President Obama's 2008 campaign manager conceded on Thursday that Republicans are well-positioned heading into November's elections, but he said the situation remains fluid and Republicans are not likely to score the kind of gains they made in the Republican Revolution of 1994.
"This is not 1994," political strategist David Plouffe told reporters at a briefing. "By this point in 1994, voters were not open for discussion; they had largely decided ... and that's not what's going on here at all."
Mr. Plouffe, who's been advising the Democratic Party on the midterm elections, said this time around, undecided voters and "voters who are 'soft Republican'" are open to hearing Democrats' messages as well as arguments about their opponents — something that was not true in the late stages of the 1994 campaign.
He also said voters don't view Republicans as a "blank slate," as they did in 1994, and predicted that Democratic efforts to associate GOP candidates with past economic policies that led to the recession would help shave off some losses over the next 26 days.
While acknowledging that Republicans don't have as much work to do to turn their voters out at the polls, Mr. Plouffe said the Democratic Party still has an edge when it comes to grass-roots outreach and get-out-the-vote operations.
Like other national Democrats, Mr. Plouffe touted September's impressive Democratic National Committee fundraising numbers and recent turnouts at political rallies as evidence the party's base finally is getting motivated.
He also said that voters would be turned off by "extreme" Republican candidates and that the GOP is setting itself up for political headaches in the future by embracing the insurgent "tea party" movement and many of its candidates.
"You need to have your head examined" if you're a moderate Republican thinking about seeking office in 2012, he said.
Mr. Plouffe also took aim at right-leaning advocacy groups such as American Crossroads that are pouring cash into races across the country, calling on the organizations to disclose their donors and saying they pose "a big threat to our democracy."
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