NEAL CONAN, host:
This is Talk of the Nation. I'm Neal Conan. We're broadcasting today from the Newseum, Washington DC's newest museum devoted to Journalism and the news business. There's an audience of high school journalism students with us here in the Knight Studio and I want to thank you for coming in today.
(Soundbite of applause)
CONAN: In six days no more rallies, no more ads, no more polls. But there's still time for one more pre-election visit with the political junkie.
Former President RONALD REAGAN: There you go again.
Former Vice President WALTER MONDALE: When I hear your new ideas I'm reminded of that ad, Where's the beef?
Former Senator BARRY GOLDWATER: Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.
Former President RICHARD NIXON: You won't have Nixon to kick around anymore.
Senator HILLARY CLINTON (Democrat, New York): My mother was born before women could vote. My daughter got to vote for her mother for president.
President GEORGE W. BUSH (United States of America): But I'm the decider.
CONAN: On Wednesdays, NPR's political editor, Ken Rudin, joins us to talk about the presidential campaign in particular and politics in general. As the days dwindle down to a precious few Obama does a Poirot(ph), Palin out-mavericks the Maverick and Senator Stevens campaign for reelection has a freshly convicted felon. Later on the program, senior news analyst Daniel Schorr joins us to take your calls about this year's campaign and about every other one since Stevens and Eisenhower. But first, it's the political junkie, as always, Ken's here with a trivia question.
KEN RUDIN: Hi, Neal. Six days to go.
CONAN: Six days to go.
RUDIN: OK. Two trivia questions today. We'll do one now, we'll do one later in the show, both on Senate races.
CONAN: All right.
RUDIN: Elizabeth Dole in North Carolina facing a tough battle with another woman candidate, a female candidate, state Senator Kay Hagen. When was the first time two women ran against each other for the US Senate?
CONAN: So if you think you know the first time two women ran against each other for the United States Senate major parties, give us a call. Our phone number here is 800-989-8255, email us, firstname.lastname@example.org. And we'll also take answers from anybody here in the audience at the Newseum as well. And Ken, if people watch TV it's going to be hard to miss Senator Obama tonight.
RUDIN: That's true. And in addition, he's purchasing a half-hour at eight o'clock on NBC, CBS, FOX, Univision, MSNBC, a lot of networks. I think its a million dollars per network. There will be a biographical sketch, I think, when you have a hundred gazillion dollars, you just don't know what to do and you get to spend it somewhere. He's also going to be on "Comedy Central" tonight with John Stewart which going to be seen on 11 o'clock. He'll going to be campaigning with Bill Clinton. He's everywhere.
CONAN: And even if John McCain had the money to buy a lot of ad time, there's not a lot left, Obama's bought it all.
RUDIN: No. He has. And that's what happens. I mean, it's so interesting to watch Republicans talk about Democrats buying the election. But it's also very interesting to watch the Democrats say that there should be no controls over the spending which is the opposite of what we've heard from the parties in the past.
CONAN: Since we last spoke, by the way, in some of these competitive states, the difference in the ad rates is like seven to one for Obama.
RUDIN: It is unbelievable.
CONAN: It's unbelievable. Since we last talked, Sarah Palin has been in the news a lot. Yes, for her wardrobe, but lately also because of her, well, maverick independence.
RUDIN: Well, apparently, independence from the McCain handlers or the people who were trying to handle her, there are a lot of people saying let Sarah be Sarah, they want her or Que Sarah, Sarah, that's how that song goes.
CONAN: The Italian version.
RUDIN: Yeah, thank you very much. But it's very interesting to see how she has been there, some buttons out there, campaign buttons and say Palin-McCain. There's a lot of infighting going in the Republican Party and if they are going to lose on Tuesday which a lot of polls indicate that they very well could, you know there is going to be some kind of recriminations and a lot of it has to do with Sarah Palin whether she was the right choice, whether she should have been unleashed, whether her strategy was completely wrong.
CONAN: And this has been grumblings over any number of issues for one. Sarah Palin has tried to argue that the campaign ought to bring up the issue of Jeremiah Wright, the pastor for Barack Obama.
RUDIN: Yes. And there's a big dispute, a debate going on in the McCain camp. Of course, we only had six days to go and the debate should be finalized by now. But whether to bring it up, whether to just focus on taxes or go to more, the tougher route, the Reverend Wright, the Bill Ayers kind of controversies.
CONAN: The Jeremiah Wright issue did come up not in a McCain ad but in one of these independent so-called 5-27 groups. There is a campaign ad produced by one of these outside groups.
(Soundbite of a an anti-Obama campaign ad)
Unidentified Woman: For 20 years Barack Obama followed a preacher of hate and said nothing is Wright raged against our country.
Reverend JEREMY WRIGHT (Pastor Emeritus of the Trinity United Church of Christ): Not God Bless America, God Damn America! US of KKK-A!
Unidentified Woman: He built his power base in Wright's church. Wright was his mentor, adviser and close friend. For 20 years Obama never complained until he ran for President. Barack Obama, too radical, too risky. The National Republican Trust PAC is responsible for the content of this advertisement.
CONAN: And that's important to note that tagline at the end there, Ken. This is not from the McCain campaign. It's not from the Republican National Committee.
RUDIN: People won't notice the difference. I mean, in 1988, when you saw the pictures of Willie Horton in many of those ads, they were not paid for the Bush-Quayle ticket in 1988. It's paid for by an independent group. But nonetheless, the point they're trying to make, of course, is that Barack Obama is not a known quantity despite this campaign. Only in the Senate for three years, there's a lot we don't know about him, a lot of associations that we don't know about him and the idea is to remind folks about people he's entertained in the past.
