The Washington Times - January 26, 2012, 11:53AM

Former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell has a message for his fellow Democrats running for re-election: Be proud of who you are.

Mr. Rendell, speaking Thursday in Cambridge, Md. at the annual House Democratic retreat, told the lawmakers not to shy away from their accomplishments and “regardless of where the winds are, stay and defend what you’ve done because you can’t run away from them.”


“We learned that in 2010 — all the [moderate] Blue Dog Democrats who voted for the health care bill and tried to act like it never happened learned [that] you can’t run away from it,” said Mr. Rendell while briefing reporters of his private discussions with House Democrats gathered for a three-day strategy session at the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Hotel. “Why didn’t they stand and defend the health care bill?”

Mr. Rendell, who stepped down as governor last year because of term limits, said he thinks President Obama’s influence will be a “huge help” for congressional Democrats running for office this year.

“The president is doing great,” he said. “Ever since he made his jobs-bill speech, he’s found the right message, talking with passion in something he believes, and I think he is going to be a tremendous plus for Democrats  running in the fall.”

The former governor also characterized GOP presidential candidates as dysfunctional “clowns” who will turn voters away form the party.

“It has been a godsend for Democrats because the Republican race for president so far has resembled a clown show where the clowns arrive in the car and they keep getting out of the car and there’s one clown after another,” Mr. Rendell said. “We’ve seen [Republican] clowns run for president totally unqualified who have no idea what’s going on in the world, who have no idea about how the governor works, no idea about foreign affairs, have one bizarre idea after another.”

“Things are heading in the right direction [for Democrats] and I think this primary season has exposed the Republican Party for a party that wants to continue to support special interests and vested interests and Wall Street.”