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Shields and Brooks Discuss Key Races and Battleground States

Syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks discuss the electoral map and key states to watch on election night, inlcuding Virginia and Indiana, and analyze several closely-watched Senate races.

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  • JIM LEHRER:

    Now, some final words for now from Mark Shields and David Brooks.

    Mark, do you have a private key thing you look for early — you're going to look for early tonight that you can guide your thinking about where this thing's going to go?

  • MARK SHIELDS, Syndicated Columnist:

    Well, I think — it's not original with me, but I think the two states I'm going to look at most carefully early are Virginia and Indiana. And Indiana has been true-blue red, if there is such a definition.

  • JIM LEHRER:

    True-blue red?

  • MARK SHIELDS:

    It's been a red state. I mean, President Bush ran it up, over 21-point margin over John Kerry there in 2004. It's been solidly Republican. And I just — I just think that the fact that Obama is competitive there, if he were to win Indiana, I think that would be historic in the making of a rather remarkable evening.

    And I think Virginia similarly. I mean, Virginia, as both Stu and Amy commented, is a changing state. But it's a state that does suggest to me that the Democratic Party, which once was the captive of the South and then left the South, was banished from the South after the civil rights movement in 1964, in particular, the Goldwater and Wallace campaigns back to back, and lost its footing there politically, would once again be competitive. And add to that North Carolina.

  • JIM LEHRER:

    Well, they're already — well, Virginia already has a Democratic governor.

  • MARK SHIELDS:

    It has a Democratic governor.

  • JIM LEHRER:

    One of its two senators is a Democrat, and the other one is leading…

  • MARK SHIELDS:

    But all those southern states had Democratic senators and Democratic governors all those years, but they didn't — there's a difference at the national, because the national issues were different. That's where the social issues and the national security issues intruded.

    And those Democratic governors have won by being very effective at holding down taxes, in many cases, balancing the budget, being fiscally responsible, and yet being good on education and other issues that matter to the voters of those states.