By Reid Wilson - 09/21/09 11:25 PM EDT
Vice President Joe Biden on Monday said if Republicans succeed in winning back the House in 2010, it would be the "end of the road" for the White House's agenda.
At a fundraiser for Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), Biden said the prospects for change rest with about 35 Democrats who sit in districts Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) won in the 2008 election. It is those seats, Biden said, that are the GOP's leading targets.
"They're going to put their chips on movement in the 35 seats in the House that have been traditionally Republican districts and trying to take them back," Biden said, according to a pool report of the event.
Democratic members of Congress hold 49 districts that McCain won in 2008, including three in Arizona. Giffords' district and that of Rep. Harry Mitchell (D-Ariz.) gave McCain 52 percent of the vote; Rep. Anne Kirkpatrick (D-Ariz.) won despite McCain taking 54 percent of the vote in her largely rural First District.
Republicans would have to win back 41 seats to secure 218 total, enough to wrest the speaker's gavel from Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
"What didn’t seem possible just a few months ago, appears to be the topic of conversation even within the upper echelons of the Obama White House," said Ken Spain, communications director for the National Republican Congressional Committee.
The fundraiser, held in Greenville, Del., will benefit Giffords' bid for a third term. Giffords beat state Sen. Tim Bee (R) by a 55 percent to 43 percent margin in 2008, as both parties spent heavily on behalf of both candidates.
Delaware Gov. Jack Markell (D), a longtime friend of Giffords, introduced her. The fundraiser attracted about 55 people, according to the pool report, who paid between $500 and $2,400 to attend.
Biden praised Giffords, who has occasionally bucked Democratic leadership, for backing an economic stimulus plan he said is beginning to work.
"Gabrielle, at a time when this was a close, close vote, coming from a fiscally conservative district, stepped up to the ball and voted for the Recovery Act," Biden said.
Biden said Republicans are "moribund in terms of ideas" and had not offered reasonable alternatives to the nation's problems. "It’s not that Republicans are bad guys. This is just the bet they’ve made," Biden said.
Shot back Spain: "While we vehemently disagree with the Vice President’s characterization of Republicans’ principled opposition as some sort of ‘bet’, we are grateful for the acknowledgment that Republicans are continuing to connect with the American people in a way that threatens their majority status."