CONAN: And of course, the 5-27 groups are not all on one side. This is an ad produced by an outside group of so-called 5-27 attacking John McCain.
(Soundbite of an anti-McCain campaign ad)
Unidentified Woman: Some celebrities love to gamble, Paris, Britney, John McCain.
Unidentified Man: John McCain loves the risk betting at casinos, gambling with their lobbyists.
Unidentified Woman: And the gambling interests love McCain more casinos, more gambling.
Unidentified Man: McCain is gambling's go-to guy.
Unidentified Woman: Those gambling interests have bet on McCain, too, with a million in campaign cash.
Unidentified Man: Jackpot!
Unidentified Woman: Call McCain. Tell him to walk away from special interest money and support fair elections now.
Unidentified Man: Public Campaign Action Funds Campaign Money Watch is responsible for the content of this advertisement.
CONAN: And that group, in turn, financed by the liberal group moveon.org. Anyway, we got some people up with some, one this about those, we haven't seen a lot of them. They haven't played the role that they played, the swift boat commercials for example, produced by an outside group four years ago. They just didn't play the same role this time.
RUDIN: Well, part of it is the fact that everybody is obsessed and rightly so, with the economy, the future of their earnings and their children's future and their grandchildren's future. And I think had there not been this overwhelming fear, uncertainty about what their financial futures going to be like, I think, perhaps they would have been able to play a larger role. But the economy has taken over the whole dialog here.
CONAN: We have some callers who think they know the answer to today's trivia question, our first trivia question. And that is, of course, if you know the identities of the first two women from major parties to face off against each other in a US Senate contest. Let's go to George, and George is with us from Tallahassee.
GEORGE (Caller): Oh, good afternoon, Mr. Ken and Mr. Neal.
GEORGE: My guess is in 1986 Senator Barbara Mikulski ran against Linda Chavez in the state of Maryland.
RUDIN: That is correct. They ran against each other but that was not the first time two women ran. That was an interesting race. And I think that may have been the first time since the time we're thinking of. But it was not the first one.
CONAN: Thanks, George.
GEORGE: Thank you.
CONAN: Let's see if we can go next to, this is Mark, and Mark is calling us from Baltimore.
MARK (Caller): Yeah. But now I know wrong because I was guessing 2002, Collins and Pingree in Maine.
CONAN: Collins and Pingree, again, correct but not the first.
RUDIN: Two women. Chellie Pingree as a matter of fact, is probably going to win a House seat in Maine this year and Susan Collins is probably going to be reelected in Maine. The two of them ran against each other in 2002 but it was before 2002.
CONAN: Thanks for the call, Mark.
MARK: Thank you.
CONAN: Bye-bye. And let's see if we can go now to Andrew, Andrew with us from Winston-Salem in North Carolina.
ANDREW (Caller): Yes. I'm going to say Margaret Chase Smith and Lucia Cormier.
RUDIN: That is correct. Maine 1960.
CONAN: Hey, the right answer! Thank you very much!
(Soundbite of applause)
RUDIN: First time two women ran against each other for the Senate.
CONAN: We also have, should know we got the right answer by email from Brian writing to us from South Africa.
RUDIN: Yes, so he says.
(Soundbite of laughter)
CONAN: Congratulations, Andrew. You win to this weeks no price.
ANDREW: Bye. Thank you.
CONAN: Thanks very much for the answer. By the way, obviously a lot of important Senate races, the Democrats trying to get to the filler-proof, filibuster proof majority of 60. And well, the voters of Washington DC may have decided for one of those races.
RUDIN: Exactly. That's the unanimous jury that convicted Ted Stevens of Alaska on all seven felony counts. Ted Stevens insist he will run for reelection. John McCain, Sarah Palin and others in the Republican party have demanded almost that Ted Stevens resign immediately, he refuses to do that and I suspect that what's going on here is that there's still a possibility, it sounds amazing, he's a convicted felon and (unintelligible) whether he can vote for himself on Tuesday. But that if he runs and wins in Alaska then he could resign and then will have a special election. The governor cannot appoint a successor but it would give Republicans an opportunity to hold the seat. Right now, if he runs it looks like Mark Begich, the Democratic challenger, will win that seat. If he runs though and wins and then resigns then they've been and Ted Stevens will be gone and the Republican can start fresh.
CONAN: Which raises a question. We have three United State Senators running for national offices, for president or vice president this year. What happens if their seat should become available? First of all, Barack Obama in Illinois.
RUDIN: Well, Barack Obama, if he wins governor Rod Blagojevich, say that one-time fast, the Democratic governor of Illinois will make a successor appointment. He can name whoever he wants, he could maybe appoint himself. Obviously, he'll point to Democrat. And considering that Barack Obama is the senate's only African-American, he will probably, Blagojevich will probably pick a black candidate. The question is whether he picks Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. who clearly wants the seat but he's not.
CONAN: Could be around for a long time.
RUDIN: Exactly. But there's a guy, there are other people there who's been around a long, long time. Emil Jones is the president of the state Senate, he's African-American, he's 73 years old, he's actually an Obama mentor. He could be a caretaker pick until the next election.
CONAN: And what about the state of Delaware where Joe Biden is also running for reelection?
RUDIN: Same situation, you have a Democratic governor she will make the appointment. Was always thought to be Beau Biden, the attorney general of Delaware who should be the pick but he's now going to Iraq, he'll be in Iraq until October. So now they're talking about another caretaker pick until Beau Biden returns in 2010. The question is whether, if the Democrat has named this time, whether he or she would want to give the post in 2010.
