(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.
Can somebody remind me under what administrations' watch 9/11 occurred? They seem to have forgotten themselves.
By telling the truth, Steele has committed a cardinal sin of the Republican Party. There goes any chance of him passing that purity test.
Maybe, just maybe if you got some real common sense people in there that want whats good for the entire country, believes in our constitution and does not want to line either their pockets or the pockets of their spouses you might get some traction. Right now it's a choice between Republican Hoovers or Democrat Kirbys.
From a 40 year republican who is now an independent.
Steele is right-the party of no does not represent America. Is against any form of national healthcare unless the insurance companies contro lit. Republicans ARE ALWAYS OUT FOR WALL STREET NEVER MAIN STREET.
It is not likely the Republicans will take over the house or Senate. The healthcare bill will be history, everyone will realize the world isn't coming to an end, I think the Dems will actually be credited with some good things. The election will be ok for the Dems.
Man, the crazy simply pours off Mushmouth in that picture, don't it just? Almost like watching Jerry Garcia bleed color all over a stage after a hit of the good stuff...except it's not color...it's crazy...and it's getting all over the nice furniture and coming for your children.
Republicans have had to manufacture 'crisis' over the past year as Obama is turning this country is around. The stock market is up over 70% from the lows that Bush brought it to. The jobless rate is decreasing. International relations are improving. Obama is fixing what Bush completely broke. Steele is the first (and only) Republican to realize that the right-wing 'wish' for America to fail is not happening. Obama is succeeding. The country will continue to punish Republicans in the Congressional races just like they did in November, because the Republicans have no plan, and they want America to fail.
Gosh...I love that...the GOP has a real shot at "Wining in the house."
Now THAT typo is worth noting!
I hope he's wrong. Three more years of a Pelosi Presidency will ruin this nation.
Republicans winning back the House in 2010 is based on two faulty assumptions:
1) That the economy and employment numbers will continue to be a problem in eleven months. As we've seen over the last few weeks, the economy is picking up, factory orders are increasing and the unemployment rate is slowing. Republicans are going to be in the unenviable position of wishing for a poor economy and continued misery.
2) That the public suffers from collective amnesia regarding the recent abysmal performance of the GOP. Yes, it's all well and good to be re-born deficit hawks, but I think most people will see this as a jailhouse conversion to win back votes.
After their appalling obstructionism of EVERYthing Obama does, selling out to the insurance industry on health care, and exploiting terrorist attacks for political gain Republicans deserve to lose even more seats. Steele knows that the voters are not so stupid (hopefully!) as to elect more of them to Congress.
I guarantee that Michael Steele will be kicked out of the GOP sometime in 2010. This guy is a REAL JREK CHICKEN.
Ah, the Republican quest for Party Purity.
"We shall solidly unite all the forces of our Party on democratic centralist principles of organization and discipline. We shall unite with any comrade if he abides by the Party's Programme, Constitution and decisions."
Mao Tse-Tong, "On Coalition Government" (April 24, 1945)
I love irony.
....but those tea partiers are going to vote for someone......and candidates that want to shrink govt. and get back to what our founders intended (most likely Republicans) will get their votes. For some stupid reason Steele and others at the RNC fail to enbrace the tea party movement, probably because they didn't think of it first!
Did anyone notice the "Honest Injun" quote from Steele last night... I wonder how it would have gone over if he threw a racially sensitive phrase out about any other group besides Native Americans...Not to mentions the "How" hand gesture as he said it...
Reality bites the man of Steele. Wow!
The far right nut fringe is 100% convinced that there will be a "bloodbath" at the ballot box. But the truth is that no one knows what's going to happen in this year's elections. I'm truly frightened though that if this uneducated mob's baseless predictions don't come true, they might take this "bloodbath" talk to a whole new level.
It would be nice if the GOP would do some work, for a change. Then they'd have something to campaign on. The only thing they have to campaign with is bringing down the President and the other party. Sure, some Americans love that attitude and will vote for them because they hate what the GOP hates. However, I would hope most Americans want to vote for the candidate that will work for the American people, not the candidate that just wants to work against the 'socialist' du jour...
Hilarious – Michael Steele has joined the reality-based community just as teabaggers are diving even further into fantasy. As a Dem I rejoice - GOP arrogance and overconfidence will play into our favor, again. Keep it coming!
we have to overturn Obamacare in the next Congress.......socialism cannot stand in this country.....
Wow! This is literally the first time I have ever agreed with anything Steele said.
I agree with Steele (for once) the senate and house republicans have proven that their priority is their party not their country. They remain the obstructionist party in the hopes of retaining their jobs and control of our country. I say no more!
Good, I pray they loos seats
Perhaps then the nations business can continue without the GOP saying NO to EVERYTHING the Democrats try just because they are not part of the PARTY OF GREED!
Why in the world would anyone vote for the repulic party? They have no interest in the needs American people, they don't believe that the law applies to them. They insist they are the moral leaders of the country while exhibiting some of the most immoral behavior I've ever seen. Practically none of them will serve their country in uniform yet they claim to be super patriots. The only interests the GOP serves are the corporate interests that have bought them and the rest of the country.
Oh and for the record they didn't keep this country safe. 3,000 Americans died under their incompetent watch
Why does every other post say that the GOP only says no to everything and never offers any solutions? If I recall correctly, the GOP has provided numerous suggestions to curb the out of control health care spending. They presented tort reform and allowing health insurance companies to sell insurance across state lines as two ways to save money, but did the Democrats listen. No, Obama mentioned in a speech that they would take these suggestions into consideration, but the Dems have yet to mention either one. The Democrats are the party of the minority, so they will do whatever it takes to pass bills that give free handouts to lazy welfare recipients, because the one smart thing the Democrats realized is that there are more poor people than rich people, and every man's vote counts equally.