Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas, walks with Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore. Sessions leads the National Republican Congressional Committee and Walden is the NRCC deputy chairman. Photo by Jonathan Ernst/Getty Images.
Mitt Romney’s candidacy will help the GOP pick up seats in Congress this fall, Rep. Pete Sessions, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, told reporters Wednesday.
Sessions, R-Texas, dismissed any perception of reluctance to fully endorse Romney, saying at a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor that the Republican Party is “100 percent” behind the presumptive presidential nominee.
“One hundred percent of Republican candidates for the House would will be pleased and energized [to campaign with Romney],” Session said. “We have a strong contingency of people who not only early on endorsed Mitt Romney but also are philosophically in line with much of his thinking.”
Sessions said that Romney will serve as a “standard bearer who can effectively stand up and talk about what our national agenda is and to match up against the president on jobs, the economy, on spending, on policy and on a forward looking policy.”
Sessions and deputy NRCC chairman Rep. Greg Walden, R-Oregon, rejected predictions that Democrats will gain seats in the House and said Republicans are poised to increase their already strong majority. The party won back the chamber in 2010 under Sessions’ leadership. They predicted defeat for Democratic candidates and for President Obama.
“I believe that the Democrats are on the defensive because of the stunningly bad numbers that keep coming,” Sessions said. “I think what is out there is a Republican pickup.”
Which issues did they say will make voters turn to Romney and Republican congressional candidates? Dissatisfaction over the health care reform law, spending, the economy and jobs.
The political climate this year is the same as it was two years ago when the Republican Party, assisted by Tea Party candidates, took back the House, Sessions said. Indiana Sen. Rick Lugar’s loss to Richard Mourdock on Tuesday illustrates that anti-Obama administration sentiment remains strong.
“The landscape in 2012 is exactly the same as the landscape in 2010,” Sessions said. “I think its very apparent to me that the atmosphere, the voter expectation and the anger that is really on the ground all across the country is an indication that our message of repealing President Obama’s health care bill, getting serious about doing something about cutting spending and freeing up the American dream and not just have our country aim at jobs but Washington to recognize that they have made matters worse. And so it’s attributed to an anger and…I think Sen. Lugar took the brunt of that.”
Even as Tea Party activists are running against incumbent Republicans, they have become integrated in the Republican Party, Sessions said. They “are becoming involved in the system and our party will win with coalitions of people. We will win with Tea Party people who see our agenda and our votes have made a difference,” Sessions said.
Syndicated columnist and PBS NewsHour analyst Mark Shields asked Walden to describe the single greatest accomplishment of the Obama administration, but he could not do so.
“He squandered an opportunity to reform government and make America better by driving a very partisan agenda the first two years when he had full control of the House and a 60-vote lead in the Senate and he has the Senate the majority of his entire term,” Walden said. “Rather than address the structural problems facing America in a bipartisan way he chose a very partisan way and I think that was a mistake.”