Psaki: Dems Know They Will Lose If Midterms Are Referendum on Joe Biden

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Former White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Sunday that the Democrats know “they will lose” if the midterm elections end up being a referendum on President Biden. 

While discussing Democratic and Republican midterm messaging, NBC’s Chuck Todd played an ad by the Arizona Democratic Party focused on Kari Lake that tied together abortion rights and crime. Todd said that he wasn’t sure if the ad was really effective or if they were trying too hard to tie the two issues together.

“Look, I think that Democrats, if the election is about who is the most extreme, as we saw, you know, Kevin McCarthy touch on there with Marjorie Taylor Greene, I’ll say her name, sitting over his left side, then they’re going to win. If it is a referendum on the president, they will lose, and they know that,” Psaki said.

She added that Democrats also know that they are vulnerable when it comes to crime. Psaki said Republicans were throwing a lot of money behind ads focusing on crime and Pennsylvania Senate candidate John Fetterman.

Former White House press secretary Jen Psaki sat down with NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday, Sept. 25, 2022.
(Screenshot/NBC/MeetThePress)

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“That’s where they see his vulnerability,” said Psaki, who stepped down as White House press secretary in May.

“So, yes, the economy is hanging over everything, but you have [to] look at state-by-state factors, and crime is a huge issue in the Pennsylvania race,” she said.

Later in the episode, Todd asked Psaki about being in the White House and about how Biden and others purposefully did not say former President Donald Trump’s name.

“You don’t say their names, it’s like Beetlejuice, somehow it won’t show up if you don’t say their name. Now he leans into it more. Why?” Todd asked. 

Psaki said that while she didn’t work for Biden’s campaign, Biden ran “aggressively” on the claim that Trump wasn’t fit for office. She added that there was a “strategic decision” made when he came into office and that was no longer “what the public wanted.”

President Biden speaks about inflation and supply chain issues in Los Angeles.

President Biden speaks about inflation and supply chain issues in Los Angeles.
(AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

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“But now it’s election season again. He did a lot of what he wanted to do, much of it in a bipartisan way, getting legislation done. And now the gloves are off. He’s got to maintain control of at least one house of Congress,” Psaki said.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., unveiled the GOP’s “Commitment to America” plan on Friday, which includes policies focused on combating inflation and illegal immigration.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy speaks about Republicans'

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy speaks about Republicans’ “Commitment to America” agenda in Monongahela, Pennsylvania, on Sept. 23, 2022.
(AP Photo/Barry Reeger)

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Democrats, such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, criticized the agenda.

“House Republicans are doubling down on an extreme MAGA agenda: to criminalize women’s health care, to slash seniors’ Medicare (including with the repeal of the lower drug prices for seniors in the Inflation Reduction Act), and to attack our democracy,” Pelosi wrote in a press release.

Biden said the GOP’s plan was “a series of policy goals with little or no detail.”

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