Obama: Democrats get ‘clobbered’ in midterms
March 21st, 2014
09:15 AM ET
5 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. Silence DoGood

    Liberals need to get out to vote. Thanks to conservative campaigns, you may be standing in a long line or have to jump through hoops but it is worth it. Think of the Grand Vision of the neo-con movement, having little to do with your parents' generation conservative. It is a future of working as a slave in a 'Walmart', subject to religious laws you might not agree with, corporations controlling what you eat and breathe.

    March 21, 2014 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  2. much thunder...little rain

    the house is doomed as long as wasserman and nancy are party leaders.... nancy must go...she is the george bush of the democratic party...no room for moderates ....

    March 21, 2014 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  3. Hector Slagg

    Well, Rudy,
    You left out one thing. The National Debt. Headed towards 18 Trillion and probably over 20 Trillion before Whats-His-Name is sent packing. When are you going to learn there is no Free Lunch. Everybody will pay somewhere.

    Just down the road, not too far from here they hold an annual Catfish Festival. Normally it is 3 Days. This year they cut it to one day because of the "Booming" Economy. You can keep all your Liberal Spending Bills. As long as it is in the States, where it is Constitutional. If the "Blue States" are funding the "Red" States you can take it back tomorrow. I won't miss it.

    March 21, 2014 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  4. Tampa Tim

    Rick McDaniel
    ObamaCare is the most atrocious law ever passed by Democrats. Bar none. Not a single Republican voted for it. None.
    ----–
    What are your thoughts on the patriot act, NSA, voter suppression, TARP, Medicare part D, etc.

    March 21, 2014 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  5. O'drama ya Mama

    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 |
    ________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Right after I read the part where you say "and live within their means" I immediately thought of MItt Romney and his car elevator.

    March 21, 2014 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  6. Enough is Enough

    What a bunch of bunk Silence. Conservatives want to see people succeed...but that doesn't happen when they look to the government to supply their every need. That won't be possible when we are drowning in debt.

    March 21, 2014 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  7. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    The only chance that the Democrats have of retaining the Senate and possibly, possibly winning back the House is if they RALLY around the ACA, put the President front and center to get out the votes, and stop disenfranchising themselves from their own record.
    The ONLY way the Democrats are going to get voters to the booth in the numbers that they need is by having the President get out there and campaign WITH them. Period.
    No one else has the draw that he still has with the voters. They are committing political suicide by not taking advantage of it.
    No Democrat/Indie is going to vote for someone who is running from their record and is turning their back on the signature achievement not just of this President but of their Party.
    Democrats need to get and stay on the same page and see these mid-term elections through together.
    UNITE before it is too late.

    March 21, 2014 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  8. Enough is Enough

    "Right after I read the part where you say "and live within their means" I immediately thought of MItt Romney and his car elevator."

    That, my friend, is jealousy. Did Romney ask you to pay for it with tax dollars? No, therefore, he is living within HIS means. To a liberal, anyone who has more than they do is evil and got it through some nefarious way.

    March 21, 2014 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  9. Enough is Enough

    "The only chance that the Democrats have of retaining the Senate and possibly, possibly winning back the House is if they RALLY around the ACA"

    Oh please, PLEASE do it......

    March 21, 2014 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  10. Chris-E...al

    Even when the dems had all 3 houses in D.C. they did nothing but pass a law that they did'nt read ! They could have did more for the the PPL they rep but failed them . And now the base is voteing them out 0r n0t vote n .

    March 21, 2014 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  11. Lizzie

    O'drama ya Mama, Leave Mitt Romney out of this, HE can afford it, looks like your jealous of anyone who has more than you do.
    Dominican mama....... Don't worry, the democrats will stay together no matter what, or the will feel the wrath of Pelosi, Reid and Valerie Jarrett.

    March 21, 2014 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  12. The Mayor of Medinah

    Praise god or who ever you choose but enough is enough

    March 21, 2014 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  13. Rudy NYC

    Hector Slagg

    Well, Rudy,
    You left out one thing. The National Debt. Headed towards 18 Trillion and probably over 20 Trillion before Whats-His-Name is sent packing. When are you going to learn there is no Free Lunch. Everybody will pay somewhere.

    Just down the road, not too far from here they hold an annual Catfish Festival. Normally it is 3 Days. This year they cut it to one day because of the "Booming" Economy. You can keep all your Liberal Spending Bills. As long as it is in the States, where it is Constitutional. If the "Blue States" are funding the "Red" States you can take it back tomorrow. I won't miss it.
    --------------------------
    You left out the fact that the Ryan Plan doesn't balance the annual budget for at least 30 years, according to the CBO. Pres. Obama's budget had been projected at ten years. When Ryan was asked what would the deficit be by the time his annual budget was balanced, his reply was par for the conservative course. "I don't know. I haven't run the numbers, yet."

    March 21, 2014 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  14. don in albuquerque

    Chris-E

    Had all three houses???

    March 21, 2014 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  15. Gunderson

    Um,
    Whazzat D.M. 4 O, Democrats need Rally Around ACA and get President Campaign for them? Well nothing like bringing bad news to the For Front. That's like Re-Arranging Deck Chairs on Titanic. Why you think Democrats running away from Obama and ACA. It Ain't for their health let me tell you. Obama Care is on Life Support and the democrats know it. In fact the whole Liberal Ajenda is on Life Support.

    March 21, 2014 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  16. Rudy NYC

    Chris-E...al

    Even when the dems had all 3 houses in D.C. they did nothing but pass a law that they did'nt read ! They could have did more for the the PPL they rep but failed them . And now the base is voteing them out 0r n0t vote n .
    -------------------------
    Democrats held majorities in Congress and the White House for two years, and passed the ACA.

