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Key Words: Al Franken, guest hosting ‘The Daily Show,’ surveys common ground with former Senate colleague Lindsey Graham on Putin if not Trump

“‘That’s my problem.’”

Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, spoke last week at the Vision 2024 National Conservative Forum in Charleston, S.C.

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Those were the words of Senate Republican Lindsey Graham, by his own recollection and that of former Democratic colleague Al Franken, responding in a men’s-room conversation to Franken’s remark that Graham, among the roughly dozen and a half GOP presidential candidates in 2016, would get his vote, were Franken a Republican.

Franken, pressured by fellow Democrats into resignation from the Senate the following year after the publication of a photo showing him pantomiming intimacy with a dozing and bombproof-vest-clad fellow performer on a USO tour a decade before, is guest hosting “The Daily Show” this week on Comedy Central

He had Graham on as a guest Monday night.

“The Al Franken wing of the Republican Party is not as big as you would think it would be,” Graham jested, adding that he “peaked” in that 2016 race at 2%.

Franken, the veteran comic and “Saturday Night Live” writer who represented Minnesota in the U.S. Senate from 2009 to 2018, said that on his comedy tour he’s often asked who his funniest Senate colleague was. His response, he reported, admitting it’s not popular with a left-leaning audience: Graham.

There was, however, little grinning on Franken’s side of the desk when Graham averred (beginning at the 11:58 mark in the YouTube clip below) that Donald Trump, the former president, has in 2024, present legal obstacles notwithstanding, a “better than good” chance of winning the Republican nomination and a “50-50 chance of being president again.”

The two shook on a $20 bet over their respective predictions that President Joe Biden would be re-elected or Trump would survive a Republican primary and go on to win a second, nonconsecutive term.

They agreed that aiding Ukraine’s defense against the unprovoked, year-old Russian invasion was good for not only Ukraine and Western-style democracy but also the U.S.’s own interests and that Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, presumed to be planning a presidential bid, have been misguided in suggesting otherwise. “If this is not in our vital interests, what would be?” asked Graham.

Franken, appearing the following morning on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” observed that he and Graham remain friends — “kind of.” It was a benign variation on Franken’s oft-repeated line about another Senate Republican, Ted Cruz: that he liked Cruz than most of his Senate colleagues did, and he hated him.

Key Words (February 2019): Lindsey Graham has an answer to those asking, ‘What happened to Lindsey Graham?’

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