Schumer, Dole Bet On Elections

In this photo provided by CBS, Sens. Elizabeth Dole, R-N.C., left and Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., talk before appearing on CBS's "Face the Nation" in Washington, Sunday, Oct. 22, 2006. (AP Photo/CBS Face the Nation, Karin Cooper) CBS

You're on.

That was the message Sens. Charles Schumer and Elizabeth Dole exchanged Sunday on CBS's Face The Nation. With less than three weeks until pivotal mid-term elections, the senators made a friendly wager on which party would control Congress.

Schumer, a New York Democrat, told Face The Nation host Bob Schieffer that up until a few months ago, he never would have thought Democrats could take power from Republicans. "We are right on the edge of taking back the Senate. It's not a done deal. It's hardly a certainty, but we are feeling very, very good," Schumer said.

To which Dole, North Carolina's senior Republican senator, extended her hand: "We're going to keep the majority in the United States Senate. And Chuck, I'll put a wager on that." The senators anted up a dinner, shared a laugh, then attacked each party's platform heading into the election.

Speaking about President Bush's weekend meetings with top military personnel on the direction of the Iraq war, Schumer quipped, "Today, they're all huddling in the White House talking about change. Then some spokesperson comes out and says, 'No, no, no, we're not talking about change.'

"They are just tied in a knot. And instead of listening to other voices, and — they're not," Schumer said.

As of this week, Democrats hold leads for four of the six Republican seats they need to capture the Senate and 10 of 15 needed to win the House, according to officials in both parties. Several additional races remain highly competitive.

Before shifting the discussion to the economy and healthcare, Dole responded to Schumer's charge, saying, "Adjustments have been made. Talk right now is of possible projections — you know, you have to adjust. You have to respond to the fact that the terrorists, they shift. They change. And of course you have to make changes."

President Bush, meanwhile, said he was not overly concerned with the Republicans losing power. "I've heard all the speculation and all the predictions. And I believe, if our candidates stick with security and tell the American people we've got the plan to protect this country against these terrorists who want to hit us, and talk about the economy, they'll do just fine," Mr. Bush said on ABC's "This Week."

The president said regardless of who controls Congress, he will press ahead with his agenda, which he said includes reauthorizing No Child Left Behind, achieving a comprehensive immigration bill and reviving his Social Security reforms.
  • Sean Alfano

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