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Beltway: Sen. Kaufman: Double-Dip Recession Would Be Bad For Dems In Fall Elections

Location: Washington, DC

By Michael O'Brien

A double-dip recession could threaten to sink Democrats' chances in this fall's elections, Sen. Ted KAUFMAN (D-Del.) said Monday.

KAUFMAN said that his party's fortunes in the midterm elections would be tied to the economy and job creation, factors he admitted may not be working in its favor by November.

"Up until now, the economy's been looking really good," he said during an appearance on a Philadelphia Fox affiliate. "But if we go into a double dip, that's going to be bad for us."

The Delaware senator, who filled Vice President Joe Biden's former Senate seat and is not seeking election to a full term this fall, said that while Democrats had acted with their stimulus package and other legislation to boost the economy, even if there is no double-dip recession, enough jobs might not be created by fall to rescue Democrats from major losses.

"When you get into politics, you understand the economy's -- how people feel about themselves and their jobs is what drives the economy," he said. "It doesn't matter who caused it, it's just a matter of 'I don't have a job, my house is mortgaged, my son or daughter can't find a job -- I'm not happy.' "

KAUFMAN suggested that Democrats might have miscalculated politically to make the argument for the stimulus by tying it to jobs figures, arguing that Democrats should have emphasized the lag in job creation to economic recovery, a recovery KAUFMAN said was under way.

"It all bottomed out, almost to the week we passed the Recovery Act. That's the good news," he said. "The bad news is that the last eight recoveries, that essentially jobs don't come back until -- three, four, six, eight -- months after the economy."

Democrats hoping for a robust recovery have encountered mixed economic figures in recent weeks and months. The economy has added jobs some months at varying rates, driven in part by temporary Census positions that will drain out of employment figures. Among the major indicators being watched closely by lawmakers in both parties will be the second-quarter growth estimates, which are due at month's end.

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