Democrats are still plenty capable of keeping control of the House in this fall's elections, a top House Republican suggested Monday.
Rep. Paul Ryan (Wis.), the top Budget Committee Republican who's also part of the group of "Young Guns" looking to put a new face on the party, said he thought it's possible that Democrats could retain their majority.
Recent polling and political momentum have many GOP lawmakers confident they are on the verge of winning back control of the House, and possibly the Senate, too.
House GOP leader, John Boehner (Ohio), has sought to manage expectations ahead of the elections by saying that Republicans still face an "uphill climb" to winning back the majority. But other GOP leaders, such as Ryan's fellow "Young Gun" House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (Va.), have been saying now for months that Republicans would win back the House in November.
Ryan's words are just as much part of the expectations-setting game as any political forecast. Republicans are looking to make sure their base doesn't grow too confident that they're cruising to victory, leading voters to stay home on Election Day.
Ryan accused Democrats, including President Obama, of engaging in "divisive politics" in their efforts to retain their congressional majority. Ryan said that Republicans had tried such politics to keep their majorities in 2006, and that history showed such tactics would fail.
"I'm just saying, when the president himself is launching the attack against the minority party leader, this is divisive politics," Ryan said. "I'm not saying we have halos over our heads ... I'm just saying, you can see the tactic. Didn't work for us in 2006; I don't think it's going to work for them."
The top Budget Republican also urged his party to rally around economic issues in order to win back Congress. Conservatives, Ryan asserted, would have to "agree to disagree" on social issues.
"We will agree to disagree on those issues," he said. "But let's rally around the tallest pole in our tent: fiscal conservatism, economic liberty."