I think you're seriously mistaken, Liz, in calling Al Franken "quite mad." I've read some of his books and occasionally listened to his radio show, so I can kind of see how you would get that impression. But more importantly I've met him twice, once in late 2003 and just recently when he visited TPM. I can tell you that he is absolutely not a madman he's just made a career out of playing one on TV. And as the Minnesota Senate race progresses, you're going to see a lot more of just how clever he actually is.

The latest polling shows Coleman just slightly ahead and under 50%, dragged down by Bush. And really, having the Republican National Convention in traditionally Democratic Minnesota could hurt him more than help.

Bottom line: I can see Coleman winning re-election, but I can also quite easily see Franken winning this one and actually being a pretty decent, wonkish Senator. The GOP will be making a big mistake if they underestimate him.

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