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A few tid-bits from last night’s Brit Hume panel:

Hume: Well Mort, what about this? The president said that this will save lives. We know the CIA very much felt that this detention and questioning program that it had was important. The bill now authorizes that. It was passed over not unanimous but majority Democrat opposition, and you heard some of the criticisms.

MORT KONDRACKE: Well, as to that human rights watch spokesperson, it’s just false that this is — you can lock them up and throw away the key is not correct. I mean, these detainees have a right to go to a military — they have been tried in a military tribunal. The case goes on appeal to the U.S. district — the Circuit Court of appeals for the District of Columbia, second highest court in the land, which reviews the evidence. And so there is judicial review of a conviction, at least, and so, you know, it’s just flatly false.

I mean, I think that the president made a strong case for this bill at the time and he made a strong case today that this has saved lives and no one has challenged that. I mean, people on the intelligence committees certainly has reviewed how Muhammad and others were interrogated and what it produced and nobody’s challenged that lives were saved as a result of that…

HUME: Does this issue get enough visibility to make a difference in this campaign?

FRED BARNES: It should, but it probably won’t. You know, I’m reminded when I read the Democratic statements, and that statement — that famous statement by Robert Jackson, the attorney general, Supreme Court justice under Franklin Roosevelt, when he said the Constitution is not a suicide pact…

HUME: And our friends at National Public Radio did some polling recently and they did something a little different. They went to the battleground races, the 48 or so seats where the incumbent may be in some trouble which could result in a shift. Now, 38 of those races involve seats held by Republicans, nine by Democrats, one by an Independent. And they asked, with the names of the candidates, they asked for which party — which candidate you favor. And Democrats were favored 50 percent to 43 percent and that’s the same — essentially the same as it was back in July which shows that a race that was favoring the Democrats then is favoring the Democrats now, though not by much more.

Now, let’s look at the races in the districts that are now held, 38 of them, held by Republicans. The margin is 48-44 percent Democrat. That’s not good news for the Republicans, but it’s not nearly as bad as the national picture where you have this large margin for the Democrats over Republicans in what’s called a generic ballot…

KONDRACKE: Well, in those 38 districts with Republican incumbents, you would normally expect that the Republican advantage would be 52, 55, 56, 57 up 57…

HUME: But these are not just — he’s are not any Republican seats, these are the Republican seats that are really contested this year. The ones where the Republicans were thought to be in the most trouble.

KONDRACKE: Clearly they wouldn’t have Republican incumbents if a Republican hadn’t carried a majority of the ballots in the last election. So, for the Democrats to have a four-point edge in those districts is significant and it’s not good news for the Republicans.

BARNES: Well, it’s significant, but wasn’t as bad as I thought, actually. And if you think that Republicans in a year where their president, their party have been pilloried all year by Democrats, the press, and so on, then, you might think they’d underpoll a little bit, and I do, then it’s probably roughly even in those competitive districts. And what this means, Brit, is that…If, at the end of the day there is a tilt toward Republicans at the end of the campaign, there’s not one right now, but I say if there were one, if Republicans can gain some momentum, a lot of those close seats would tilt in their direction and they might avoid disaster. They’re going to lose seats but not the House.

NRO Staff — Members of the National Review Online editorial and operational teams are included under the umbrella “NR Staff.”

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