Van Hollen confident Democrats won't lose House
By Aaron Blake
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, August 28, 2010; A2
Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) said Friday that he is "confident"
that his party will keep control of the House after November's election.
Van Hollen, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign
Committee, said Democrats have three things working in their favor that
will help prevent their losing the 39 seats that would cost them the
House: Americans have a negative view the Republican Party; Republicans
have nominated extreme "tea party" candidates in many races; and
Democrats have been preparing for nearly two years for a difficult
"We have been preparing from day one for what we knew would be a
very tough campaign season," Van Hollen said during a news conference
at the National Press Club. "I am confident that Democrats will retain
control of the House."
The idea that the House could flip to Republican control gained
momentum after White House press secretary Robert Gibbs broached the
possibility last month. Since then, the economy has soured and the
political outlook has only gotten worse for Democrats.
This week, House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R) gave a speech
in his home state of Ohio and called for the firing of President
Obama's top economic advisers, including Treasury Secretary Timothy F.
Geithner and White House adviser Lawrence H. Summers.
Boehner said the Obama administration has put too rosy a face on the
country's economic situation.
"The worse things get, the more they circle the wagons and defend
the indefensible," Boehner said.
On Friday, Republicans said Van Hollen - much like Obama's economic
team and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) - painting over a gloomy
picture for his party.
"The failed policies of the Obama-Pelosi agenda are the very reason
why this so-called 'Recovery Summer' has turned into the Run-for-Cover
Summer for so many Democrats who are afraid to face the voters," said
Ken Spain, a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional
Committee. "They know that the dam is about to break."
At the news conference, Van Hollen defended the Democratic
leadership on the economy and the 2009 stimulus package. On the latter
count, he pointed to a recent report from the nonpartisan Congressional
Budget Office that said the stimulus might have added 3.3 million jobs
to the U.S. economy during the second quarter and averted another
Van Hollen also emphasized his belief that many voters are still not
paying attention to this year's elections and that many campaigns have
yet to begin in earnest. He said a slew of early Republican polls
suggesting doom for his party underestimate the enthusiasm of
Many of those polls show Republicans leading Democratic incumbents
although voters know little about the GOP candidates. In some cases,
the lead is in the double digits.
Van Hollen said his candidates will make the case that those
Republicans represent a return to failed policies - the ones that led
to the economic troubles that are haunting the Democrats' electoral
prospects right now.
"I'm not suggesting the American people are bullish on either party,
but what I am suggesting is that they consistently have greater
confidence in the Democrats," Van Hollen said.