CONAN: And then you have the senate seat in Arizona. How about John McCain if he should win?
RUDIN: If John McCain. And here's what different. You have a Democratic governor in Arizona, Janet Napolitano but state law says that any successor to the Senate has to be appointed of the same party of the previous senator. So she has to name a Republican. What's interesting about that is that she also wants to run for the Senate in 2010, she could very well be picking the Republican whom she runs against.
CONAN: Joe the plumber, maybe.
RUDIN: That's right.
CONAN: And finally, what if we need a new governor in Alaska?
RUDIN: Well, if Sarah Palin's elected vice president then it's a simple situation there. The Lieutenant Governor Sean Parnell becomes governor.
CONAN: Ken, stay with us. It's our Wednesday visit with the political junkie. And when we return, senior news analyst Daniel Schorr will join us to talk about the long view on this historic election. If you'd like to talk with Dan Schorr about this historic moment in American politics, give us a call 800-989-8255, you can send us email email@example.com, and if you'd like you can join the conversation on our blog, that's at npr.org/blogofthenation. Stay with us. I'm Neal Conan, it's the Talk Of The Nation from NPR News.
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CONAN: This is Talk of the Nation, I'm Neal Conan broadcasting from the Knight Studio inside the Newseum in Washington DC. Daniel Schorr needs no introduction to the millions who hear him on All Things Considered and Weekend Edition both Saturday and Sunday. Of course, Dan came to NPR after distinguished career at CBS News. He's also graced the studios at CNN. And his most recent book "Come To Think of It" is just out in paperback. It's a collection of commentaries by NPR's senior analyst updated to include thoughts on the 2008 election. So if you'd like to talk with Dan about this moment in our political life, give us a call 800-989-8255, email is firstname.lastname@example.org and you can read what other listeners have to say on our blog at npr.org/blogofthenation. Of course political junkie Ken Rudin will stay with us and now Dan Schorr joins us here at the Newseum. And it's Dan, nice to have you back on Talk Of The Nation.
DANIEL SCHORR: My pleasure, Neal.
CONAN: And Dan, so many have said this is the most important election of their lives. Your lifetime is longer than most, you've covered every administration going back to Dwight Eisenhower. What do you think?
SCHORR: I'm sorry, going back to Franklin Roosevelt.
CONAN: OK. Franklin Roosevelt. What do you think? Is this the most important election of your lifetime?
SCHORR: There is a tendency to say whatever election is upon us now it's the most important in my lifetime because we already forgotten the rest. But it is a very, very important election it seems to be because I think what we're - it's at stake here is whether there is a realignment of the American population taking place. There was a period back in the 90s when this country moved towards a right move towards Republicans. The question now is have they moved very far back now, are we going to get a Democratic government on both branches. And that see a realignment of America because of current conditions makes this very important.
CONAN: It wasn't that long ago that then White House senior adviser Karl Rove was talking about a permanent Republican majority?
SCHORR: Yes. The (unintelligible) English came in and you know, and he has contract with America and he said we better run this country from now and forever. (unintelligible) English was wrong too.
CONAN: Yeah. And it does suggest that if those predicting another era of Democratic dominance of national politics could be wrong two or four years from now.
SCHORR: Of course. There is a volatility I think in the American public. And the idea that this happens now but maybe very different two years and four years from now is quite likely.
CONAN: I wanted to ask you. The other thing you hear every four years is this has got to be the dirtiest presidential campaign ever.
SCHORR: It is dirty. It's dirty in a strange way and it deals some kind of unrealities. I mean, if you forget that Joe Biden saying this new president will be tested when he comes into office, oh tested, oh you think he's going to give us a crisis or whatever. And there is this way of picking up single words and weaving fantasy around them. I think that didn't used to happen. But apparently, it's not working. Judging from the polls at least, the Democrats are not moved anymore by. I don't know whether Willy Horton (unintelligible) would move them now, I don't want to know whether river boats would move them now. But now they seem to be more than anything else influenced by the economic situation.
CONAN: And that appears to be something that may not be being overblown, it's pretty dramatic.
SCHORR: That is very dramatic and Americans are responding to it. I think you notice that even the Republican campaign now is beginning to think there's no use talking about some of these little things and so on and so forth. Clearly, all the public wants to hear about is what you are going to do about this big depression as they call it.
CONAN: Mm. Let's see if we get some callers in on the conversation. Of course, our guest Dan Schorr. political junkie, Ken Rudin still with us too. 800-989-8255, email email@example.com. Let's begin with Rochelle. Rochell with us from Charlottesville in Virginia.
ROCHELLE (Caller): Good afternoon.
CONAN: Good afternoon.
ROCHELLE: My question for Mr. Schorr is if you could comment on his perspective on how each generation may perceive differently how far we've come or not in racial relationships and how they affect national politics.
SCHORR: That's a good question, a very important question and one of the underlying questions which will be answered next Tuesday because there is what is called the Bradley effect when Bradley ran for governor in California. It turned out that the polls were wrong in predicting he would win, he lost. And the reason the polls were wrong was great number of people who would not vote for a black would not say that to the pollsters. Something that well, we don't know how much of it maybe happening now. I think one of the things to wait for when you have now the first time a black running for president in the United States is whether America has or has not yet quite fully overcome its race consciousness.
