Vice President Joseph Biden Sunday tried to get the political genie back in the bottle that White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs let escape last week, when Gibbs said there were enough House seats in play this year to allow Republicans to retake control.
Appearing on ABC's This Week, Biden bounced back by declaring, "I don't think the losses are going to be bad at all. I think we're going to shock the heck out of everybody... I am absolutely confident when people take a look at what has happened since we've taken office in November and comparing it to the alternative, we're going to be ... in great shape."
The Republicans need to win 39 seats to recapture the House, which they lost in 2006 after 12 years in control. Many political analysts say that Gibbs spoke accurately given the number of Democratic seats believed to be in jeopardy, but House Democrats have been worried Obama is more concerned about protecting the party's Senate majority.
"Here's the deal," Biden said. "What Robert Gibbs also said was what he believes, what I believe, what the president believes (is that) we're going to win the House and we're going to win the Senate. We're not going to lose either one of those bodies."
"Look at Harry Reid," Biden added. "You know, I got ...kind of banged around for saying I think there was a 55 percent chance Harry Reid is going to win ... Now Harry Reid, in the last poll
, is up 7 points... I'll bet Harry Reid wins."
"The election is not until November," Biden said. "And I think we're going to have to firmly make our case. I think we can make it, and especially in the context of who's going to be opposing us. Compared to the alternative, I think we're going to get a fair amount of credit by November, and I think we're going to do fine."
Biden suggested the reason the administration and the Democrats are not yet getting the credit now they deserve for major actions on issues such as financial regulatory reform and the health care overhaul is that "the vast majority of the American people and a lot of people really involved don't even know what's inside the packages...But people are going to start to focus on exactly what we're doing.
On CNN's State of the Union, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer acknowledged tension between the White House and Capitol Hill lawmakers, but said, "My view is that the president and the Democrats in the House and the Democrats in the Senate have the same objective: keep this economy moving and growing; keep moving forward ... The president has been working hard. Joe Biden's been working hard on behalf of our candidates. And we think we're going to do well. "
Asked whether Gibbs had sent the wrong message particularly for Democrats in toss-up districts, Maryland Rep. Chris Van Hollen, head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said on NBC's Meet the Press that "this is the distinction between a mathematical possibility and a probability...We've also said at the end of the day, we're confident we're going to retain a majority in the House."
"The fact of the matter is the President and the White House know that they need a strong majority in the House and in the Senate in order to complete their agenda," he said. "And they also know that the day after the elections, it will be interpreted as a referendum on the President's policies in the press, whether they like it or not. So we are on the same page."