April 8th, 2008
03:25 PM ET
12 years ago

DCCC chair warns negative presidential race could do damage

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/04/08/art.vanhollen.gi.jpg caption="Van Hollen is chairman of the DCCC."](CNN) - The top Democrat charged with helping his party maintain control of the House in 2008 warned Tuesday congressional candidates could suffer if the Democratic presidential race turns overly negative.

Speaking at a press briefing with reporters, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Chris Van Hollen predicted the Democrats will pick up House seats in November, but said the ongoing contest between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama remains a "variable."

"We've seen the energy and excitement in the early Democratic primaries, and the only thing that could hurt or cut back on that is if the Democratic primary gets so divisive that it's difficult to patch it up and heal the wounds in time to be together in November," said Van Hollen, who has not endorsed either candidate.

"We need to make sure that both candidates stay positive so you don't leave lasting wounds that will depress in anyway that kind of energy and enthusiasm," he added. "I don't think we are at that point. I do think there is a danger of reaching that point."

At the same briefing, Clinton backer and Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Chuck Schumer sounded a less dire tone, saying the hotly-contested race will benefit the party come November.

“Each is getting to refine their message and battle test their campaigns in this primary," he said. "I don't think any damaging blows have been landed by one or the other, and damaging to the general election, and I think both are very strong candidates."

Filed under: DCCC • DSCC
soundoff (255 Responses)
  1. smith so jersey

    Why don't ANY

    (not ONE SINGLE )

    Hillary postings

    sound INTELLIGENT?

    I think it's a republican Obama conspiracy

    to make a semi intelligent person

    repulsed by the drivel of Clinton supporters.

    Unfortunately I can't think of anything

    intelligent to say

    in support of Lapse Lady.

    April 8, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  2. Brent Christopher

    This democratic party is doomed no matter which candidate gets the nomination. There is too much resentment on both sides. America is now doomed. Thanks a lot. If I had the resources, I would leave this god forsaken country.

    April 8, 2008 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  3. lombardi graham

    You obama people are stuck on stupied poll dont vote people vote so stop you'r watching to much Obama Cnn.

    April 8, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  4. Stop it with Michigan and Florida

    Concerning Michigan and Florida,

    Obama and his campaign are not responsible for preventing revotes in either states, so please stop spewing that.

    Michigan – those votes can simply not originally count. According to those results, Hillary has 330,000 votes or so and Obama has 0. You can't be judging popular vote by that. If you believe every vote matters, then you should be supporting a revote.

    Florida – In the end, it won't play a huge card in the election and the original votes might as well be counted. If people will stop complaining about it, then I'm willing to concede it.

    However, people also need to realize how democratic this process continues to be. If people are mad about what their elected officials caused them, they simply need to vote them out next election cycle. That is democracy in action. I wish their votes mattered, but at least they still have the chance to make sure it doesn't happen again.

    Obama '08

    April 8, 2008 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  5. An American in Canada

    What is wrong with a good argument on, for or against issues. The only person that does not want discussion are those who have no solutions, no policies and who will not be ready on day one.

    How else are the citizens of American suppose to understand and see the differences between Obama and Clinton.

    Personally, I see the big difference between Obama and Hillary R. Clinton, she is a woman of substances, she has solutions and she is for all American people.

    Obama, we are not sure what he stands for except that we often hear the same ideas that Hillary R. Clinton has only reworded to sound as if they were his own ideas...

    Now, if the DNC did not drop the ball and especially Howard Dean, we would not be in this situation because Florida and Michigan would have their votes counted.

    The DNC has disenfranchised Florida and Michigan that is what will destroy the Democratic Party as we know it., and if you and your Rules are Rules committee do not get together and change these stupid primaries, especially with that dam caucuses and then get rid of Howard Dean.

    So do not point fingers at the candidates look into your own party and its' antics and especially Howard Dean..

    Hillary R. Clinton, President of America 2009-2012

    April 8, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  6. A&A

    yo Obama people...did you hear the audio recordings of BO in private converstions, telling he has more foreign experience out of all 3? cocky arrogance is what he is all about, and you are buying into it...you all sound like a CARBON OBAMA COPIES..scary thought

    April 8, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  7. The truth hurts

    Julie – how can pa be such a great state when its own governor says it is filled with racist?

    April 8, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  8. robin

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    To whom this may concern ,
    It is not this the negative alone it the lairs Hillary Clinton tells . Bosnia. Now the young lady and her baby . Well that was a horrible story to be telling in the first place .
    This is what we need a new lairer .
    Wake up America . Wake up. Because I see it happened already . After the Bosnia story . People are telling me I wish I never voted for her .
    Same a BUSH . People been telling me for the last 3 years wish they never voted for him.
    Wish is to late . Think twice before you do .

    April 8, 2008 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |




    April 8, 2008 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  10. An American in Canada






    April 8, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  11. Jocely

    Every one need to stop for a moment this election is not about black the fact is a black mea running for president nor should this election be about women or white women the fact a woman is running for president. This is about the people and we are the people. We those choices. Where were you in 2000 and 2004 voting for Bush and Chaney we make those choices. If Obama win we vote for him. If Hillary win we vote for her or if McCain win we vote him no one is forcing any one you need to make your best judgement.

