Transcript: Axelrod

STEPHANOPOULOS: This is the race, George, that Democrats most likely to lose. There's been a Democrat governor, but the Republican, Bob McConnell, pretty -- has a pretty healthy lead right now.

WILL: Republicans expect to win that. Republicans believe that Congressman Castle of Delaware, who's decided to leave the single seat -- he runs at-large in Delaware -- and run for the Senate, that he would not have done that if things hadn't shifted dramatically in the Republicans' favor, one measure of which is this. In the generic ballot, "Do you prefer Republican or Democrat?" it's now dead even between the two parties. And among independents, Republicans are up 9 percent.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And that is a big change, E.J.

DIONNE: Well, the big problem for Deeds, he has two problems. One is that, during the summer, Democratic numbers in Virginia really dropped sharply, just generic support, identification with the Democratic Party, that hurt him. He also, you know, spent everything in the primary and really wasn't present in the summer. He reorganized his campaign.

And he's got a problem vis-a-vis Obama, which is that he is counting on some conservative Democrats in his southwestern part of the state. He doesn't want to get too close to him. But he needs Obama to turn out young people and African-Americans.

But to go to George's point about Mike Castle, Republicans have a real problem, because to win some of these seats, such as Delaware, they need moderate candidates, like Mike Castle, but look at that race in upstate New York.


DIONNE: The special election for the House, where the Republicans nominated a moderate Republican, Dede Scozzafava, and then the Conservative Party in New York state put up a right-wing candidate supported by the tea baggers. That right-wing candidate is cutting into the moderate's votes, and the Democrat is ahead in a district that is very Republican. That's a real challenge long term for the Republicans. Can they nominate moderates?

STEPHANOPOULOS: E.J., he brings up an important point. Now, Stan Greenberg and James Carville did a study this week of the Republican base of voters. And one of the things they found out, this hardcore part of the base is in a world unto its own right now, the tea bag movement. And, you know, they're sort of driven by the idea that President Obama, the Democrats, have a secret plan to impose socialism on the country.

NOONAN: Well, I don't know about that. You know, in the case of New York, the conservative, who is making real inroads and threatening the official Republican nominee, that conservative's voting record has more in common with the fellow who just left that office than the Republicans' does. I can't help but think a lot of this stuff is -- is exaggerated, in terms of calling it "tea baggers" and all that stuff.

Look, this country saw this summer an awakening, if you will, an August awakening, of people at town halls coming forward, Republicans and independents and some Democrats, saying, "Wait a second. We're not liking the way they're doing it right now in Washington." That is creating, I think, something of a wave that perhaps, if Virginia and New Jersey seem to be going Republican, may lead to something serious in 2010.

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