Joe Bodell: Straightforward question out of the gate: Why are you running for the United States Senate?
Al Franken: Here's a straightforward answer: I'm not happy with the leadership Senator Coleman has provided on the issues that matter to me and to Minnesota families, and I know I'll be a leader in the Senate. I'm going to lead on universal health care, on renewable energy, on taking care of our veterans, and on restoring America's standing in the world. I think we need more of that kind of leadership. That's the kind of Senators Minnesota has given the country: leaders like Hubert Humphrey and Paul Wellstone and Amy Klobuchar. And that's the kind of Senator I'll be.
JB: Moreso than most recent candidates for statewide office, your name is already known to many Minnesotans. Which particular aspects of your experiences do you think prepare you both to run for and serve in the U.S. Senate?
AF: You know, I've been in this debate for a while now, with my writing and my radio show. People, I think, know me not just as a guy they've seen on TV, but as a guy who stands up for his principles and is willing to speak out on important issues. Take my show - we've gone in depth on issues ranging from Iraq to stem cell research to renewable energy to health care to early childhood education to tax policy to Social Security. I know the issues. But more importantly, I know where I stand on the issues. I'm for universal health care and against privatizing Social Security. I'm for stem cell research and against the president's Iraq policy. I'm for comprehensive immigration reform and against CAFTA. You'll never have to check which way the political winds are blowing to know where I stand.