Walden: Democrats Panicked Over Election-Year Economy

Posted August 25, 2010 at 4:24pm

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — At a campaign stop here Wednesday, National Republican Congressional Committee Deputy Chairman Greg Walden (Ore.) said Democrats’ anxiety over jobs has reached new depths. That fear, Walden noted, was palpable in the party’s response to GOP calls for the resignation of the White House economic team.

“They were rolling out every gun they had firing at” House Minority Leader John Boehner (Ohio), Walden said.

It was Boehner who said during a campaign stop in Cleveland this week that Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Larry Summers, the director of the White House’s National Economic Council, should be dismissed from their posts. The statement was panned by Democrats, including Vice President Joe Biden, while top Republicans, including Walden, have echoed their leader’s call.

“They turned it into a major national story, and that tells you they are afraid of it,” Walden said. “Because they know their policies aren’t working, people aren’t going back to work and [Democrats] are panicked” about voters taking out their frustration at the ballot box in November.

Just as Boehner is doing in the Midwest, Walden is making jobs and the economy his key talking points during a four-day, six-district tour for GOP candidates in the south. On Tuesday, Walden spent part of his afternoon meeting potential donors with former sportscaster Harold Johnson (R), who is challenging Rep. Larry Kissell (D) in North Carolina’s 8th district. During his trip, he’s also meeting with candidates in Alabama, Georgia and Florida.

The Charlotte-based 8th district has long been expected to be the biggest House battleground in North Carolina this cycle. But while the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has reserved nearly $900,000 worth of television time in the district this fall, the NRCC did not include the race among the first 41 seats it chose to make investments in.

“We have limited resources; we’re going to go where it’s going to make a difference. That’s not to say we aren’t going to be in here,” Walden said. “Part of it is you have $22 million to spend — not $200 million to spend. But if [the 8th district] weren’t one of our targets … I wouldn’t be here.”

As the DCCC continues to rely on its nearly 2-to-1 cash-on-hand advantage over the NRCC to help it hold on to targeted seats this fall, Walden said district tours such as the one he’s on have helped him realize that GOP enthusiasm is rising and that the committee will narrow the cash gap before November.

“I think we will begin to see the money break loose in our direction,” he said. “We don’t have $200 million, [but] I think we may get to $50 million by the time everything is said and done.”