Franken, the Victor, the Victim or the Villain

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

Al Franken may be on the cusp of declaring an ever-so-narrow victory in his protracted Senate battle with Norm Coleman, but he’s not likely to inherit the mantle of Minnesota’s legendary “Happy Warrior” Hubert Humphrey any time soon.

Franken campaigned with a kind of nostalgia for state politicians of the past, but he’ll have his work cut out for him in moving on from a race that has left many state voters just plain weary. And given that he has already been a lightning rod for right-wing talk radio, Franken will have to endure a continued barrage of criticism that his victory was somehow not fair and square, akin to the assault that George W. Bush took from the left after his was declared victor in 2000.

As is the case in recounts, as much will depend on how Coleman concedes as on how Franken wins.

So Franken has been careful in choosing his words, although he indicated that his current 49-vote lead indicates victory is at hand.

Franken said in a statement yesterday, “Today, the state canvassing board completed an important step in this process. I’m glad to be ahead, and as it appears that we’re on track to win, I want Minnesotans to know that I’m ready to get to work for them in Washington on Day One.”

His backers are just as eager to move on from the race.

“At this stage, it appears that Franken will be certified the winner by the state Canvassing Board,” Jim Manley, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Tuesday afternoon, per the Star Tribune.  “We’re keeping abreast of the situation and will make a decision with regard to Senate action at the appropriate point in the process.”

The current state of the race is a confusing set of challenges to ballots that have been rejected — but may or may not have been right to do so. The Coleman camp is disputing some 654 absentee ballots that they say were improperly rejected, while Franken’s side is trying to focus on 1,346 absentees that county officials are reviewing again.

Dean Barkley, the third party candidate who garnered 16% of the vote (and whom some considered a spoiler in the race), writes on the Star Tribune Website that a resolution should not be difficult.

“My message to Norm and Al is get over the petty bickering and agree on which of the 1300 absentee ballots should be included in the recount.  This should not be difficult.  The criteria is set so go to work and apply the criteria to these ballots.  One of you will eventually lose.  Quit playing political games and get this recount over with.”

Angry at Axelrod: David Mixner takes issue with Obama advisor David Axelrod’s defense of the choice of Rick Warren on “Meet the Press” on Sunday.

Axelrod said, “We have to find ways to work together on the things on which we do agree, even when we profoundly disagree on other things.”

He writes, “What hit me as Axelrod was speaking was the infuriating realization that it is the LGBT community which is always expected to make the sacrifice in order to bring people together. We seem to be the very first ones that they consider neglecting in the name of a greater good. Instead, with Obama’s victory, isn’t it time that he put LGBT people in a position of visibility and tell the rest of the nation to grow up and get beyond the hatred of LGBT people? How powerful it would have been to have invited Bishop Eugene Robinson to give the invocation! What a message that would have been to the this nation and to the world that indeed a new administration has arrived and that it has zero tolerance for discrimination against LGBT people.”

Quotable: “Does that mean I can stop exercising? … I’m afraid I’m still alive and kicking — at least until George W. finally finds the right door and uses it.” — Comedy writer and satirist Larry Gelbart, responding to a Google discussion group, where a report surfaced that he was “gravely ill” after suffering a “a massive stroke.”

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