(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.
Really??!! The GOP kept this country safe? That is ridiculous. The GOP has done nothing but sell out Americans, preach hatred and exclusion(and I do mean "preach", as they cannot segregate secular matters from personal religious choices), and weaken this country's infrastructure. If you aren't in the top 5%, why on earth would you EVER support a party that wants a caste system in place? I wouldn't call flexing muscles and pissing on one third of the planet's poulation "keeping us safe"., I'd call it arrogant showmanship.
Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it, in spades!!
Please help fix this country in 2010, vote out the looney left!
mid term GOP WINS BIG TIME
Why, oh why, do Republicans insist upon stating that they kept us safe?!?!?! Wasn't 9/11 on their watch? Wasn't Richard Reid on their watch?
I would be shocked if the GOP picked up any serious gains. Lieberman can go GOP...he'll go anywhere he thinks will get him to keep his job...what a disgraceful man, to ANY party!!!! As long as the best the GOP can offer up is Palin, while taking their points from Hannity, Rush, Coulter, and Gingrich...the Dems will keep gaining.
those moments of off the cuff honesty are what always get Steele in trouble with the GOP. We will see how long it takes him before they force him to take it back.
You people are utterly divorced from reality. Bookmark this and come back the day after the November elections.
Step out of your leftist cacoons once in a while, you Kool Aid drinkers.
And Mike takes another step to endear himself to the Party faithful ... and towards the door :D
The Party of No first will have to come up with good ideas.
This is good news! Now the most ignorant people on the planet can try and run the country better than the second-most ignorant people on the planet! When will the American people learn that neither party represents them? When will the American people learn that neither party has their interest in mind? When will the American people learn that the enmity between the two parties is nothing more than a smokescreen to keep the ignorant masses occupied while the country is completely under the control of multinational corporations? Rest in peace, America.
The Republicans keep talking about AL-Queda trying to destract us from the real issues . The Republican party have bankrupt this country .
Maybe the GOP can buy some votes with an election year tax giveaway!
Oh wait...never mind. See, republicans don't mind bankrupting the country, as long as you're waging war or giving them some of the loot first.
"The NRCC's goal...has always been to recapture the majority in 2010," spokesman Ken Spain said.
And their goal was to retain the White House in 2008 ... so, how did that work out for them?
Steele's newly found honesty is a very refreshing change, but I doubt it will be followed by further honesty!
I wish that scene in "The Matrix" where his mouth disappeared could come true and afflict all rethuglicans. Wouldn't it be grand! We can dream..
"You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich. You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong. You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift. You cannot lift the wage earner up by pulling the wage payer down. You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred. You cannot build character and courage by taking away people's initiative and independence. You cannot help people permanently by doing for them, what they could and should do for themselves." I bet you No liberal democrat knows who wrote this
Repubs will pick up some seats but a majority overthrow on the scale teabaggers want is unlikely at best in 2010. Worse, 2012 will see Obama back in campaign mode and will probably be a low-action or lean-dem year. Pity, because the republicans of old (pre-southern strategy, pre-Bush, pre-teabag party) had something to offer this country.
I agree...the GOP is about "party first" and to hell with all the issues our nation faces. These are NOT people who really care about our people or our planet for that matter.
The democrats are in their fourth year of controlling congress and all the debt, bad economy and hatred was whose fault ??? Look in the mirror liberals
Keep dreaming Mr Steele. You'll be lucky if you don't see a repeat of the last two House elections. The majority of people aren't as stupid as the GOP/Fox News assumes. People know what a disaster the Republicans were in this decade. People know how, rather than working with Obama to solve the problems he inherited from your party and the former imbecile in the White House, you Republicans are just the obstructionist party. It's ironic that you will try with all your might to defeat Obama's initiatives and then blame him should he fail to achieve them. No Mr. Steele people are not as stupid as you think.
I pray that you get trounced again in the elections. Maybe the third wake-up call to your party will help you get your heads in the right position from where they are now.
I say that no one knows who will be in control of the house after November. Americans are fickle, and things can change at the drop of the hat in this country. But let me say this. What Steele proposes in terms of revitalizing the Republican party sounds like more and more of the same old things that killed it: cut everyone's taxes, reduce spending except for the military, deregulate, privatize reduce the size of big government except for when it comes to getting into people's private lives. And then, he stands there and idolizes Ronald Reagan as if he were some sort of golden calf. Ronald Reagan was no better than any other president. In fact, he raised taxes. Also, his first two years in office were pretty abysmal as I recall. The economy didn't pick up steam until 1982. And then, it lost steam again in 1987. I remember it well. I'm still voting democrat in November unless I find a republican who can see beyond Reaganomics and trickle-down economic theory.
I can't believe this country. What a travesty you all are! I'm almost ashamed to call myself an American...a shame I held throughout the Bush administration but was hoping I could shed now.
I'm ashamed because I can't believe how stupid so many people are that they can forget what the Republicans did to this country with the last eight years of their rule - and in one short year they are now predicting it's all over but the shouting and they'll be back.
Why? Because they've opposed EVERY measure the new administration is proposing or trying to follow through on to clean up the mess THEY made for eight years?
Don't come back and tell me this was all started by the Dems decades ago. I don't care. YOUR PARTY had EIGHT YEARS to clean it up and couldn't whether it was your fault or now. Now you hold Obama accountable for not cleaning it up in one.
Sorry. Outright stupidity just ticks me off no end. And a LOT of you are showing it in spades when you support the kind of crap the GOP is spewing.
If Republicans don't take back the House, then I guess all Mr. Steele's bluster has been for naught...
This is not a football game where the winner scores a high end contract.
This is about OUR lives. The American PEOPLE.
This country is not about Mr. Steeles opinions, or the GOP, or the Democrats, or the Independents. This is about US! THE PEOPLE!!
If the GOP is really so concerned about ours lives, then why dont they work positively together with everyone involved, to come to some resolutions? Rather than spending all their public statements, released books, time and money on a bashing campaign???
Mr. Steele is a waste of time, energy, a waste of news,
up to his eyeballs in envy and hatred,
and spreading it around like cancer, as best the GOP can.
Whoever said it was the GOP who kept us safe -you must be living in another world. 9/11 happened on a GOPs watch....and so did the shoe-bomber attempt. So lets not get all high and mighty over an underwear bandit. Starting needles wars like a bunch of cowboys in middle eastern countries is not how you protect America-that's how you fuel more rage. How about republicans start supporting diplomacy instead of cowboy tactics and worry about protecting our borders, airlines etc.... Extremism has crossed borders and it includes americans..africans...middle easterns etc.. etc..
Steele's is just downplaying expectations. His comments are only to motivate the conservative base to work harder for Republican candidates this year.
To win back control from a 256-179 margin in the House, Republicans need a +39 result. Can it be done? If Obama keeps screwing up, yes. But with the liberal media behind him and Republicans suffering more from the economy than Democrats (hence the fundraising shortfalls Republicans have), Steele's probably right. But even if they get a +30 change, which is likely, Pelosi and her socialist gang won't be able to ram any more crap down our throats. The Senate will be much easier with only a +11 needed and more Democrats than that in trouble now.