January 25th, 2010
10:20 AM ET
5 years ago

Carville: Democrats risk losing House majority

James Carville said the White House has some work to do.
James Carville said the White House has some work to do.

Washington (CNN) – Democratic strategist James Carville said Monday that Democrats will "have a rough 2010" unless the White House does a better job communicating its message about the economy.

Carville said on ABC's "Good Morning America" that President Obama hasn't done a good enough job explaining to the American people "a coherent strategy" for fixing the economy and creating jobs. The president's strategy, he said, seems "very, very ad hoc."

Democrats risk losing their majority in the House this November if they don't figure something out, Carville said.

"You have to think that unless something is done to change direction, I think everything is at risk," he predicted. But Carville said he doesn't think that scenario will come to pass.

He said the White House's decision to bring former Obama campaign manager David Plouffe into their everyday political operation suggests that the White House is serious about repairing an image that was seriously damaged by last week's special election in Massachusetts.

"You got to look at this thing in Massachusetts, and think that's a real signal here," he said. "If you don't deal with it, it's going to get worse."


Filed under: 2010 • James Carville • President Obama
soundoff (154 Responses)
  1. Doug

    As a democrat, he gets it. However, circling the wagons and putting the posters up is not going to do much. The only persons who went with Senator obama were the ones on the campaign plane. The volunteers were trenched over immediately. It was the first change. then the Clinton train rolled in and took over. Anybody remember John Podesta and his lobbying family that worked on health care and their PLATiNUM ACCESS to the White House. OH, MY, where is my change?

    January 25, 2010 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  2. buckwheat

    After WW2 this nation was the strongest nation in the world and was the top industrial nation in the world.The Fathers and grandfathers that fought this war and also the fathers and grandfathers who created the industrial might ,as they grew old, turned their companies over to their butter fed children and grandchildren who sold America out for cash.They, being too sorry to work, found that they could farm all of our jobs to the Chinese, who worked for pennies a day ,and sit on their ass in the Bahamas and make more money.It has now come back to haunt their sorry butts because they find that without jobs we can not buy the sorry junk being shipped over here they have manufactured in China. I am 72 years old and I have see this happen. We screwed our ownselves and we can not blame anyone but ourselves.

    January 25, 2010 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  3. If you want something ruined, put a republican in charge

    Why is it that right wingnuts cannot accept any blame for the failure of the Bush/Cheney administration? From 9-11, Iraq, and the near depression, it is like they will not even acknowledge that the worst president in history is a conservative.

    January 25, 2010 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  4. Gene

    Bringing back Mr. Obama's former campaign manager sounds like a great idea. This is especially so because for the past 12-months, Mr President has been acting like a Candidate anyway – making many promises but accomplishing little. Since Mr. Plouffe did such a great job managing the campaign, maybe he can also manage the Presidency.

    January 25, 2010 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  5. Travis

    The president wants everyone on welfare. Higher taxes and more Government control. Carville thinks the american public are to stupid to understand his plan. Obama is anti business & private sector. Clearly in the pockets on Union thugs. We don't want Socialism and till he learns that he will just be another Carter.

    January 25, 2010 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  6. Mike

    nobama is a great communicator but the problem is few are buying his message of tax and spend, creating wealth envy and trying to have the government take over private companies. This is not the change people voted for but CHANGE WILL HAPPEN in 2010 and 2012.

    January 25, 2010 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  7. Kevin

    They need you too James, though David Plouffe is very good at what he does.

    January 25, 2010 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  8. Robb Zerr

    Well, welcome to democracy, James. Everyone acts like this is the first time the party in power has lost its majority. Who cares? It's democracy in action. Our founding fathers should be proud that we don't goose-step to a single party, whichever one it is. Doesn't everyone have something more important to do in this world than worry about who's got the bat "and" the ball in Washington D.C. Don't want to scare any career politicians or pundits out there, but there's a lot going on in the world right now that doesn't revolve around you! Wake up!

    January 25, 2010 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  9. buckwheat

    You CNN, can censor out the truth, or ignore the truth, because you have to be politically correct, but you can not change history . Your generation will either have to accept it or live in a world that is not going to be rosey. I have seen the best of times. I lived in a time you could walk any street in this country safely with your wife and children. You did not know where your house door key was but your car keys were usually left in the ignition. I do not have to be politically correct.

    January 25, 2010 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  10. SneakyPete

    I really believe that the Dems better get comfy with the fact that they've blown their chance in record time.

    January 25, 2010 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  11. Jim - Michigan

    Bringing David Plouff in means only one thing – more spin, more lies. This guy has no skills at creating jobs or reducing the debt. He is however an expert at political spinning and I am sorry to say this will not help the administration, we are tired of the spin and the lies. We see through it, if you want to change the direction that the 2010 election is heading then create jobs, reduce the debt and stop spending!

