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Registered: 09/25/00
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Franken Apologizes to Ashcroft
    #1830356 - 08/19/03 05:22 PM (14 years, 8 months ago)


WASHINGTON ? Comedian and liberal activist Al Franken (search) has written an apology letter to Attorney General John Ashcroft after asking him for his personal story about remaining abstinent before marriage.

Franken, a satirist and former writer for "Saturday Night Live," admitted in a letter last month that he deliberately tried to mislead Ashcroft when he sought personal information from him.

"In the letter, I indicated that I wanted your story for a book about abstinence-only sex education entitled 'Savin' It!' I claimed that I had already received testimonies from several conservative leaders, which I had not," he wrote.

"The letter was sent as part of a satirical book I'm working on, which will contain only one or two chapters dealing with abstinence-only sex education."

In June, Franken wrote to Ashcroft requesting his personal story, adding that he had already received testimonials from National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson and values guru William J. Bennett, among others.

In encouraging Ashcroft to submit his story, Franken asked the attorney general to reveal honest and personal details about his younger days.

"Don't be afraid to share a moment when you were tempted to have sex, but were able to overcome your urges through willpower and strength of character. Be funny!" Franken wrote. "Did a young woman every think you were homosexual just because you wouldn't have sex with her? Be serious! Were you ever taunted and made to feel bad or 'uncool' because of your choice? But most of all, be real. Kids can sense a phony a mile away."

Franken wrote his request to Ashcroft on letterhead from Harvard University's Shorenstein Center for Press and Politics (search) at the Kennedy School of Government, where he was a fellow during the spring term.

But the school never gave permission for the use of their letterhead, and apparently wasn't pleased with Franken's prank, which he acknowledged in the apology.

"My biggest regret is sending the letter on Shorenstein Center stationery, I can assure you that no one at the Shorenstein Center had knowledge of the letter before I sent it," Franken wrote. "I am very embarrassed to have put them in this awkward and difficult position, and I ask you not to hold this against the Center, the Kennedy School, or Harvard in general."

Franken said that his was sending an apology to everyone who was sent the letter, including the handful of people who had responded. None of the people named in the letter to Ashcroft wrote back, Franken said, and he vowed not to use the responses he did receive.

Franken, who has a new book out next month titled "Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right," has long been a critic of Ashcroft and has frequently railed against other conservative politicians and newsmakers.

Last week, News Corp., the parent company of Fox News Channel and Foxnews.com, filed a lawsuit against Franken for using its trademark "fair and balanced" slogan in his book title and mimicking the look and style of two books published by Bill O'Reilly, a Fox News personality.

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Re: Franken Apologizes to Ashcroft [Re: wingnutx]
    #1830370 - 08/19/03 05:25 PM (14 years, 8 months ago)

I'm not an Ashcroft fan at all, but that was some pretty devious shit.

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Re: Franken Apologizes to Ashcroft [Re: wingnutx]
    #1830493 - 08/19/03 05:54 PM (14 years, 8 months ago)


Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them

What an appropriate title.

Chapter 1: Al Franken

You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity. What one person receives without working for another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for that my dear friend is the beginning of the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it. ~ Adrian Rogers

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Re: Franken Apologizes to Ashcroft [Re: wingnutx]
    #1830533 - 08/19/03 06:05 PM (14 years, 8 months ago)

On the whole I think Franken is pretty funny. A little too extremist with his opinions, maybe. In this case he could have avoided the problem by not using Shorenstein stationary and by not lying about responses. In other words, it could have been a harmless (and even funny) prank if he'd used a little common sense. He should read up on Father Guido Sarducci.

edit: Sarducci's (Don Novelo's) letter books are The Lazlo Letters and Citizen Lazlo. Pretty funny.

Edited by hongomon (08/19/03 06:09 PM)

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