Rendell: Dems Don't Mislead Like Tea Party

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, left, and Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell spoke on CBS' Face the Nation about why the Democratic base is lacking enthusiasm.
CBS
President Barack Obama has found himself trying to rally the liberal base that propelled him into the presidency in 2008. But CBS Chief Washington Correspondent Bob Schieffer notes that while the Tea Party has been able to get their message out clearly, the Democrats have had a hard time doing so, and the liberal base seems to have President Obama's weekly radio address Saturday, in which he accused the GOP of wanting to return to failed energy policies.New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson agreed that the Democrats have to highlight the shortcomings of the Republican alternative."We have got to come together and realize that we can't go back to those Republican policies of a horrendous economy and huge deficits," Richardson said. "It's important that we come together, that we not stay home, that we talk about the importance of not going back to the years of Republicans that brought us this recession, that brought us this unemployment."But Richardson acknowledged that it's not's enough to simply suggest that the Republican alternative is bad for the country."It's not enough to say, 'Okay, American people, give us credit because we Democrats prevented it from getting any worse.' You've got to be positive. You've got to talk about jobs and you've got to talk about the economy. You've got to connect with people emotionally."And Richardson suggested that the reason the Democrats haven't been able to connect with people emotionally is that they have been fighting and bickering amongst themselves.Vice President Joe Biden made a controversial "stop whining" remark in New Hampshire Monday, and President Obama called on Democrats to "buck up" during a recent Rolling Stone interview.

"I do think the President's efforts at going into backyards, at rallying the base - and the Vice President very strongly - are being very effective. But the rest of the party seems to be doing their own thing," Richardson said. "If there's one message that I want to send is that we should stop firing at each other. We've got enough people - the Republicans - firing at us already. So we don't need these divisions in the party."

The President has been conducted a series of "backyard chats" to energize his supporters.

Rendell was optimistic about how well the Democrats would perform in the elections.

"I think we're definitely going to keep the Senate. I think we have a chance to win the House because I believe the Democrats, including the base, are starting to come back. They're starting to realize that this is an alternative."

Rendell wasn't worried about pumping up the liberal base and getting them to catch up with how enthusiastic the Tea Party is.

"Remember, there's an old political adage. All we have to do is get them to the polls, because a tepid vote counts the same as a wildly enthusiastic vote," Rendell said.

Richardson was also optimistic.

"We've had some gains in the last months since Labor Day," he said. "This is when voters are paying attention."