Clyburn Denies Notion of Intraparty Strife Over Elections

Posted July 18, 2010 at 9:01am

Updated: July 18, 10:36 a.m.

House Majority Whip James Clyburn disputed the idea that there is a pervasive sense among House Democrats that the White House has not done enough to help lawmakers’ re-election efforts.

In a television appearance Sunday, the South Carolina Democrat said concerns, such as those expressed last week by Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) and others, about the White House’s commitment to aiding House Democrats’ campaigns were “not widespread at all.”

Democratic leaders have been working to downplay signs of intraparty strife since White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs suggested July 11 that it was feasible for Republicans to win the House in the November midterm elections. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) blasted Gibbs’ comments as “politically inept” at a closed-door Democratic Caucus meeting last week, then publicly insisted later that she was satisfied with President Barack Obama’s support of House Democrats’ re-election efforts.

Clyburn, appearing on “Fox News Sunday,” predicted a “very strong showing at the polls come November” for Democrats, adding, “We plan to win this election and win it big.”

Vice President Joseph Biden also expressed confidence Sunday that Democrats will retain control of the House and Senate and outperform expectations.

“I don’t think the losses will be bad at all,” Biden said on ABC’s “This Week.” “I think we’re going to shock the heck out of everybody.”

Biden paraphrased Mark Twain, saying, “The reports of our demise are premature.”

House Republican Conference Chairman Mike Pence, who appeared on “Fox News Sunday,” said he was “optimistic” about Republicans’ prospects this fall, but he stopped short of predicting outright that the GOP will take over the House. “Maybe not as optimistic as Robert Gibbs, but I like our chances,” the Indiana Republican said.