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« Campaign Committees Weigh In On NY-20 | Blog Home Page | Strategy Memo: Budget Votes Today »

A Tale Of Two Presidents For Democrats In The Midterms

Democratic strategists said that President Obama has committed to strongly help the party maintain and build its majorities in Congress in 2010. But he's not the only president they expect will play a supporting role.

"President Bush is going to be very much part of the discussion in November 2010," DSCC executive director J.B. Poersch said this afternoon at a panel hosted by The Hotline. "The voters already know full well that the new president was taking on large and, I'll call them ugly, challenges. They had to come from somewhere."

But how can a former president still be used to sway voters? Poersch said it's because the GOP, not the Democrats, who are blaming their woes on Bush.

"There doesn't seem to be from the Republican Party an 'A ha!' moment of accountability, where Republicans themselves say, you know, 'We did this wrong. We screwed up.' Instead, it's the Republicans you hear most often that say, 'Boy, President Bush really made big mistakes," he said.

NRSC executive director Rob Jesmer conceded that tying candidates to Bush was successful in past elections, but won't in the future.

"Nobody's going to Congress to work for or against President Bush now," he said. "In a time we're engaged in two major wars, we're going through a historic economic downturn, we're spending money at an incredible rate, I just don't think anybody cares about that."

He did concede that with a Democrat in the White House, they have a considerable advantage in terms of fundraising ability and a campaigner-in-chief. Both the DCCC and the DSCC say they've gotten strong commitments from the White House to support candidates, and that President Obama will start that with an upcoming appearance on behalf of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

"The best thing politically, though, that the president could do for Democratic candidates is succeed," Poersch added. "So far so good."

"The most important thing for all us as Democrats is the president's success, of really turning around what happened over the past eight years in this country," DCCC executive director Jon Vogel said. "We can get into tactics much further down the road. But this election is a lot more about our record of progress, what we started to do and what we're going to be able to accomplish over the next two years."