David Axelrod "Eager" for Midterm Elections

David Axelrod

White House senior adviser David Axelrod said today that he is eager for Election Day in November despite predictions that Democrats will lose a significant number of seats in Congress.

"I think it's going to be an interesting night," Axelrod said at a forum in Washington hosted by Politico and Google. "I do think this is going to be an idiosyncratic election. We are going to win some races that you guys perhaps don't think we're going to win."

He cited the Senate races in California and Washington state, which are both considered competitive but have tilted in the Democrats' favor in recent weeks.

Axelrod acknowledged that he has long known this would be a "challenging" election year and said, "I'm not Pollyanna-ish about it."

He said that the upcoming Comedy Central rallies that will be held on the National Mall the weekend before the election could be beneficial for Democrats "to the extent that they encourage people to come out and participate." Democrats are currently struggling with an enthusiasm gap between Democratic and Republican voters.

Axelrod also said Republicans could be tripped up by the ongoing friction between the establishment and the Tea Party movement. Most voters want to see people working together in Washington, Axelrod said, but Tea Party-type Republicans would prefer gridlock.

"One of the things voters are saying is they want to see some level of cooperation," he said. "The question is, what will happen on the other side. I think you're going to see some great struggles."

Axelrod added that there was evident "friction" last week when House Republicans introduced their "Pledge to America" to some pushback from conservative commentators. The GOP, Axelrod said, has traditionally functioned as a top-down organization and is struggling to incorporate its new grassroots movement.

The GOP shake-up could impact the 2012 election, Axelrod added. He said that it's too early to say which Republicans could be formidable presidential challengers to President Obama.

The White House adviser did have praise for one Republican: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. "I actually like him," Axelrod said. "I think he's a serious person."

However, he noted that he doesn't agree with everything Christie is doing, and said "we don't know the outcome of some of his policies." Axelrod added that he doubted the governor would leave his current (and relatively new) position to make a run.

Critical Contests: Interactive Map with CBS News' Election 2010 Race Ratings


Stephanie Condon is a political reporter for CBSNews.com. You can read more of her posts here. Follow Hotsheet on Facebook and Twitter.

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