On Sunday, spotlight may fall on missing 'Meet the Press' guest Rand Paul

Paul, who won the GOP nomination to run for an open Senate seat in Kentucky this week, canceled an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” raising the eyebrows of the show’s producers and political observers around the country.

Paul became only the third guest to nix a spot in the 62-year history of the show, according to producers. Paul had landed in hot water after he made statements suggesting he didn’t agree with provisions in the 1964 Civil Rights Act that private businesses should not discriminate.

Paul’s defection all but ensures more attention will be paid this week to David Gregory and “Meet the Press.”


That could benefit Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.), who is now the only candidate for office appearing on the show. Sestak this week defeated fifth-term incumbent Sen. Arlen Specter (Pa.), who switched from Republican to Democrat last year, to win the Democratic nomination for the Senate. 

The second-term congressman will also appear on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

Specter lost despite having the support of the White House, labor and the Pennsylvania Democratic establishment.

One of Specter’s biggest backers, Gov. Ed Rendell (D-Pa.) will appear on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Sestak’s and Paul’s victory helped illustrate the anti-Washington attitude voters are bringing into this election season. With unemployment a hair under 10 percent and lingering anger over the 2008 financial bailouts approved by Congress, many incumbent lawmakers are feeling the pressure.

The man tasked with protecting the Democrats’ congressional majorities, Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael Kaine'Granite Express' flight to take staffers, journalists to NH after Iowa caucuses Overnight Health Care — Presented by Johnson & Johnson — Senate panel approves Trump FDA pick | Biden downplays Dem enthusiasm around 'Medicare for All' | Trump officials unveil program for free HIV prevention drugs for uninsured Trump's FDA nominee approved by Senate panel MORE, will do double-duty, appearing on “Fox News Sunday” and ABC’s “This Week.”

Alongside him on each show will be the man who is trying to take back Congress for the GOP, Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele.

The two lawmakers tasked with getting members of their parties elected to the Senate, National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Jon Cornyn (R-Texas) and Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Robert MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezThe job no GOP senator wants: 'I'd rather have a root canal' Senate passes legislation supporting Hong Kong protesters Graham blocks resolution recognizing Armenian genocide after Erdoğan meeting MORE (D-N.J.), will go head to head on “Meet the Press.”

“Fox News Sunday” will host an early backer of Paul – 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin.  The former Alaska governor is a Fox News analyst, but she has also endorsed conservative candidates and fundraised for them using her political action committee.

Palin is a favorite of Tea Party activists, as is Paul.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R), a potential opponent of Palin in the 2012 presidential race, will appear on CNN’s “State  of the Union.”

Congress still needs to finish work on a Wall Street reform bill, which passed the Senate on Thursday. Lawmakers are also considering legislation to respond to the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Senate Republican Conference Chairman Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderRick Perry says Trump is the 'chosen one' sent 'to do great things' Impeachment will make some Senate Republicans squirm Crunch time for Congress on surprise medical bills MORE (R-Tenn.) will go on “Face the Nation” to discuss these issues, as will White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, who will likely face questions about Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair, who was relieved of his duties Thursday.

BP managing director Bob Dudley will go on “State of the Union” to discuss the spill, which has caused widespread environmental damage in the Gulf and is threatening the coastline.