Blackburn, Bredesen on working with the president

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- President Donald Trump isn't on November's ballot. But, how voters feel about him could influence who they choose in the race to become your next Senator

Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn and Democratic former Governor Phil Bredesen said they can work with the president -- but that potential cooperation looks dramatically different from opposing sides of the aisle.

"We need Marsha Blackburn," President Donald Trump declares in a campaign ad paid for by Marsha for Senate. She embraces him in the ad, an apt political metaphor for how she has touted her relationship with him on the campaign trail.

Blackburn said grabbing the president's ear - means he'll hear more about the needs of the Volunteer State. "The president is a great listener," she said in a one-on-one interview, "and I appreciate that I have the opportunity to talk with him and the Vice President regularly."

Blackburn said she'll use her relationship to argue for more military funding and better health care for veterans. When she does disagree with the president, she said staying at the table may convince him to change course on issues like deficit spending and tariffs.

"When I disagree, I have always found that it is best to do it in a respectful manner," she noted.

Bredesen's campaign ads make reference to the president. "I've said before, if President Trump proposes something good for Tennessee, I'll be with him," Phil Bredesen says to the camera in one, "but if he proposes something that hurts Tennessee, I'll oppose it."

In Bredesen's one-on-one interview, he said he and the president share common ground when it comes to cutting regulation and improving the economy. "We can deal together," Bredesen said, "I'm not trying to run against him."

There's a wall between the two on immigration though. Bredesen said undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children should be recognized as citizens, and he's appalled by how families seeking asylum are treated at the border.

More so than buddying up to the president though, Bredesen's ability to gain influence in D.C. may rest in becoming a rare swing vote in the Senate. "I happen to be a democrat, it's an organization I belong to, not a religion," he said of his willingness to vote with either party depending on the issue.

This is the third and final piece in our series exploring the race to fill the seat of outgoing Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn). Our previous stories can be found in the 'Related Stories' tab.

You can watch our full interviews with Rep. Blackburn and Gov. Bredesen above. And, if you're interested in the two candidates running to replace long-time U.S. Representative Jimmy Duncan (R-Tenn.) our full conversations with Republican Tim Burchett and Democrat Renee Hoyos can also be found in the video section above.

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