(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.
The Democrats may lose a few seats, but there will be no bloodbath or major swings. There will be no shortage of reminders of how we got into the mess we are in.
The Republicans got us into two wars which have devastated our economy. They let corporate greed run while which has devastated our economy. The same Republicans now want to go back to the same tax cuts which benefited corporate greed and left the average family poorer in real dollars than before. Another chance the devastate our economy.
The terrorist attacks happened on the watch of the same people who watched out for them during the Bush Administration. No, not the big wigs, the same ones who ignored the warning signs prior to 9/11.
If the Democrats can get through the Republican roadblocks on healthcare, there will be 34 million Americans who will vote Democratic this time around.
Steele is probably right about the raw numbers. There will be more Dems than Reps in the House. The good news is Obummie will not be able to twist enough arms to get his stupid cap and trade stuff and other idiotic bills because after all the Rep gains the rest will not lose their jobs just to go along with Obummie.
The NRCC is dreaming if they think they are going to pick up that many seats in one election. In the last two elections, the Democrats picked up 32 and 21 seats, respectively, and that was due largely to an incredibly unpopular President Bush. While Obama's ratings are down, he is nowhere near as unpopular as Bush was in 2006 and 2008. In order for the Republicans to make up 80+ seats, they would have to win over ALL the seats they lost in 2006 and 2008, plus another 30 or so. From a political standpoint, that's just not realistic. I think if Obama drops a little further in the polls, they can pick up about 25 or so seats. If he starts to tank, they should be ecstatic with 45-50 seats, but even that is a big stretch.
However, if the economy turns around, the unemployment rate starts dropping, and people renew optimism about the future of the country under Obama, then the Republicans will be lucky to pick up even a dozen seats.
There are some stories out there about the lack of fundraising on the GOP's part...that is probably why he is saying this.
2010 can't be determined yet....see how things are in the summer. If they are better (unemployment creeps down) the the Dems will be ok, if not then the Repubs gain seats...I don't think enough to take over either house, though.
""A terrorist incident may occur. I know that Republican leaders pray for one every night. (Don't think I'm kidding.)" Sad commentary from a leftie. It was the GOP that kept this country safe, remember?"
Despite our constitutional rights being eroded, the US defying the UN and its allies, attacking a sovereign nation illegally, turning a blind eye to those responsible for the 9/11 attacks in favor of toppling a government for oil reserves, building more and more enemies both abroad and domestic…
Yeah, the GOP did a bang-up job on securing out national defense. Good job, Brownie.
"It was the GOP that kept this country safe, remember?"
Yep, they sure did. Except for 9/11/01, of course, but they seem to have forgotten that. They sure like to insist they weren't responsible on 9/11/01, but were fully responsible on 9/12/01 and forward. What hypocrisy!
In December, the number of Americans identifying themselves as Democrats fell to the lowest level recorded in more than seven years of monthly tracking by Rasmussen Reports.
I can't wait until conservatives try arguing inexperience during Obama's re-election. Who else has experience as president? No one. Epic fail to such a large extent that they will "facepalm" their nose into their frontal cortex.
Tony, you think the GOP kept us safe? Who exactly was in charge when we got the memo, "Bin Ladin determined to strike US?"
God bless the Democrats for their noble but often blunderous efforts. I dont see the advantage in being critical of Steele's admission, because if he is wrong dems will have egg on their face. better to let the statement play itself out, or at the very least try not to flash red meat in front of republicans. Instead, why dont dems go on the offensive over the delaying of TSA chief's confirmation, the continued blocking of progress on health care, the lack of feasible ideas from the right on how to get this country back on track. another missed oppportunity by the left, im afraid.
I'll vote for anyone that is not on Obama's side.
Lets keep palin and rush and hannity in the news and they will finish off the gop party for good
2010 and 2012 won't come soon enough to vote these idiot braindead Dims out of office!
This might be the first intelligent comment Steele has ever made. I guess everyone can have an off day.
why is the republican position just to oppose the democrats?
All I hear from the republicans is: (1) cut taxes, (2) start another war – which is stupid if you cut taxes, (3) no more gun laws, (4) if you oppose us you are a traitor and should move to russia.
how do any of their issues help the country?
Ms. Callahan...are you suggesting that only Republicans believe in God? Did Satan put President Obama in the White House? The answer is "NO" to both questions. If you think the answer is "YES," then you, ma'am are no Christian.
The Democrats failed to understand that they didn't win in 2006 – the Republicans lost. Similarly, in 2008's Congressional races, again the Democrats didn't win so much as the Republicans lost. The course is about to reverse, and although the Republicans will be crowing loudly (and blocking absolutely every judicial nominee and piece of legislation in the remainder of Obama's 2 years in office), they too will fail to recognize that they didn't win, but the Democrats lost.
I predict that the Democrats will lose 65 seats in the House and 10 to 12 in the Senate. It's going to be an absolute bloodbath – especially in the Senate – for the Democrats. And who REALLY loses? Once again, you and me.
Wasn't he just calling Mitch McConnel the next speaker of the House? Is the Republican Party totally controlled by clowns and fools?
Anyone remember the Contract With America? That worked for the Republicans last time. You never hear about that from Rush Limbaugh or Hannity with their usual gloating. But then that would be like trying steroids for a second time after you've already been caught once.
Steele doesn't have a clue what the republican party is going to look like after 2010. He's just blowing smoke to justify his existence. Conservatives will take back the government and it won't be because of anything the republican party has done. There isn't a hairs width difference between the two major parties anymore and those of us who are sick and tired of these political fools treating the treasury like it's petty cash are going to show up in November and show them all the door. "Leave no politician behind!" And if that doesn't create a government we can trust we'll do it again in 2012.
Steele finally said something that's analytical and intelligent....
The GOP has as much of a chance of winning the House in 2010 as it does of fracturing its own party to the point that a third party, answering to centrist members of the middle class (by far the largest block of voters is this country) will arise from the ashes.
Um, who was President on 9/11 ?
The one thing that Republicans and Democrats can agree on...
Michael Steele is the most incompetent person ever to chair a major political party (and that takes some doing).
Bottom line if you care about America, the middle class America, the workers of this country, vote for the Democrats. and if you care about big business and the wealthy vote Republican.