Sen. Al Franken, math lover. (Win McNamee/GETTY IMAGES)

The Minnesota Democrat attempted to dazzle would-be donors to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee with some numbers prowess, boasting that he often entertains kids on visits to school in his state by proving the Pythagorean Theorem on their chalkboards (we can practically hear the oohs and ahhs from the impressed elementary students) and cheekily calling himself a “math genius.”

In a fundraising e-mail sent this weekend, Franken makes a math metaphor, urging donors to pony up to prevent Republicans from taking control of the Senate, which he calls “some math I don’t love.”

The e-mail lapses into hard-to-follow equations: “X = President Romney. Y = a Republican Senate. X + Y = Z. Solve for Z.

Z could mean the end of Medicare as we know it.”

Is it cheating to use a calculator, professor?

Then he switches into a plain-language hard sell. “But, alas, it’ll take more than elementary geometry to help the DSCC reach its $90,000 goal before Saturday night’s deadline. We need your help. By which, again, I mean your money.”

Now those are some figures we understand.