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Midwestern GOP Senators Quick to Comment on Bush's Speech

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Republicans Norm Coleman of Minnesota and Charles Grassley of Iowa—were the first to comment on President George W. Bush's nationally televised address on Iraq. Many pundits had speculated that one of the key audiences for Bush's speech were Republican lawmakers, especially those (like Coleman), who have been critical of the president and are up for re-election in 2008. Support for the President's Iraq policy has eroded among his party at the margins in the Senate during the past year, beginning with Nebraska's Chuck Hagel and Oregon's Gordon Smith.

Coleman stated:

"I'm encouraged by the progress our military is making under the leadership of General Petraeus. The confirmation this evening that we will see an initial troop reduction of 5,700 troops by year's end and significant troop withdrawals numbering up to 30,000 or more by next summer is the right decision."

However, Coleman went on to implicitly suggest how he is not in lock-step with the President to rubber-stamp his Iraq policy:

"Americans need to know there is light at the end of the tunnel well beyond that time frame. That is why I pressed General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker during their Senate testimony this week for a long-term plan that reflects the objectives of our shift in mission and assigns a military timeline for substantial troop reductions from a position of strength and success."

Coleman concluded by looking to the future that "America's role in Iraq is not unending, nor do they have a blank check."

Grassley, who has been one of the President's most reliable allies in the Senate, offered less qualified support:

"Tonight, the Commander-in-Chief is choosing to adopt the General's recommendations on troop reductions and the next phase of involvement. At this point, the approach fulfills what I'm looking for, which is a strategy that works to drawing down the U.S. commitment as quickly as possible while also looking out for U.S. interests and security in the long term. Americans are safer with an Iraq that is stable and not a haven for terrorists."

Midwestern Democratic Senators have not yet issued press releases commenting on the President's speech.

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Remains of the Data

Plurality-Winning Governors Elected At Century-Long High Water Mark

The rate of gubernatorial candidates elected without the support of a majority of voters is at its highest level since the 1910s.

Political Crumbs

Seeing Red

Congressman Nick Rahall's failed bid for a 20th term in West Virginia this cycle, combined with a narrow loss by Nick Casey to Alex Mooney in Shelley Moore Capito's open seat, means that West Virginia Democrats will be shut out of the state's U.S. House delegation for the first time in over 90 years. The Republican sweep by two-term incumbent David McKinley in the 1st CD, Mooney in the 2nd, and Evan Jenkins over Rahall in the 3rd marks the first time the GOP has held all seats in the chamber from West Virginia since the Election of 1920. During the 67th Congress (1921-1923) all six seats from the state were controlled by the GOP. Since the Election of 1922, Democrats have won 76 percent of all U.S. House elections in the Mountain State - capturing 172 seats compared to 54 for the GOP.


Home Field Advantage?

When the 114th Congress convenes in a few days, Maine will be represented by one home-grown U.S. Representative: Waterville-born Republican Bruce Poliquin. With the departure of Millinocket-born Mike Michaud, who launched a failed gubernatorial bid, the Pine Tree State was poised to send a House delegation to D.C. without any Maine-born members for the first time since 1821. Three-term U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree (born in Minnesota) coasted to reelection as expected, however Poliquin edged Kentucky-born Emily Cain by 5.3 points to keep the streak alive. Since 1876, a total of 208 of the 222 candidates elected to the nation's lower legislative chamber from the state have been born in Maine, or 94 percent.


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