Obama to Donors: Nancy Pelosi for Speaker

Nancy Pelosi

Here’s a reminder of what’s at stake in the 2014 mid-term election. During a fundraising event in Chicago on Wednesday, President Barack Obama told Democratic donors that he “could not be more anxious or eager” to have House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) hold the Speaker’s gavel once again:

Joined by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, his former chief of staff, at a glitzy hotel in downtown Chicago, Obama cast his days of politicking as behind him — “I’ve run my last political race.” But he portrayed a renewed Democratic majority in Congress as the best insurance policy against a GOP determined to stand in his way.

“Washington is not broken,” Obama said. “It’s broken right now for a particular reason, but it’s not permanently broken. It can be fixed.”

That’s where Democratic donors and the candidates they support come in, Obama said.

About 150 supporters, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, attended the reception, where tickets started at $1,000 per person.
“I could not be more anxious or eager to have her back as Speaker of the House,” Obama said as the California congresswoman beamed.

Democrats need to gain 17 seats to recapture control of the House next year. It’s an ambitious goal, Democrats and Obama acknowledge, considering the president’s party typically loses seats during the sixth year in office.

In terms of picking up the net-17 seats Democrats need to win to take control of House, that’s going to be an incredibly tall order. According to Cook Political Report, only one Republican-controlled House seat is rated as a “Toss Up,” and 10 are rated as “Lean Republican.” Conversely, Democrats have seven seats rated as “Toss Up” and 10 more rated as “Lean Democratic.”

But the ratings don’t tell the whole story. Of the 11 Republicans in the “Toss Up” and “Lean Republican” categories, only four are in Democratic-leaning districts. But of the 17 Democrats in “Toss Up” and “Lean Democratic” categories, 12 are in Republican districts.

While things can always change, the numbers just aren’t there for Democrats to take control of the House, and then keep in mind that mid-term elections are historically bad for a president’s party. Sure, Obama may have his desires to bring back the good old days of one-party control in the government — when his terrible economic agenda was pushed through Congress — but, you know, math.

Then there is another point — Nancy Pelosi isn’t exactly a most popular politician. It’s clear that Republicans don’t like her and have successfully used her against Democratic candidates to win elections (see the 2010 mid-term, when the GOP took back the House and Mark Sanford’s recent win).

But the dislike of Pelosi is a sentiment that is shared by many Americans. A recent Gallup poll showed that only 31% of Americans view her favorably, while 48% view her unfavorably. That makes Pelosi the least liked congressional leader in the country. So perhaps endorsing her for Speaker of the House isn’t a good idea.

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