- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 15, 2010

The top Senate Republican said Thursday the GOP is “on a comeback” politically as Democrats scrambled to bury the hatchet after several days of intraparty squabbling over their chances to hold the House in November’s elections.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, denied any friction with the White House, dismissing reports that she and her House colleagues are angry at the president for ignoring their interests.

“There is absolutely no reason to think that the White House has been anything but cooperative with us in terms of our political efforts to retain control of the Congress,” Mrs. Pelosi told reporters.

The speaker’s comments contradict news reports this week that she and other House Democrats privately have accused the president of not doing enough to help vulnerable members during what is expected to be a tough election season for the party.

The speaker said that a Wednesday meeting between House Democratic leaders and the president went well and focused mostly on job creation and reducing the unemployment rate. She added that she has “nothing but praise” for the way President Obama has responded to House Democrats’ concerns.

Yet some House Democrats have grumbled that Mr. Obama has been much too eager to campaign for Senate Democrats while largely ignoring party members in the House, many of whom are facing tough re-election battles in November.

And at least a few in the caucus have expressed frustration that the president has pushed them to pass controversial legislation that the Senate later watered down, such as the health care reform and the economic stimulus packages. The scenario, they say, has left them open to attacks on the campaign trail.

The situation intensified Tuesday during a closed-door meeting of House Democrats, where, according to news reports, many lawmakers vented frustration regarding what they perceived as unfair treatment by the administration.

Democrats’ worries come at a time when Republicans are increasingly confident about their chances. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, said Thursday that Republicans are making a comeback and “in a good place politically.”

“Today, just a year and a half after Democrats took over, confident that Washington bureaucrats had the answers to our problems, virtually every survey you look at shows that Americans have lost faith in the Democrat leadership and in government period,” Mr. McConnell said in a speech to the Young Republican Leadership Conference.

Republicans hold 178 seats in the House and would need to pick up 40 seats to gain a ruling majority. All of the chamber’s 435 seats are up for re-election in November.

With the death last month of Sen. Robert C. Byrd, West Virginia Democrat, the Democratic caucus now stands at 58 seats in the 100-member Senate. Thirty-six Senate seats will be on the ballot in November, with the fate of Mr. Byrd’s seat undecided.

The RealClearPolitics.com average of polls gives Republicans a 3.2-percentage-point advantage over Democrats in the generic congressional ballot, which asks voters whether they plan to support a Republican or Democrat in House elections this year.

By contrast, Democrats held a double-digit advantage in mid-July in 2006, months ahead of their capture of the House and Senate.

Tensions between House Democrats and the administration increased Sunday, when White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said the party could lose control of the House after the November elections.

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