Franken speaks: I need to be more careful

From a bunker somewhere in Washington, Minnesota Senator Al Franken issued a statement yesterday all but acknowledging the misconduct of which he has been charged this week and declaring that he’s not going anywhere. He’s sorry. He’s learned from it. He wants to make sure it won’t happen again.

Franken frames his misconduct as an excess of warmth. He has hugged people in the thousands, often in crowded and chaotic situations. Now he knows that some of his hugs (exclusively with women, coincidentally) have been of the too close kind. He’s learned that he needs to be more careful. He wants to make sure it never happens again.

If I had it in my power, I would make make sure that a statement this weaselly never happens again. A statement this weaselly would be a criminal offense:

I’ve met tens of thousands of people and taken thousands of photographs, often in crowded and chaotic situations. I’m a warm person; I hug people. I’ve learned from recent stories that in some of those encounters, I crossed a line for some women — and I know that any number is too many.

Some women have found my greetings or embraces for a hug or photo inappropriate, and I respect their feelings about that. I’ve thought a lot in recent days about how that could happen, and recognize that I need to be much more careful and sensitive in these situations. I feel terribly that I’ve made some women feel badly and for that I am so sorry, and I want to make sure that never happens again.

And let me say again to Minnesotans that I’m sorry for putting them through this and I’m committed to regaining their trust.

O for a muse of fire to gag him with a spoon.

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