Obama: Democrats get ‘clobbered’ in midterms
March 21st, 2014
09:15 AM ET
8 months ago

Obama: Democrats get ‘clobbered’ in midterms

(CNN) – President Barack Obama argued Thursday night that Democrats have low turnout and get "clobbered" in midterm elections because of the "toxic" nature of Washington.

“The problem is not that the American people disagree with us on the issues," the President said. "The challenge is, is that our politics in Washington have become so toxic that people just lose faith and finally they just say, 'You know what, I’m not interested, I’m not going to bother, I’m not going to vote.' ”

His comments came at a dinner in Miami for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which aims to get Democrats elected to the House, at the home of retired basketball star Alonzo Mourning.

Obama has been actively trying to fundraise for Democratic groups this cycle as the party anticipates a tough battle in its efforts to win back the House majority, as well as maintain control of the Senate.

Obama 2014 campaign role: Fundraiser-in-Chief

The President said turnout is better for Democrats in presidential election years because young people, blacks, Hispanics and women are more likely to vote - what he called "a more representative cross-section of America."

“But in midterms we get clobbered - either because we don’t think it’s important or we’ve become so discouraged about what’s happening in Washington that we think it’s not worth our while.”

"We’re going to have to get over that," he added. "This is a top priority."

Obama said little about his health care law, an issue that some Democrats have tried to stay away from on the campaign trail.

After a high-profile loss in a special congressional election in Florida last week where Obamacare was a central issue, some Democrats are growing increasingly nervous about being linked to the law, which has had a series of setbacks. There are also worries that the issue could cause them to lose their 55-45 majority in the Senate.

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, however, argued Thursday that Obamacare will actually help those running in competitive districts this fall.

"I believe that it's a winner," Pelosi replied when asked Thursday how the issue would play in swing districts. But she maintained that Democratic campaigns are mostly focused on the economy.

Democrats need to pick up a challenging 17 seats in order to retake the House.

While the second-highest ranking Democrat in the House, Rep. Steny Hoyer, predicted last month his party was in a good position to retake control of the House, the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, said she expects Democrats to gain seats but stopped short of predicting a takeover.

CNN Senior Congressional Producer Deirdre Walsh contributed to this report.


Filed under: 2014 • DCCC • Fundraising • President Obama
soundoff (79 Responses)
  1. AlbaMN

    And it becomes more toxic daily. The parties are more interesting in "winning" than in governing, the only true goal seems to be election and re-election. But the solution rests with us, the voting public. We need to educate ourselves on the candidates, their stances and records. And NOT through sound bites and talking points. Review their voting history. What have they had the courage to stand up for? Vote smart, not party line, please!

    March 21, 2014 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  2. kurt

    He's right, but I don't see how him saying it fixes anything.

    The fact of elections right now is that the more people who show up to vote, the worse the GOP does. This is why many election law changes in red states are all about making it tougher to vote (using "election fraud" as an excuse). Because the GOP is aware that limiting turnout only helps them in elections.

    While they'll never say it, the worst possible thing for the GOP would be for ever eligible american to take part in elections. They need the numbers below 55% to have a realistic chance as it is. Midterms never crack 50% turnout. If it got up to 80-90% participation, they'd be toast.

    March 21, 2014 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  3. Dead Bear

    I am what you call a Yellow Dog Democrat... I'll vote for a yellow dog before I'll vote for a Republican.

    March 21, 2014 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  4. Gurgyl

    Be united. Be strong. Nothing wrong with ACA Law, it is national need. Don't deviate.

    March 21, 2014 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  5. uncdig

    Democrats say "thank you"to president Obama

    March 21, 2014 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  6. Lizzie

    "House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, however, argued Thursday that Obamacare will actually help those running in competitive districts this fall."
    And that from the same who said, you need to pass it to know what's in it.

    March 21, 2014 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  7. Norfolk

    Aww the dream world Nancy lives in, go back on your meds Nancy and leave the country to people that have the mental smarts to deal with it.

    March 21, 2014 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  8. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    @Norfolk
    Aww the dream world Nancy lives in, go back on your meds Nancy and leave the country to people that have the mental smarts to deal with it.

    Are you referring to deep thinkers like George W. Bush?

    March 21, 2014 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  9. Tony in Maine

    and the polluters of DC politics are out in force on this site too.

    March 21, 2014 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  10. smith

    Repubs voters are more interested and dedicated with politics and take every election to heart. Dem voters(mainly youth) only care about the big one and really aren`t that interested in senate and house elections.

    March 21, 2014 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  11. Tampa Tim

    Voter suppression is the only way GOBaggers can win.

    March 21, 2014 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  12. Fair is Fair

    First correct statement he's made in months.

    March 21, 2014 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  13. Tampa Tim

    Does any one think any Fox viewer or Koch puppet has the mental smarts to deal with reality?

    March 21, 2014 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  14. Keith ..... in Oregon

    Yeah that's right it's those stupid voters just don't understand. If they did they would all vote for us. Maybe we should just vote for them.

    March 21, 2014 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  15. Lynda/Minnesota

    “But in midterms we get clobbered – either because we don’t think it’s important or we’ve become so discouraged about what’s happening in Washington that we think it’s not worth our while.”

    Truth to tell, it does get frustrating supporting a party who can't get off their butts long enough to vote every two years and yet are willing to spend those two years whining about the other side consistently winning mid-term elections.

