The House Democrats' top campaigner made it clear Thursday morning that he wants his party to move on from its spat with the White House over its midterm strategy.
Rep. Chris Van Hollen (Md.), chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), described a meeting late Wednesday between House Democratic leaders and President Obama as "very productive" and "very friendly" while stressing that both sides are "on the same page" following four days of bubbling frustration.
"It is behind us," Van Hollen said on the liberal Bill Press Radio show.
Members of the Democratic Caucus had voiced their frustration with a comment made by White House press secretary Robert Gibbs last weekend in which he said there is "no doubt" Republicans could take control of the House this fall.
The spat put tensions between the White House and House Democrats on full public display less than four months before the elections. Van Hollen sought to present a unified front moving forward.
Several members of the caucus, such as Rep. Bill Pascrell (N.J.), said that the remark showed an underappreciation for the work House Democrats have done to advance the president's agenda. They also used the comments to complain that the president has not done enough to campaign for their candidates this cycle.
But Van Hollen downplayed the significance of Gibbs's comments, saying the White House understands what's at stake.
"There has been a lot of back-and-forth in the Washington media the last few days, but everyone is on the same page and everyone is focused on getting America back on its feet," he said. "The White House and the president, specifically, and the vice president understand very clearly that the House Democrats have been essential to moving the president's agenda.
"A couple comments that have been overblown in ... what he said was that there are a whole lot of seats in play," Van Hollen said.
Van Hollen said Gibbs was not in attendance at the meeting, but he said Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and senior adviser David Axelrod were there. Gibbs said Wednesday that he would welcome a chance to meet with Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) about her concerns.
On Wednesday, the Maryland Democrat blamed the media for "misinterpreting" Gibbs's comment, but also suggested that the press secretary should have judged the media environment better before speaking.
But Van Hollen said Thursday that Gibbs's comment "didn't even come up yesterday at the White House. We were focused on the agenda."
As for the president's role in helping House Democrats get reelected, Van Hollen said that the "the president committed to continue what he has been doing" but that he is "going to step up that effort" as the midterm elections near.