Karl Rove told a Washington Times editorial board yesterday that "the Republican Party would hold the House and the Senate." Rove said "Republicans are beginning to make significant headway in defining their party's differences from congressional Democrats, especially on national security." He "was upbeat,... joking about skewed political coverage that disproportionately shows Democrats poised to take control of Congress." Rove said he "remains confident that Republicans will not lose more than 15" House seats and that a Democratic takeover of the Senate is "virtually impossible."
Vice President Cheney did an interview by phone yesterday with Rush Limbaugh, who asked Cheney how he assesses voters' mood during his travels. Cheney: "the mood that I find in terms of the people I'm talking with is very positive. Now of course, I'm probably not going to see a lot of Democrats coming to a Republican fundraiser, so I don't want to misread the situation. But I think I find a far more positive attitude out there than one would led by believe just by reading the national press." Limbaugh: "Do you get frustrated when you see Republicans speculating on how many House seats they're going to lose?" Cheney: "Well, I think it's a natural, normal situation at this stage... I think we'll hold the Senate, and I also think we got a good shot at holding the House."
The Washington Post outlines how a Democratic capture of one or both houses of Congress "would be the end of George W. Bush's presidency as he has known it... The White House says it is not making contingency plans for a Democratic win, but Bush advisers are bracing for what they privately recognize is the increasing likelihood... Most worrisome to the White House is the subpoena power that Democrats would gain with a majority." The story notes that "as a practical matter, Bush faced an opposition chamber in Congress for just 98 days before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, after which both parties rallied behind him for a time. Republicans won back the Senate in 2002."
But Bruce Bartlett, a former Reagan and Bush (41) official, pens a New York Times op-ed arguing that Republicans have nothing to fear about Democrats taking control of Congress. Although Bush's "veto pen may have been misplaced for most of the last six years, he found it again this summer... Congress will be on automatic pilot for the next two years regardless of which party is in control."