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. Franky

    "Her actions have been divisive, and are at the heart of why around a quarter of her supporters are now saying they'd vote for McCain over Obama. She's set a horrible example for her supporters, and she needs to stop."

    I would say you're close...........but hey, Hillary did this so is fine. And if she's not happy, then who is???

    April 8, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  2. gerard morei

    Debbie in NJ, you are really ignorant because what Julie said is 100% true, liked or not.

    April 8, 2008 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  3. Hillary...2nd place isn't the end of the world.

    Julie and Katherine....being in denial and delusional is a disease...get it fixed...OBABMA '08

    April 8, 2008 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  4. will

    The fact of the matter is that there were no real 'home run' canidates to get behind this year. Look how the republicans bashed Bill, and the democrats bashed and continue to bash George W. Who in their right mind would want this job? The nature of the process drives the best canidates away. We are picking from the dregs of the canidate pool.

    April 8, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  5. Jedi Academy

    Julie, you never were a democrat. You disgrace the party by being willing to jump the fence to the dark-side if Hillary is not the nominee. It's wreckless political responsibility like yours that allowed Bush to win not once, but twice. God help you in doing the right thing and supporting Obama. He is our nation's only hope.

    April 8, 2008 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  6. Herman LA, CA

    I am so tire of all of you non Barack Obama supporters and haters blaming Barack for all of this for which he did not start. That's right all of you blame the black man, that’s all some of you have ever done anyway is always blame the black man no matter what. That’s why so many blacks and browns are behind bars to this day is because blacks have been falsely accused for the white mans failures.

    The truth is that Hillary and the DNC had groomed the Senator Clinton to be their nominee for 08 and no one I mean one thought that a black man would stand a chance in hell of willing the nomination. This thing didn’t turn ugly until Senator Obama rang off 11 straight wins in a row.

    Then came the phrase from the Clinton camp “Were Going to Throw the Kitchen Sink as Senator Obama” end of quote. That lead to Rev. Wright and everything else has followed. Senator Clinton felt that the White House was hers no matter what and that she was the only one that could win the presidency and become the 44th president of the United States.

    Obama 08!!!

    April 8, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  7. dwayne

    I will not vote in November if Hillary is not on the ticket.

    And the truth of the matter is, I am not alone. Baracks staff have violated and bullied voters at caucus events (isn't it curious to anyone that he does so well at the caucuses but not so well in primaries; except those primaries with large black populations.) He has misled the country on wh he is...a white-hating anti-american. He is not EXPERIENCED and has no real CONTENT and HOPE is not a plan..its a fleeting emotion that Obamaniacs will drop when he wins the nomination.

    He is nothing more than an ex drug addict, racist opportunist in a suit.

    Go America. (Was this really the best we could do?)

    April 8, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  8. Vick

    Oh we all know "Hillary = Negativity"

    April 8, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  9. CHERYL

    SORRY IT IS TOO LATE TO REMAIN POSITIVE!!!!!
    OBAMA STARTED ALL THIS RACE CARD AND NEGATIVITY TO GENERATE VOTES FOR HIMSELF!!!!!!

    I THINK THE AMERICAN PEOPLE NEED TO KNOW THE CHARACTER AND PAST OF THE PERSON WHO IS TO TAKE THIS MOST IMPORTANT POSITION!!!!!!

    WE HAVE SEEN THE WRIGHT CONTROVERSY,THE NAFTA LIE,THE BLOCKING OF VOTES,THE DEROGATORY STATEMENTS ABOUT WHITE PEOPLE,THE RELATIONSHIPS WITH CONVICTED MONEY LAUNDERERS!

    WHAT MORE DO WE NEED TO SEE?

    IS THIS SOMEONE YOU WANT RUNNING OUR COUNTRY?

    I CERTAINLY DO NOT!!!!!

    THIS IS WHY I AM VOTING FOR HILLARY!!!!!

