Speak No Evil in the Senate Cafeteria

By: Garrett M. Graff

As Congress heads into its August recess, the half a dozen senators running for president will get some valued time on the campaign trail. With so many senators running, the presidential race should be a hot subject of discussion in Senate cafeterias and offices. Not so, say Senate insiders.


Few senators want to risk upsetting their colleagues by endorsing one candidate over another. While a few have taken a leap—mostly home-state colleagues such as Chuck Schumer endorsing Hillary Rodham Clinton and Pat Roberts endorsing Sam Brownback—the presidential race is largely going ignored day to day.

“It’s the great unspoken subject,” says one Democratic Senate chief of staff. “We all need this person for a vote on that issue and that person for a vote on this issue. It’s bipartisan.”

This piece originally appeared in the August 2007 edition of the magazine.