White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs acknowledged on Sunday that there were enough closely contested congressional races that the Democrats could potentially lose their majority in the House of Representatives in the fall.
But in an appearance on NBC's "Meet The Press," Gibbs also insisted that the party had a compelling case to make to voters that might help them hold onto power come Election Day.
"I think there is no doubt that there are a lot of seats that will be up, a lot of contested seats," Gibbs said. "I think people are going to have a choice to make in the fall. There's no doubt there are enough seats in play that could cause Republicans to gain control -- there is no doubt about that. This will depend on strong campaigns by Democrats."
He continued: "I think we've got to take the issues to them. Do you want to put into the speakership of the House a guy who thinks that the financial calamity is tantamount to an ant? The guy who is the ranking member of the energy and commerce committee, Joe Barton started his congressional testimony of the CEO of BP by apologizing not to the people in the Gulf but to the CEO. I think that is a perfect window not into what people are thinking but the way they will govern. Joe Barton, John Boehner those are the types of things you will hear a lot both from the president and from local candidates."
The comments were part of a broader case the administration made Sunday morning in defense of their record. In addition to Gibbs, senior adviser David Axelrod was also dispatched to the Sunday show circuit where he was peppered with questions about why the party and the president were struggling to win over independent voters.
"Well look," Axelrod said on CNN's "State of the Union," "I think I may have said this to you before, but in December of 2008, when we sat down with our economic advisers, and they told us what the country was in the midst of, and what the next couple of years were likely to hold, I said to the president: 'Look, your numbers are not going to be nearly as good a year from now.' We would have had a tough election in any case in 2010. This will make that election a little tougher. So this is not a big surprise."