October 7th, 2010
06:18 PM ET
12 years ago

Obama strategist: 2010 is no 1994

Washington (CNN) - A chief political strategist for President Obama sought Thursday to dispel the idea the upcoming midterms are similar to the 1994 elections when Republicans swept Democrats out of power in Congress. But David Plouffe, who served as Obama's presidential campaign manager, acknowledged his party is up against "some headwinds" in the march towards November 2.

Plouffe, a senior advisor at the Democratic National Committee, said that 16 years ago Democrats were "caught by surprise at the end" by the GOP's momentum and noted at this same point in that election cycle "voters had largely decided" how they were going to vote.

"That is not what is going on here at all," Plouffe said to a group of reporters at DNC headquarters.

He noted that party leaders were starting "to see signs of progress" including an uptick in enthusiasm among loyal Democrats and noted Obama is committed to helping convince the same people who voted for him in 2008 to return to the polls in 26 days for congressional Democrats. A main theme in this election cycle is the so-called enthusiasm gap between energized Republicans and less than enthusiastic Democrats.

Asked to define success in the midterms, Plouffe offered a broad explanation saying, "We are just trying to do as well as we can." Translation: keeping control of the House and Senate.

"I think there is a pathway to do that," he said.

Still, Plouffe conceded that the macro environment, especially now, favored Republicans.

"I don't think any of us would like the election to be called tomorrow," he said.

Looking ahead to 2012, he noted that Obama would run a "grassroots campaign" and predicted efforts by ardent conservatives to pull the GOP farther away from the political center would alienate "moderate voters" heading into 2012.

Plouffe, who did not join the White House when Obama was elected, was non-committal about his own future plans. "I have no idea what my future holds," he said.

It has been rumored Plouffe will join the Obama administration when David Axelrod, a White House senior advisor, returns to Chicago to turn the lights on for Obama's 2012 re-election campaign.

Filed under: 2010 • David Plouffe
soundoff (12 Responses)

    Im said no thanks vote for presdient obama cause he have too much problems

    October 7, 2010 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  2. Fighting Democrat!

    The Chamber of Commerce is helping foreign companies to secure contracts against the America workers. If this is not a wake call for all Americans to stop the GOPTea party to stop outsourcing. Then America deserve to take second place in the world. This will not be a repeat of 1994 if Democrats, Independents and fair mined Republicans vote to keep America moving forward.

    October 7, 2010 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  3. Edwin

    This is just fluff speech, trying to cheer the democratic base. It's a bad year, and he knows it. *Maybe* thing will be better in a month, but maybe they'll just be worse.

    October 7, 2010 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  4. La Piovra

    I am interested in this "likely voter" concept. Who decides who is "likely", and how?

    October 7, 2010 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  5. Four and The Door

    Plouffe...predicted efforts by ardent conservatives to pull the GOP farther away from the political center would alienate "moderate voters" heading into 2012.
    Too bad that's not the way it is playing out. Here's the real scenario that is certainly nothing you are going to hear them talking about at the DNC headqarters:

    The Tea Party has proven to be an excellent vehicle for explaining to Americans what's wrong with this current Washington picture and that they really do have an opportunity to change the direction from where the Obama Administration and Pelosi/ Reid congress have taken us. This has been a successful message and people in all 50 states are excited to see we can get together and fix this. People are enthusiastic about their country again. They see a way forward and it doesn't involve growing a government to rival the USSR or China. It involves something they are familiar with already...going back to the values that made America great in the first place.

    October 7, 2010 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  6. Eric

    He's right... it's not 1994.

    The economy is worse than 1994...
    unemployment is worse...
    the stock market is worse...
    retirement accounts are worse...
    the government bureaucracy is worse...
    the arrogance is worse...

    And yet he thinks they somehow WON'T get their political clocks cleaned this year?

    He's right when he says it's not 1994... it's more like 1894... yes I said EIGHTEEN ninety-four...
    When it's over, he'll wish their losses were only like 1994's.

    October 7, 2010 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  7. George of the jungle

    We can turn it around vote the repos out. Let's go foward not backwards. No more lies and special interest. Fair taxex for all not just tax breaks for the rich.

    October 7, 2010 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  8. Hugo

    I wouldn't call the Katrina sized storm of the century of pissed off constituents a headwind, but just keep thinking that way Barney!

    October 7, 2010 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  9. D. Bunker

    While Plouffe kind of states the obvious, I'm surprised he didn't mention a couple of more very pertinent points. First, our corporate owned Supreme Court have now opened the floodgates to allow corporations to buy the rest of America, including our government. This leads to point two: Faceless billionaires are spending tons of money to fund fake grass roots efforts (teatards, anyone?) and propaganda ads full of lies and misinformation. Combine that with a complicit "liberal" media that does nothing but spew rightwing talking points without examining facts, and spreading more lies based phony landline polls, and you have a recipe for discouraged or ignorant voters. The corporate predators and scared and they're going all in on this one. It's up to sane and rational Americans to recognize the looming feudalism the free trade globalists seek. Vote accordingly.

    October 7, 2010 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  10. Right Leaning Independent

    This dude is delusional!! Well, I guess you would expect him to say this dribble to give the few Dems voting hope...

    October 7, 2010 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  11. T'SAH from Virginia

    The DEMOCRATS need to get out and VOTE. I rallied hundreds in my state and other states where I know people – NY, DE and CT. I am POUNDING them and so far so good – so I am doing my share.

    It's up to the POLITICIANS to STATE a CASE that is strong, positive and they truly believe in it!! If they don't do that, they cannot UNITE the BASE – the base will sit home!! If the BASE sit home – we lose!!!

    VOTERS however should get out there anyway!!! VOTE Democrat NOW and worry about which Democrats – the traitors – need to go in the future!!!

    This is T'SAH from Virginia and I approve this message!!

    October 7, 2010 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  12. barry

    Dream on loser. Dems are done.

    October 7, 2010 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |