Democrat Al FrankenAl FrankenSen. Franken spotted onstage at Grateful Dead concert Overnight Regulation: Senate Banking panel huddles with regulators on bank relief | FCC proposes 2M fine on robocaller | Yellowstone grizzly loses endangered protection Overnight Energy: Yellowstone grizzly bear taken off threatened list MORE announced Tuesday that he will challenge Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman (R) in 2008, rooting his candidacy in how the government helped his family and his wife's family when they were growing up.

Franken began by stating, "I am not a typical politician," referring to his background as a comedy writer for Saturday Night Live and his more recent work as the host of an Air America talk show. He then described his experiences in Minnesota growing up in a middle class, working family.

Franken mentioned the powerful influence the government had in helping the family of his wife, Fran, succeed following the death of her father in a car crash. Because of Pell Grants and Social Security survivor benefits, Franken said, Fran and her three sisters were all able to graduate college while her brother joined the Coast Guard and eventually became an electrical engineer.

"Conservatives like to say that people need to pull themselves up by their bootstraps. I agree, that's a great idea," Franken said, "But first, you've got to have the boots. The government gave my wife's family the boots."

Below is Franken's announcement.