Sen. Al Franken (D., Minn.) said during a Sunday interview with local Minnesota news station WCCO that he can't rule out having groped women in the past.
WCCO’s Esme Murphy confronted the senator during a 30-minute interview about the multiple allegations of sexual misconduct. It was Franken's first television interview since stories about the allegations broke. Four women have come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against the senator.
Murphy pressed Franken about several allegations he inappropriately touched women's butts while posing for photos.
"I am not saying that," Franken replied. "As I said, I take thousands of photos. I don’t remember these particular photos."
"With all due respect, people are going to find it hard to believe that someone such as yourself wouldn’t know that they were grabbing someone’s butt," Murphy said.
"I can understand how some people would see it that way," he replied.
"But have you ever placed a hand on some woman’s butt?" Murphy asked.
"I can’t say that it hasn’t happened. In crowded chaotic situations, I can’t say I haven’t done that. I am very sorry if these women experienced that," Franken said.
When Murphy asked about Leeann Tweeden's allegations, the morning news anchor at a Los Angeles radio station who accused Franken of forcibly kissing and groping her when she was asleep, Franken said his memory of the events was different and that he has apologized to her.
"My recollection is different than hers. I apologized to her and meant it and she was gracious enough to accept my apology," he said.
Franken told Murphy he has no intention of stepping down from his Senate seat, and he thinks he can win back the people of Minnesota's respect.
"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.
A recent KSTP and SurveyUSA poll shows only 22 percent of Minnesotans want Franken to remain a senator while 33 percent want him to resign and 36 percent want to wait for the findings of the Senate Ethics Committee investigation.