    March 21, 2014 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  16. Harold Read

    Obama: Sorry about that Obanacare debacle, but as with everything it is not my fault. Let me spin the wheel of blame... And it is... Yes! It is George H. Bush's fault that Democrats will lose seats in 2014. Damn those Bush's! Time to sanction them!!!

    March 21, 2014 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  17. Rick McDaniel

    The truth is.......liberals only are strong in specific areas. half of this country, is solidly conservative, but that tends to be more small town and rural areas, where people are self sufficient.

    Liberals are a result of the last 50 years of Dem hand outs in cities. It is the "gimmee" mentality. That is destroying the fabric of America, because all those "gimmee" people DO, is party. They are basically shiftless and irresponsible type people who just want everything in life to be "fun" and a "good time".

    Conservatives earn their way, and they live within their means. That was traditionally the American way. The conservatives in America still believe in that basic principle.

    March 21, 2014 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  18. Rudy NYC

    Lizzie

    "House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, however, argued Thursday that Obamacare will actually help those running in competitive districts this fall."
    And that from the same who said, you need to pass it to know what's in it.
    ---------------------------------------
    Republicans have only pretended to not know what was in the bill. They began telling the public about all of the bad things in the bill in the summer of 2009. The House had debated the bill. The bill was passed in the Senate, with 60 votes, in December of 2009, which opened up public debate. The content of the bill was debated for two months in a Senate committee, and later on the floor of the U.S. Senate, before being voted on and passed in March 2010.

    During the legislative process, Republicans had complained that they didn't know anything about the bill, despite the fact that they were attending committee meetings as the bill was being written. The President had even convened a health care summit, which Republicans tried to find excuses not to attend.

    In short, when Republicans claim that they didn't know what was in the bill, they were just outright being misleading. Speaker Pelosi's cynical swipe at a conservative reporter, who had asked about Republicans not knowing the content, was priceless.

    March 21, 2014 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  19. Hector Slagg

    Yes,
    Most likely there will be more "House Cleaning" in November. The real thing that needs to be done is Close all the Big Liberal Social Spending bills. The people in each State can pick them up if they want to. No doubt a lot of people are tired of Washington and will not vote. Once again the "Bloom" is off the Rose.

    March 21, 2014 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  20. Tampa Tim

    Rick – As usual, you are totally wrong, but keep up the fantasy. For what it's worth, each week as I leave church, the message is, "serve the poor." As for handouts, I went to a public school in a big bus, went to a public university, received my Master's from a public university, bought a home in a community with public streets, public water, paid into social security for a lifetime, love our state and national parks, enjoy eating government inspected meats and foods, fly on federal inspected aircraft, drive a car with high fuel standards, so, I guess I am a taker by right wingnut standards.

    March 21, 2014 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  21. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Lynda Minnesota
    Truth to tell, it does get frustrating supporting a party who can't get off their butts long enough to vote every two years and yet are willing to spend those two years whining about the other side consistently winning mid-term elections
    -------------------------------------------------
    Well, yes, there is that as well.
    My frustration lies in supporting a party that doesn't stand up and support itself, it's members, what they voted for, nor sometimes, it's own President.
    That really gets my goat.

    March 21, 2014 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  22. Lynda/Minnesota

    Dominican mama

    Well, yes, there is that as well.
    My frustration lies in supporting a party that doesn't stand up and support itself, it's members, what they voted for, nor sometimes, it's own President.
    That really gets my goat.
    -------------

    Indeed, yes. There is that too. Absolutely.

    March 21, 2014 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  23. Rudy NYC

    Hector Slagg

    Yes,
    Most likely there will be more "House Cleaning" in November. The real thing that needs to be done is Close all the Big Liberal Social Spending bills. The people in each State can pick them up if they want to. No doubt a lot of people are tired of Washington and will not vote. Once again the "Bloom" is off the Rose.
    -------------------------------
    If it were not for all of those "Big Liberal Social Spending Bills", then most of the solid red states would fold. Businesses like Walmart would fold. Seniors mostly vote conservative, and most of the Medicare spending goes to spending for seniors. Say whatever you want, but the conservative soceiety would utterly collapse without those "Big Liberal Social Spending Bills."

    March 21, 2014 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  24. Silence DoGood

    @Tampa Tim
    Rick – As usual, you are totally wrong, but keep up the fantasy. For what it's worth, each week as I leave church, the message is, "serve the poor." As for handouts, I went to a public school in a big bus, went to a public university, received my Master's from a public university, bought a home in a community with public streets, public water, paid into social security for a lifetime, love our state and national parks, enjoy eating government inspected meats and foods, fly on federal inspected aircraft, drive a car with high fuel standards, so, I guess I am a taker by right wingnut standards.
    -----------------
    The truth of course is that the right winger are big takers too, of the very things you list. Report after report (Slate for example) show red states are 8 of the top 10 Big Takers of federal money. Conservatives loved funding a War in Iraq based on false evidence and no goal and no plan whatsoever to cover the cost of it. By the numbers they are factual hypocrites – I cannot be kind about something so obvious and mean spirited.

    March 21, 2014 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  25. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Lynda MInnesota
    How have you been my friend? It's been a while. The flu got a hold of me and I don't mind telling you that it kicked my butt there for a minute.
    But I'm back....I think!
    What have I missed in America's longest running soap opera?

    March 21, 2014 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
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