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Live Blog: How Would They Govern?

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1:45 p.m. The final panel today at the Humphrey Institute's America's Future: Conversations about Politics and Policy during the 2008 Republican National Convention is "How Would They Govern?" The panel is moderated by Thomas Mann (Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution) and Norman Ornstein (Resident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute). The panelists are:

* Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ)
* Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
* Lynn Sweet (Washington, D.C. bureau chief for the Chicago Sun-Times and columnist for The Hill)
* Jackie Calmes (Economic Policy reporter at the New York Times)

1:55 p.m. Mann states that Democrats are certain to pick up 3 to 4 seats in the Senate and 10 to 15 seats House in the 2008 election. Therefore, if John McCain were elected president he would face large Democratic majorities in Congress. If Barack Obama was elected he would face great expectations, with unified party government in D.C.

1:58 p.m. Senator Kyl says McCain certainly enjoys working across the aisle with Democrats, and, in fact, enjoys not checking with the Republican leadership when deciding to work with a Democrat on a particular issue. Kyl says McCain would want to reach out to Democrats if elected president - the question is whether the Democratic leadership would want its caucus to work with him.

2:03 p.m. Kyl says there's nothing the public hates more than "wasteful Washington spending," and although earmarks only make up a fraction of government spending, it would be a valuable symbolic fight for McCain to wage if elected.

2:05 p.m. Senator Klobuchar says Obama's top 3 priorities will be health care reform, energy and climate change, and bringing the troops home from Iraq. Klobuchar believes if the Senate picks up 5 or 6 seats, Obama will be able to work with enough Republicans to get to 60 to get some of his bold legislation through.

2:09 p.m. Ornstein says even if Democrats got 60 seats in the Senate, conservative Democrats like Ben Nelson and Independent Joe Lieberman are not 'sure votes' and may peel off to prevent a filibuster-proof majority from being realized. Klobuchar now agrees this will be true on some issues.

2:13 p.m. Kyl warns that Obama would be wise not to push too much of his 'liberal agenda' too soon. The backlash could 'kick you out the door.'

2:17 p.m. Mann states that whether Obama or McCain is elected, both would govern in a way - in terms of their relationship with Congress - that is quite different to George W. Bush. Kyl notes that Bush is not an extreme partisan and he came to Washington hoping to work across the aisle; however, after working with Ted Kennedy on education, "it was all downhill from there."

2:21 p.m. Calmes said when Bush took office he and Karl Rove made a decision not to make the mistake George H.W. Bush made of alienating the base.

2:25 p.m. Sweet says the difference in 2008 is that the next President will be a Senator, and thus the relations with Congress will be different. Sweet also says Obama would not be shy about disappointing his base - he will get to 60 any way he can.

2:29 p.m. Kyl says a McCain presidency would be quite unpredictable - he goes with his instincts quite often. Kyl believes big changes might be possible with McCain, since he has worked with Democrats on significant legislation in the past.

2:33 p.m.Kyl cautions that it is "Hard to overstate how corrosive partisan politics have taken over D.C. ... we all hate it, but it's hard not to participate in it sometimes."

2:35 p.m. Kyl says neither Obama nor McCain would be shy to go over the heads of the folks in Washington and take their agenda to the people - like Ronald Reagan - but unlike George W. Bush.

2:52 p.m. Calmes says the positions McCain has taken in 2008 to hold the base are not those that he truly believes based on his past campaigns and voting record.

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Remains of the Data

No Free Passes: States With 2 Major Party Candidates in Every US House Race

Indiana has now placed candidates from both major parties on the ballot in a nation-best 189 consecutive U.S. House races, with New Hampshire, Minnesota, Idaho, and Montana also north of 100 in a row.

Political Crumbs

Gubernatorial Highs and Lows

Two sitting governors currently hold the record for the highest gubernatorial vote ever received in their respective states by a non-incumbent: Republican Matt Mead of Wyoming (65.7 percent in 2010) and outgoing GOPer Dave Heineman of Nebraska (73.4 percent in 2006). Republican Gary Herbert of Utah had not previously won a gubernatorial contest when he notched a state record 64.1 percent for his first victory in 2010, but was an incumbent at the time after ascending to the position in 2009 after the early departure of Jon Huntsman. Meanwhile, two sitting governors hold the record in their states for the lowest mark ever recorded by a winning gubernatorial candidate (incumbent or otherwise): independent-turned-Democrat Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island (36.1 percent in 2010) and Democrat Terry McAuliffe of Virginia (47.8 percent in 2013).


An Idaho Six Pack

Two-term Idaho Republican Governor Butch Otter only polled at 39 percent in a recent PPP survey of the state's 2014 race - just four points ahead of Democratic businessman A.J. Balukoff. Otter's low numbers reflect his own struggles as a candidate (witness his weak primary win against State Senator Russ Fulcher) combined with the opportunity for disgruntled Idahoans to cast their votes for one of four third party and independent candidates, who collectively received the support of 12 percent of likely voters: Libertarian John Bujak, the Constitution Party's Steve Pankey, and independents Jill Humble and Pro-Life (aka Marvin Richardson). The six candidate options in a gubernatorial race sets an all-time record in the Gem State across the 46 elections conducted since statehood. The previous high water mark of five candidates was reached in seven previous cycles: 1902, 1904, 1908, 1912, 1914, 1966, and 2010.


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