- GOP may change presidential nominee process
- GOP, Democrats can't agree on Benghazi investigation
- Boehner to appoint select Benghazi committee
- Retired justice proposes changes to Constitution
- Obamacare under attack as conservatives eye 2016
- US Senator joins critics of federal cattle roundup
- $172 million in taxpayer dollars spent on penis pumps?
- Official: Obama to push for more overtime pay
- US warns Russia over rising Ukraine tension
- Governors: 'Obamacare' here to stay
- Venezuelan voices on the troubles in their country
- Ukraine's Tymoshenko speaks to protesters
- Gay marriage issue flares in Kentucky Senate race
- Ryan says he is keeping his options open for 2016
- Applications for jobless benefits rise to 339K
- White House: Stimulus bill was good for economy
- Democrats seek to turn stand on issues into votes
- AG urges restoring voting rights to ex-inmates
- Employers scrutinize latest health care concession
- A fresh start for Hillary Clinton and liberals?
- US easing immigration rule for terrorist support
- Biden: No obvious reason not to run in 2016
- Clinton warns new Iran sanctions could upend talks
- Obama: Job training must reflect changing economy
- Democratic push to raise minimum wage a longshot
- Obama plans executive action on jobs, retirement security
- Poll: People see Obama as nice guy, so-so prez
- Report: NSA maps pathway into computers
- House ready to OK government-wide $1.1T budget
- Majority of Congress members now millionaires
- Unemployment benefits bill clears hurdle
- Poll: Americans have little faith in government
- Light bulb ban set to go into effect Jan. 1, 2014
- Obama presidency beset by fits, starts in year 5
- American abducted in Pakistan calls for US help
- NSA leaker: Mission is already accomplished
- Obama focuses on a tough year's ups, not its downs
- Mayor John Cranley: We are going to have a streetcar
- Clinton will decide on 2016 sometime next year
- Improving US economy leads Fed to ease stimulus
- White House task force urges limit on NSA snooping
- Judge: NSA program is likely unconstitutional
- Obama to meet with tech CEOs amid NSA concerns
- Wastebook report singles out $30B in federal spending
- Debate on plane phone calls moves on, gets bigger
- Budget deal to cut deficit over 10 years
- Legal weed sales will be spotty in Colorado
- A look at the congressional budget agreement
- Senate holds talkathon over Obama nominees
- How Volcker Rule would limit banks risky bets
- Budget deal aims to avert another shutdown
- Boehner to Run for Re-Election
- State Senator Eric Kearney Resigns from Democratic Ticket
- President and First Lady Depart for South Africa
- Tech giants call for controls on gov't snooping
- Obama's fixer-upper website races to catch up
- Mayor-Elect Nominates Permanent City Manager
- Governor Kasich Leads Challenger FitzGerald in Poll
- Council Member Waives Right to Recount, Saves Taxpayers Thousands
- Cranley Announces Choice for Vice-Mayor
- FitzGerald & Kearney Make Official Ohio Governor's Race Announcement
- 'Stand Your Ground' Proposal Clears Ohio House
- Father of Congressman on Leave Speaks Out About Family Issues
- Florida Congressman Pleads Guilty After Cocaine Arrest
- Ohio House Considers "Stand Your Ground" Gun Bill
- President's Approval Rate Lowest of his Presidency
- Congressman and Cincinnati Native Busted on Drug Charges
- Results Mixed for School Districts
- Property Tax Cut or Sales Tax Hike in Hamilton County
- Quinlivan Talks About Council Defeat
- Immigration Reform: House Will Not Talk on Senate-Passed Bill
- Cranley Confirms: City Manager Dohoney to Resign by December 1st
- Cranley: I Have Not Asked City Manager to Resign
- Ohio Legislator Proposes Pay Increase for Thanksgiving Workers
- McConnell promotes alternative to 'Obamacare'
- Obama: 'I'm sorry' Americans are losing insurance
- Critics: Some Unions Could Get Break From Fees
- Mapping Cranley's Victory
- Election Winners and Losers in the 2013 Campaign
- Mayor-Elect Outlines Vision for City
- High court wrestles with prayer in government
- Mapping the Votes in the Cincinnati Mayor's Race
- Maine Woman Beats Husband in Election
- Cincinnati School Board Race
- Issue 4: Cincinnati Pension Reform
- Issue 1: Hamilton County Library Levy Passes