CONAN: Let me put that in another way, Dan. And that is that some when this race camp began thought that would be a very useful public dialog on the issue of race. Other people were afraid that the campaign would descend into race baiting. I think what we've seen is somewhere in the middle but how is the issue of race played out in this campaign.
SCHORR: Well, the race played out is that both sides have said I'm not going to talk about race because I don't want to be accused of race baiting. So I made all these efforts to keep it as a submerged subject but it sort of keeps popping up a little bit here and there. And you don't know for sure whether anybody is listening or anybody cares or whether there are people who care more than we know.
CONAN: Rochelle, thanks very much.
ROCHELL: Thank you.
CONAN: And I wanted to ask - here's a question on email from Jason in Oakland, California. Why don't you ever talk about what all that money being spent on campaigns could do for people if it was not being shoved into the pockets of TV station owners? A billion dollars, that could give health insurance to a million people.
SCHORR: The reason we don't do is that I count on you to do that. I don't think that the function of people in journalism is to tell you this is what you should use your money for or this is how you should conduct yourself. But that fact that you feel strongly about it, all I can say to you is right on.
CONAN: Let's get a question from here in the audience in the Newseum.
DALE JOHNSON (Audience): Hi, I'm Dale Johnson and I'm here with the Wilson(ph) class. My question to Daniel Schorr is why have we not heard or seen more of Hillary Clinton in the campaign for Barack Obama?
SCHORR: We've seen some of Hillary Clinton in the campaign, perhaps not as much as she could have done. She did make it very clear from the start that she was all together going to work for him and be behind him. I guess, there was a decision of Obama and his advisers just how much to use her. Tonight, we're going to get Bill Clinton on the air with the president, and I think that things which if unless you are in politics deep into it, you can't hope to understand the considerations of whether or not whether they'd base on how many Hillary's you want, one, two, three, four and when. I frankly don't understand that process.
CONAN: Ken, I wanted to, if you wanted to weigh in, in that question.
RUDIN: Well I mean, she's look, Dan's exactly right. I mean, she said she's going to do everything she can, she has done many rallies and perhaps if Obama were, if the race were perceived to be closer and in some states where she can make a difference she would but right now, it's all Republican states where the battle seemed to be being fought. In, you know, states like Ohio and Indiana and Florida, Missouri and you wonder, you know, if they were Democratic states that were at stake and in play perhaps should be used more.
CONAN: Let's see if we get another caller on the line. And let's go to Randy, Randy with us from Fairfield in Iowa.
RANDY (Caller): Hi. Thanks for taking my call. I'm probably going to support John McCain, but I am dismayed by the Republican Party's need to turn to its conservative religious base. My question for Dan is, is there a centrist majority somewhere left in the US whether identifying themselves, Republicans or Democrats, people who are relatively non-ideological, relatively practical like to see things get done and go well?
SCHORR: I'd like to see a lot of those but when it comes down to election campaign, you don't see very much. Americans are very roar up about the selection on both sides. And whether it'd be a vote for McCain or vote for Obama, that is politics in America. And I'm afraid, however messy it is and how much money gets wasted that could be use for better purposes, that's democracy.
RUDIN: When Barry Goldwater was defeated, he ran as a very strong Conservative in 1964. When he was defeated, the party moved towards a centrist kind of a thing, and they nominated and elected Richard Nixon in 1968, but they ran as moderates. Here, after if John McCain does lose it looks like the party maybe tucked further to right. I mean if you look at the, what's going on in the Congress, what are the possible 2012, we're talking about 2012 already, 2012 Republican candidates. So it's interesting that they don't feel that a lot of the reasons that Republicans, if they're going to lose this here, a lot of them are saying that hey just did not adhere to their Conservative principles.
CONAN: And Dan, he's looking ahead to what's been described as the battle for the soul of the Republican party and you talked about that a little bit too but nevertheless, so did General Powell when he meant his endorsement of Barack Obama.
SCHORR: I have a question to ask, can I, am I allowed to ask a question to Ken?
CONAN: Well, OK.
SCHORR: Governor Palin, let's suppose she - they lose this time but this woman is a big force from now on the Republican Party, isn't she?
RUDIN: It looks like that. I mean, she is. The crowds are coming to see her. They're talking about Palin in big letters and McCain in small letters in a lot of these rallies.
CONAN: And here's an interesting email from Ann on this point. I've noticed the last couple of weeks Palin has been left off of the McCain ads. I've also noticed some lawn signs do not have Palin listed either. I've not heard this commented on in the media. Is that a trend?
RUDIN: No, I don't think so. Actually although of course, as you get closer to the election, there are more and more states that need to be covered and by having McCain and Palin travel together all the time, you lose the opportunity whereas Obama and Biden have been traveling separately. But again, this week, you know.
RANDY: May I? Follow up question.
CONAN: Go ahead, Randy.
RANDY: Because we saw many Democrats turning or nominal Democrats turning to the Republican Party since the time of Ronald Reagan and I. Is it, I think we're seeing some nominal Republicans this time around turning perhaps more to Barack Obama.
RANDY: Is there not room to move in, my feeling is Bill Clinton turned very fast to the center after the failure of his initial health care proposal. Whether there's a third party that declaims the center or not, is it not, is there not significant migration towards the center among the American population to whichever Party appears to hold the center?
SCHORR: Yeah. Well, it is true that in campaigns you tend to go to the extreme and then after the campaign is over and if you have to govern, you begin to move towards the center. That is a historic trend that. I'm trying to recall the last time, where was the most recent time?
