Not that it's exactly a surprise, but today Al Franken announced that he's running for the U.S. Senate seat currently occupied by Norm Coleman (R-MN).
Excerpts from his online message are posted below the fold. You can watch it here.
I remember when Al and the Air America crew broadcast live from Portland (Maine) the day before the 2004 election. I met him at a book-signing and he looked tired as hell. The reason for that is because he had spent several months not only doing his radio show 15 hours a week, but traveling the country campaigning hard for state and national candidates (not to mention traveling to Iraq year after year to entertain the troops, and writing another best-selling book that gutted the Bush administration and the Republic party slime machine). He not only talks the talk in the best tradition of the "Democratic wing of the Democratic Party," but he walks the walk day in and day out.
I can only imagine Al on the Senate floor, championing Democratic values and using his often-devastating wit to carve up his "esteemed Republic colleagues" like a plump Butterball turkey. And going head-to-head against Norm "Which Way Is Up" Coleman...well, that'll be a sight to see.
As I said in this morning's C&J: Good luck, Al---you're good enough, you're smart enough, and, doggone it...kick him in the balls.
Excerpts from Al Franken's campaign-launch message
Hi, I’m Al Franken. I'm running for the United States Senate here in Minnesota.
I'd like to talk to you about why I'm running.
I’m not a typical politician. I’ve spent my career as a comedian. Minnesotans have a right to be skeptical about whether I’m ready for this challenge, and to wonder how seriously I would take the responsibility that I’m asking you to give me.
I want you to know: nothing means more to me than making government work better for the working families of this state, and over the next twenty months I look forward to proving to you that I take these issues seriously.
Last year I traveled all over the state of Minnesota on behalf of Tim and other Democrats: from Waseca and Wabasha up to Fergus Falls and Detroit Lakes, over to Bemidji and the Iron Range, from Duluth down to Albert Lea, I was in Hastings and all over the metro, up in St. Cloud a few times, eating a lot of beans and buns and burgers and maybe a few too many Dairy Queens along the way. But most importantly, I talked to Minnesotans and listened.
They told me that they’re sick of politics as usual—and they're sick of the usual politicians.
And I’ll tell you what else they told me. It’s different now than it was for me and Franni. When Franni’s sisters were using them to go to college, Pell Grants paid for 90% of a college education. Today, they pay for 40%. And President Bush, with the help of his Republican allies in Congress, have even tried to privatize Social Security. You should have heard Franni when they tried to do that.
My political hero is Paul Wellstone. He used to say, "The future belongs to those who are passionate and work hard." I may be a comedian by trade, but I’m passionate about the issues that matter to your family because they mattered to mine, too. And I’m ready to work as hard as I can to help us build a better future together.
Thanks for listening, and I’ll see you on the trail.