A "special message from President Obama" delivered via a toll-free 800 number gave members of Organizing for America -- Barack Obama's campaign outfit -- a significant pat on the back for a job well done during the 2010 midterm elections. But ABC News' Jake Tapper is rightfully confused by this mixed message, just days after Obama grumbled about the "shellacking" he and the Democratic Party received from midterm voters.
In a recorded message, the president tells supporters, “Thank you for the tireless work. You guys organized the single largest midterm election effort in this history of our party…You turned ‘Yes We Can’ into ‘Yes We Did.’”
"Did" what exactly? Tapper seriously wonders:
Considering that President Obama himself called the election “a shellacking,” with Democrats losing control of the House of Representatives, six Senate seats, 20 state legislatures, one might be forgiven for wondering exactly he thinks his volunteers did – other than valiantly trying but failing to get enough voters to the polls.
"This was about the volunteer effort, not the election result," said Democratic National Committee spokesman Brad Woodhouse. "The party made 86 million voter contacts, we had staff or volunteers in 435 congressional districts, we raised and spent more money than ever in a midterm, we had the lergest midterm field effort ever, we ran or staffed virtually all the coordinated campaigns in all the key states."
As ABC News Polling Director Gary Langer has pointed out, according to exit polls, 29 million Obama voters from 2008 didn’t show up to vote in the midterms.
“Thirteen percent of Obama voters defected to Republicans for Congress,” Langer noted.
Women – who won women voters by 13 points in 2008 -- voted 49-48 percent for Democratic vs. Republican House candidate -- the best for Republicans among women in national House vote in exit polls since 1982.”
In terms of party self-identification, Democrats went to the polls in 2008 with a seven point advantage in 2008, 40-33% over Republicans. This year it was 36-36 percent.
Swing-voting independents went for Obama by 8 points in 2008; this year they favored Republicans for the House 55-39 percent – the Republicans' biggest win among independents in exit polls since 1982.
Young voters, in particular, were a disaster this year. Eighteen-to-29 year olds comprised 18% of the electorate in 2008 and only 12 percent earlier this month.
By any reasonable standard, this election was a shellacking for Democrats and, more specifically, President Obama and his agenda.
After his "shellacking" admission, Obama denied that his policies had anything to do with the Democrats' loss and instead admonished his administration's ineffective communication skills. Now is he just ignoring voters' outspoken dissent altogether?
“You didn’t sit this one out even when all the pundits said it was hopeless," Obama says in the OFA message. "And because of that, we are stronger."