RUDIN: You had the Bill Clinton's first two years a long - whether this would be a long time Democratic realignment. You know in 1972 when Richard Nixon won 49 states, two years later was Watergate. When Bill Clinton won in 1992, two years later was the Ginger Revolution. So for all these times we think this is going to last forever, they could change on the next election and for all we know, with Obama and Democratic control in the Congress in 2008, it's very possible that the Republicans could theoretically come back in 2010.
CONAN: Randy, thanks very much for the phone call. Appreciate it.
RANDY: Well, thank you. Although I now feel hopeless.
(Soundbite of laughter)
CONAN: That's Ken's job on the panel. Ken Rudin, our Political Junkie with us. We also have the great, good fortune to have Daniel Schorr with us today. His most recent book out in paperback, "Come To Think Of It." You're listening to Talk of the Nation from NPR News. And let's see if we can get another caller on the line and let's go now to Corona, Corona with us from Santa Rosa in California.
CORONA (Caller): Hello. Thank you for taking my call. I'm actually very honored to be speaking with Mr. Schorr. I've listened to you for a long, long time. I have a question with regard to the similarities that you see in the various campaigns that you have witnessed and that is the rhetoric around Obama being too scary. He's, you know, obviously the first black man to run at this level for president.
SCHORR: Mm hmm.
CORONA: And other times in history, there were other people who were the first of their kind, let's say to run for president. How has the rhetoric been the same and what kind of similarities have you seen?
SCHORR: Well, the similarities are, in every campaign that I can remember, if you ask, what is the key word which gets used time and time and time again it is changed. Change is the big mantra on both sides. They're arguing for change.
CONAN: But Corona is right. The Republicans are growing increasingly using the word risky.
SCHORR: But then you have to say, you know, you're safe with me, you're not safe with my opponent. These are the typical campaign. I don't know whether Americans take them seriously anymore. It is my impression subject to what you and Ken may say to correct me is my impression that in the end, the one factor which is more likely to tell you who's going to win, who's going to lose is the state of the economy at the time.
RUDIN: But Dan, I think part of that question was also that in 1960, John Kennedy of course was not black but he was Catholic and I guess perhaps, being Catholic in 1960 was just as alien sounding as African-American. I wondered, do you see something in 1960 with the attacks on Kennedy, his youth and experience and religion comparable to 2008?
SCHORR: Well, with the Catholics, there was Al Smith who was a great governor of New York and was not elected because he was a Catholic, and so when Kennedy in 1960 was elected, they were breaking new ground. On the racial front, I think this country had been constantly breaking new ground. New ground is the question. How far they'll go within any four year cycle? As I suggested earlier, I am personally fascinated to know on Wednesday whether there was a sizable, where the exit polls would indicate a sizable number of people who voted against Obama because he is black.
CONAN: Corona, thanks very much for the question.
CORONA: Thank you very much.
CONAN: And might want to recall that Al Smith might have been glad in retrospect. He did not get elected. That was a campaign from 1928, followed shortly thereafter by the Great Depression.
CONAN: As we look ahead to these economic times, Dan though, I think a lot of people go back to their parents or their grandparents in some respects and say, remind us, what was this like? How bad was it? How long did it last and the answers are pretty discouraging.
SCHORR: Yes. I understand what you're doing. You're taking advantage to the fact that the one contribution I can constantly make is my age.
(Soundbite of laughter)
SCHORR: And so, you can ask me now, I have clear memory.
CONAN: I thought I was asking in a very nice way.
SCHORR: And yeah and knew very well and this is an anniversary, October 29th is the anniversary of the stock market crashed that then propelled us into this vast depression. And you know, but, you know President Roosevelt came in, closed the banks. I can remember people on street corners selling apples. I mean, really it was very grim. Outwardly more grim than in a yet, is to be in the United States. But this is getting to be fairly close to the Great Depression of the 29 in the 1930s.
CONAN: We'll talk more with Daniel Schorr in a moment. Ken Rudin, our Political Junkie is also with us and Ken, I understand you have a surprise for us to mark our last visit before the presidential election, an extra trivia question.
RUDIN: I think I do. Do we have time before the, I hear this terrible music in my ear.
CONAN: But if you announce the trivia question.
RUDIN: I'll do that very fast. One of the hottest races this year is the Senate race in New Hampshire, Senator John Sununu and former Governor Jeanne Shaheen. They ran against each other six years ago, when was the last time a Senate rematch resulted in a different result from the first contest?
CONAN: The answer when we come back. This is NPR News.
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CONAN: This is Talk of the Nation, I'm Neal Conan in Washington, broadcasting today from the new Newseum in Washington DC in the Knight Studio. And here are the headlines from some of the stories we're following here today at NPR News. With six days to go, both of the major Party presidential campaigns make stops in Florida today. In Miami, John McCain said his plans to boost off-shore drilling would benefit coastal states in Ocala, Barack Obama's running mate Joe Biden urged residents to vote early and Hungary is the latest country to get a financial bailout from the International Monetary Fund. The $25 billion rescue package follows big IMF loans to Iceland and Ukraine. Details on those stories and more coming up later today on All Things Considered.
Tomorrow on Talk of the Nation, we'll focus on the issue of race and the campaign for president. The nomination of an African-American candidate ensured that the race would be part of this presidential campaign in the way we've never seen before with just a few days left. We'll talk about how it's been used by both campaigns, how it might affect the result and what that means tomorrow on Talk of the Nation from NPR News. Before the break, Political Junkie Ken Rudin gave us a second bonus trivia question, now Ken, remind us. What's the question again?
