McAuliffe: ‘Not much has changed’

By WND Staff

Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe refused to concede much to Republicans during a televised news conference today.

”Bush has not changed the map, and he has not solidified the vote for Republicans,” he said.

McAuliffe described Republican victories as ”tactical” and said the election results don’t reflect an ideological shift in favor of the GOP.

”The Republicans’ advantage was a tactical advantage, not an issue
advantage. Last night’s results simply don’t reflect an ideological tip in favor of the Republicans. They clearly had the home-field advantage.”

McAuliffe mentioned Sept. 11 and the possible war against Iraq as factors
helping Republicans.

”But listen, we did very well in states that people didn’t think we could do well on.”

According to McAuliffe, the Republican victory is the result of a ”wartime president” who ”made these elections his No. 1 domestic priority.”

”We had a president that campaigned extensively – over 90 campaign visits; a president who raised over $150 million; and then a lot of
money came in from special-interest pharmaceuticals,” said
McAuliffe during an earlier interview on NBC’s “Today Show.”

According to McAuliffe, the Democrats spent ”more money than we have ever spent in a midterm election.” He said the problem was that Republicans spent more.

”I know that I cost the Bush family a little bit of money. They spent some campaign money they probably weren’t planning on. And I know at Thanksgiving, when the Bush family goes to Kennebunkport, I know that Jeb will turn to George and say, ‘Now we’re even.”’

It was the only mention McAuliffe made of Jeb Bush’s victory in Florida. Just last week he referred to the president’s brother as a top target of Democrats. He told the New York Times: ”Jeb is gone.”

Jeb Bush sailed to victory last night. McAuliffe managed to find a silver lining in the outcome of the country’s other gubernatorial races.

”The good news is, 52 percent of Americans are waking up today and
they now have a Democratic governor. We picked up four net seats in governorships … which sets us up nicely for 2004.”

McAuliffe also took the opportunity to address Hispanic voters.

He said Republicans didn’t even muster one-third of the Hispanic vote they got in 2000; whereas Democrats have ”solidified” their relationship with Hispanics.

He said the GOP made ”hollow gestures” toward Hispanics – gestures that failed because ”Republicans simply can’t manage and don’t share our commitment to issues that matter to the Hispanic community.”

”After all that Republicans talked about and all their efforts and all their money and all their pandering for the Hispanic vote, it added up to absolutely nothing – which just goes to prove that a party’s political outreach is only as strong as its underlying values.”

McAuliffe said he’s ”very proud” of what the DNC as an institution did. He said the Democrats had ”great candidates and came up very, very close in a number of states.”

”So where do we find ourselves now?” McAuliffe asked rhetorically. ”Basically, the same place we were after the 2000 election – 50-50. Parity. Not much has changed.”

He also said he doesn’t think the Democrats ”did anything wrong” with the midterm campaign.

”Folks, Democrats are in good shape, and we look forward to the upcoming cycle,” McAuliffe said.

”Now we get ready for 2004. We need to make sure we’re out there with our message as we head toward 2004, and the president now has to deliver.”

”No more blame game. No more nonsense about a dysfunctional Senate.
This is his sputtering economy – he must take responsibility for it.” McAuliffe said the president must now spend all his time to ”restoring the prosperity of the 1990s.”

”The Bush era of responsibility starts today,” he said.