Life comes at you fast.
Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) went away from his prepared remarks in a 2010 speech about the military’s then “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy to reference “a beautiful woman” … named Leannn Tweeden.
A “beautiful women” the former Saturday Night Live actor allegedly sexually assaulted only four years before.
The former Playboy model and current radio news anchor had been rehearsing a USO Middle East tour skit in 2006 when Franken purposefully wrote a kiss between the two into the script, then “practiced” it aggressively on Tweeden without her consent. He then grabbed her breasts while she slept on the plane ride home.
Given no choice, since Tweeden actually posted a picture of a smiling Franken with his hands on her breasts, the Minnesota senator has apologized and even called for an ethics investigation into himself.
CNN has since located a fascinating blast from the past, a clip of the Minnesota senator waxing eloquent about the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy and veering off-script to reference Tweeden. We know the ‘off-script’ part because a transcript of the original speech is on Franken’s website.
“The last four years, I was in Iraq and Afghanistan and Kuwait, and I’d go with a very eclectic tour of guys and women. Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders. Country western artists,” said Franken. “Almost all of them were very right-wing, and we love each other, because we went on these tours.”
Franken recalled one such show with particular fondness.
“During the show, I was kind of a co-host with a beautiful woman named Leeann Tweeden, and we’d do comedy routines, and we’d introduce music and introduce the cheerleaders, and I’d go out and do a monologue. And this was something I would do—I’d done for a number of years,” said Franken.
For comparison purposes, here is the relevant section from the prepared remarks:
Let me also briefly tell you about my experience. Before I was a Senator, I did a number of USO tours over the years. And on each tour, I was more and more impressed by the men and women of our military.
I always did Don’t Ask Don’t Tell material, and over the years that I did the tours, you could feel the change in the military.
I was on, I think, my seventh tour. As we always did, we had an eclectic show, and it was a long show too. Most of the troops would be standing for four hours during the show, though I remember during this one particular show at one of our bases, there was a group of female soldiers sitting in the bleachers who were particularly enthusiastic.
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