Dem leader: Party 'responded like Hoover' to unemployment crisis

The Democratic Party's Herbert Hoover-like response to high unemployment cost them their majority, a member of the House Democratic leadership team said Tuesday. 

Rep. John Larson (Conn.), the House Democratic Caucus chairman who is expected to keep his position in a vote on Wednesday, said that his party did not do enough in the eyes of voters to help bring down the nation's 9.6 percent unemployment rate. 

"We never did enough in terms of that area for us to have the kind of success we would have," he said on MSNBC. "We had a Roosevelt moment and responded like Hoover."

Larson's comments are a stinging assessment of his party's efforts to help create jobs during the 111th Congress. Voters, who swept Democrats out of power in the House two weeks ago, consistently named the economy and jobs as the top two issues during the midterm campaign. 

Democratic leaders, from President Obama to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, have primarily blamed their party's losses on the large number of people out of work. But they have argued that while Democrats moved major legislation to help create jobs, they failed to communicate to voters the benefits of their policies. 

Republicans, on the other hand, argued that Democrats drove up the deficit by pushing through an $814 billion stimulus package that failed to create jobs. 

Some Democrats complained that the White House prediction that the stimulus would hold unemployment under 8 percent hurt the party's messaging.

Larson said that Democrats did do a lot, but that did not satisfy the electorate.   

"Well, I think the message is not about John Larson and I don't think the message is about Nancy Pelosi," he said. "The issue is the economy and jobs ... I think we got a lot done but we didn't get done enough in the voters' minds."

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