The Real Al Franken

The Real Al Franken finally showed up in the U.S. Senate on day three of the Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Judge Sonia Sotomayor, but it wasn't all laughs for the new Senator from Minnesota.

Franken seemed nervous and uncertain of himself and the subjects as he started to ask questions of Sotomayor, who also seemed a bit uncertain as to where Franken was going.

The Democrat asked about net neutrality and the "Brand X" decision of the Supreme Court, trying to draw out Sotomayor on the issue, but getting nowhere on free and open internet access when it came to the law.

It was pretty odd to hear Franken then zero in on abortion and the Right to Privacy, which was a focus for some in both parties.

"Do you believe this Right to Privacy includes a right to have an abortion?" asked Franken.

Like other Senators before him, he didn't get much of an answer from the Judge, who sidestepped queries all day on abortion, gun rights and much more.

That avoidance seemed to have convinced Franken to switch to his comedian side, as he brought up the old TV show "Perry Mason," which Sotomayor had indicated to another Senator that she had watched as a kid.

"What was the one case in Perry Mason," Franken said to some chuckles, "that Burger won?" as Franken referred to the District Attorney that always was defeated by Mason in the dramatic end to almost every show.

"I wish I remembered the name of the episode, but I don't," said Sotomayor.

"Didn't the White House prepare you for that?" Franken asked to growing laughter in the crowded hearing room.

After a break, Franken was mugging for the cameras when his microphone was working, but that of Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy was not, so Leahy walked over to use another mic, while Franken zipped over to the Chairman's seat, provoking even more laughter from the audience.

I figured he could only keep that jokester side of him under wraps for so long.

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