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The Insiders: From within the belly of the beast

There's an old line about how making television is a little like making sausages: the final product may be enticing, but the process to create it is anything but.

Well, the same can be said of political campaigns.

The stakes are high and so is the pressure on politicians and their campaigns to perform. The drama, the debates, the gaffes, the name-calling and the battle for the hearts and minds of the Canadian people -- every twist and turn is an opportunity for it all to go spectacularly well, or horribly wrong.

To most outsiders, the backrooms are just that, in the back and invisible. But in reality, inside them there lurks a minute-by-minute grind of decisions, sales pitches and fights. And it's not for the faint of heart.

Few people know what a high-profile campaign is like from within the belly of the beast. Two who do are our Insiders, David Herle and Jaime Watt. They've run some of the top political campaigns in this country and they've got the wins (and scars) to prove it. David Herle chaired two Liberal campaigns (2004 and 2006); Jaime Watt has worked at the senior levels of various Conservative campaigns since the early 1980s.

Neither are active this time, so it's not their partisanship we're interested in, but rather their insight into what happens in the backrooms of election campaigns. You'll be able to watch them every Tuesday night on the National.

David and Jaime will also blog during the campaign too, so come back here for their breakdown of the decisions and trends of this Election 41.