Senator King the subject of much national attention

7:20 PM, Jan 4, 2013   |    comments
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Angus King to caucus with Democrats

(NEWS CENTER) -- Sen. Angus King (I - ME) has barely been a senator for 24 hours, but he's already appeared on NBC Nightly News and is booked on Meet the Press, the longest-running Sunday talk show in the country.

In an interview with NEWS CENTER's Bill Green today, Sen. King said, "Because I'm an independent, I think I'm a kind of exotic flower to the national media. They don't quite know what to make of me."

NBC Political Director Chuck Todd says there is some truth to that. He says national reporters are interested in King's story because of the frustration around America that there are fewer centrists in government. Todd said, "He probably lines up more with the Democratic party than with the Republican party. But there's this fascination -- can a political independent survive in today's politics."

Dan Shea, the director of Colby College's Goldfarb Center for Public Affairs and Civic Engagement, said Senator King's assignments to the Rules, Armed Services, Intelligence and Budget committees show that Democrats are serious about courting him, and that he may already have some clout. While Democrats do have a strong 55 to 45 majority, there are certain issues, like filibuster reform, where a few key votes will make a big difference.

Shea said, "So he has a lot of power for a freshman member of the senate. He does have a lot of power."

Todd also feels that King's way with words doesn't hurt either. The Senator is known as an excellent public speaker, and he has a lot of Washington experience. "If he weren't as media savvy," Todd said, "I don't think the Democrats would be so potentially -- oddly, I say supportive, but I say potentially fearful if they didn't have him on their side."

King said he knows the honeymoon won't last, but he's feeling good about his Washington welcome so far. "I didn't know if because I was an Independent everyone would go 'Don't bother us' or 'Go away kid,' but instead the reception has been really positive."

You can see Senator King's appearance on Meet the Press this Sunday on NBC.


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