    Republican had majorities in Congress and the White House for six years, and didn't do anything except pass laws that turned into economic disaster. Once Republicans lost their majorities in 2006, even George W. Bush had tried to pass some form of health care reform. But, Senate Republicans in Congress blocked any legislation with filibusters, which one reason why health care reform was such a big campaign issue in 2008. After having "fixed" health care in the early 2000s, the Republicans were against any sort of health care reform. And, they still are.

    March 21, 2014 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  17. Bill from GA

    The Dems did great in 2006. Since then the right-wing propaganda network has been working overtime. That is obvious from some of the garbage from the righties posting here.

    The last time we had a balanced budget (surplus, actually) was from the Bill Clinton years. W & Dickie didn't like paying down our debt, so he cut taxes and started a useless war.

    March 21, 2014 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  18. MikeinMT

    The great part about this country is that no one party completely controls government. To hear Obama talk about toxicity in government is pure hypocrisy. Democratic rhetoric is hideously toxic. Discrimination of racial minorities that are conservative have been increasing on the left. As a minority, if you don't walk the walk and talk the talk the way you are expected to, you end up on the "barrel" end of the DMC shotgun. Dems ask for Republican solutions. The problem with that argument is that its not Republican's fault for the mess Obama has made of foreign policy, the economy, jobs, and of course Obamacare. Don't ask Republicans to clean up your mess. This is your administration, and your responsibility to fix it. What do you want to bet that the next post after this uses the "R: word?

    March 21, 2014 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  19. Silence DoGood

    @Enough is Enough
    What a bunch of bunk Silence. Conservatives want to see people succeed...but that doesn't happen when they look to the government to supply their every need. That won't be possible when we are drowning in debt.
    ------------
    "want to see people succeed". Since conservatives have been behind limiting the rights of women, gays/lesbians, veterans, non-christians, etc., I am assuming that "people" is not all the people.

    ”I just think my children, and your children, will be much better off, and much more successful getting married and raising a family. And I don’t want them to be brainwashed into thinking that homosexuality is an equally valid or successful option. It isn’t.”
    —Carl Paladino, New York State Tea Party-backed candidate for Governor, Oct. 10, 2010

    March 21, 2014 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  20. Bill from GA

    Hector Slagg – "The real thing that needs to be done is Close all the Big Liberal Social Spending bills."

    Would you classify W's Medicare Prescription Drug in that group? You know that when Obama made changes to a privatized, expensive part of Medicare, the repubs were howling about him killing grandma. And, BTW, the Medicare Prescription Drug was written specifically to NOT allow negotiating drug prices.

    I guess Big Conservative Social Spending bills are OK with you righties.

    March 21, 2014 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  21. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Lynda Minnesota
    I've got a grandson waiting by his front door for his Nana to come over and play trucks, so I won't be here much longer. Have a great weekend and be safe.
    -------------------------------------------------
    Family first my friend for sure.
    God bless, be safe and enjoy being Nana to your grandson (gosh I envy you!).

    March 21, 2014 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  22. Silence DoGood

    @don in albuquerque
    Chris-E
    Had all three houses???
    ---------
    Conservatives are so well educated. If Rush said there are 3 houses then by God there are 3 houses.

    March 21, 2014 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  23. Rudy NYC

    "Just down the road, not too far from here they hold an annual Catfish Festival. Normally it is 3 Days. This year they cut it to one day because of the "Booming" Economy. You can keep all your Liberal Spending Bills. As long as it is in the States, where it is Constitutional. If the "Blue States" are funding the "Red" States you can take it back tomorrow. I won't miss it."
    ------------------------------
    Are you sure that they didn't cut it down to one day because the caftish are almost completely gone? Or, could it be that the waters are contaminated from the spill several weeks back in West Virginia that contaminated the river?

    Or, could it be that the draconian cuts to SNAP, unemployment insurance, and other social safety net programs are having a noticeable and negative effect on your local economy? Heck, I'll vote for this one.

    March 21, 2014 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  24. Bill from GA

    Chris-E...al – "Even when the dems had all 3 houses in D.C. they did nothing but pass a law that they did'nt read"

    You failed to mention the part where Obama and the Dems bailed out the World economy, after W and his cronies destroyed it. Turned around stock markets that had lost HALF of their value, GDP from MINUS 7 or 8 %, and job losses of over 750 THOUSAND PER MONTH. LOST JOBS! Not slow job growth, LOST jobs. 750,000 per month!

    Did you forget about that already? You don't like today's economy, thank the repubs who blocked every attempt our President made, as soon as repubs got enough seats in the Senate to filibuster. When repubs got the house, all progress on the economy ended.

    FACTS ARE FACTS.

    March 21, 2014 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  25. Rudy NYC

    MikeinMT

    The great part about this country is that no one party completely controls government. To hear Obama talk about toxicity in government is pure hypocrisy. Democratic rhetoric is hideously toxic. Discrimination of racial minorities that are conservative have been increasing on the left.
    -----------------------------
    For example, what is so hypocritical about the facts? What "Democratic rhetoric is hideously toxic"? Remember what the word you used, "Democratic", actually means. Okay? It means elected officials, not folks ranting on the internet.

    What racial discrimmination against minority conservatives are you talking about? You give no examples. Just words. If you're talking about the criticism of the recent Koch sponsored ads featuring miniorities, please allow me to state the obvious to you. Those people were all actors. None of them were real, not even the people that they supposedly were.

    I mean, seriously, you are not going to reach out to minorities in the major cities by creating ads showing minorities living in upscale suburbia. You have to be seriously full of yourself in order to miss that simply obvious obstacle.

    March 21, 2014 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
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