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Democrats defend running against leaders

  |   Oct. 10, 2010 at 3:33 PM
WASHINGTON, Oct. 10 (UPI) -- The head of the Democrats' campaign to hold the U.S. House Sunday defended members who are running against their own leadership in TV ads.

Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland said on CNN's "State of the Union" program, " We're very proud of the fact that we have an ideologically diverse caucus. We have a whole range of different political views."

Dozens of endangered Democrats have been running spots touting their votes "standing up" to President Barack Obama and Speaker Nancy Pelosi, noted CNN's Candy Crowley.

Van Hollen's Republican counterpart, Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California, saw "a great chance that we take the House" and dismissed some polls indicating Democrats may be closing the gap.

Not one Democrat "is running on the issues that they passed, from Obamacare to cap-and-trade, to the economy being pushed. They're running from it," McCarthy said.

Later on the program, GOP pollster Whit Ayres and Democratic opposite number Celinda Lake, discussed a new poll showing Americans evenly divided on whether Obama or George W. Bush had been a better president. Bush's approval rating when he left office was in the low 30s.

Ayres predicted a "wave election" for the Republicans. He said, "When the Democrats control the presidency and the House and the Senate, it is a referendum," even if Democrats try to localize each race.

Lake acknowledged an enthusiasm gap, but said it was "half of what it was a couple of weeks ago."

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