Al Franken broke his silence Sunday after being swept into a nationwide tide of sexual harassment allegations, saying he feels "embarrassed and ashamed" but looks forward to returning to work on Monday and gradually regaining voters' trust. Franken also declined to say whether he thought the behavior he is accused of would be grounds for resignation.
"I'm someone who, you know, hugs people", Franken said. And I'm going to work to regain their trust.
"I think I can win back the respect of the people of Minnesota and I understand I have a long way to go", he said. Four women have come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against the senator.
"I'm not going to get into that or speculate on that", Franken replied. "I am going to be accountable".
He continued: "This has been a shock and it has been extremely humbling".
"I am tremendously sorry, and I know that I am going to have to be much more conscious when in these circumstances, much more careful, and much more sensitive".
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But why does posing for a lot of photos mean that those instances - one of which has resulted in an on-the-record accusation by a woman who told people at the time that Franken had groped her - should be hard to recall? Tweeden also released a photo in which Franken appeared to place his hands over her breasts while she was sleeping.
Franken apologized to Tweeden in a statement the same day as her post was published and "to everyone else who was part of that tour, to everyone who has worked for me, to everyone I represent, and to everyone who counts on me to be an ally and supporter and champion of women". "And so I apologized to her and I meant it".
"I certainly don't remember the rehearsal for the skit in the same way, but I send my sincerest apologies to Leeann". Al Franken of groping them have told similar accounts of the alleged incidents, while the fourth presented photographic evidence.
Pearson says Franken is treading in risky political waters in which he could easily go under. She claimed Franken, now Minnesota's junior Democratic senator, groped her while she was sleeping aboard a military plane on her way home from a USO tour in 2006. That accomplished, he then takes credit for apologizing, and attempts to use Tweeden's acceptance of his apology to his advantage.
"I've let the people of Minnesota down".
A second woman, Lindsay Menz, told CNN that Franken grabbed her buttocks while the two posed for a photo at the Minnesota State Fair in the summer of 2010.
"I can't say that it hasn't happened", Franken said about the groping allegations, adding that he has taken "thousands" of photos with people throughout his career. "I can't say that I haven't done that".