President Obama’s top spokesman admitted Sunday there’s “no doubt” Democrats could lose their grip over the House of Representatives in this fall’s elections.
“I think there is no doubt there are enough seats in play – that could cause Republicans to gain control. There’s no doubt about that,” White House press secretary Robert Gibbs told NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
The talking point from the always-scripted Gibbs seemed calculated to scare swing voters and fire up the party’s somewhat dispirited grass-roots activist base for the fall campaign by raising the specter that the political right could seize the House. Republicans also stand to chip away at the Democrats’ 59-seat Senate majority.
Obama’s poll numbers have sagged as he has tried to wrestle with a snail-paced economic recovery, a still-controversial health care reform plan, the early bungling of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill disaster and a costly war in Afghanistan.
The Justice Department’s suit last week to block Arizona’s controversial law to catch illegal immigrants also has Democratic lawmakers in the West worried.
Democratic governors voiced worry about the political impact of the suit in a private meeting with White House officials over the weekend, The New York Times reported Sunday night.
But Attorney General Eric Holder said on “Face the Nation” Sunday that the government might file a second suit if there is evidence of racial profiling in Arizona.
Gibbs said the Democrats will have to fight hard to maintain a House majority.
To those who call Obama’s record so far a disappointment, especially on the economy, Gibbs said: “The car’s out of the ditch, the car’s back on the road. The question is, are you going to give the keys back to the Republicans and let them drive it back into the ditch again?”
One top Republican said Obama is wrong to lay fault “at the foot of President Bush.”
“You can’t blame President Bush for everything,” Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) said on “Fox News Sunday.”
Democrats now hold a 255-to-178 edge in the House, with two vacancies in the 435-member chamber.
Analysts say 40 to 60 House seats could be in play by fall.
Republicans would need to take back about 40 seats to reclaim the majority and oust House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
(Source: NY Daily News)