Sen. Al Franken Monday urged the passage of pending health care reform legislation and said he was not surprised about Norm Coleman's decision not to run for governor.
On the eve of a hotly contested Senate race in Massachusetts, Franken said Democratic candidate Martha Coakley has been hurt by misinformation about the health care legislation.
Conservative discussions about government-run "death panels" have plagued Coakley's "flat footed" campaign for the late Ted Kennedy's Senate seat, Franken said, in an hour-long interview with MPR's Gary Eichten,
Franken commented briefly on Coleman's announcement not to enter the gubernatorial race.
"That's his choice and the Republicans get to choose their own nominee," he said.
Franken also stressed the importance of creating jobs and voiced support for President Obama's economic recovery program.
The senator also weighed in on international and domestic anti-terrorism efforts, reporting renewed optimism about U.S. military efforts in Afghanistan and Pakistan after a recent trip to the region.
"We're using classic counterinsurgency tactics, and I feel much better," he said.
The military should not rule out U.S. military intervention in Yemen, he said. "You can't rule out using air power," he said, "but we have to be careful. You don't want to get in everywhere."
The senator called for the government to merge so-called "no-fly lists" into one easily searchable database, following the attempted terrorist attack on Christmas.
Franken said full-body scans at airports should be limited, for the most part, to people on the no-fly list.