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Rep. Blackburn: I Knew The Presidential Race Would Be Close

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

One of President-elect Donald Trump's supporters in Congress is on the line. Tennessee Republican Marsha Blackburn endorsed him this spring, and she's on the phone from Nashville. Congresswoman, welcome to the program.

MARSHA BLACKBURN: Thank you so much. I'm delighted to be with you.

INSKEEP: And now, be honest, were even you surprised?

BLACKBURN: I knew it was going to be close. Having been out on the campaign trail and in different states, I felt as if Donald Trump was going to win because you could feel the ground game with him. And when you were out and about in different states, you saw Trump signs, but you didn't say Clinton signs.

INSKEEP: Now, you said the ground game. It was said often Trump didn't have much of a ground game, although the Republican Party did. Do you mean something other than a big organization?

BLACKBURN: No. When you look at the people that are coming out and are volunteering - and this is something that Reince Priebus and the Republican Party did so well. You didn't have armies of paid volunteers, but what you had were armies of people who were passionate about getting this country back on the right track. And they showed up. They did the heavy lift. They activated what I call the network of you - the Y-O-U - you and your network of friends. And this was a personal-contact-type race. When you have high technology, it requires high touch. And that is what this campaign did.

INSKEEP: OK.

BLACKBURN: When you take a state like New Hampshire, the ground game was amazing there - hundreds of thousands of doors knocked.

INSKEEP: Let me ask about something here, Congresswoman. Mara Liasson, our correspondent, was on a little bit earlier and noted that it appears that about two-thirds of voters consider Mr. Trump unqualified to be president. And yet, you do the math, clearly some people who thought he was unqualified voted for him anyway. Why do you think that is?

BLACKBURN: People are ready for change. They look at Mr. Trump, and they see a different set of expertise. The qualification for being president has been that you're a citizen of this country and that you are willing to step up and serve the country. And that is how people in our country step up for political service, whether it is at the local, state or federal level. And people saw in Donald Trump someone who would transfer those skills from the private sector to the public sector, and they rejected the traditional experience which Hillary Clinton had.

INSKEEP: How do - how much do you think the Supreme Court is going to change?

BLACKBURN: I think you will see more constitutional jurists on the Supreme Court.

INSKEEP: Although, I do have to ask - because somebody will ask the question - should Democrats in the Senate do what Republicans just did and hold off confirming anybody until the next election?

BLACKBURN: You're going to see with the Senate - and now that there are some Democrat senators who are really very amenable to working with the Republican senators, you're going to see some things get done. And I look forward to that - getting legislation through the House and Senate and to the president's desk, getting confirmations quickly through the Senate and getting this country back on track. People are tired of divisiveness. They are tired of things not being done, and it is indeed time to make America one again.

INSKEEP: Just got about 10 seconds. Did you say that you think Democrats are ready to work with Republicans?

BLACKBURN: I do. I do. And in the House, you have had many bipartisan bills that have come to the House and have gone to the Senate.

INSKEEP: OK, got to stop you there. But Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, thanks very much for your time this morning.

BLACKBURN: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.