    April 8, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  10. frescasgood

    It is painful to see the unfair, biased and hateful "reporting" on Hillary Clinton and her campaign. I can understand political operatives stating positions, but from the beginning of the year, virtually all reporting on Hillary is being done with a negative tone. Is this country that afraid of a competent woman as a President? Gosh, wouldnt it be terrible to return to the economy and national morale of the 90's!!!!

    April 8, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  11. Jason

    It's obvious Hillary's destructive refusal to admit Obama is the winning nominee is damaging the Democratic Party. Look at all the fair-weather Democrats posting here whining about how they will vote for McSame if the Hillary can't change the rules and steal the election.

    Look, if you really want change and honest leadership, it's time that Hillary and her supporters unite positively behind Obama and remember the common goal is to beat McSame.

    There's just too much at stake to entertain your hurt feelings.
    Remember: you're an adult now.

    April 8, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  12. Thomas in Florida

    I too am anticipating a kitchen-sink nuke from the Clintonian attack machine.

    I've lost what little respect that I ever had for Billary.

    I'll never vote for that negative, lying, two-headed MONSTER.

    April 8, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  13. CHERYL

    HILLARY LEADS IN THE POLLS IN PENNSYLVANIA AND NATIONALLY!

    DO NOT LET THE PRESS TELL YOU OTHER WISE!!!!

    THEY CONTINUE TO TRY AND BUILD OBAMA UP!

    HE HAS LOST HIS STEAM!!!!!

    HILLARY WILL WIN!!!!!!

    GO HILLARY!!!!!!

    April 8, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  14. Nick - Arlington, VA

    Mary -> "Obama and his lies are hurting the Democratic Party, Check out Bill O'Rielly's web site article on Rev. Wright."

    HA! are you insane? Bill'O? The man who never checks his sources and hates all things democratic?

    April 8, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  15. Christopher W. Mannoia

    Bill and Hillary Clinton don't care about anything but Bill and Hillary Clinton; why is everyone surprised at all these attacks? And does anyone think they will hesitate to use any political trick to get the superdelegates to support her, even though Barack Obama is winning?

    She needs to drop out now...

    Obama '08

    April 8, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  16. Peter

    Someone should have told Senator Obama this months ago. He has been complaining about "the past 15 years" since the beginning of his campaign, lumping the Clintons together with Bush. If Democratic Party officials have a problem with negative campaign, that's where they can start and that's who they can start with.

    April 8, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  17. Jocely

    The Clinton has been fighting since 1979 to get where they are today.
    As we all know I hope Hillary is behind in term of raising money.
    Support for Hillary is declining. Support from Super delegates has been on hold. The Clinton has been running a negative Campagne in return it give the Clinton a negative result.

    The clinton make an argument Hillary is more electable than Senator Obama.
    For you to be more electable you most show that you have more support from the people who choose who they want to represent them.

    The people gave Hillary less support on the poll, less support on raising money, less support on number of State won, less support among democrat, republican and independent combine, less support on the popular vote. Finally Hillary is behind on the delegates count whish is what you need to be elected.

    My quetion is how does that make Hillary more elected when she is behind on every count? Don't you think that said who the people want to represent them.

    I take some time to calculate what each candidate need to win:

    Obama Hillary

    38% of the remining super Delegates 70% Super D.

    46% of the reminning Pledge Delegates 54% P. Delegates

    do the math they you see the ineventable.

    Jocely,

    April 8, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  18. Cynthia, Laguna Niguel, CA

    Mrs. Hillary Clinton Just began to fight!!!!

    Clinton -08

    It's time for a woman President!!!!!

    April 8, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  19. Marc

    Stop the lies and divisiveness. Obama will do ANYTHING to get elected. He needs to drop out!

