POLITICS
12/22/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Video: Coleman Backtracks On Recount, Ethics Issues

Sen. Norm Coleman said on Friday that he would not give up his right to challenge the results of Minnesota's recount election should he find himself trailing Al Franken, even though in the immediate aftermath of the November 4th vote, he demanded that Franken do just that.

The Minnesota Republican, speaking to reporters for the first time since the election ended, did not directly answer a question as to whether he would respect the results of the recount should they show him behind his Democratic challenger. Reminded that in the aftermath of the initial vote, when he was shown to be leading Franken, he said he would not have called for a recount, Coleman replied: "I don't think I'd have made the same statement."

The contest between Coleman and Franken has dwindled greatly since that November 4th night. Once leading his Democratic challenger by 700 votes, Coleman's margin has decreased to double digits, according to internal counts by the Franken campaign. Coleman said that he was concerned that games were being played "on both sides" when it came to ballot challenges, but declared of the recount: "I've got faith we'll get it done the Minnesota way."

The topic of whether it was fair to challenge election results wasn't the only issue on which Coleman back-tracked on Friday.

Following his press conference, Coleman was pressed by members of the media to answer questions about the ethics charges swirling around both him and his family. The Senator allegedly received $75,000 in payments from a friend and GOP financier (through his wife) without reporting the gift on his personal financial disclosure form.

Coleman avoided the press, making a bee-line through a parking lot of cars in order to get into his van.

"Tom, I'm not going to talk about it," he said to a reporter waiting for him at the door.

Coleman, who could face an investigation by the Senate Ethics Committee should he be reelected, had previously said that he would welcome any investigation into the allegations.

"As another Democratic group that spent millions of dollars attempting to defeat me calls for a politically motivated investigation, I want to be clear that I not only welcome such an investigation, but I am eager to have it move forward immediately," read a statement from his office.