Capitol Hill isn't exactly home to the nation's most beloved institutions. Over half of Americans say that they have little or no confidence in Congress, according to the latest NBC/WSJ poll, and less than a third say that their representatives in Congress deserve to be re-elected in November.
Many things about the United States Senate -- sometimes described as "the world's greatest deliberative body" -- are opaque and inaccessible to all but a tiny portion of Beltway insiders. Its rules are complex, its history is long and rich, and the relationships between its members can often make the difference between gridlock and legislative victory.
NBC Senate producer Ken Strickland sat down with nine departing senators to get their takes on how the Senate works, what has changed during their tenure there, and what they’ve observed about their colleagues. He conducted hours of interviews, comprising over 130 pages of written transcripts, in order to better understand these lawmakers' combined 158 years of service in the upper chamber.
Starting Monday, a 4-day series of stories about the "Exit Interviews" he conducted will be posted on msnbc.com and here on First Read.
Be sure to check it out.