    April 8, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  20. Fonzi

    What do you expect from Chuck Shumer, a Hillary super. When it hurts HRC, the whole world hears it, if it does not hur HRC, it's all right. So far KARMA has been on HRC. WIth all her negatives campaign, more negative things she can not control are coming to her campaign. Remember, Bosnia lie, the Lie her surrogate told against Obama on the Canadian stuff, the Hospital gaffy and Mark Penn. We shall see who it will hurt most.

    April 8, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  21. Too Bad for Your Party

    Too bad for the Democrat party. You guys should just get rid of Obama – He's a stuffed shirt. He's articulate and all that, blah, blah, blah, but there is no THERE there. What can he point to that he's done? What does he stand for? Change? That is the dumbest campaign slogan ever. CHANGE is going to happen no matter who gets elected! It's meaningless! Let me ask you this: How has he CHANGED the discourse so far? Seems like the same old rhetoric to me! Yet people fall for it. At least McCain has something to show for the years he's been around: Served our country; was tortured; made a life in public service; tried to cooperate with Democrats on the immigration issue and other issues. Whether you like it or not, we are at war. We need a leader who has military experience.

    April 8, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  22. Jot

    For all the Obamanias, this is great news for you. Obama had his supporters on the ground asking people to vote uncomminted. The vote for uncomminted was 46% that is what he got. The rest was for clinton none of them compaigned there. In Florida, Obama's name was on the paper. none campaigned there. Hillary won the two primaries. The reason why you are crying is because Hillary is going to win the nominee if those two states are counted. Get over it, Obama is racist he sat in the Churh that promotes hatred for 20 years that is why his wife Michelle got confused

    April 8, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  23. runner for democrats

    OBAMA NO MORE ... For those of you, like me, who are/were leaning towards Obama, and are/were, as I now admit, caught up in the media-created “Obama mania,” I urge you to do your own research. Look at his record. Look at the tactics and legal battles utilized to eliminate his opponents and taint former elections in which he was a candidate. And you wonder why he’s “allegedly” opposed to a revote in Florida and Michigan? For those of you who haven’t already voted, or who have voted and whose votes are currently not going to be counted, please don’t let “Obama mania” cloud your views or take your vote. Obama's campaign is constantly questioning Hillary's credibility, but it's his lies that both me. Which of his versions about his relationship to Renko is true? Did he really write the immigration bill he said he wrote? And of course, would he really leave Wright's church or was he lying when he said he would no more denounce Wright than his "white grandmother."

    April 8, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  24. jimmy velman

    CANDIDATES FOR THE PRESIDENCY SAT ON THE POLITICAL HOT SEAT THE MOMENT THEY ANNOUNCED THEIR CANDIDACY.
    CAMPAIGNS START BY THE CANDIDATES PROCLAIMING TO EVERYONE THAT THEIR CAMPAIGNS WILL BE POSITIVE. VOTERS SHOULD KNOW BY NOW THAT THERE HAS NEVER BEEN A PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN WITHOUT MUDSLINGING AND GETTING DOWN INTO THE MUCK. THE CANDIDATES AVOID BLAME BY LEAVING THE MUDSLINGING TO THEIR STAFF AND SUPPORTERS. THAT'S WHAT CATCHES THE ATTENTION OF THE VOTERS. THEY WANT SOMETHING LIKE TABLOID JOUNALISM AND CAMPAIGNING. THEY WILL MAKE MANY MISTAKES AND GAFFES WHICH ARE SOON FORGOTTEN.. THANK GOODNESS , A GOOD MAJORITY OF VOTERS DONT MAKE UP THEIR MINDS UNTIL THE LAST WEEKS AND EVEN DAYS BEFORE THE ELECTION. THAT AT LEAST GIVES THEM TIME TO THINK AND THINK WISELY.

    April 8, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  25. Darryl

    Hillary Clinton act as if she supported Marting Luther King Jr. I believe she lied about shaking his hand. She was then a Republican and faught to defeat the Civil RIght Bill in 1964.

    She makes up these stories effortlessly. How sad..

    She need to just tell the truth...

    April 8, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
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