RUDIN: I can't remember, oh, yes. It's the one that the hottest race and one of the hottest Senate races, John Sununu, Jeanne Shaheen in New Hampshire. It's a rematch of what they had in 2002. When was the last time a Senate rematch resulted in a different result?
CONAN: In the meantime, while people call in about that, 800-989-8255 or email us firstname.lastname@example.org. Here's an email question from Kerry in Scotland who identifies him or herself as an ex-pat American who's lived abroad for two decades, taking the longer view, how do you see a win by either Obama or McCain influencing the perception of the USA by the international community, Dan?
SCHORR: Well, it must be said that President Bush has been very unpopular, almost everywhere outside the United States. And that you can simply assume that almost any change would result in the improvement of America's relations with the outside world. But especially I think in the case of Senator Obama, who talks more like a European let me say than McCain does. He talks in moderate terms who deal with his problem with, none of his business of unconditional this or that. I think that everywhere from London to Tehran, that America's relations will begin to improve if and when Obama's elected.
CONAN: And there was that extraordinary turnout of people in Berlin when Senator Obama.
SCHORR: Two hundred, 200,000 people in Berlin. That was more than President Kennedy had in Berlin.
CONAN: Well, he only had half a country then.
SCHORR: Well, that's true.
(Soundbite of laughter)
SCHORR: And a quarter of a city.
CONAN: Now, let's see if we can get Larry on the line and Larry's with us from Sheridan in Oregon.
LARRY (Caller): Yeah, thanks for taking my call and I hope I'm not too far off topic here. Mr. Schorr, with all due respect given your title as NPR senior news analyst, do you feel that your own personal opinions or bias' show through in your commentary and is there is a certain responsibility on your part to portray neutrality.
SCHORR: Well, I'll tell you, I have to be certain amount of latitude because I'm called news analyst rather than news reporter. And during most of my life as a reporter, I really tried very hard to stand aside and look very, very disinterested. I do that mostly I think but not entirely as a news analyst. I do, I am given a certain of latitude to give an impression of not only how things are but how they may be and how they got that way. And they may creep into that I'm willing to admit, at times, a sense of what I would like to be that way. I'm introduced that way. You can take it or leave it, I have as an impression that you were to leave it and life goes on.
LARRY: I have no. I appreciate your candidness on that and there's no doubt there's a lot of fodder for you to comment on and I do respect your opinion there, so I.
CONAN: And let me also add as somebody who watched Dan Schorr for many years when he was a reporter, there are a few who could look disinterested in a more interesting way than Daniel Schorr. But Larry, thanks very much for the call. We appreciate it.
LARRY: Thank you. Good day.
CONAN: And let's see we have some people who, I think they know the answer to the trivia question and let's begin with Bob. Bob is with us from Cedar Rapids in Iowa.
BOB (Caller): Hi there.
CONAN: Hi there. Who do you think was the last time two people ran against each other and the result was reversed?
BOB: Well, I was just guessing it was Lincoln and Douglas.
RUDIN: Well, actually, they only ran each other, well, they did run against each other twice.
CONAN: Aha. But not for the same.
RUDIN: But only one for the Senate, 1858 for the Senate where Douglas won and of course 1860 for the presidency which Dan Schorr covered, I think.
(Soundbite of laughter)
CONAN: And he had linked it up by three points.
RUDIN: Yeah I know that's right, yes. It was robo calls.
CONAN: Thanks very much for the call, Kevin.
KEVIN: You bet.
CONAN: Bye-bye. Let's see if we can go now to, here's another answer. This is Phil, Phil is with us from Chapel Hill in North Carolina.
PHIL: (Caller): Hi there.
Mr. PHIL: I think I remember something biblical like Mark and John Warner in Virginia.
RUDIN: Well, that's funny they only ran against each other once in 1996 as a matter of fact when Mark won a run against John Warner his button said vote for Mark not John with no last name, but they only ran against each other once for the Senate.
Mr. PHIL: Ah, oh well.
CONAN: OK. So we'll leave the lines open, 800-989-8255 or sent us an email, email@example.com. Here's an email question from Tom and excuse me from yeah Tom. Mike, excuse me, Benita. It says hi Tom. All right, my question is do you believe that without the economic crisis the Democrats would have had a chance to change the electoral map?
SCHORR: All right. You will - we'll never know. I mean, I did see the polls begin to steadily decline once we had this breakdown of our financial institutions and what would have been if the situation had been different. I really don't know.
CONAN: Ken, before the economic crisis erupted the Republican John McCain seemed to have a lead in the polls but again it was right after the Republican convention, and that's the kind of bounce you would expect from the polls. Before that, Senator Obama had to leave pretty much all summer.
RUDIN: That's true but there was a bigger a bump coming out the Republican Convention than the Democrats had. Sarah Palin was thought to turn a lot of blue states into potential red states but as Dan said once the economic news got bad and so did the Fortunes of the Republican Party.
CONAN: Let's see if we can get another caller on the line and this is Jay, Jay with us from Sedgwick, Maine.
JAY (Caller): Hello. Before I get to my question I've got a New Hampshire palindrome for you, wonder if Sanunu's fired now. How do you like that?
CONAN: Wonder if Sanunu is fired now. OK.
JAY: That's not my question.
CONAN: Jay, you've got too much time on your hands.
JAY: Yeah, I do. Mr. Schorr, I'm - you're probably one of the only working journalists around right now that remembers the third party candidacies of two men in Wallace, and I'm just wondering if you can speak to the effect of the candidacy of Henry Wallace he had with all those many years ago, on the whole phenomenon of the third party and also what his candidacy projected for the - let's call it the left wing of American politics. And I'll hang up and listen. Thanks.
