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March 29, 2010

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Television analysts kick-off IUS Sanders Lecture Series

NEW ALBANY — Americans are increasingly skeptical of government, but Republicans should be wary of overconfidence as congressional midterm elections approach, a former White House press secretary and a leader of the Democratic National Committee said Monday.

The political landscape of the nation was debated during the inaugural event of the Indiana University Southeast Sanders Speaker Series. It featured Dana Perino — who served as White House Press Secretary under George W. Bush — and Donna Brazile, vice chair of voter registration and participation for the DNC.

During her presentation, Brazile said pessimism among voters has been growing for a year.

“They’re worried about their own economic future,” she said.

While personal support for President Barack Obama is still modest, Brazile conceded Americans are quite divided on his job performance.

But the nation’s top leader isn’t the only one suffering from waning approval ratings.

“Congress is about as popular as a root canal,” said Brazile — who appears as an analysis on several television networks, including CNN — during a colorful and many times humorous summary of the nation’s political atmosphere.

Under her worst-case scenario, Democrats could lose 60 seats in the U.S. House and be reduced to 49 Senators. But Perino and Brazile agreed the potential game-changer will be the economy.

“It’s going to be a very interesting political season,” Brazile said.

She added Democrats will assuredly lose some congressional seats in November, but Republicans could misstep if they assume victory.

It’s premature for Republicans to believe they can take back the House and possibly sway the Senate, Perino concurred. But it’s the “era of the sober voter” and Americans are galled with leadership, she continued.

Health care, for example, greatly divided many voters and could lead to problems when the legislation becomes goes from ink on paper to being practiced, Perino said.

“The implementation of [health care] is going to be much harder,” she said.

She credited Republicans for galvanizing the party following Democratic victories in congress and in the White House in 2008.

“I have never seen Republicans act as united as they have this past year,” she said.

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