Ed Gillespie: GOP Will Sweep 2012, Voters Now See Obama in 'Over His Head'

Tuesday, 12 Jul 2011 03:08 PM

By Martin Gould and Kathleen Walter

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The GOP will win the Senate, the House, and the White House in 2012, former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie predicted confidently in an exclusive Newsmax.TV interview.

Voters who cast ballots for Barack Obama in 2008 now see that he is “in over his head,” Gillespie said. A combination of a bad economy, a failure in leadership, and Republican redistricting of House seats in many states will give the party the trifecta, he said.

“A lot of people who voted in 2008 thought they were voting to change Washington. They didn’t think they were voting to change America. But that’s what they got with Barack Obama, and they’re disconcerted about that right now,” Gillespie said.

“They don’t want to bust loose from the free market principles and moorings and individual liberty that the founders established this country on and there’s going to be a pretty strong swing back more to the center, toward the right.”

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Gillespie now heads the conservative polling group Resurgent Republic, which has been concentrating on independents who voted for Obama in the last presidential election. Focus groups show many are now ready to go Republican.

“It will be very difficult for President Obama to be re-elected,” he said. “These independent voters . . . are not ready to blame him for making things worse. They do, however, recognize that he hasn’t made things better.

“They see it more as sins of omission, that he took his eye off the ball and hasn’t focused on the economy. They see it as a failure of leadership in many ways.

“It’s a real danger sign for any president when some of your past voters think that you’re in over your head.”

Voters in the focus groups mainly still give Obama a positive job approval rating but believe he spent too much of his first two years in office concentrating on healthcare instead of jobs and the economy, Gillespie said.

But Gillespie warned Republicans that efforts to repeal Obamacare also will be seen as a distraction unless the party couches it the right way.

“There’s a need for Republicans to educate voters that there’s a direct connection between the enactment of the Obama healthcare bill with its punitive mandates, and the job-killing impact of that.

“If we repeal Obamacare, we will help unleash job creation in the economy. But we need to make that connection more clear to independent voters,” he said.

Independents are very concerned about government spending, Gillespie said. “They are not in favor of any blank check when it comes to raising the debt ceiling. They want to see reforms made and spending cuts made before any increase in the debt ceiling, they don’t want to see business as usual,” he said.

“They see it as a huge disconnect between Washington, D.C., and their daily lives. When I run up against the limit on my credit card, I don’t just get to say I’ll increase the limit by $2,000, I have to cut back on my spending and change my habits.

“In Washington, they don’t seem to have those kind of rules and it’s very frustrating to these voters.”

Surprisingly, he found that the debate over the future of Medicare and Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget proposal has not percolated down to the voters. Even seniors failed to recognize that there is a real danger of the system going broke, he said.

“Most of these folks don’t believe that it will go bankrupt — that Washington and politicians won’t allow that to happen.

“We had to take it to another level and say that, in order for that not to happen, you are going to have to have massive tax increases or deep cuts in benefits for beneficiaries unless you make reforms. They understood it at that point.”

When it comes to next year’s elections, Gillespie said Republicans have a huge advantage in Congress. In the Senate, only 10 Republican seats will up for grabs. Democrats will have to defend 23 seats and many will be open as sitting members retire. Others are in what he called “very difficult territory” for Democrats.

The fact that the GOP did so well in the 2010 midterm elections meant that Republicans are now in power in many states, he said.

“That gives us the pen to draw the district lines for new Congressional districts and that will be advantageous in helping us hold the House majority.

“So I believe in January 2013, Republicans will be in control of the House, the Senate, and the White House.”


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