Is Franken an elf? Gift exchange brings Senate bipartisan cheerWhile the mood may be icy when it comes to political sparring in Washington, there was a warm bit of good cheer in the U.S. Senate.
Minnesota's Sen. Al Franken, inspired by an old grade school tradition from his childhood, organized a Secret Santa gift exchange again this year. The parties regularly tangle over government spending, but the senators did agree to a $10 spending cap for gifts.
Aides say a bipartisan group of 60 senators participated by picking names, mostly across the aisle, keeping those identities secret and then delivering small presents at a gathering over eggnog and seasonal treats Monday night.
Frank Fey / U.S. Senate Photographic Studio
Sen. Al Franken, right, speaks with colleagues during the gift exchange.
Among the gifts given and received:
- Sen. Franken received a VHS copy of the movie "Tunnel Vision" and a DVD of "Harvard Beats Yale 29-29" from Wyoming Republican Sen. John Barasso.
- Franken, in turn, gave Arkansas Republican Sen. John Boozman a mahnomin porridge kit from Hell's Kitchen, a popular restaurant in Minneapolis. Sen. Franken serves that breakfast porridge at his weekly breakfast with constituents.
- Florida Republican Marco Rubio gave Godiva chocolates to Delaware Democrat Chris Coons.
- North Carolina Democrat Kay Hagan gave her state's famed peanuts to fellow Democrat Bob Casey of Pennsylvania.
- New Hampshire Republican Kelly Ayotte gave Hagan a book, "1,001 Gardens you Should See Before You Die."
- Wyoming's Mike Enzi, R-WI, gave Virginia Democrat Mark Warner a George Washington University T-shirt and a book on bicycling. Aides say Enzi "refrained from getting him a book on freestyle BMX tricks because of the safety issues Sen. Enzi works on."
- Alaska Democrat Mark Begich presented a cookbook and wine from his home state to Missouri's Claire McCaskill.
- Nebraska Republican Mike Johanns gave Nebraska wine to Florida Democrat Bill Nelson.
- Johanns received a shirt for his undergraduate alma mater, St. Mary's University, from Minnesota Democrat Amy Klobuchar.
- Montana Democrat Jon Tester gave home state chocolates to Ohio Republican Rob Portman.
- Portman gave Louisiana's Mary Landrieu a Cincinnati favorite, Graeter's Buckeye Blitz ice cream.
- Arkansas Republican John Boozman gave Georgia's Saxby Chambliss Mason jar wine glasses.