National political experts weigh in on Hawaii races - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

National political experts weigh in on Hawaii races

Just 50 days to go now until the election.

While we were in Washington, DC, last week, we sat down with two of the country's most experienced journalists – Chief White House correspondents for both CBS and NBC News - to get their take on two races that hit close to home in Hawaii.

Even from inside the beltway, Chuck Todd keeps tabs on Hawaii politics. The host of MSNBC's "The Daily Rundown" discussed the hotly contested race for Senate between Republican Linda Lingle and Democrat Mazie Hirono. Todd believes timing makes it an uphill battle for the GOP.

"If the President weren't at the top of the ticket, I think you'd see the national Republican party throwing more money here," says Todd. "I think Linda Lingle has run as a good a race as you can run as a Republican in a Presidential year when the incumbent President of the United States is from Hawaii."

When it comes to Presidential politics, Bob Schieffer knows a thing or two. CBS' anchor of "Face the Nation" has been with the network since Richard Nixon was in the White House and says the Obama-Romney race is as close as any he's covered.

"I think the only thing that could really swing public opinion now, one way or another, are these debates that are coming up. Those seem to be the last vehicle where people who have made up their mind might change their mind," Schieffer explains.

He adds it could come down to just 5% of voters in seven or eight swing states. Here in Hawaii, while the majority of voters routinely bleeds blue, Todd says the state has blazed a political trail in one very important way.

"I've always been fascinated with Hawaiian politics in the fact that it is, in this respect, it is ‘future America'. Hawaii has always been sort of culturally diverse and ironically, what used to be unique about Hawaii, is going to be, in 50 years, the rest of America."

The latest analysis by the New York Times predicts Democrats will keep control of the Senate, including the Hawaii seat.

Bob Schieffer, by the way, will be moderating the last of three Presidential debates. The first one, on domestic policy, will be held on October 3rd. The second is a Town Hall meeting on October 16th – covering foreign and domestic issues. The final one falls on October 22nd and will discuss only foreign matters. Vice-President Joe Biden and his GOP rival, Paul Ryan, will hold one debate on October 11th.

You can catch all of the debates on Hawaii News Now – on-air and on-line.

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