About Last Night: Trippi and Madden



Off-year elections are almost always fodder for spinners from both sides of the political divide, and it's no surprise that strategists on each side of the aisle have very different takes on the lessons of Election Day 2009. On "Washington Unplugged" Tuesday, Republican Kevin Madden and Democrat Joe Trippi did agree on one thing, though – that the electorate is very "volatile" right now.

"There have been ten to twenty percent swings on issues in the last three hundred and sixty five days" since the 2008 presidential election, Madden said.

That's where the agreement ended. Madden was encouraged by yesterday's results, which incuded victories for two Republican gubenetorial candidates.

"We crafted a pro-active, modernized message to reach those independent voters who are swinging elections," Madden said. Of the independent voters, he said, "we've got them back for one night."

Schieffer said that before Republicans pat themselves on the back too hard, they should acknowledge that both Democrats candidates in New Jersey and Virginia were not particularly impressive.

Democratic Strategist Joe Trippi conceded that "it was a bad night for Democrats," but he added that "it's a big misread to read this as some kind of resurgence on the Republican side or that they figured out the independents."

Trippi argued that independent candidates in New Jersey and a House race in New York's congressional district took a surprising amount away from incumbents.

" "This is really about how both parties' incumbents for 2010 should get a message that they just want to throw people who are in out," he said. "And that's not good for either the GOP or the Democrats."

He added that "it would be a mistake for Republicans to celebrate the victory last night too strongly."

Watch the full roundtable above, as well as an interesting interview with author and spiritual leader Deepak Chopra. "Washington Unplugged" appears live on CBSNews.com each weekday at 12:30 p.m. ET. Click here to check out previous episodes.



  • Michelle Levi

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