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Both GOP and Dems predict victory in fall contests

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[July 19, 2010]  WASHINGTON (AP) -- Vice President Joe Biden is assuring House Democrats that he thinks they'll keep control after the fall elections. Only a week ago, President Barack Obama's press secretary infuriated members of his own party by suggesting that voters could put Republicans in power.

"I don't think the losses are going to be bad at all. I think we're going to shock the heck out of everybody," Biden told ABC's "This Week."

That cheery prediction contrasted with the dour but realistic appraisal last weekend by White House spokesman Robert Gibbs, whose quick backtrack that he didn't think the GOP would get a majority didn't ease the criticism that flew his way.

By Sunday the Democrats appearing on the news shows had rallied around the idea that the rift Gibbs exposed between the White House and its congressional allies was no big deal.

"There is always tension between the White House and the House and the Senate," said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md. "My view is, the president and Democrats in the House and Democrats in the Senate have the same objective."

Republicans face a high wall to achieve the net gain of 40 or so seats needed to take back the 435-member House. In the Senate, the Democrats' 57-41 majority -- they also have the support of two independents -- appears to be tougher.

Here's how congressional leaders and those chairing campaign committees scored their chances for control of Congress:

  • Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.: "I'd like to be in better shape than the 41 that we have now. And I think the chances of that are pretty good."

  • Hoyer: "I don't think we're talking about a big loss."

  • Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas: "If the election were held today, it would be a pretty good election."

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  • Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J.: "Democrats in the Senate will be a majority."

  • Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas: "I think our candidates are going to take us from good to great to victory. And I think Republicans can win in November."

  • Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md.: "I think these guys are popping the champagne bottles already over there. But the fact of the matter is, the Democrats will retain a majority in the House. We know that it's going be a tough election."

Menendez, Van Hollen, Cornyn and Sessions appeared on NBC's "Meet the Press." McConnell and Hoyer spoke on CNN's "State of the Union."

[Associated Press; By DOUGLASS K. DANIEL]

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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