DCCC Chair Israel: Democrats ‘Tantalizingly Close’ to Taking Back House

House Democrats are boasting that they’ve put together a banner recruiting class for 2012, with more than enough Republican-held seats in play to take back control of the House next year.

On ABC’s “Top Line,” Rep. Steve Israel, the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said Democrats have top recruits running in 60 Republican-held and open seats.

“We need 25 seats to win back the House — that is tantalizingly close,” said Israel, D-N.Y. “These are entrepreneurs, they are small business people, they are the son of immigrants who have become a NASA astronaut and traveled on the Space Shuttle. These are people who have spend their entire lives solving problems and they are going to be very appealing. They are perfect fits in their districts, they reflect the American dream — want to reignite the American Dream for the American people, that’s why they are gonna win.”

Democrats aren’t stopping at 60 top-flight recruits, Israel said.

“This is a very volatile environment,” he said. “House Republicans have to go back to their districts and defend the indefensible, trying to terminate Medicare in order to fund tax cuts for big oil companies. The more they have to defend that, the greater our districts of winning in states across the country.”

Israel is hoping that some of the same anti-incumbent fervor that hurt Democrats last year will help them next year.

“The good news for House Democrats is it is — is an anti-incumbent year, and Republicans have more incumbents to defend,” he said. “The challenging news for us is that we also have incumbents that we have to defend, although far fewer. And so we will take nothing for granted.”

“We are gonna give them everything that they need and they are gonna — actually all they need to do is go home and remind voters, they stood up to defend Medicare, the Republicans tried to terminate Medicare.”

Next year’s crop will include several former members of Congress who lost last year as GOP-aligned groups were “stealing elections with nefarious stealth advertising,” Israel said.

“We will not allow that to happen again. And so you are talking about different terrain, different environment,” he said. “In a presidential election there will be a surge of younger voters that goes to the benefit of Democrats like [former New York Rep.] Dan Maffei, like [former New Hampshire Rep.] Carol Shea-Porter, and goes to the benefit of Democrats throughout the country.”