April 8th, 2008
03:25 PM ET
4 years ago

DCCC chair warns negative presidential race could do damage

Van Hollen is chairman of the DCCC.
Van Hollen is chairman of the DCCC.

(CNN) - The top Democrat charged with helping his party maintain control of the House in 2008 warned Tuesday congressional candidates could suffer if the Democratic presidential race turns overly negative.

Speaking at a press briefing with reporters, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Chris Van Hollen predicted the Democrats will pick up House seats in November, but said the ongoing contest between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama remains a "variable."

"We've seen the energy and excitement in the early Democratic primaries, and the only thing that could hurt or cut back on that is if the Democratic primary gets so divisive that it's difficult to patch it up and heal the wounds in time to be together in November," said Van Hollen, who has not endorsed either candidate.

"We need to make sure that both candidates stay positive so you don't leave lasting wounds that will depress in anyway that kind of energy and enthusiasm," he added. "I don't think we are at that point. I do think there is a danger of reaching that point."

At the same briefing, Clinton backer and Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Chuck Schumer sounded a less dire tone, saying the hotly-contested race will benefit the party come November.

“Each is getting to refine their message and battle test their campaigns in this primary," he said. "I don't think any damaging blows have been landed by one or the other, and damaging to the general election, and I think both are very strong candidates."


Filed under: DCCC • DSCC
soundoff (255 Responses)
  1. Eric-Illinois

    Oh will these politically correct polititions quit their Whinning! Obama's camp sounds like spoiled little girls and now McCain has jumped on the "ouch" train. Just shut up and fight like hell. Does anyone really beleive that when and if Messiah obama wins this thing...everyone is just going to all of a sudden get along. Politics ain't bean bags...grow up. At least Hillary is proving that she is a a fighter. All Obama and his hatefilled supports are doing is making sure McCain wins. The Republicans and the swiftboaters will eat Obama alive.

    April 8, 2008 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  2. voice that matters

    Chrissy, Texas please be aware that hillary and Bill started it. I know it hurt to see your candidate being trashed on race and on experience daily.

    That is what the Clintons were doing to Obama and it has worked for Hillary as you know. Again Obama has all right to fight back and everyone including you now see the truth about Hillary.

    She has been exposed with her lies on foreign experience, corruptions, back stabbing, lies about snipper, she is caught on false story and she has management problem.

    Again she once said she will follow whatever the DNC rules said, but of recent she kept fighting the DNC rules and sometimes she is laughable when she said what the voters have chosen are for grab.

    Sorry Chrissy it hard to follow Hillary's comments becasue your head will spin, going back, forth, side, down and up.

    April 8, 2008 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  3. becky

    HOW MANY LISTEN TO FOX I GET SICK OF THE NEWS ,I'AM HOPING THAT PEOPLE DO NOT TURN ON HER I STILL BELEIVE A BETTER PRESIDENT,WE NEED TO STAND BEHIND HER ,I'AM AMERICAN WHO RESPECTS OUR COUNTRY,OUR FLAG,OUR FOREFATHERS OUR GREAT SONG GOD BLESS AMERICIA,I LOVE MY FREEDOM OF SPEECH,MY FREEDOM,MY SAFTY AND I GUESS I JUST LOVE THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICIA,AND I BELEIVE THAT MOST COUNTRIES RESENT THIS AND WE ARE VERY HATED IN SOME COUNTRIES AND WHY I THINK THAT HILLARY CLINTON ,I DON'T CARE HOW MUSH MOEY THEY MAKE ,BUSH AND CHANEY PROBALLY MADE ENOUGHT MONEY FOR FIVE GENARATIONS OF KIDS AFTER HIM, AND I WOULD HATE TO PULL OUT THE HISTORY BOOKS ,WE ALL KNOW ABOUT THINGS OTHERS HAVE DONE IN AMERICIAS LIFE TIME,SO STOP THINK CAMPARE THE RIGHTS AND WRONGS LETS PUT THE RIGHT PERSON-HILLARY LOVES AND RESPECTS THIS WONDERFUL COUNTRY OF OURS. GOOOOO HILLARY

    April 8, 2008 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  4. John

    DCCC Chairman, Cris Van Hollen is right on the money.The divided primaries will in the end cost Democrats house seats.Rep.Van Hollen ,so far has not supported neither Hillary nor Obama.His position accredits him with objectivity.Good job Van Hollen-keep it up.

