CBS: If Dems Gain 60 Senate Seats, They Can Tell Republicans to ‘Shut Up’

Maggie Rodriguez and Michael Crowley, CBS On Thursday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez discussed the congressional races with the editor of the liberal New Republic magazine, Michael Crowley, and asked: "Now, if the Democrats get to 60 seats, as they hope to, what would be significant about that?" Crowley replied: "...in the Senate the other -- the opposition can filibuster. And if you have 60 votes you can basically tell them to 'shut up and we're going to pass our bill, sit down.' So 60 votes is the magic number because the opposition, if they have 41, can draw things out and prevent you from passing a bill so 60 is a magic number and it's one Democrats are really hoping they can get..." Rodriguez never identified Crowley’s liberal leanings and Thursday’s segment marks his forth appearance on the Early Show since July, always depicted as a neutral political analyst.

Throughout the segment, Rodriguez highlighted possible seats that Democrats could gain: "In North Carolina, a seat that's been held by -- for 36 years by a Republican, could be in danger of going to a Democrat, right?" Crowley replied: "It's a sign of the kind of year we're in...North Carolina is becoming a more Democratic state. Democratic registration has just really exploded, outpacing Republicans...there's a lot of Democratic energy in that state right now." Rodriguez moved on to Kentucky: "Kentucky, red state through and through. John McCain will probably get it, but not necessarily Mitch McConnell, who's been there for two decades." Crowley responded: "McConnell, I think maybe seen as tied to the Bush Administration, helping them shepard some of their things through. Supported the bailout bill, which his colleague from Kentucky opposed. He's being tied to special interests. So really dramatic race there."

At the end of the segment, Rodriguez wondered: "...if there's one bright spot for the Republicans, what seat do you think they might be able to hold on to?" Crowley observed: "In Maine, Susan Collins, the one Republican, it tells you what kind of year we're in, known for bipartisanship, being a maverick. Even took a shot at John McCain's advertising in her state. Distancing herself from the party, that may be the only road to survival this year for a Republican." Rodriguez added: "Yeah, we're seeing a lot of that."

Here is the full transcript of the segment:

7:12AM SEGMENT:

MAGGIE RODRIGUEZ: On November 4th, in addition to the presidential election, 35 seats in the Senate and all 435 seats in the House are up for grabs as well. So the question is will the Democrats pick up seats this election? Joining us is Michael Crowley, he is senior editor of the New Republic. Good morning, Michael.

MICHAEL CROWLEY: Good morning, Maggie.

RODRIGUEZ: I'd like to look at the break down right now of the House and Senate, beginning with the House, where all 435 seats are up for grabs. The Democrats have the majority, 235 to 199, with one seat vacant. They hope to gain more ground there. In the Senate, the Democrats also have the majority when you factor in the independents who caucus with the Democrats and they hope to pick up seats. Now, if the Democrats get to 60 seats, as they hope to, what would be significant about that?

MICHAEL CROWLEY: Well, because remember the Senate is different from the House. In the House you just need a bare majority by one vote to pass something, but in the Senate the other -- the opposition can filibuster. And if you have 60 votes you can basically tell them to 'shut up and we're going to pass our bill, sit down.' So 60 votes is the magic number because the opposition, if they have 41, can draw things out and prevent you from passing a bill so 60 is a magic number and it's one Democrats are really hoping they can get, but it won't be easy. They will almost certainly pick up seats, though.

RODRIGUEZ: Alright. Let's talk about some Senate races where we see the Democrats may have the advantage. In North Carolina, a seat that's been held by -- for 36 years by a Republican, could be in danger of going to a Democrat, right?

CROWLEY: It's a sign of the kind of year we're in. Elizabeth Dole is a brand name in American politics, won the seat originally quite easily. A lot of signs that she didn't really see the trouble coming. North Carolina is becoming a more Democratic state. Democratic registration has just really exploded, outpacing Republicans. Now she's in big trouble, facing a relatively unknown challenger, and it doesn't help that Obama's contesting North Carolina really hard, so there's a lot of Democratic energy in that state right now.

RODRIGUEZ: Kentucky, red state through and through. John McCain will probably get it, but not necessarily Mitch McConnell, who's been there for two decades.

CROWLEY: Again, amazing that we're talking about races like this. Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader in the Senate. So what we're seeing here, voters in Kentucky are saying, 'we might be willing to give up the power, the clout that we have, having one of the most important Republicans in Washington, we may want to send him home. But this is a state that has high unemployment. McConnell, I think maybe seen as tied to the Bush Administration, helping them shepard some of their things through. Supported the bailout bill, which his colleague from Kentucky opposed. He's being tied to special interests. So really dramatic race there.

RODRIGUEZ: Alright. In the last ten seconds if there's one bright spot for the Republicans, what seat do you think they might be able to hold on to?

CROWLEY: In Maine, Susan Collins, the one Republican, it tells you what kind of year we're in, known for bipartisanship, being a maverick. Even took a shot at John McCain's advertising in her state. Distancing herself from the party, that may be the only road to survival this year for a Republican.

RODRIGUEZ: Yeah, we're seeing a lot of that. Michael Crowley, thank you.

CROWLEY: Thank you.

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC