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. WENDELL

    Record Department of Defense spending, increased troop levels abroad, handouts to crooked bankers....the list goes on. No wonder people are hoping for real "Change".

    Unfortunately the Republikooks will just bring more disaster to America. We need a third party.

    January 25, 2010 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  2. AEK

    It seems quite unbelievable to me that the people of the United States, after only a year of President Obama's team working to clean up the mess left by the Republicans, would again turn the keys to the asylum back over to the inmates. I guess it's the TV mentality that leads people to believe that all the damage done by the neocon right-wing Republicans could be fixed in two short years. Who ran up the debt, destroyed the banking system, and started two wars to spread their Christian ideology?

    January 25, 2010 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  3. Pittsburgh voter

    Gee.....what happened? I thought the Republican party and conservatism was dead. Could the Dems been wrong about this TOO?

    January 25, 2010 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  4. Ben in Texas

    What happens in November is largely dependent on the effects of the Extreme Court decision last week. Now that foreigners, under the guise of "American" corporations, can legally buy any election, it remains to be seen to what degree they will use that power.

    We all know that how much money a candidate spends largely determines the outcome of any election. Coakley spent little in Mass., compared to Brown, and that made the difference. Bloomburg spent a vast amount in New York to keep his little pet project, the mayor's office. Voters can hardly resist the overwhelming effect of constant ads for a candidate and slandering the opponent. With the unrestrained corporate and foreign funds that will be pouring into the fall elections, the meaning of democracy has largely evaporated.

    This ruling cannot stand or this country will fall. Impeach the Extreme Court 5!

    January 25, 2010 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  5. rob

    The Dems won't lose the House if Obama gets out of the middle (where he's pleasing no one) and gets back to the left and starts dancing with the group of voters who hired him. Then and only then will he be able to bring about the "change" he promised them.

    January 25, 2010 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  6. a health economist

    I am all for the Democrats losing seats in the House if it results in real bi-partisanship. Unfortunately, I have a bad feeling that it won't. I think that any gain the Republican's get in either the House or Senate would be interpretted as a sign of validation of the complete stonewalling of anything the Democrats present.

    I would love to be proved wrong. It might give me a reason to be able to vote for a Republican and actually feel good about myself.

    January 25, 2010 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  7. Vence

    Obama"s job is doing what he promised, instead he is only focuses in health care reform and hollywood star. People wants to see him ending the war, Restore liberties, Reform the civil rights laws, talk about race, creating jobs,bringing the factories from china, pass the immigration reform, etc., etc.

    January 25, 2010 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  8. W l Jones

    The president stratergy depend on whos talking point.

    January 25, 2010 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  9. liberal wingnut

    Lets face it. With the help of the media the left wing liberals used the unpopularity of the Iraq war to hi jack America. Thanks CNN!

    January 25, 2010 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  10. Clark

    All of these "think tank" experts just can't get their heads on straight ... the Democrats problem has nothing to do with image .... it has everything to do with their socialist agenda.

    Now if Mr. Carville means that he can put lipstick on the socialist pig and make the pig look pretty to us .... he might be right if what he hopes to do is fool enough people .... BUT I think enough of us are now awake and alert to prevent the elitists from pulling the wool over our eyes again.

    January 25, 2010 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  11. Mad Matt

    The biggest bunch of impatient whiners that are polluting the elections are the independent voters.
    Conservative voters who are too embarrassed to have the courage to defend their stance on failed policies now call themselves independents.
    All-or-nothing liberals do not have the heart to stick it out with the president to make change we can believe in work.

    It's like everbody has jumped out to the airplane but now they are afraid to pull the rip cord because they don't think the parachute will work. Stupid.

    January 25, 2010 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  12. juris prudence

    That's what happens when Congress ignores the will of the people. Politicians ramming poor legislation (e.g., Obamacare, cap and trade, stimulus packages with niches for special interests) down our throats will be voted out of office.

    January 25, 2010 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  13. Scott

    Who is James Carville and from what planet does he come?

    January 25, 2010 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  14. Mike Syracuse, NY

    Ha, Ha. I remember Election Night 2008 when Carville said the Republicans were dead for the next 40 years. He's only been 39 years off. Hey James, this isn't a problem with 'communicating' a strategy. Obozo has given over 400 speeches since taking office. The problem is he DOESN"T HAVE A STRATEGY!!!

    January 25, 2010 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  15. Reny

    And this is why I say Americans are stupid. How many of you actually think the Republicans will do anything to help Americans from 2010 – 2012? All they will focus on will be hurting Obama as much as possible in order to win back the WH in 2012. Once they win back the WH they will do what they do best: Help their rich friends while the rest of us suffer.

    You get what you vote for and if Americans want to vote in a party of the rich then so be it, just dont cry when they destroy what is left of this country.

    January 25, 2010 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  16. rjt

    I think the White house can bring in the spin doctor and try to repackage the Obama brand. The only problem is that the American people really are smart emough to know that if you polish it up and deliver it more effectively its still failure by inept leadership. I think Obama said it best himself " you can put lipstick on a pig but its still a pig"

    January 25, 2010 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  17. Richard - Missouri

    Well, Mr. Carville, get ready for 'worse'. Obama has not communicated a clear message on the economy because he has none, and he certainly won't come-up with one soon, and even if he did, it will be impossible to execute on it prior to the November 2010 elections. Unfortunately for Obama and the Dem led Congress, America is a centrist country, and they are not ready for anything like the kind of 'change' they have been presented with so far. On the contrary, most folks who voted for Obama / liberal Dems are sorry they did so, and certainly ready to vote them out. The libs have shown they are not only dangerous, but arrogant to the point where they won't listen to anyone (e.g. – Pelosi and Reid are still publicly talking about how to ram through healthcare reform. what idiots!). Dems are showing exactly why they have been the minority in Congress for years on end. It simply took giving them the majority for a short period of time to remind people why they do not belong in power. They are VERY scary, even more so than the idiotic Repugnicans who helped screw up the economy. Two wrongs do not make a right, and the Dumbocrats have compounded issues, and created even bigger deficits. If left alone, the country will go bankrupt under the Dem libs. The long and short of it is this: they have to go, and they have to go now, before it's too late.

    January 25, 2010 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  18. lifelong democrat

    "Blame Bush" is all my party can say every time they fail. Obama have name of Bush embedded PERMANENTLY in his teleprompter. Did he envoke the name of Bush talking to 6th graders in Virginia using his teleprompter? The problem with democrats in Congress all the way to the WH, they use Bush like a boogeyman, that is getting old. Obama never take responsibility for anything, democrats in Congress and Senate never take responsibility for anything.

    I'm so sick and tired of blame Bush tactic of my party that I've concluded democrats are just a bunch of kids playing in the sandbox not worth my vote, not worth my respect and cannot be trusted to make sane and adult decision. As I see it, democrats all the way to the WH is more worried about the party than this country. They've put the party ahead of our concern, voting them out makes it easy especially for lifelong democrats like me. Continue with your blame game, do the same Obama, continue blaming Bush, continue dragging teleprompter with you, I'll bet you use teleprompter when you order your coffee in the morning.

    January 25, 2010 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  19. joec

    It has nothing to do with communicating the message. It has more to do with the message that is being communicated. Back room healthcare deals that 61% of Americans dont want, raising taxes on employers who stop hiring because of the tax increases, giving sweetheart deals to Checci and Co. with a no bid contract similar to Haliburton. Out of control spending with no positive effects on the economy. The American public was sold a bill of goods with Obama and his slogan of change which turned out to be more of the same. So hopefully for the good of America Obama will go the way of Carter and be one and done. The way of Washington should not be Chicago thug politics as usual but truly be transparent which was just a Obama campaign promise (lie).

    January 25, 2010 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  20. Rob R

    And they SHOULD!!! The Democrats have shown their disfunction, and have been out-maneuvered at every turn, because they STILL can't comprehend the difference between ideals and political power. Not that the Republicans are ANY better at all...they've managed to stonewall and obstruct very effectively not giving consideration to the damage they allow to continue...in the mean time Americans are suffering and hurting...and getting angrier by the day...The Republican wins will be short-lived, because NEITHER party is listening!

    January 25, 2010 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  21. Glenview Boy

    Just an FYI – 22% of the electorate voted in MA in the recent special senate election. How pathetic!

    Voting is a right, but sadly, too few view it as an obligation as well. Sadly, most of our electorate just does not give a hoot. Even the percentages of eligible voters who vote in typical presidential elections hover around the 50% of registered voters mark.

    January 25, 2010 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  22. Mark

    Despite President Obama's long history of criticizing the Bush administration for "sweetheart deals" with favored contractors, the Obama administration this month awarded a $25 million federal contract for work in Afghanistan to a company owned by a Democratic campaign contributor without entertaining competitive bids

    January 25, 2010 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  23. Annie, Atlanta

    Does this mean that Americans are willing to go back to the Bush Cheney 8 years of dismal redistribution of wealth to the top 5%, a scenario which has not been seen in this country since the Gilded Age? Are we nuts, or what? It's a shame that it's either that or the dismal spineless Democrats. We need a third option if Republicans and Blue Dogs are owned by corporate America and Democrats won't/can't get tough. And I'm not talking about the tea bag party.

    January 25, 2010 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  24. LacrosseMom(the real one)

    Yes, there is a risk, always is. However, I believe in the American people. We are not stupid enough to give control of the House or Senate to the GOP!

    Americans need to be reminded how we got into the Great Recession in the first place. Back in the 90's when the Republicans had the majority (1994-Jan. 2007) they passed the "Financial Services Modernization Act" the author was Phil Gramm. This Bill DE-regulated Wall Street, allowing them to BET on the failure of home loans by Americans; allowing derivatives to be unregulated wreaking havoc on our Financial system!

    Beware America! When Banks & Wall Street are not regulated, the CROOKS WILL wreak havoc on our Economy without consequences! IF America brings the GOP back into power, God help us!

    January 25, 2010 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  25. Harold Trainer, USAF RET

    I do not see any real difference. The Demos got the house and did virtually nothing on Iraq, Afghanistan, Health Care Reform, economy etc. The Demos in a minority role can obstruct Repbulicans as they obstructed Demos. Congress is broken.

    January 25, 2010 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
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