    If Clinton win it's because on how she play her card if she lose she has herself to thank on how they run their campagne.

    I want to remind people before there was a women and a black running for president we were all good kids lined-up to vote for republican if this is the party you support orfor democrat. That is what we need to do when we choose our nominee.


    April 8, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |


    April 8, 2008 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  13. Chrissy, Texas

    Really? You think? The party has already been damaged with all the trash thrown at Hillary from Obama, his campaign, supporters and media. Obama is supposed to be about the "new" politics but he has proven anything but. He's nothing but a hypocrite and liar and my vote will go Republican if Obama gets the nomination. And trust me, the Hispanic vote will go too!

    April 8, 2008 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  14. Jocely

    I take some time to calculate what each candidate need to win:


    38% of the remaining super Delegates

    46% of the remaining Pledge Delegates


    70% of the remaining super Delegates

    54% of the remaining

    do the math they you see the ineventable.


    April 8, 2008 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  15. Ric

    The Dems are going to lose an election they SHOULD have won. Pathetic. Vote smart. Vote Mc Cain.
    Democrats for Mc Cain '08!!

    April 8, 2008 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  16. Marian

    I am so disillusioned with this process. I wish the media, voters and the candidates would just stay ion the issues. The reporting on nonsense is just driving me crazy. I am committed to a fair and open election process. This is for me today...I am boycotting the news. And if things don't improve I amy boycott the election.

    April 8, 2008 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  17. FrankSmith

    As a Catholic, I will continue to say the Rosary for anyone who votes for Hillary. Great nations and empires fell flat because of "greed, dishonesty, moral corruption and so on." I have followed the Clintons for years now. I will Never hate them. But what they did to this nation continues to hunt us around the world and in the eyes of GOD. They have too much "innocent" blood in their hands.

    April 8, 2008 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  18. Danny

    Is not the two candidate problem. I think the problem is your Reg. Sen. and the media make the problem because you guy just support Obama only so it make Americans got out from Democratic party.

    I don't think Obama going to win in general election so, your guy do not just support only Obama let support Hillary too I think she might stronger
    candidate then Obama in general election.

    Look now every thing Obama he just hides behind his people that's mean he have no idea and just wait for other help so he not qualify for
    President yet.

    April 8, 2008 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  19. John Smith

    As a Catholic, I will continue to say the Rosary for all those who vote for Hillary. Great nations and emires (with all their wealth) fell because of "lack of moral integrity, deceit, greed, moral corruption and so on."

    I do not hate the Clintons. But what the Clintons did to this nation will require a change in generations to wipe out the SINS of this nation. The Clintons have too much blood in their hands.

    April 8, 2008 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  20. John Smith

    Hello, as a Catholic, I will continue to say the Rosary for all those who vote for Hillary. Great nations and emires (with all their wealth) fell because of "lack of moral integrity, deceit, greed, moral corruption and so on."

    I do not hate the Clintons. But what the Clintons did to this nation will require a change in generations to wipe out the SINS of this nation. The Clintons have too much blood in their hands. I am over 50years now and a successful professional; I lived through the Clinton years with shame and humiliation. "Give to Ceaser what is Ceaser's and to God what is God's."

    April 8, 2008 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  21. DrFill

    You wanna ceasefire?
    Get ShortBread to give up.
    That's your only shot.

    April 8, 2008 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  22. ltd1974

    Julie do you even pay attention to the polls. Sweep Northcarolin and win big in Penn. Wow! goes to show common sense is price less

    April 8, 2008 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  23. rabblerouser

    What's hurting the Democratic party is the blatantly prejudicial treatment Hillary is getting not only from the press but from within the Dem. party itself. This has not been a fair contest; the majority of the Dem party seems to be doing everything it can to install Obama as the nominee even tho we, the people (remember us?) are equally in favor of Hillary as we are of Obama.

    When someone like Patrick Leahy comes out and tells Hillary to pack it in, don't think for a moment, that when his time is up for election, I sure won't vote for him, even if it means voting for his republican opponent.

    April 8, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  24. Eric-Illinois

    Oh will these politically correct polititions quit their Whinning! Obama's camp sounds like spoiled little girls and now McCain has jumped on the "ouch" train. Just shut up and fight like hell. Does anyone really beleive that when and if Messiah obama wins this thing...everyone is just going to all of a sudden get along. Politics ain't bean bags...grow up. At least Hillary is proving that she is a a fighter. All Obama and his hatefilled supports are doing is making sure McCain wins. The Republicans and the swiftboaters will eat Obama alive.

    April 8, 2008 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  25. Huff & Puff

    I don't want to see Hillary quit. I can't wait to see her face when she realizes she can't steal the election. That photo will be priceless.

    Go Hillary, run until you're out of breath, and can't run anymore. Then Bubba can pick you up and carry you to the finish line. There you'll find a ribbon on the ground, where Barack has already won.

    Barack 08

    April 8, 2008 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
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