McCain, Franken spar over Thursday Night Football

Quarterback Carson Palmer #3 of the Arizona Cardinals drops back to pass during the NFL game against the Minnesota Vikings at the University of Phoenix Stadium on December 10, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Vikings 23-20.

Story highlights

  • Thursday night, two senators turned from wrangling over politics and policy to debate a "topic of national importance"
  • Though they were debating football, Franken and McCain stayed true to their personal politics.

(CNN)The United States Senate is sometimes referred to as the world's greatest deliberative body, and on Thursday night, two senators turned from wrangling over politics and policy to debate a "topic of national importance" -- the Thursday Night Football matchup between the hometown Minnesota Vikings and rival Arizona Cardinals.

In a promo for Thursday Night Football on CBS, Arizona Senator John McCain (R) and Minnesota Senator Al Franken (D) appeared in a skit with former Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer, during which their "political panel" quickly devolved into a heated argument over the night's matchup between the Vikings and the Cardinals and featured a wink at Donald Trump's call for a border wall.
After McCain offered a passionate defense of his Cardinals, Franken shot back, "You know, we've heard this kind of rhetoric before from my very close friend, but where has it gotten Arizona fans? To one Super Bowl, which they lost."
    "And how many times have the Vikings lost? Four times. Count it, four," McCain countered.
    But McCain wasn't finished, and delivered this withering zinger:
    "Maybe you would understand the virtues of being a Republican instead of a liberal, commie, socialist. You're just mad because the Cardinals defense is a wall, and you can't penetrate it."
    "A wall, huh?," Franken joked, "Well let me tell you something, Donald Trump is not building his wall, and the Arizona Cardinals are not building their wall."
    And though they were debating football, Franken and McCain stayed true to their personal politics. "A successful football team is like a successful government, you've got to spend money on defense," McCain argued.
    "Overspend on defense? I think we've heard that before from my very good friend -- and he is a very good friend," Franken fired back.
    The lawmakers repeatedly spoofed Senate etiquette, which dictates how colleagues address each other, by obsequiously referring to each other throughout the skit as "my good friend" and "my very close friend," even joking about their vacations together.
    Franken has a long comedic resume as a former writer for Saturday Night Live and author of satirical books. And McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, has shown of his comic chops before. He has appeared multiple times in genuinely funny cameos on the former NBC sitcom "Parks and Recreation."