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Sen. Al Franken Cries While Discussing Violence Against Women Act

Illustration for article titled Sen. Al Franken Cries While Discussing Violence Against Women Act

Here's Minnesota Senator Al Franken breaking down into tears during the Violence Against Women Act debate today. On the Republican side of the legislative branch, John Boehner's usually prolific tear ducts have remained tellingly silent.


Franken's voice broke when mentioning his friends, the late Senator Paul Wellstone and his wife, Sheila, both of whom were killed in a plane crash just weeks before the 2002 elections. Wellstone had been an outspoken progressive and a vocal opponent of the Iraq War, which pretty much everyone else was gung ho about at the time. If you can stomach it (because it's sad), here he is urging that Congress practice some restraint before preemptively striking in Iraq back when America was all Toby Keith-ed up after 9/11. The costs, he warned, could be difficult to manage.

Sheila Wellstone had been an advocate for victims of domestic violence, and her namesake foundation, founded after her death, has worked to continue her life's mission. Franken concluded his speech in favor of VAWA with her words,


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We have far too many veto points in our political system. That a minority can block popular legislation without actually voting to do so is ridiculous and primitive. The filibuster should be abolished ASAP, even in a Republican senate, because it structurally favors Republicans.