Franken says he regrets playing with traffic cones

Sen. Al Franken answered reporter questions about the traffic cone incident while campaigning at the State Fair. Mark Zdechlik/MPR News

DFL Sen. Al Franken said Thursday he regrets a moment a few years ago when he held two traffic cones to his chest.

Until today Franken hadn't commented about a short video clip Republicans have been circulating that shows him playing with the traffic cones. Franken said it was a moment when he "wasn't thinking."

"I just think it was a thoughtless moment. Obviously, someone was shooting me that I wasn't aware of, and it was just a moment I regret," said Franken at the State Fair today.

Republicans are still trying to make an issue of the stunt.

GOP Senate candidate Mike McFadden called the Franken's statement far from an apology.

"He said he didn't know he was being videotaped. I mean, as a parent I'd send my kid back to his room," said McFadden, who also notes that when Franken first ran for the Senate he offered a sweeping apology for things he said and did as an entertainer that could have offended women.

Mike McFadden

"I don't think he's changed," said McFadden.  I think his apologies in '08 rang hollow given his actions as a U.S. senator."

When asked whether the campaign should be focused more on policy, McFadden criticized Franken for agreeing to take part in only three debates.

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