- Issue 2: Hamilton County Zoo Levy Passes
- Cincinnati Reacts to Mayoral Race
- Race Results for Cincinnati City Council
- Qualls Loses to Cranley to Become Cincinnati's 69th Mayor
- John Cranley Speaks After Being Elected Mayor of Cincinnati
- Warren County Campaign on Candidates and Deciding Issues
- Voters Decide Oak Hills School Levy
- Qualls and Cranley Make Last Minute Campaign Push
- Federal Appeals Court Will Hear Arguments on Liquor Ban
- #YourVoice2013 Complete Election Coverage
- Most Watched Polls Across America
- Lakota Tries to Pass Levy After Three Defeats
- Qualls and Cranley Face off in Mayoral Race
- Voters Decide Zoo and Library Renewal Projects
- Light Voter Turnout this Election Day
- Cincinnati's Mayoral Candidates Vote
- Couple Seeking Same-Sex Divorce in Kentucky
- Retirements Increase Due to Issue 4
- Low Turnout Expected on Election Day
- Obamacare: Memo reveals health care adviser warned W.H. was losing control 3 years ago
- Birth Control Mandate Against Some Religions
- Dirty Politics in Trustees Race Surprising Candidates
- Report: Obama campaign considered replacing Biden with Hillary Clinton
- Sorting Through the Clutter of Tri-State Health Premiums
- President Obama Defends Health Care Law
- Congress Gets Apology for Troubles with Healthcare Website
- Senator Easing Fears Another Shut Down Won't Happen
- Hollywood Attraction to Senate Race
- Database Cleared of Duplicate Voter Registrations
- Government Hires Local Law Firms for Workers
- Waste Watch: Proposed 30% Raises for Elected Officials Raises Questions
- NSA Causes International Outrage
- Issue 4 Pension Reform
- Report: White House stopped phone tapping of foreign leaders this summer
- Ohio Senate Considers Pet Protection Orders
- Should Lawmakers be Drug Tested?
- Advocates hopeful about restoring voting rights to Ky. felons
- City Council and Mayoral Candidates Go At It
- National Security Official Fired over Twitter Account
- Merkel calls Obama to complain about surveillance
- Gay Marriage Activist Dies
- Republican Approval Rates Take a Hit after Shutdown
- Obama addresses widespread health care problems
- Newsmakers, Sunday, October 20th
- Obama to talk about health care signup problems
- AP sources: 476,000 Obamacare applications filed
- Local Man's Political Aspirations Draw Threats
- Results of nearly week-long poll question on government
- Powerful conservative group endorses Matt Bevin
- Ohio governor 'optimistic' on Medicaid expansion
- Ex-House speaker Tom Foley dies at 84
- House Worker Escorted Out After Yelling During Vote
- Federal Workers Back in Business
- President Urges Cooperation as Federal Workers Return to Jobs
- White House: Furloughed Workers Can Return to Work
- Government Shutdown Over
- Obamacare Sign Up Under Way
- Deal reached to avoid default and open government
- Senator: Deal to avoid default and open government
- Furloughed Workers Can Send Creditors a Note from Government
- GOP senator says deal in hand to avoid default
- House Postpones Vote on Bill to Reopen Government
- First Streetcar Tracks Laid- Politics or Construction?
- House GOP floats counter to Senate debt plan
- House GOP Work on Separate Funding Bill
- Senators Closing in on Deal to Reopen Government
- Optimism on Ending Gov. Shutdown?
- No Deal in Government Shutdown
- 20 Sponsors Dropping Boy Scouts
- House GOP, White House Seeking End to Budget Fight
- Boehner's District Feels Pain of Shutdown
- Debt Limit Debate
- Obama Likely to Sign Debt Extension
- President and GOP to Meet over Government Shutdown
- Experts Say History is a Guide to Government Shutdown
- 2013 Cincinnati Mayoral Debate
- Hints of a Truce in Government Shutdown
- Doctor is Audited After Comments on Health Care
- Cincinnati Mayoral Race Preview
Democrats seek to turn stand on issues into votes
Updated: Saturday, February 15 2014, 10:31 AM EST
CAMBRIDGE, Md. (AP) -- Congressional Democrats held a retreat this week seeking inspiration. But they left as befuddled as ever by an America that arguably likes their issues but not always the party.
This fall's elections seem likely to leave Democrats in the House minority, and may rob them of their Senate majority. Republicans hope to gain six net seats to control the Senate.
