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Mr. Blunt said he thinks the roles have changed because House lawmakers tend to represent more partisan districts, while senators are forced to contend with the diverse views of an entire state.

“The House is more likely to represent a kind of homogenous, stable, kind of understood, predictable district than the senator, who is trying to respond to the interests of reactionary states,” he said.

Unusual forum

The leading Democratic presidential contenders will participate in a forum on homosexual issues next month, co-sponsored by an advocacy group and a cable channel aimed at homosexuals.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois and former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina have agreed to appear in the live, one-hour forum in Los Angeles on Aug. 9. The program is the result of a joint effort by the Human Rights Campaign and the LOGO cable channel, which will broadcast the event. LOGO also will stream the forum live on its Web site, the Associated Press reports.

Sen. Christopher J. Dodd of Connecticut and Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware declined the invitation to appear at the forum, citing scheduling conflicts. New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich of Ohio have not said whether they will attend.

Former Sen. Mike Gravel of Alaska was not invited to participate because he did not meet a $100,000 fundraising threshold, HRC spokesman Brad Luna said.

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or