Their bond deepened in 2008, when Franken battled in the closing days of a high-stakes
"Believe me, when you win by 312 votes," Franken said, "you remember these things."
Now he is trying to pay her back. The former "Saturday
Franken's loyalty to Clinton and their shared passion for policy is giving rise to speculation that he could be selected for a
"The Clintons have long memories," said
Franken's pace is likely to intensify as the election season heads into its critical final weeks: His schedule is packed with travel from coast to coast.
Franken first met Hillary and
Then a comedy writer on
Franken wrote a fake commercial for the journalism Gridiron Dinner that cast the Clintons as Harry and Louise, paid for by "the
"I said to her, 'I gotta check with Lorne because we have a show the next night and Friday nights are kind of important,' " said Franken, who recalls that Clinton was amused at the dilemma. "So when I came to the thing, the dinner, when I show up, she goes like, 'So you checked with Lorne?' and I said 'Yeah, he said it was OK,' and she said, 'Did he dock you?' "
"She is funny," Franken said.
The two stayed in touch while she was in the
They discovered a shared passion for issues and a similar outlook on problems facing the world.
Franken gave an example.
"We will talk about health care delivery reform. ... When you start getting into the weeds with delivery reform, she's happy," he said. "I think she's more comfortable doing the work than she is in the campaign part."
Franken's bid for the
Franken's run against incumbent Republican Sen.
Clinton's help came at a critical time, said
Cramer said he was immediately struck by Clinton's tireless effort to aid Franken. Usually, a top-level surrogate like that will land in a city, do a quick event and move on to the next state.
Clinton made two critical stops in
In both instances, Clinton assured activists that the former comedian was a very serious candidate and he'd be a really good senator.
"I think that's a lot of what people wanted to hear to throw themselves into it the final three weeks," Cramer said.
After Franken was sworn into the
The alliance between Franken and Clinton is likely to get a new test if she wins the election.
Even if Franken stays in the
Franken, who has two new grandchildren, shrugs off the long hours on planes to help his longtime friend. He talks about how she will work on climate change, mental health and education reform -- issues that are all passions of his, as well.
"She is in my mind the smartest, hardest working, toughest, most experienced person in the world for this job," Franken said.
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