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Menendez on Democrats Shrinking Majority

Thursday, January 21, 2010

New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez is in charge of defending his party’s shrinking majority in that chamber. As the chairman of the Democratic Senate Campaign Commmittee, he says the recent spate of electoral losses in Massachusetts, Virginia and New Jersey clearly indicate that people want change. And as WNYC’s Fred Mogul reports, Menendez thinks Democrats will need to focus their message to convince voters, especially independent voters, that his party is better qualified to improve the economy.

REPORTER: Election watchers think Senate Democrats are likely to lose up to three seats in November and generally have more vulnerable seats in the too-close-to-call column than Republicans do. Menendez disagrees, but he admits his party isn’t inspiring confidence in people worried about the economy. Menendez says people are so eager for change that Scott Brown, a local and state legislator in Massachusetts for 15 years, was able to persuade voters he was a pickup-driving everyman.

MENENDEZ: That’s really about jobs, the economy and spending. And those are critical issues.

REPORTER: Menendez characterizes voters’ mood as “volatile." Surveys, however, suggest that people who call themselves independent are not bouncing back and forth between the parties, but instead are moving steadily in one direction: away from the Democrats.

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