- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 18, 2010

After a week of party infighting between lawmakers and the White House, Democrats on the Sunday talk-show circuit did their best to project an image of unity heading into the midterm elections this fall, predicting only minimal losses.

“We believe that we are going to have a very strong showing at the polls come November,” House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn, South Carolina Democrat, said on “Fox News Sunday.” “It’s a tough climate, but we’re tough campaigners.”

Mr. Clyburn and his colleagues downplayed a recent comment by White House press secretary Robert Gibbs in which the spokesman said there were enough races in play that Republicans could, at least mathematically, take back the House. That remark, made a week ago, set of a frenzy among many rank-and-file Democrats who accused the administration of distancing itself from House lawmakers after they have taken a series of politically risky votes on President Obama’s behalf.

Speaking on CNN’s “State of the Union,” House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, Maryland Democrat, conceded that “there’s always tension” between the White House and its allies in Congress, but he insisted that a subsequent meeting between House leaders and Mr. Obama helped smooth things over.

“We have a joint interest in the success of both,” Mr. Hoyer said. “He’s been working hard on behalf of our candidates.”

Indeed, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. said the party is going to be in “great shape,” despite the prevailing anti-incumbent mood and sagging approval ratings for Mr. Obama’s handling of the economy.

“I think we’re going to shock the heck out of everybody,” Mr. Biden said on ABC’s “This Week.” “To paraphrase Mark Twain, I think the reports of our demise are premature.”