The 'Blue Dog' Factor
What will be your biggest challenge?
There are  new members of Congress, and the most difficult thing is to try to get people to understand what you are about ... and to be able to get your message [to] Congress about what's important to you and your constituents.
There has been a lot of talk by President Bush and members of Congress about bipartisanship. Will Democrats and Republicans be able to work together?
Having bipartisan support is not only better for our country; it's better for our constituents. It is absolutely vital to be able to accomplish things. If you look at balancing the budget, I certainly feel that the blue dogs have been able to make sure that we don't overspend and that there is accountability and checks and balances. I think we will get a tremendous amount of bipartisan support.
You were recruited for a congressional run by Republicans when you were living in Tennessee in 2001. Have you ever thought of switching parties?
I had supported a Republican candidate in Tennessee, and I guess they assumed I was a Republican. I was flattered and very excited, and thanked them for the opportunity, but I told them that I was a Democrat. What makes me a Democrat is the words of my grandmother, my father, my whole family, and my church: to help those who cannot help themselves.
Did football prepare you at all for politics?
It has prepared me to work together ... work in a bipartisan fashion, and work with the blue dogs. And being a quarterback is a leadership role on a team in which you have to be able to communicate to other people. Sometimes those communications are not done verbally but are done through actions and through your work ethic.