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  America's Best Senators - Kent Conrad: The Statistician
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ContributorMonsieur 
Last EditedMonsieur  Jan 26, 2008 11:00pm
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MediaWeekly News Magazine - TIME Magazine
News DateSaturday, April 15, 2006 04:00:00 AM UTC0:0
DescriptionIn 2001 the staff of the senate rules Committee called Kent Conrad's office with a complaint—and a solution. The North Dakota Democrat was using more charts than all the other Senators combined, so to free printing time for others, they gave him his own equipment. Last month during his 37-minute opening statement in the battle over the budget, Conrad went through 37 charts. "We call him chart man," teases Republican Whip Mitch McConnell. McConnell grudgingly concedes, though, that "[Conrad] does a good job of representing [the Democrats'] arguments."

Conrad, 58, long ago took the advice party leaders give Senate newcomers: pick one area and master it. That gives you clout and guarantees that someone on your side knows what he or she is talking about. Over 20 years, Conrad, the ranking Democrat on the Budget Committee, has made himself the king of that most important part of the Senate's business—raising and spending the taxpayers' money. "As I read history, nothing is more important than a strong and growing economy," he says. "I think that's been the genius of America, and I believe these runaway debts threaten it all."
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