SCHORR: Well, that's right you're.
CONAN: Thanks for call, Jay.
SCHORR: Wallace indeed was trying to take the Democratic Party on a turned - further to the lefts that most people in the Party wanted. And I think Wallace crossed the Democratic Party a great deal, I just should know, George Wallace with entirely different thing. George Wallace was simply going to fight the last fight in this country for outright segregation, and as you know he was assassinated.
CONAN: He was shot.
RUDIN: Sorry, yeah, excuse me that's right. He was shot and wounded.
CONAN: And what's so fascinating about that 1948 election is that Harry Truman had people from the left Henry Wallace and from the right of Democratic Party Strom Thurmond who was in the Democrat tugging, pulling away from the extremes and yet somehow that Thurmond managed to win that election in 48. Let's see if we can get Jose on the line. And Jose thinks he has an answer to the trivia question. Go ahead, Jose.
JOSE (Caller): Yes, hi. In New Hampshire in 1975 Durkin(ph) versus Weissman (ph).
SCHORR: Wow, I think that they could add one now. This is a great story, but anyway, Louie Weissman was elected what was thought to have won the 1974 race by four votes but the Senate never seated him. So.
CONAN: Oh that's a technicality.
SCHORR: Well no, it isn't because there's something more reason.
CONAN: I said the last time. Anyway.
SCHORR: There's something more reason and then in the special election John Durkin won the race as we all remember when Norris Cotton retired.
CONAN: Aha. OK.
CONAN: It doesn't matter but Norris is gone. Anyway, Jose thanks very much for the call. I'd like that; we really like people to make him think, yeah. I like that.
JOSE: I like that.
CONAN: Let's see if we can get another answer. This is from Ed, and Ed is with us from Norwich in Connecticut.
ED (Caller): Hello, I'm guessing Jaffe in Rhode Island.
RUDIN: Jaffe and Reid actually never ran against each other. There are two senators but John Jaffe(ph) and Jack Reid(ph) never ran against each other. So and his son of course Lincoln Jaffe(ph) was defeated by Jack Reid(ph) but they never ran again - oh, now Sheldon Whitehouse beat Jack Reid(ph).
RUDIN: Sheldon Whitehouse beat Lincoln Jaffe(ph). But and then Douglas beat Lincoln in.
CONAN: In 1858.
RUDIN: No. They didn't run against each other.
CONAN: OK. Thanks, Ed. Why don't we put people out of their misery?
ED: I will, yes. Now will have my resignation from this show.
RUDIN: Howard Metzenbaum and Robert Taft in Ohio in 1976. Taft beat Metzenbaum in 1976, years later Metzenbaum returned the favor.
CONAN: And who was Howard Metzenbaum's favorite tennis partner?
SCHORR: Would it Dan Schorr?
CONAN: I could have been. Daniel Schorr, yes indeed.
SCHORR: We play some.
CONAN: Here's an email question from Greg in Augusta, Georgia. "Why would a candidate believe that preempting a World Series baseball game to show us how presidential and American is would make him appear more presidential or American? It's already believed he not only wants change in the operations of government, he wants to change our traditions as well. I'm an independent who usually thinks Democratic probably not this time, that of course referring to Barack Obama who's buying time on FOX and a number of other TV networks this evening to make a half hour infomercial parole-like."
RUDIN: Well actually this is the first time I ever heard I didn't realize there was a World Series this year. And probably they are in (unintelligible). Nobody's watching it.
CONAN: Evidently, yeah.
RUDIN: I know. But most likely I think the last game and on the game before that, the game didn't start until 8:37 PM Eastern Time. So Barack Obama buys the half hour from eight to 8:30 the Phillies and the Rays gets still started at 8:37.
CONAN: They're going to start 15 minutes later than scheduled previously but they're of course resuming the suspended game five in the bottom half of the sixth inning with the picture do up for the Philadelphia Phillies, and score tied two to two.
SCHORR: And you know this, every time the Phillies have won the World Series, Republicans have won the White House.
(Soundbite of laughter)
CONAN: The other one that can mention to solid time. The other one of his statements we've got down to a Gregorian chant which is no president has ever won the White House without Ohio. So.
RUDIN: And look at the polls in Ohio right now. The last I've seen is Obama with anywhere between a five and eight point-lead and again that's crucial if John McCain's going to have a shot on Tuesday.
CONAN: We're talking with political junkie Ken Rudin as we do every Wednesday. Our special guest this week, Daniel Schorr, NPR senior news analyst. His new book "Come To Think Of It," is collection of commentaries from National Public Radio's senior news analyst, is out in paperback updated to include his thoughts about the 2008 presidential election. And you're listening to Talk of the Nation from NPR News. And let me ask both of you as veteran political observers, what are you going to look for on election night, Ken? What's the early indicators for you next Tuesday night?
RUDIN: Well, I think and everybody who is listening to this they are all you know - dozens of people listening to the show.
CONAN: Perhaps, (unintelligible), yeah.
RUDIN: I think it's very important to look at the things that the states that close early. For example at 7 PM Eastern Time, Georgia closes early. If there is a big African-American turnout (unintelligible) could be in big trouble. Indiana closes at 7 p.m. Eastern Time. If Barack Obama is going to pick up a state, a red state, Indiana is a possibility of a state that hasn't gone Democratic since 64 so that's something to watch for. Seven-thirty North Carolina. If Elizabeth Dole goes down it could be a big African-American turnout, Obama had a shot at North Carolina. Ohio is also 7:30, if John McCain fails to win Ohio of course this maybe hours and hours of counting, but it'd be very interesting to see the numbers early - those early numbers in those key states.
