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House Campaign Chair: Obama's Low Ratings Won't Hurt Democrats

By Tuesday, 29 July 2014 02:00 PM Current | Bio | Archive

President Barack Obama's low popularity ratings among voters will not harm Democrats running for office in November's midterm elections, insists Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel.

Instead, they will be trumped by even greater disapproval of Republican-backed lawsuits against the president and calls for his impeachment.

Speaking at a press breakfast in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday morning, Israel, a congressman from New York, said the attention given the proposed lawsuits and impeachment of Obama is "fundamentally misfiring" and "moving our base in a big way.

"And it's moving swing voters as well," Israel said.

The DCCC chief said that barely two days after House Majority Whip-elect Steve Scalise of Louisiana refused on national television to repudiate calls by fellow Republicans to impeach Obama, "we raised $1 million in one day."

"That was $1 million raised online, or 50,000 donations in 24 hours."

Israel said House Speaker John Boehner, along with GOP Rep. Darrell Issa, chairman of the  House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, "make the case for us every time they talk about impeachment or don't take it off the table."

He pointed to a CNN poll that found 67 percent of likely voters nationwide were against the House-backed lawsuits against the president and 65 percent opposed impeachment, while "57 percent among Republican voters support impeachment. That's why Scalise won't rule it out."

Noting that midterm elections in the third cycle of an eight-year presidency historically go strongly against the party in the White House, Newsmax asked Israel why he felt Obama's low popularity ratings would not help history repeat itself in the fall.

"Because a new history is being written," he shot back.

Israel conceded that "the president's numbers are not where we want them to be," but quickly added that the DCCC's polls show 19 percent approval for House Republicans, and that spells "voter revulsion being written by the Republicans."

The current publicity given lawsuits and impeachment, he said, is something "which you didn't see since the Clinton days, when there was a lawsuit a day" leading up to the 42nd president's impeachment in 1998. (That year, Clinton and the Democrats actually defied the "third-year jinx" of big losses in their final midterm election cycle and gained seats in the House).

In contrast to the Republican agenda, Israel said, Democrats were focused on "paycheck fairness [for women], which we find is a top testing motivator [to vote], and education," specifically on concerns about students saddled with debts from college loans.

Even "red meat" issues such as immigration and Obamacare that Republicans are counting on to boost their chances in November are less potent than thought by Obama's opponents, according to Israel. "The more [Republicans] refuse to pass comprehensive immigration reform, the more 'persuadable' voters are won into the Democratic column," he said.

As for Obamacare, Israel believes Republicans are starting to feel "blowback" because, according to his committee's polls, "if you contrast a Republican who is just for repealing the Affordable Care Act with a Democrat who calls for fixing it but not going back to what [existed before it was enacted], the Democrat wins decisively all the time."

Israel named seven Republican-held House districts as vulnerable to Democratic takeover: those of retiring Reps. Gary Miller in California, Jon Runyan in New Jersey, Frank Wolf in Virginia, and Tom Latham in Iowa; and Reps. Steve Southerland in Florida; Mike Coffman in Colorado; and Michael Grimm in New York — Grimm "for obvious reasons," he added, referring to the New Yorker's ongoing ethical turmoil.

In contrast, he named only one Democrat House Member in danger: Minnesota's Rick Nolan, who faces "a multimillionaire [Republican], Stewart Mills III. When you have inherited wealth against you, I'm concerned."

And citing a familiar point made about the long-haired, often-unshaven Mills, "he looks like Brad Pitt."

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.


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President Barack Obama's low popularity ratings among voters will not harm Democrats running for office in November's midterm elections, insists Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel.
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Tuesday, 29 July 2014 02:00 PM
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