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Franken on the Hill

Updated

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

I am back full time from a break last week for the Independence Day holiday…

One day before he is to be sworn in as Minnesota’s next senator, Al Franken appeared on Capitol Hill today with Majority Leader Harry Reid, giving a short statement and offering no jokes. And he even tried to downplay the significance of being the Democrats’ 60th vote. “A lot has been made of this number 60,” he said. “The number I am focused on is the number two. I see myself as the second senator from the state of Minnesota.”

Franken has signalled that he would hunker down and take the Hillary Clinton approach to elective office, surprising detractors by not running to the cameras for attention and instead focusing on the work at hand.

A fellow celebrity in Congress, New York Rep. John Hall of the 70s pop band Orleans (“Still the One”), offered some advice to Franken in USA Today: Don’t rely on your past onstage talents to guide you.

“I was told early on, when I was tempted to sing a line or two of a song when I got on the floor, that the last guy that did that … lost his election,” Hall said, adding that “it’s a jinx to sing on the floor of the House.”

Baldwin Run: On the heels of Franken’s success, Alec Baldwin said in Playboy that he’s considering a run for elective office, although exactly what office he’d seek or where he’d mount a bid is still to be determined.

Baldwin speculated in the interview: “I have sometimes thought I could move to New Jersey or Connecticut and run. I’d love to run against Joe Lieberman. I have no use for him. But it’s all fantasy. I’m a carry-me-out-in-a-box New Yorker. Here, anything can happen. Who thought Eliot Spitzer would go down the way he did? Senator Hillary Clinton left to serve as secretary of state. Two of the biggest forces gone. Maybe Andrew Cuomo will run for one of their old seats. How much longer will Chuck Schumer stay as senator? After 2013 Bloomberg will be gone. What happens then?”

Speaking of the Senate: Politico’s Anne Schroeder Mullins chatted with Dan Glickman and caught a glint from the MPAA chief that he’d consider a run for the Senate.

“There are folks in Kansas who have called me and asked me if I’m interested. I suppose I’m genetically interested in it. I’ve always been interested in politics and public service,” he said. 

But he also outlined plenty of reasons why not, including the fact that he’s not so crazy about fund-raising. (Then again, who is?)

There’s been talk in D.C. that the studios are looking to replace him, as his contract runs through next year. Among one of the names mentioned: Former Tennessee Rep. Harold Ford.

Roll Call reported that another name being floated is Richard Bates, lobbyist for the Walt Disney Co. and a former executive director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

MPAA spokeswoman Elizabeth Kaltman told me today that Glickman’s contract runs through “the better part of next year.”

“Dan is focused on his job. I think there’s always going to be rumors, but that is not what Dan is focused on and that is not what the MPAA is focused on.” Asked whether there has been any talk of successors, she said no and also said, “As far as I know, there is not an active search.”

The Obama Effect: Michael Calderone of Politico queried media and marketing experts and found agreement: There is a spike for the networks when President Obama appears in prime time — or in nay other daypart, for that matter. 

Calderone wrote, “Last week’s health care forum on ABC brought in more viewers at 10 p.m. than the network had had in six weeks. Both parts of NBC’s “Inside the Obama White House” cracked the weekly top 10. And there’s a huge spillover benefit: Networks airing Obama specials can squeeze every drop out of them for morning shows, nightly newscasts, cable and online — goosing the ratings all around because the public is still tuning in whenever the president is on.” 

Penn Begins: Kal Penn started his job in the White House today, as associate director in the Office of Public Engagement. Penn is expected to focus on the Asian and Pacific Islander community as well as young citizens.  

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