At a three-day retreat by the Chesapeake Bay, House Democrats struggled to explain this political landscape while also insisting the public supports their agenda on immigration, income, women's rights and other priorities. Friday pep talks by President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden did little to solve the riddle.
Obama said Congress should act on issues "where the American people are on our side." He said those include a higher federal minimum wage and "smart immigration policy" that would bring people "out of the shadows."
Biden, who spoke ahead of the president, went further. "On every major issue," he said, "the American people agree with the Democratic Party."
Biden cited Democratic positions on the minimum wage, debt ceiling, same-sex marriage, early childhood education, infrastructure spending and "pay equity" for women. He said 90 percent of Americans support stricter background checks on gun buyers, an issue that went nowhere in the Democratic-controlled Senate, let alone the GOP-run House.
"I can't think of a time when the issues that most affect the American people, most affect the middle class, overwhelmingly, overwhelmingly, they support us," Biden said.
Republicans scoff at such sentiments. They note that voters have handed them control of the House and the governorships of swing states such as Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Florida.
Biden's comments reflect "a 50,000-foot view" rather than political realities on the ground in key states that will determine control of the Senate, said GOP consultant Brian Walsh.
"What's popular in California isn't necessarily popular in Louisiana, Arkansas and North Carolina," he said. Those are among the seven states that Obama lost in 2012 and where Democrats are trying to protect Senate seats this fall.
The Democrats' happy talk in Maryland, Walsh said, ignores the fact that Obama's health care overhaul "is deeply unpopular in those states."
Polls suggest that Americans care more about the health care law — which divides them — and pocketbook issues than some of the topics that dominated the Democrats' retreat.
An AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll on government priorities for 2014 found that, in general, the issues Democrats cite as their strong points -- including the minimum wage, unemployment benefits and immigration -- aren't particularly important to people.
Asked to list the top 10 issues they'd like government to act on this year, 52 percent mentioned the health care overhaul, while just 7 percent named the minimum wage or other wage issues. And 28 percent mentioned immigration.
Unemployment ranked near the top of issues for the government to tackle, at 42 percent. But only one of the 1,141 adults surveyed mentioned extending unemployment benefits, a proposal that seems popular but not highly important.
Some Democrats say the party often does a poor messaging job, which helps explain why supposedly popular issues don't always translate into election wins. Particularly frustrating, they say, is Republicans' ability to portray the pre-Obama health care system as far superior to the nation's new health insurance, when in fact many Americans strongly criticized it in 2008.
Conversations with top Democrats at the retreat also suggested they are better at naming popular issues than devising a coherent strategy for shaping them into winning campaign strategies.
House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi told reporters that most Americans support her party's agenda for women. It includes better childhood education, affordable childcare and "equal pay for equal work." But Pelosi demurred when asked to explain why, in light of that, Democrats aren't on a stronger track in midterm elections.
"This is about policy, this is about people," she said. "We'll leave the third P, politics, to another day."
Democrats disagree on how to discuss the growing divide between high-income earners and middle-class workers whose wages have largely stayed flat for many years. One top Democratic lawmaker, who would discuss the sensitive issue only on condition of anonymity, said he is incensed when his party's candidates denounce "income equality," because many voters see it as contrary to the American dream of advancing and benefiting from hard work.
Yet Biden jumped right in Friday. "They talk about the fact that we shouldn't be talking about income inequality," he told House Democrats. "I think it would be a sin if we didn't talk about income inequality."
When he was elected to the Senate in 1972, Biden said, "a CEO made about 25 times more than the lowest-paid employee." Now, he said, it's 240 times greater.
Democrats also showed divisions on which GOP-blocked initiatives to highlight later this month. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., called on Democrats to start a "discharge petition" to try to force House Republican leaders to bring a Senate-passed immigration bill to a House vote.
But Pelosi announced this week the Democrats' discharge effort will focus on a bid to raise the minimum wage instead.
Any successful discharge petition would require Democrats — who hold 200 of the House's 435 seats — to stay united and to gain nearly two dozen Republican signatures, to reach a majority.
That's a tough goal in a chamber controlled by Republicans, who say they are confident about November's elections, no matter how often Democrats say the public is on their side.
Associated Press Director of Polling Jennifer Agiesta contributed to this report.
Follow Charles Babington on Twitter: https://twitter.com/cbabington.