McCollum, who had supported Franken rival Mike Ciresi until he dropped out of the race, told The Associated Press on Thursday that she was worried that Minnesota Democratic congressional candidates will be running with a candidate "who has pornographic writings that are indefensible."
"Do they spend all of their time defending him, or do they spend their time talking about issues that are important to this election?" she asked. "The whole story was a shocking surprise."
"As a parent and an aunt, and talking to other parents, people are very concerned about the type of Internet use that's out there, and how it has a potentially harmful effect on children," McCollum said. "Sexually explicit material is one of the things that parents are very concerned about, and want to make sure that they're steering their children away from."
Added Ellison: "There were parts that made me feel a little uncomfortable," citing the sections on oral sex and bestiality.
"It presents a challenge," he said. "I have to ask myself, can I explain it to my 11-year- old daughter? I'd have considerable difficulty." Ellison said that constituents who have talked to him about it are "just sort of appalled."
But Ellison stressed that if Franken receives the DFL endorsement next week, as expected, he will support him.
McCollum was making no such promises.
"I'll have to see," she said.
McCollum said she hasn't encouraged Ciresi to get back in the race, but she noted she hasn't endorsed anyone since he left. Ciresi did not return telephone messages left Thursday.
Franken is the heavy favorite to take on Coleman, although he does face a challenge from college professor Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer.
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee remained firmly behind Franken.
"We support Al Franken, and we believe he'll beat Norm Coleman in the fall," said DSCC spokesman Matthew Miller.
McCollum said she spoke briefly with Franken Thursday morning, and that the candidate wanted to speak again.
"I told him this is a serious problem," she said. "I told him my cell phone's ringing off the hook. Union leaders call me, state House members are calling, I've had people in the coffee shop approach me, very concerned about this. They really feel this article is politically radioactive."
Democratic members of the Minnesota congressional delegation discussed the column at a regularly scheduled meeting last week.
Walz, a freshman who received help from Franken in his 2006 race, said he found Franken's piece "pretty inappropriate."
"I'm concerned that from the top of the party all the way on down, people make a simple assumption that there are commonalities if we're all in the same party," he said. "I don't want to get associations made that I can't control."
This speaks volumes. Mark Heaney on Air America was quite irritated at Betty McCollum suggesting that she should have proposed a solution to this problem, rather than just carping.