    April 8, 2008 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  5. Lyz in Maryland

    I am a white female and I am a strong Obama supporter. It isn't about identity politics, it's about who I think is the best candidate to lead this country. However, I don't hate Clinton supporters. In fact, I hope to work with them in the general election.

    Furthermore, every Clinton supporter I've spoken to personally feels the same way. I think there may be something to this Republicans posing as Democrats theory. I mean, divide and conquer is the whole Republican schtick; that's why pandering to people's prejudices works so well for them.

    Democratic Nominee in '08

    April 8, 2008 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  6. Hillary Your Next President!

    No Obama Moma, No McSame!!!!!!!!!

    April 8, 2008 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  7. Tony

    Julie I got your back! People need to take a close hard look
    at the candidates. Given the situation in America and around the world, Clinton is the intelligent choice. It is not about party, it is about the best qualified person for the job. Now that I've said that, Go ahead Obama supporters do your usual child-like rebutals. Is that a paying job? I can't believe so many people can think this man is actually ready to be the leader of the free world. Very frightening!

    April 8, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  8. BG - Texas

    What is wrong with a good argument on, for or against issues. The only person that does not want discussion are those who have no solutions, no policies and who will not be ready on day one.

    How else are the citizens of American suppose to understand and see the differences between Obama and Clinton.

    Personally, I see the big difference between Obama and Hillary R. Clinton, she is a woman of substances, she has solutions and she is for all American people.

    Obama, we are not sure what he stands for except that we often hear the same ideas that Hillary R. Clinton has only reworded to sound as if they were his own ideas…

    Now, if the DNC did not drop the ball and especially Howard Dean, we would not be in this situation because Florida and Michigan would have their votes counted.

    The DNC has disenfranchised Florida and Michigan that is what will destroy the Democratic Party as we know it., and if you and your Rules are Rules committee do not get together and change these stupid primaries, especially with that dam caucuses and then get rid of Howard Dean.

    So do not point fingers at the candidates look into your own party and its' antics and especially Howard Dean..

    Hillary R. Clinton, President of America 2009-2012

    April 8, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  9. richard

    Attention Obamabots, This goes out to the Obamabots who are not paid to spam these boards. Google search the following. (obama and me) (obama alice palmer) (obama meeks) (obama misstatements) after that get back to me.

    April 8, 2008 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  10. John

    Katherine SOO??.I fully agree with your comment.The falling shoe is on their side.Good job Kathy,keep it up.

    April 8, 2008 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  11. Wolf

    Jocely..et al of Camp Obama..your math is incorrect........get informed and do it again! And to the ones who call Senator Clinton a liar – well so is Senator Obama – AND??? are you folks really that naive? It is the issues folks and not the name calling adolescence.

    Senator Clinton has a plan for Breast Cancer research and cure with a target date of 10 years – where is Obamas?

    Senator Clinton has a universal health care plan – Senator Obama's plan is not a universal health care plan!

    Senator Clinton does not support nuclear weapons – Senator Obama does.

    Senator Clinton has a green energy plan with core job developement – Senator Obama patterned his plan after Senator Clintons.

    and on and on........pick an issue and talk about it vs. name calling – get a grip!

    A vote for Obama is a vote for McCain, a vote for CLinton is a vote for the White House!

    April 8, 2008 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  12. BG - Texas

    Julie makes about as much sense as all these Obamaniacs who are thowing stuff at her. Still waiting for Karl Rove to come out of exile to settle the score between these 2 candidates. Predict that they will probably knock each other out. Talk about a divided country – well at least for the democrats. Republicans seem to be getting their stuff together.

    April 8, 2008 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  13. richard

    WILL, Get your story staright. Hillary was not the only dem on the ballot. Obama took his own name off the ballot and was not asked to. Bad mistake on his part. Shows poor judgement. Obama supporters campaigned in michigan to have people vote uncommited. Believe me if all the primary's were redone Hillary would be the clear winner. Every person I know who supported Obama wish they could take there vote back.

    April 8, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  14. Chris in Va.

