Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) said Thursday Democrats lost the midterm elections last week because they failed to talk about how they would continue to improve the U.S. economy, and said Democrats wouldn't win again until they return to that message.
"We got our butts kicked," Ryan said on C-SPAN Thursday morning. "I think when Democrats don't talk about economics, we usually lose elections."
Ryan didn't say explicitly that Democrats need to abandon some of their more controversial talking points, such as the one about the so-called Republican "war on women." But he did say Democrats need to avoid arguments that distract from what should be the main Democratic message to voters, which is investing in the economy through transportation, infrastructure, education and research.
"These are the things that have always grown our economy," he said. "We need to talk about it, and we need to say, this is what we do for people who carry a lunch bucket."
Earlier in the week, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) insisted that the midterm election was not a "wave" election for Republicans. Ryan said he agreed that there was not necessarily an affirmative vote for Republicans, but disagreed with Pelosi and said it was clearly a wave nonetheless.
"I think it was a wave, I mean, I don't think there's any question there," he said. "We got, in Ohio, you know, we got our butts kicked, and I think around the country it wasn't what we wanted."
When asked if President Barack Obama was to blame for the result, Ryan said "in part," and said all Democrats need to take some responsibility. But he said the problem was in some ways not Obama's record, but the fact that Democrats didn't embrace Obama enough.
"We couldn't even get out the 40 percent who approve of Obama," he said. "That's the problem you run into, you get caught in the middle of the road."