ABC News' Rick Klein reports:
The man charged with leading Democratic campaign efforts in the House of Representatives said today that the Democratic base is stirring to action in advance of the midterm elections, arguing that Democrats “will retain the majority in the House” because voters won’t choose to pursue Republican policies.
“The momentum is picking up, the energy gap is closing, and the Democrats will retain the majority in the House because the American people do not want to go to the failed policies of the past,” Rep. Chris Van Hollen, the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said on ABC’s “Top Line.”
“That is very clear. And the Republicans so-called 'Pledge' -- it turns out it was just a Xeroxed copy of all the old Bush policies; they slapped another new fancy cover on top. And I don't think anyone is going to be fooled by that.”
Asked to predict how many seats Democrats would lose, he responded: “I'm not making any predictions. I know people who’ve been in the predictions business in the past and they’re often wrong -- including Karl Rove, who predicted a permanent Republican majority. Remember that one?”
Van Hollen, D-Md., said he’s not concerned that some Democrats are distancing themselves from President Obama – and in at least one case, trying to link himself with former President George W. Bush.
“As you know very well, the Democratic caucus is an ideologically diverse caucus,” Van Hollen said. “We don't have this narrow ideological purity test that the Republicans have, which the tea party is now imposing on all the Republican candidates that drives them very far to the right. So there are going to be some issues where our Democratic members of Congress support the president's position. There's going to be other occasions where they don't support the president's position.”
He also disputed suggestions that no Democrats are touting the new health care law in their campaigns:
“There are members out there touting that vote. Many members of the caucus -- I'm running for re-election, I've talked about that provision,” he said. “There are people who are doing literature, and there are other ways to reach people. And I think given the fact that we just saw last Thursday we passed the six-month mark, where many of these new, important rights are going into effect for the American people. …”
“Those are important things, so our members are talking about those things on the campaign trail. But the most important thing they’re talking about is what is on most people's minds, which is on jobs and the economy and making it clear that it would be a very big mistake to go back to the policies that got us into this mess to begin with.”
Van Hollen defended Democrats’ decision not to hold a vote on the expiring Bush-era tax cuts, saying the delay is the fault of Republicans who’ve made clear they would filibuster any bill that doesn’t extend all of the tax cuts.
“We're going to absolutely have a vote before the end of the year, before these things expire,” Van Hollen said. “But to get a bill to the president’s desk, you obviously need the Senate. … So let's not kid ourselves or the American people. If we know [Senate Minority Leader] Mitch McConnell is going to filibuster something, the fact of the matter is it will take a long time to do.”
We also checked in with filmmaker and producer Chad Troutwine, on the new movie “Freakonomics.”