Senate mulling idea of primary rotation

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    Senate mulling idea of primary rotation

    WASHINGTON Questions about whether Congress has the authority to alter the presidential primary system dominated a hearing Wednesday on a bill that would replace the current front-loaded process with a rotating regional plan.
    In the rush to move their nomination process earlier in the 2008 calendar, 20 states plan to hold primaries or caucuses on the Feb. 5 "Super-Duper Tuesday."

    "Our presidential primary system is broken and it's time to stop the primary arms race," said Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat and one of the bill's three original sponsors.

    "The NFL schedules 16 contests over five months to determine its champion," the Tennessee Republican said. "The presidential nominating process uses the equivalent of two preseason games in Iowa and New Hampshire to narrow the contest to two or three and sometimes those two preseason contests pick the winner."

    The bill by Klobuchar, Alexander and Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., would create four regions, with states in the East, West, Midwest and South taking turns being first. Primaries would be held the first Tuesday of March, April, May and June. It would take effect in 2012.