Washington, D.C. - "I was nervous," confessed Senator Al Franken, after he finished his first set to a receptive congressional hearing committee considering the nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor as the next justice to seat on the Supreme Court. "I'm not a stand-up comedian by trade. Really, I'm not. Despite those laughs I got out there today. I'm more of a scripted comedy writer, so this was really a different experience for me."
Al Franken got the idea for asking Sotomayor a "Perry Mason" question instead of something substantial expecting the media to pickup on his humorous sound bite, replaying it on the evening news over any of the more serious questions asked by his senior colleagues on the committee.
"It's an old trick I learned back in grade school during the election of the student body," said Al Franken as he rehearsed tomorrow's jokes, trying on what he'll be wearing at tomorrow's continued hearing. "If you don't got a good question to ask the first latina candidate for the Supreme Court of the United States of America, ask them a question about 'Perry Mason'. It works every time."
Al Franken is considering using a sight gag tomorrow, if he can clear the prop gun with Capitol Hill security.
"It's the type of stage gun used in the old Vaudevillian acts," said Al Franken as he donned white clown makeup, a red nose and oversized black shoes. "The kind that when you pull the trigger a flag pops out with the word, 'BANG!' written on it -- You know these shoes are actually my size. I thought I'd just mention that for the ladies out there."
Al Franken's plan is to have a member of his staff plant the phony gun on Sotomayor's personal property, without her knowledge.
"Security is in on the prank, so they'll let her by with the fake gun stuffed in her purse," said Al Franken as he tried a rainbow colored Afro wig. "Later, sometime during the hearing, I'll ask her a 'serious' question about her position on gun control and the right to arm bears. Then I'll ask her why she's carrying a concealed weapon without a permit in her purse to her congressional hearing, while showing my fellow congressional committee members the x-ray that security took while screening her on her way into the hearing."
If everything goes to according to plan, Sotomayor will have to produce the phony handgun from her purse, denying any knowledge of the concealed firearm claming it was obviously planted in her purse for political purposes, which should play well with the members of the committee, especially after her testimony today when she talked about a gun to illustrate some legal point she was trying to make.
"Finally all that the Republicans and Blue Dog Democrats only saw metaphorically, they will see literally, a latina with a gun," said Al Franken as he stood in front of a full length mirror, draped from head to toe as a clown. "I suspect she'll take the Fifth. That's when I'll bring up illegal search and seizures, fruit of the poison tree and the individual's right to privacy. In short, national security verses civil liberties argument. Oh, that reminds me. Someone please remember to let the snipers on the mall in on the joke tomorrow, would you? I can't afford any screw-ups now that I'm a Senator. Yes I am."
"The man is a genius," clams a political science professor, defending Al Franken's "Perry Mason" question. "Think about it. The whole week of the Sotomayor's congressional hearings has been divided along party lines, gender and race. Ripping us apart. Al Franken has all but washed that away with his 'Perry Mason' question, because the Senators and more importantly the country is now reassured that Sotomayor is one of us, despite her Mexican sounding surname name. Al Franken has succeeded in uniting us all around one common denominator we all hold in common. That what makes us so unique, setting us apart from any other country in the world. That which makes us all truly Americans: TV."
So much so, the professor went on to say, that when foreigners, most likely the French, see one of us walking down their cobblestone alleyways they call a sorry excuse for a street, they stop dead in their tracks and say, "If it not for the grace of God, there go I."