(CNN) - Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele is dialing down expectations for his party's performance in this year's midterm elections, predicting that the GOP will not retake the House in 2010.
Speaking to Fox News host Sean Hannity Monday night, Steele suggested the Democrats' current 79-seat advantage in the chamber is too big a hurdle to overcome.
"We are beginning to do assessments on the individual races, but I think overall, given what this administration's proclivities are, we are going to see nice pick ups in the House," he said.
But asked directly if the party had a shot at taking over the House, Steele responded: "Not this year."
But a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee vigorously disagreed with Steele's assessment, saying the GOP has a "very real shot" at wining the chamber.
"The NRCC's goal...has always been to recapture the majority in 2010," spokesman Ken Spain said. "Independent political analysts and even liberal columnists have stated that Republicans have a very real shot at taking back the majority in 2010. Make no mistake about it, we are playing to win."
Given the current Democratic majority, Republicans would need to win at least 40 seats to regain control of the chamber - a sizeable but not unprecedented number. In the historic 1994 midterm elections, 54 seats switched from Democratic to Republican. Steele declined to give a number on how many seats he is hoping to take from the Democrats.
While it is common for party leaders to downplay expectations ahead of an election cycle, congressional Democrats are pouncing on Steele's prediction.
"If the NRCC hasn't convinced the Republican National Committee chairman they can win, it's no wonder that Tea Party activists, Republican small donors, and Republican House Members are not confident and have failed to invest in the NRCC," said Jennifer Crider, Democratic Congressional Committee spokeswoman.
Good call. I would say the man was being realistic and honest. This could be a good change for the Republican Party.
Finally, Steele got something right.
reading these remind me just how dumb this generation is. both parties are usless and who is ed steele?
Finally Steele says something I agree with! Given that his party wishes for a terrorist attack and for our economy to fail just to bring down President Obama and TRY and gain seats, it's no wonder they are doing worse than the Democrats. When it comes to the big league political seats (like the Senate, the Presidency, etc.) the Republicans fail to realize that their policies are still overwhelmingly rejected by the vast majority of Americans. They'll learn soon enough...
They'll never win another seat. They are disloyal and unAmerican. And "Stainless" Steele is as dumb as Sarah Palin.
Why would we want the repubs and their out of control spending to again dominate American politics again. As a true conservative I want government out of my life and a smaller government. Repubs talk the talk but then run up a huge deficit and would rather give our money to Israel, Afghanistan and Iraq rather than put it towards the health of our own people. The spending on the Iraq war alone would pay for healthcare for the entire nation for decades.
It doesn't matter who is right. ALL THAT MATTERS IS THAT THE REPUBLICANS WIN AND WIN BIG! Obama, Pelosi, and Reid have done enough damage already.
President Obama Will Not Fail!
Yeah!!! First time this moran hasn't lied. I don't know how anybody in their right mind would vote for any republican given that all they have done is obstruct and vote No. They are not trying in any way to help move this country in the right direction. They are religious zealots. Plain and simple.
Sometimes this guy comes across like he's not completely loony.
He probably isn't a good fit for the GOP.
And I might add, Cheney, DeMint – all of the Republicans are racists. They cannot stand to see a black man be President and tell them what to do. That is the reason for all of these personal attacks on our President. Racism! period.
GOP can't make it. Boehner got severe sunburn while spying on the President in Hawaii from an undisclosed rooftop
The 15 Most Corrupt Members of Congress from CREW
(Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington) 2009
Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL)
Sen. Roland Burris (D-IL)
Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA)
Rep. Nathan Deal (R-GA)
Sen. John Ensign (R-NV)
Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-IL)
Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-CA)
Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
Rep. Alan B. Mollohan (D-WV)
Rep. John P. Murtha (D-PA)
Rep. Charles B. Rangel (D-NY)
Rep. Laura Richardson (D-CA)
Rep. Pete Visclosky (D-IN)
Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA)
Rep. Don Young (R-AK)
Both parties are well represented...if your representative is on this list, time to vote them out of office.
The Republicans don't deserve to ever be given back power. They have become traitors against the American people. They use fear, lies to prop up their own party, the rich, and corporations at the people's expense. The Democrats aren't much better, but the Republican party deserves to be flushed down the toilet of history.
Perhaps, Chairman Steele, you should relinquish the reins of theNRC to someone who believes and acts upon the belief that WE CAN. You can only achieve what you believe you can.