By
The Daily Rundown
updated 3/21/2013 12:18:51 PM ET 2013-03-21T16:18:51

While millions of sports fans put the finishing touches on their NCAA brackets, The Daily Rundown and the NBC Political Unit are launching our own version of March Madness. We're calling it “Senate Madness"– our online contest pitting history’s most consequential U.S. senators against one another.

While millions of sports fans put the finishing touches on their NCAA brackets, The Daily Rundown and the NBC Political Unit are launching our own version of March Madness. We’re calling it “Senate Madness”—our online contest pitting history’s most consequential U.S. senators against one another.

As we unveiled Thursday on The Daily Rundown, the first match up is our play-in to be the 16th seed in the Modern Day bracket. It pits Lloyd Bentsen against Phil Gramm—Texas Democrat vs. Texas Republican, Texas Longhorn vs. Texas A&M Aggie. You can cast your vote here.

Our brackets are divided into different eras: 19th Century, 20th Century, Modern Day (relatively), and All of the Above (a grab-bag from different eras).

Get the rest of the details from NBC’s First Read and tune in Monday when we reveal the full bracket.

Video: March Madness gets political: Play along with our Senate game

  1. Closed captioning of: March Madness gets political: Play along with our Senate game

    >> bit more light-hearted, but today is sort of the formal kickoff over here, i know you know it, the formal kickoff over here of a little something we call march madness , the ncaa tournament , a/k/a georgetown's run to a national championship .

    >> good luck with that.

    >> there is a great senate march madness tell me more.

    >> reporter: here's what we've done. so we consulted historians, consulted a whole bunch of folks and culled together a list of 65 former senators, none of the current senators were eligible, 65 of we deemed the most consequently senators. we're going to reveal the entire bracket on sunday. we have four regions --

    >> well, just as he was getting to it. i know it's going to kill him to not describe this but we have domenico here. d ocht dom, pick up where chuck left off.

    >> i like to describe myself as an amateur bracketologist. the thing is we have these four regions, the 19th century , 20th century , modern day and mixed. when you look at the four --

    >> can i ask you mixed era, can you explain it?

    >> mixed era, people who are from one era to another. you couldn't really place them. they may have been in one at one time and then also kind of bled over into another era. you know, there are people who were left over not from -- not really fell into the 19th or 20th --

    >> got it, got it, go ahead.

    >> the top seeds, we'll unveil our top seeds here.

    >> i'm getting excited.

    >> the number ones , right. we have in the 19th century daniel webster , who is known as the great orator. in the 20th century , lbj. modern day ,kennedy. and in the mix's era. henry clay . the first man laid in state at the capitol rotundrotunda. a lot of people sit here in washington and are so concerned about what's in front of them. sometimes we need to take a look back to really understand where this country has been and what it's been through. remember, this is of consequence, not greatest. we want to emphasize that. there's going to be a lack of women in this because we're not doing people who are presently in congress.

    >> no current senators.

    >> no current senators. no harry reid , no mitch mcconnell .

    >> and i believe chuck is back from ramallah.

    >> reporter: i am, i am.

    >> we just went with domenico through the number one seeds. my question is who is the number one of the number ones ? who's the top top seed?

    >> reporter: who's the overall number one seed? well, look, the tournament selection committee, there was a little controversy. there's a fifth number one seed. just like miami should have been a number one, but there wasn't a fifth number one. everett dirksen should have been a number one but there just wasn't room. so we're giving this away. he's a high number two. i think the overall number one seed is going to be lbj considering the ascention to the presidency and the setup. one more thing about how we put this together because we know there's going to be somebody to take to twitter and complain and try to make this not fun. the fact of the matter is there are going to be some senators on here who are consequential and on the wrong side of history but that doesn't make them any less consequential and norimportant in american history . so we assume that voters, and everybody will get to vote, will vote according low on some of these people that will make the list when we up veil the full bracket. and we have a play-in game and that's the one we're launching today. it's an all texas deal. a longhorn versus an aggie. a republican versus a democrat, lloyd benson versus phil graham . actually they both represent their era, sort of the last of the yellow dog democrats. the first of the blue dog democrats in phil gramm to turn republican. there it is, start your voting. it's going to be fun. and i have to say i don't expect all four of our number ones to make it to our final four.

    >> i love this idea. chuck, i just don't know what you mean about people taking to twitter to complain. i'm not familiar with that. anyway, thank you, chuck.

    >> reporter: it never happens.

    >> go to first read on nbcpolitics.com to get your senate madness on. vote for whether lloyd bentsen or phil gramm should be the 64th member of the tournament. the winner moves on to our other matchups that will begin next week. we'll unveil the brackets beginning on monday.

    >>> our gaggle is coming up

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