Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

Sign up for our twice-weekly newsletter!

National Journalists make predictions for midterm elections on “Kalb Report”

Panelists from four major news outlets debated which party will benefit most from November’s midterm elections on the GW-sponsored “Kalb Report” Monday night.

Normally hosted in front of a live studio audience with one guest, journalist Marvin Kalb’s public affairs show featured reporters from CNN, CBS Radio, Newsweek and USA Today. Washington Post Radio aired the political discussion, which also touched on the Iraq war and the record amount of money in this year’s election.

Bob Fuss, CBS’ Radio News Capitol Hill correspondent, compared both parties’ campaigns, predicting Democrats would emerge ahead this November.

“Democrats are not defending anything . The money is all going into Democrats challenging seats, which is obviously bad news for Republicans,” Fuss said. “It’s possible, maybe even likely, that the Democrats can take over the House and the Senate, but it’s definitely not a sure thing.”

Fuss added that Republican candidates fighting for reelection were distancing themselves from President George W. Bush.

“The president at this point is not in a position to help and is even in a position to hurt,” Fuss said.

Panelists agreed that the war in Iraq has overshadowed an improving U.S. economy and other domestic issues.

CNN Senior Political Correspondent Candy Crowley described the war as “toxicity in the ground water of politics” that will convince voters to make changes in the current administration.

“The president has lost what used to be the Republican ace, which was national security,” Crowley said.

Eleanor Clift, a contributing news editor at Newsweek, said she saw increasing parallels between responses to the war in Iraq and the response to the war in Vietnam more than 30 years ago. The upcoming elections would give voters a chance to voice their objections just as public protest did in the earlier conflict.

“People don’t quite know how to voice their opposition (to the war), and the election is one way to do that,” she said.

Clift added that the opposition was not necessarily for the president but for Republicans.

“A presidential election is a choice between two candidates,” she said. “A midterm election tends to be more of a referendum on the party in power.”

Panelists also discussed the closest midterm election races, including that between Sen. George Allen (R-Va.) and his Democratic opponent Jim Webb, as well as other incumbents facing tough challengers. Record amounts of money being poured into this midterm election would affect voters, panelists agreed. Pew Research Center President Andrew Kohut said there is a threshold at which additional dollars has no significant impact on an election.

“(Although money) can push candidates over the line, you just can’t buy elections,” Kohut said.

Of the 39 contested elections, 31 stand to be lost by Republicans – a loss that could change the national political scene, Kohut said. Democrats looking ahead to the 2008 presidential election see a majority in either of the houses as a chance to try out policies their candidate may use two years from now, he added.

The “Kalb Report” is a monthly production of GW, Harvard University’s Shorenstein Center and the National Press Club.

More to Discover
Donate to The GW Hatchet