- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 17, 2010

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs now says Democrats will retain control of Congress, after having predicted this past summer that they could lose the House.

“Come election night, we’ll retain control of the House and Senate,” Mr. Gibbs, the White House’s chief spokesman, said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

In July, Mr. Gibbs said on that show, “I think there is no doubt there are enough seats in play — that could cause Republicans to gain control. There’s no doubt about that.”

Mr. Gibbs was bolder than other Washington insiders when pressed Sunday to predict the outcomes of Senate and House races that will determine whether Republicans take control of either chamber and set the legislative agenda for at least the next couple of years.

Sen. John Cornyn, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, declined to say whether his party would win 10 Senate seats from Democrats in 2010 to take control of the chamber, allowing that such a shift in power might be a “two-cycle” election process.

“We’re going to fight for every seat we can possibly get,” he said on “Fox News Sunday.” “But I’m not predicting we’re going to get back the majority.”

However, he predicted Republican candidate Linda McMahon would defeat state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal in their close race for the open Senate seat in Connecticut.

“Linda McMahon has run a very good race,” he said. “I’m predicting that as an upset.”

He was joined on the program by Sen. Claire McCaskill, Missouri Democrat, who also declined to make an overall prediction. But she attempted to make her criticism of Republican candidates a warning signal for independent voters whose votes are expected to play a big role Nov. 2.

“Some of the candidates that appear poised to win for the Republican Party are very extreme,” she said. “So I think that independent voters need to take a hard look in these elections and realize that what we may be getting to is the kind of gridlock.”

Ms. McCaskill predicted a Democratic win in Kentucky, saying state Attorney General Jack Conway will come from behind to defeat Republican Rand Paul for the U.S. Senate seat.

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