House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said the selection of House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) as Mitt Romney’s vice presidential nominee was a turning point in helping her party gain the 25 seats it needs in November to re-take the lower chamber.
“August 11th, mark that date on your calendar, when Ryan was chosen, that made a very big difference, because Medicare, Medicare, Medicare, the three most important issues in the campaign, in alphabetical order, that issue was clarified, focus was on it, and we could not lose the debate about Medicare, because if we do, forget Democrats, forget Republicans, Medicare is gone,” Pelosi told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow last night. “We’ll be back to a time before Lyndon Johnson. We will be putting seniors at the mercy of the insurance companies by giving them a voucher, but not a guarantee.”
“We’re very excited about it. But I wish that it were not a race about Medicare, because the fact is, Medicare is on the ballot,” she continued. “My name is on the ballot, the president’s name is on the ballot, many people’s names are on the ballot. And if we do not win the House, and of course if the president doesn’t win, but we feel pretty good about the president’s winning, that would be very much at risk.”
Pelosi expressed confidence that President Obama will draw more people to the polls to help Democrats rebound from their midterm losses.
She predicted picking up “about 20 seats” in Texas, California, New York, Illinois, Maryland, Washington state, and Arizona.
“Then we go where the president is, Florida, Ohio, Colorado, Iowa, Nevada, states like that, to take us, oh, I want to go beyond 25,” Pelosi said. “I’d like to have 35.”
“Some states have blue patches that we want to win back. There are 66 districts that are held by Republicans that were won by President Obama and about a third of those were also won by John Kerry,” she said. “And so, we think there’s real opportunity.”
“Onward to victory, don’t agonize, organize,” Pelosi said. “Drive for 25.”