The political parties' tough sales job

AP

(CBS News) For the next two weeks we're going to hear some super sales jobs.

Here in Tampa, Republicans make their case. Next week it will be the Democrats' turn.

Here's the thing: Both sides may face a bigger challenge than they know.

After a year of relentless negative advertising and mudslinging by both sides, guess what? Voters have decided they don't find much to admire on EITHER side.

A USA Today/Gallup poll says that for the first time at this point in at least six elections, voters see BOTH parties in an unfavorable light.

Forty-one percent of voters now call themselves Independents. Only 31 percent call themselves Democrats, and even fewer - 28 percent - call themselves Republicans.

That may surprise both sides, but maybe not the rest of us. 'Cause how could it be otherwise?

With Congress headed toward the least productive session since 1947 (and mind you it did nothing last year), when we were entertained by tales of drunk Congressmen taking midnight swims in the Sea of Galilee (one forgot his suit, another claimed he was just getting a little water to baptize his daughter), the wonder is that ANYONE views either party in a favorable light anymore.

So the party salesmen will have their work cut out for them these next two weeks.

In the meantime, I was wondering what would happen if either candidate just said, "This may sound crazy, but I'd like to get together with the leaders on the other side and see if there is a way we could work something out to get the country moving again."

Naw, that would never work - it's too radical.

Still, I wonder . . .

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    Bob Schieffer is CBS News' chief Washington correspondent and anchor of Face the Nation.

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