WASHINGTON -- Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) struck a confident chord Sunday in an interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos.
"If the election were held today, you think the Democrats would win?" Stephanopoulos asked.
"Yes, I do," Pelosi, the Democratic minority leader, said. Pelosi noted that current House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) had himself predicted about a one-in-three chance that Republicans would lose the House. "What he did say that was correct was that there are about 50 Republican seats in play. I would say 75. I feel pretty good about where we are," Pelosi said.
Republicans are defending a huge class of 89 freshmen who swept in to Congress on the 2010 wave, some of whom are safe, but many of whom are looking at tough races. Because they were elected largely as protest candidates, many of the freshmen never had to fully introduce themselves to voters. Today, they have many of the political disadvantages of being incumbents in a time of hostility toward office-holders, and few of the traditional advantages of incumbency, such as an established reputation and personal familiarity.
Democrats need to pick up 25 seats to regain control of the House. Boehner told Stephanopoulos he felt "pretty good" about the GOP's chances of holding the House, but allowed: "You never know what's gonna happen.”
Boehner noted the difficulty of ruling a House with so many independent-minded freshmen. "I've never been shy about leading. But you know, leaders need followers. And we've got 89 brand-new members. We've got a pretty disparate caucus," Boehner said. "It is hard to keep 218 frogs in a wheelbarrow long enough to get a bill passed."
"What I would like to see in this election is a recognition that we must reduce the role of money in campaigns," Pelosi said. "Move on to public financing of campaigns, overturn the Supreme Court decision on Citizens United and generally reduce the role of money in campaigns, increase the civility and elect more women into Congress."