Al Franken Getting Celebrity Support

By FREDERIC J. FROMMER
The Associated Press
Friday, July 28, 2006; 7:05 PM

WASHINGTON -- The list of contributors to comedian Al Franken's political action committee reads like a celebrity who's who: singer Barbra Streisand, writer-director Nora Ephron, actor-writer Larry David and actor Jimmy Smits.

Franken, who hosts a radio show on the liberal Air America Radio network, is considering challenging Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., in 2008. Franken moved his show from New York City to Minneapolis earlier this year, fueling speculation of a possible bid.

His leadership PAC, Midwest Values PAC, raised $500,000, according to a review of campaign finance reports. Franken couldn't use the money for his own race, but he can contribute to other candidates, engendering goodwill.

He has used the cash to contribute to national Democratic Party organizations, Minnesota Senate candidate Amy Klobuchar and House candidates Coleen Rowley, Tim Walz and Patty Wetterling,

Among the contributors to the PAC were actor Larry Hagman, directors Christopher Guest and Barry Levinson, and writers Harold Ramis and Aaron Sorkin.

"Curb Your Enthusiasm" star Larry David said he couldn't refuse Franken.

"Al is a friend of mine, so more than anything, when friends ask me to do things, I have a hard time saying no to people. If he asked me to drive him to the airport, I'd do that too," David said in an interview Friday.

Franken, a former "Saturday Night Live" writer and performer, said that most of the contributors are people he knows from the business.

"These are people who do quality work who I'm very, very proud to be associated with," he said in an interview.

Franken says he still hasn't decided whether to run for the Senate. Coleman's office declined to comment, but his campaign is already making an issue of Franken's Hollywood money.

"One of my potential opponents is comedian Al Franken," Coleman wrote in a fundraising letter a few months ago, "but there's nothing funny about his venomous 'Air America' liberal radio show, his high-powered and deep-pocketed Hollywood friends, his national network of Bush-haters or the magnitude of his personal wealth."

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