This is a partial transcript of "Special Report With Brit Hume," June 3, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.
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(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNIT ED STATES: My attitude is, show me a good senator and I'm going to back him. And we got a great senator in Jim .... I appreciate his spirit. I appreciate him working with the White House. He's an independent enough guy to tell us if we're not doing right.
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JIM ANGLE, GUEST HOST: The president's out campaigning for congressional races. So is the vice president. The liberal wing of the Democratic Party today ended a three-day conference to strategize about regaining ground from the Republicans. But the next election is still a year-and-a-half away. What's going on here?
For answers, we turn to Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia. He joins us from Charlottesville.
Welcome, Larry. Good to see you.
LARRY SABATO, UVA CENTER FOR POLITICS: Thank you, Jim.
ANGLE: So what is the hurry? We're a year-and-a-half away from the next election.
SABATO: Yes, it really is incredible, isn't it? It's been only four months since President Bush was sworn in for a second term and we're already heavy into the 2006 elections.
Every day, candidates are announcing for the House, for Senate, for governor. And the reason is, it takes so long to raise the money. Do you know, just in a little House district, a competitive candidate in 2006 will have to raise a minimum of $1 million? Some of the competitive candidates will spend $10 million each.
ANGLE: $10 million for a House race?
SABATO: For a House seat. And it takes a long time to raise that money, given the federal limits of a couple of grand per individual.
ANGLE: Well, which means that people who are running for office have to spend almost all their time raising money.
SABATO: They raise money. They appear on TV programs. They go to public events. It's a full-time job. If you don't have the financial ability to be able to take off, and not be paid, and do all of these things, you could forget about running for high office.
ANGLE: Now, Larry, it used to be that in off-year elections, non- presidential elections, especially the sixth year of an eight-year presidency, it was bad news for the party in power and usually meant a loss of quite a few seats. That has been changing in recent years, though, hasn't it?
SABATO: It certainly has. Every president from Franklin Roosevelt through Ronald Reagan had a sixth-year itch if they had two terms as president. The first president to break the jinx, Jimmy Carter, because of a public backlash to the ongoing impeachment saga.
But I'll bet you that George Bush becomes the second. After all, George Bush broke the second-year itch curse, in that he added seats in the House and the Senate in 2002. I don't know whether he's going to add seats in the House and Senate, but it's going to take a tsunami, a political tsunami, to turn the House or the Senate over to Democrats. Now, they may do better in governorships, but in the House and Senate, I don't see it.
ANGLE: Now you said Jimmy Carter. I think you meant Bill Clinton there?
SABATO: Oh, I meant Bill Clinton. I'm terribly sorry.
ANGLE: That's all right.
Now, one of the other interesting things here is that there are far fewer races that are really competitive. The number of races that are tight is very small these days.
SABATO: In 2002 and 2004, we managed to find about 30 real races out of 435. So far, we can find no more than 15. Now, that's going to go up a little. Some incumbents will surprise us and retire. But I'm going to be shocked if we have 30 real races in 2006.
And keep in mind, the Republicans have 232 House seats. That means they have an edge of 30 seats. You have to switch 16, at a minimum, 16 seats to the Democrats in order to change control of the House. That means you've got to have almost 50 or 60 seats in play to get an edge of 15, 16, 17 seats so the Democrats could take charge. Good luck.
ANGLE: Larry, we've got less than a minute. Let me just ask you about President Bush's ratings which are a little soft these days. The average so far this year, according to realpolitics.com, or in the last couple of weeks, is 47 percent approval, 48, a little over 48 disapproval.
One, what do you make of that? And two, how much effect does that have on congressional races?
SABATO: I make very little of it. First of all, it's too far from the election. President Bush may be higher by 2006. He could be lower, too.
But second, remember, these polls are measuring only adults. They're not measuring likely voters. Jim, I would bet you right now, that if we have the Bush-Kerry election again tomorrow, Bush would win it 51-48, exactly the same percentage he won it by in November of 2004.
Larry Sabato, thank you very much. Good to have you.
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