by ballot in recount challenges continue. Franken’s backers naturally feel this puts a chill on Coleman’s reelection hopes, while the incumbent issued a statement claiming that he will prevail in the end.

Mark Felt, aka “Deep Throat,” passed away on Thursday. The Vanity Fair piece that broke his identity is here.

Julius Genachowski, who headed up Obama’s technology and innovation agenda, could be tapped as Obama’s chairman of the FCC as soon as today. He’d been seen as one of the leading candidates for quite some time, and could mark a transformation of the agency’s priorities and perhaps a boost to attempts toward net neutrality.

More furor over Obama’s pick of Rick Warren to deliver the inaugural invocation, with wide speculation that the president-elect’s advisers were caught off guard at the extent to which Prop 8 opponents would connect the ballot measure to the celebrity preacher.

Joe Solmonese of the Human Rights Campaign writes in the Washington Post, “It is difficult to comprehend how our president-elect, who has been so spot on in nearly every political move and gesture, could fail to grasp the symbolism of inviting an anti-gay theologian to deliver his inaugural invocation. And the Obama campaign’s response to the anger about this decision? Hey, we’re also bringing a gay marching band. You know how the gays love a parade.”

Karen Ocamb writes on Bilerico, “It’s not that Obama thinks of this as a “Sister Souljah” moment as I first thought. The fact is – Obama doesn’t think of us at all. The gays who might be near him are staffers who happen to be gay and for whom being gay is apparently not an issue. He doesn’t see them as gay – and therefore he doesn’t see us at all.”

Patrick McDonald of the LA Weekly recalls a conversation he had with Obama at a Pacific Palisades fundraiser: “I asked him that during his outreach to people of faith, I hoped he would also meet with gay and lesbian pastors and their congregants. Obama, to his credit, didn’t squirm away. He stood still and looked at me straight in the eyes. Then he tapped me on the chest and said when he visited churches, he made a point of telling people that homophobia had to stop. “Yes,” I replied, “but…” Obama cut me off. “But you’re right,” he said, “I need to do more.” “I certainly hope you will,” I said. Then he walked off. I liked Obama’s answer, but now his actions are showing something else. Once again, the gay community has been put on notice, which may be a good thing. For too long, politicians like Obama have gotten a pass from gays and lesbians for certain transgressions. The times, though, have changed. In this post-Prop. 8 era, there are no more free rides.”

Lanny Davis writes in Politico that it is a mistake to try to get Obama to rescind the invite:” I happen to be not only pro-gay rights, but believe gay marriage should be recognized as lawful in all 50 states. As victims of the intolerance of the right, don’t those in the gay rights movement seeking to pressure Mr. Obama to rescind the invitation to Rev. Warren see the hypocrisy and self-defeating nature of their opposition? I disagree with many of Rev. Warren’s positions. But he is a good man. He is a sincere man. And he is a man who has preached the need for religious conservatives to care for the poor, AIDs victims, the suffering. And he does not hate those with whom he has political or moral disagreements. He believes in dialogue and civility.”

Andrew Sullivan, no fan of Warren, nevertheless writes this morning, “One thing I’d say in defense of Obama. There were a few times in the campaign when my first reaction was that he had screwed up. In almost every case, he subsequently proved me wrong. And I think we need to take him seriously about a change in tone on these subjects. He’s asking a lot from us. That doesn’t mean we should not try to reciprocate.”

Sullivan also links to a video lost in all of the debate over the Warren pick. Itzhak Perlman, who will perform at the swearing in ceremony and share the spotlight of the moment with Warren, actually did a video against Proposition 8 during the campaign, defending his daughter’s relationship.

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