From NBC's Jennifer Colby
Sens. Elizabeth Dole and Chuck Schumer, the respective chairs of the GOP and Democratic Senate campaign committees, gave differing views on this year's Senate races at the National Press Club this afternoon. Schumer said the Democratic Party has set records in fundraising this election cycle, and that the money would be used to play offense in traditional Republican states like Tennessee and Virginia. He also used Bush's "cut and run" metaphor to describe GOP incumbents distancing themselves from the administration during their campaigns. "The bottom line is, turning out Democrats to vote this year will be like pouring water downhill," he said. But he refused to predict that Democrats will take back the Senate. "It is hardly a certainty. No one on our side is breaking champagne just yet" -- although he did say he'd be disappointed if they don't pick up seats.
Dole, meanwhile, attributed the anti-incumbent sentiment solely to the "Six-Year Itch" -- the phenomenon of a second-term president's party losing seats in a midterm election. "Bush is not on the ballot," she affirmed. "While Democrats talk about Bush, our candidates will talk about their records." But will Republicans hold onto the Senate? Dole didn't say much, except: "Quality will prevail."