The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

Al Franken makes his case to MacDems in Old Main

By Peter Wright

In his second visit to Macalester this school year, Al Franken spoke to members of MacDems and other students on Thursday, Feb. 7, criticizing the Bush administration and touting his own funny-man appeal as a prospective Minnesota senator.The appearance was one of his first since the Super Tuesday precinct caucuses, which the Franken campaign is claiming as a victory.

About 40 people attended the MacDems event, filling the main room on the fourth floor of Old Main.

“I think he’s making Norm Coleman sweat a little bit,” said Alex Katz ’10, co-president of MacDems and an intern on Franken’s campaign, during his introduction of the candidate.

“What happened on Tuesday around this state suggests to me that I’m going to be the nominee,” Franken said, “Whoever it is, we’ve got to beat Coleman.”

Incumbent Republican Sen. Norm Coleman was not the only person Franken railed against. He said that the presidential election is extremely important because presumptive Republican nominee Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., has stated that he is willing to keep troops in Iraq for 100 years if needed, a stance Franken strongly opposes. President Bush also took multiple hits from Franken, who has published several books critical of the administration and has previously hosted a liberal talk show on Air America Radio.

“The youngest among you were 11 years old when Bush became president,” Franken said. “You don’t know a president can be articulate.”

Franken chided the state of healthcare policies in the United States, saying that the U.S. is ranked last among industrialized nations in the world for preventative care.

“What’s the number-one cause of anxiety for Americans?” Franken asked. “It’s health care. We have got to get universal health care.”

Speaking on the war, Franken said that he wants to begin withdrawing troops from Iraq as soon as possible. Franken also attacked President Bush by accusing him of deliberately misleading the U.S. prior to the Iraq War.

“Our politics over the last seven years has been nothing but arrogant,” Franken said.

Regarding the state of the economy, Franken first criticized the economic policy of the Bush administration. He said that taxes had never been cut during a war at any other point in American history.

While not specifically stating his position on the economic stimulus package passed by Congress on Feb. 8, Franken did speak against the predatory lending practices allowed by the federal government that he sees as responsible for the current situation. Franken said that in his stimulus package he would create a “foreclosure holiday,” freezing all foreclosures in America and offering some tax rebates.

He said that he would also create more jobs and fix the nation’s infrastructure.

Franken also touched on education funding in Minnesota and expansion of renewable energy resources.

Though Franken was the guest speaker for MacDems, the student organization’s bylaws do not permit it to officially endorse any one candidate during the primary election season.

Franken’s previous visit to Macalester was last semester during a ten-stop Minnesota college tour. Although Franken has visible support around campus with posters in dorm rooms and several Macalester students who double as Franken interns, he came in second in the delegate count at Macalester’s precinct caucus Feb. 5. St. Thomas professor Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer won the most delegates and Minneapolis lawyer Michael Ciresi placed third.

The next step in the election will be the county and district conventions, which will be held between now and April 6.

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