    Hillary supporters need to take a lesson from their hero Slick Willy and STOP INHALING!!!!! You are as delusional as Hillary. After Obama recieves the nomination some of these posters will still be issuing these fantasy scenerios where Hillary becomes the winner. Pitiful lot you are.

    April 8, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  15. voice that matters

    I can see that no matter the candidate do their supporters will be behind them.

    Whether or not they are caught lying and caught corrupt and inexperience problem or managemental problem . The CNN bloggers are the same, they will never change their mind.

    One thing I admired about Obama is that he tells you the truth, he has always said change is not easy.

    Everyone knows that it hard to make some changes in yourlives and somethings can be very difficult to change.

    To make a change like Michael jackson sang look at the mirror and make a change. Don't say nonsense about these beatiful candidates
    judge them by their conducts. BE TRUTHFUL TO YOURSELF GUYS,

    YOU WILL NEVER HELP YOURSELF BY LYING TO IT. YOU KNOW THE TRUTH SAY IT THE WAY IT IS.

    April 8, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  16. Olivia

    Most of the negatives come from the Obamas' supporters. Example, sen Leahy. By calling for Hillary to get out of the race he is trying to say she is weak with the voters and can't win.

    Calm down and stay out of sight, Sen Leahy, Kerry and others.
    Although the Obamas are trying to buy the pa voters by saturating the airways with MANY ads, Hillary will prevail. Why go for a "pig in a poke" who is overspending peoples' hard earned money when you know Hillary is the one who will fight for you and deliver. Support her!

    April 8, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  17. Chris in Va.

    Cheryl, the most delusional of all, please take your meds!!

    April 8, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  18. suzy

    THIS IS WHAT OBAMA SIAD LAST NIGHT IN SF...

    “Last night at a fundraiser in San Francisco, Barack Obama took a question on what he's looking for in a running mate. ‘I would like somebody who knows about a bunch of stuff that I'm not as expert on…foreign policy is the area where I am probably most confident that I know more and understand the world better than Sen. Clinton or Sen. McCain.’”

    "A BUNCH OF STUFF"??????
    COME ON PEOPLE – WAKE UP!!!!
    IF YOU SAW OBAMA TODAY IN CONGRESS – HE WAS A FUMBLING STUMBLING GUY WHO WAS OBVIOUSLY OUT OF HIS LEAGUE.....
    WE NEED A PRESIDENT, NOT AN IDOL. HE CAN'T HANDLE IT!

    VOTE SMART – VOTE HILLARY – THE MEDIA (for what it's worth!) is saying that she was the most impressive today....

    April 8, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  19. is it necessary

    is it too late to make the correction. the damage is already done. reps have gotten what they need to light the fire for attack for the general election.

    April 8, 2008 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  20. Marie in California

    It ain't over till the fat lady sings....and I haven't yet heard any music. So keep it going....and include Michigan and Florida too.

    No Obamination in the Presidency!

    Hillary or McCain – 2008

    April 8, 2008 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  21. richard

    I cant believe how uncomfortable Obama looked without his teleprompter. It was like a baby without its blanky.

    April 8, 2008 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  22. suzy

    TO "get real"....
    THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!

    – A YOUNG HIGHLY EDUCATED AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMAN
    WHO VOTED FOR HILLARY!!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 8, 2008 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  23. Nancy

    Obama supporters are nasty, nasty mean people. They couldn't say a nice thing about anyone not even their mothers. That's too bad.
    Obama will win but i do not believe he will win in Novemeber no matter what the DNC says when he wins the nomination there are those of us who just cannot get behind him. I believe alot of us will either not vote or vote for McCain i personally won't vote because I don't want to say that I voted for either when they screw up our country. I would vote PRESENT if I could, after all Obama did and that was OK.

    April 8, 2008 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  24. West by God Virginia

    the DCCC is wrong,.... let them fight... first time in years that we have a chance to watch two democrats stand up for something other than to bash a republican

    one of them needs to prove that they will actually be the right choice for president

    April 8, 2008 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  25. wanakee

    Hillary lost this nomination a long time ago, perhaps beginning with Iowa, and certainly, ending with Wyoming. Win Pennsylvania? yes. When the nomination. no.

    April 8, 2008 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
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