CONAN: You made a big investment of time and money in the state of Pennsylvania which a lot of people find puzzling because all the polls there have the Democrat Barack Obama with a double digit lead.
RUDIN: Yeah, again it's a very puzzling thing. A lot of Republicans say, look, let's take all the money and just focus on Senate races, but it is interesting that McCain is spending time in that blue state of Pennsylvania when there is so many red states at risk for him.
CONAN: Dan Schorr, what you're going to be looking for election night?
SCHORR: Well about the same thing as (unintelligible) function of the time zone and the time with that polls close and all those that came listed as the ones that we'll to look at first. But they give you the (unintelligible) samplings that it was first three or four that'll close if you can see the result there you'll be - pretty well know what the result for the whole thing.
RUDIN: And we're going to be going - that said Dan's house and we're all - everybody is invited to come watch.
(Soundbite of laughter)
CONAN: The other interesting results that you get on Election Day of course are the exit polls. These are the question asked by pollsters, voters as they come out of the polls on Election Day. Some of those have become available during the day. Some of them only become available that night or even the next day. But Dan what are some of the interesting questions you're going to be looking at from those exit polls about why people voted the way they did?
SCHORR: Well, first of all I want to know demographically did older people on the average vote differently than younger people on the average. There's been a lot of talk of that being a big surge of new registrations of young people. And it is said that most of them can do vote for Obama. I don't know that. But the thing is, break it down demographically then break it down on the issue of the economy. It appears that in all the polls recently and you ask who is better able to deal with the present melt down in the economy most people tend to say Obama. I don't - I like to see whether that's carried out in the election.
CONAN: And as you said earlier on the question of a race if people are going to vote against Senator Obama because.
SCHORR: And of question of race since we have North Carolina placed with large, large black contingents, it'll be interesting to know very soon whether there was a Bradley effect, whether there were people who didn't want to tell pollsters that they would not vote for a black but then voted for a black.
CONAN: Ken, what do you going to be looking for?
RUDIN: I'd like to know that if people who are deciding late whether the McCain arguments work because there's a lot of speculation that the people who are undecided now may ultimately vote for McCain. I'd like to know if the late deciding voters went for McCain or not.
CONAN: And Dan, finally we've had elections the last eight years in particular that were almost 50 plus one elections, very, very close.
CONAN: And president-elected with their majorities and highly contestable result. There is a possibility, again we don't want to go out on a limb and say who's going to win but there is a possibility that you can have a very different result this time. Barack Obama appears to be running a campaign that is intended, a lot of Democrats are wondering why you're spending so much in North Carolina you don't have to win North Carolina. He seems to be interested in winning a result that would give him a transformative result. Over 300 electoral votes the ability to say I am America's president.
SCHORR: I think that is right. It was Colin Powell who used the phrase when endorsing Obama that he is transformational, transformative (unintelligible). And that's a big question there. How are you really is a country which says in polls that they think they were on the wrong track now, have they decided what the track is? Do they believe that Obama is going to take him on the right track? I think it's the underlying question.
CONAN: And Ken Rudin, there are still pathways for John McCain to win this election. But if so he's going to win by a nose.
RUDIN: Absolutely, and again as we said earlier that every state that seem to be in play right now are red states. For John McCain to win is that he's probably have to give up on Pennsylvania and focus on the Florida's, the Indiana's, the Missouri's, the Ohio's, the states that George W. Bush won in 2000 and 2004 is in going to have to hold them if the Republicans keep the White House.
CONAN: And finally we're going to end with two emails, this from Sean Mitchell in Kansas. Mr. Schorr I want to thank you for your dedication and commitment to truthful insightful reporting. We are all better off for your educated insightful and thoughtful reporting.
SCHORR: Thank you, cousin.
CONAN: And then this from Catherine from Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. Where will dear Ken Rudin be on election evening and where will he be after the election concludes? He's been a great asset to Wednesday's on Talk Of The Nation.
RUDIN: (Unintelligible) Very nice, of course. We have NPR special from 7 a.m., God help us - seven pm to three am Eastern Time and there will be at NPR studios in Washington covering the election. And, Neal, I think we have an announcement about this venue.
CONAN: Well, next Wednesday afternoon Ken will be back with us with a - an election special from Studio 3A and will be doing another special the next day from here in the Newseum, Talk of the World we're calling it. So, thanks for being with us, Ken Rudin.
RUDIN: Thanks, Neal.
CONAN: And of course NPR's senior news analyst Daniel Schorr. Dan, as always, thank you.
SCHORR: Great pleasure.
CONAN: I'm Neal Conan, you're listening to Talk of the Nation from NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
In this week's edition of the Political Junkie: McCain aides have expressed irritation with Sarah Palin's off-script remarks and Barack Obama has purchased a half-hour of prime-time TV. Also: Will Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens campaign as a convicted felon?
In this week's edition of the Political Junkie: McCain aides have expressed irritation with Sarah Palin's off-script remarks and Barack Obama has purchased a half-hour of prime-time TV. Also: Will Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens campaign as a convicted felon?
NPR Political Editor Ken Rudin talks about the countdown to Election Day, and NPR Senior News Analyst Daniel Schorr provides a long view on the historic 2008 presidential election.
Daniel Schorr is NPR's senior news analyst, and the author of Come to Think of It: Notes on the Turn of the Millennium.