MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesotans Al Franken and Keith Ellison, who supported different candidates during the primary season, both spent time in the spotlight calling for unity on the opening night of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.
During his first appearance on stage Sen. Franken tapped his comedy roots, mocking the now defunct Trump University.
"I got my doctorate in megalomania studies from Trump University!," Franken told the crowd.
"Sure I had to empty out my 401-K and take a reverse mortgage on my house to pay tuition, but Mr. Trump -- or rather some people who say they once met him -- convinced me it was worth it!"
Eventually Franken pivoted to a more serious tone, urging Democrats to unite behind Hillary Rodham Clinton.
"I am proud to call Hillary Clinton my friend, and I can’t wait to call her Madam President!"
He summoned the name of his friend and mentor, the late Sen. Paul Wellstone, who said that winning elections is about both passion and work. Franken urged delegates to work hard beginning Friday, recalling his 312-vote margin of victory in his epic 2008 Senate race with then. Sen. Norm Coleman.
Feeling the Bern
Most of the elected members of the Minnesota convention delegation were Bernie Sanders supporters, a number that was determined by the results of the March 1 precinct caucuses. But the elected officials who went to the DNC as super delegates were almost all in the Clinton camp.
The one exception, Congressman Ellison, introduced Senator Sanders Monday night in Philadelphia.
"I will always remember feeling the Bern in Minnesota!" Rep. Ellison said, pointing to the Minnesota delegation, and recalling the huge rallies Sanders held in the state in February. "We had 6,000 in Duluth, 14,000 in St. Paul!"
He said he was proud that the DNC platform was the most progressive ever, featuring a $15 per hour minimum wage, expanding Medicare and debt-free college tuition.
Ellison pointed out that party platform was a joint effort of Sanders and Clinton, and he urged Democrats to close ranks behind Clinton to defeat Trump and other Republicans.
"When they bring the fear, we bring the courage! We they bring the division, we’ve got to bring the unity everybody!"
Sanders, in his speech, praised his supporters for pushing an agenda that put the needs of ordinary people above politics as usual.
"Together, my friends, we have begun a political revolution to transform America, and that revolution – our revolution – continues."
But the Vermont Senator and self-proclaimed Democratic socialist laid out a laundry list of contrasts between Clinton and Trump on a wide array of issues, and urged his supporters to get behind the former Secretary of State.
"This election is about which candidate understands the real problems facing this country and has offered real solutions – not just bombast, fear-mongering, name-calling and divisiveness," Sanders remarked.
"Any objective observer will conclude that based on her ideas and her leadership – Hillary Clinton must become the next president of the United States!"
He didn't make a direct reference to the tumult earlier in the day, when DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida stepped down in the wake of email leaks showing apparent bias against Sanders.
But Sanders urged voters to focus on the decision they've got to make in November.
"This election is not about political gossip. It’s not about polls. It’s not about campaign strategy. It’s not about fundraising. It’s not about all the things the media spends so much time discussing."
Banter with Silverman
Franken would appear again briefly later in the night, along with comedian and actress Sarah Silverman, to introduce singer-songwriter Paul Simon.
During their onstage banter, Silver -- a Bernie Sanders supporter -- scolded Sanders supporters who aren't willing to join the fight against Trump.
"To the Bernie-or-Bust people, you’re being ridiculous,” Silverman asserted.
Franken then ad-libed that he as Clinton backer and she as Sanders backer were "a bridge over troubled water" -- alluding to the classic Simon and Garfunkel song Simon was set to perform next.