I recently finished reading Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin. A fascinating book, it was really a political history of four men. I always wondered how Lincoln was able to win the presidential nomonation with so little experience in Washington. (He positioned himself as everyone’s second choice.) Of course, the key event that prepared the way was the series of debates with Senator Stephen Douglas. Remember, though that Lincoln wasn’t running for the Senate directly against Douglas. In those days, the state legislatures picked the senators. So candidates were really campaigning for their parties. If their party gained control of the legislature, they would become senator.