Al Franken (D-Minn.) and John Thune (R-S.D.) were off the charts on Monday, at least by the Senate's typical debate standards.
In response to a speech by Thune, fourth in the Republican leadership, the freshman legislator honed in on claims made about benefits in the proposed health reform package.
"We are entitled to our own opinions. We're not entitled to our own facts," said Franken. "Benefits kick in right away, and if you're going to hold up a chart that says when taxes kick in and when benefits kick in, you say '1,800 days,' you better include the benefits that do kick in right away."
Thune asked Franken to yield for a question, which led to a terse exchange.
"We gave the other side 30 minutes," chimed in Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio). "Senator Thune wants to sort of monopolize our 30 minutes."
"We are entitled to our own opinions. We're not entitled to our own facts," Franken repeated after the back-and-forth. "The fact is benefits kick in on day one, and the large majority of benefits kick in on day one. And we shouldn't be standing up here with charts that say the exact opposite."
Later, while riffing with Brown, Franken added, "Senator Thune did say that none of the benefits started next year. He just, I guess, hasn't read the bill."