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Israel: House ‘In Play’ in 2012

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo
Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel expressed optimism in Democrats winning back the House this election cycle.

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel told reporters today that control of the House in 2012 is absolutely in play.

Im not saying that weve got the 25 seats that we need in the bank, the New York Democrat said. Im not saying that the majority is a guarantee. I am saying that we are nipping at [Republicans] heels, and we have the potential to overtake them over the next nine months.

Israel also addressed House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosis tall order of a 35-seat pickup in November 10 more than would be needed to gain control of the House.

If she were to pay me, and she doesnt, she wouldnt pay me to be an optimist, Israel said.

[Its] going to be razor-close, Israel continued. And the razors going to be sharpened or dulled not based on my optimism or pessimism, but by the mechanics we employ from here on in.

Israel also discussed President Barack Obamas national campaign influence on downballot races.

Were not advising any of our candidates to seek distance from the president. Were advising them to reinforce ties to their districts, Israel explained.

But he addressed Obamas strategy to run against the Congress and whether that could adversely affect House Democrats.

Ive had the privilege of speaking to the president about this on several occasions, and I believe that he has been more assertive in using the word Republican when he runs against the Congress, Israel said.

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