Some of the voices – like Hillary Clinton – offering semi-defenses of Al Franken have done so by noting that Franken has acknowledged misconduct toward radio host Leeann Tweeden, while Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore and President Trump have not admitted guilt for the allegations against them.
"Look at the contrast between Al Franken, accepting responsibility, apologizing, and Roy Moore and Donald Trump, who have done neither," Clinton said on WABC radio Friday.
Other Franken allies have said similar things.
But has Franken acknowledged the misconduct alleged by Tweeden? The answer is no. Franken has acknowledged the actions in a photo in which he mimics groping a sleeping Tweeden. But Franken has not admitted Tweeden's more serious charge that he physically forced himself on her while rehearsing for a skit during a USA tour in 2006.
"He just put his hand on the back of my head and mashed his face against me," Tweeden said in a news conference Thursday. "It happened so fast. He mashed his lips against my face and stuck his tongue in my mouth so fast. All I can remember is that his lips were really wet and slimy."
Franken has not only not admitted that act but has said he has a different memory of the moment.
"I certainly don't remember the rehearsal for the skit in the same way, but I send my sincerest apologies to Leeann," Franken said in his first statement after the news broke.
Later, in a more extensive statement – one in which he discussed the photo at length – Franken said, "While I don't remember the rehearsal for the skit as Leeann does, I understand why we need to listen to and believe women's experiences."
On Friday, Franken addressed the subject for a third time, in an email to Tweeden. He apologized for the photo, but said, again: "I remember that rehearsal differently."
Franken added, on the rehearsal incident, that "What's important is the impact on you and you felt violated by my actions. For that I apologize." The email was a classic I'm-sorry-if-you-were-offended apology that did not admit the behavior alleged.
In none of the statements did Franken say what his memory of the incident is.
It's perfectly fine for Franken to dispute Tweeden's account. As with Moore's and Trump's accusers, Tweeden's story is not necessarily the final word on what happened.
But it is not true that Franken has admitted what Tweeden alleged. He has admitted to what was in a photograph for the world to see. But he has not admitted the more serious allegation of sexual misconduct in Tweeden's account.