Framing the recent government shutdown in electoral terms for the first time, President Barack Obama said Friday that the Washington fighting raises the stakes for Democrats in next year’s midterm elections.
“We just went through an episode that expressed Washington’s dysfunctions in ways that we haven’t seen in quite some time,” Obama told donors to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in an ornate dining room in the New York City home of donor Karen Mehiel. “It was a symptom of a larger challenge that we have, and that’s that too often our politics become detached from the day-to-day lives of everyday people. And ideology ends up overcoming common sense. Folks are more determined to beat the other side than they are to actually deliver for the people who sent them there.”
“And that’s why the stakes for next year are high,” he added to the Upper East Side crowd paying at least $16,200 per person — including movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.
Public approval of congressional Republicans has nosedived since the shutdown, a condition that Democrats believe is likely temporary, but a situation they are looking to capitalize on — especially when it comes to fundraising. The DCCC has placed field staffers in a number of targeted districts in hopes of retaking the House, though defeating the GOP’s 17-seat majority in the House remains an uphill battle.
“The shutdown was about more than just health care,” Obama said. “It was about sort of a contrast in visions, what our obligations are to each other. And we’ve got the better side of that argument, one that’s truer to our history. But we’re going to have to continue to push. … The one thing I’m absolutely confident about is, if we work hard, that we can make a case to the American people and we can win.”