    January 25, 2010 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  12. Doug

    Every move made by this president will now be seen as purely political. What kind of incentives can be given to sway votes? That is the new strategy.

    The public is not stupid and will throw your cronies out in just a few short months. David Plouff's has mentioned that the reason MA happened was because the administration didn't go far enough.........please believe him. Let Pelosi, Reid and Plouff come up with your strategy.....Please.

    January 25, 2010 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  13. Caral from SoCal

    Carville is a bit late. Virginia's election was a signal – it was shrugged off. New Jersey's election was a signal – it was pooh-poohed. Too much damage has been done and this train is on the tracks headed for November. Pelosi thinks this movement of independents is astroturf? The democrats all think they're cute by calling newly active moms and senior citizens "tea-baggers"? (And a whole host – I bet a majority of them – were independents?) Fine. Now they reap what they have sowed. This isn't a signal. It's the first edge of change and anything they do to try to stem the tide now will look like just what it would be: pandering for votes.

    January 25, 2010 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  14. El Kababa

    Our democracy is in bad shape. When Democrats are in the majority, they cannot pass bills into law even if they all agree that it is important to pass a bill. The nation's problems are left unsolved.

    When Republicans are in the majority, they pass bills that damage the nation on purpose and with great efficiency.

    Our choices are between benign incompetence and malicious efficiency.

    I propose outsourcing our democracy to India. Let's just hire a president and a congress from among the many, highly competent Indian resources who will work harder and cheaper than the folks we've elected. Let's do the same with our incompetent corporate leadership. Just outsource the whole country. We are incapable of governing ourselves.

    January 25, 2010 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  15. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    It's the arrogance of government, in particular, the arrogance of the Democratic party, that government have a "a coherent strategy for fixing the economy and creating jobs." The only way government can help either of those concerns is by getting out of the way and quit wasting billions of dollars of taxpayer money!

    January 25, 2010 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  16. Silence Dogoode

    Jimmy Boy we are getting the message loud and clear....are the donkeys getting the response (MA election)

    January 25, 2010 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  17. Pat

    It is time for Obama to stop blaming Bush for everything. The last two years of his administration was with a Democratic controlled congress. Obama ultimately is not to blame for the continued ecomonic woes, though his agenda sets the tone. Congress is spending money it doens't have. We need jobs, jobs create a bigger tax base that can be used to address social services.

    January 25, 2010 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  18. doc

    It is very clear now that obama has a severe mental problem. It is known now that he has in the past looked for help. He needs to go back and get more treatment. This can not go on.

    January 25, 2010 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  19. Brian

    This is the same guy that said not too many months ago that the democratic majority would last for 40 years.

    I guess some political specialists are just, well, "special".

    January 25, 2010 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  20. Jay

    James Carville is partially right. The White House needs to do a better job of communicating with voters but the Congress needs to accomplish its agenda and do it without appearing sleazy. Unemployment will continue to rise the rest of this year so Congress's best hope of retaining their jobs are to lower the unemployment rate.

    "Its Jobs stupid"

    What every politician from Mr Obama down should hear by the hour.

    January 25, 2010 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  21. Phil

    I'm guessing the Dem's blame Bush, blame the party of "No", and "they are just using fear tactics" talking points to the American people just didn't work out in the end. It's all about substance. There never is any in a Dem's arguments.

    January 25, 2010 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  22. Scott, Tucson

    If the Dem's keep trying to use the ol' blame George Bush for everything that Carville is advocating well, that dog don't hunt anymore, the people are seeing through that. It's the far left loons like Nancy Pelosi, Barbara Boxer, Harry Reid, Barney Frank and such that needs to be removed from office not the moderates.

    As for the White House trying to communicate it's message, obama can't give a simple speech to a bunch of elementary children without the aid of a teleprompter so how is he going to convince us?

    January 25, 2010 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  23. Dennis

    Many incumbents are going to be voted out. Because the Democrats control more seats, they are going to lose more seats.

    January 25, 2010 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  24. Reality bites

    Carville is right, The Prez does need to get his agenda out to the people. If his voters don't understand his path or see his plan, they will stray. The loss in Mass is an embarrassment to us Dems and should not have happened. Oh well...we lost an important seat. That does not mean the GOP is better because they are not. The White House needs to do a better job of informing the people in what they are doing. Treat everyday like it's a campaign. Campaign hard and play everyday to WIN WIN WIN!!!

    January 25, 2010 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  25. Black Viper

    So be it. Republicans uses big megaphones of lies lies lies and they have the media to bless them on their lies day and nights confusing more some already confused independants and the democrats just sit on the fence to let a small group of nuts called Tea Partiers jeopardize the mission the people confie to them by given them a majority.

    January 25, 2010 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
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