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Democrats need ‘to go out and take credit’ for economic progress: Fmr. Obama campaign advisor

Former Obama Campaign Advisor Brad Woodhouse joins Yahoo Finance Live to discuss the economic recovery under President Biden and the outlook for Democrats as midterm elections draw near.

Video Transcript

SEANA SMITH: Let's bring in senior DNC advisor and former Obama campaign advisor, Brad Woodhouse, for more context here. Brad, good to talk to you today. Democrats have certainly been in this position before, if you think about the first term of the Obama administration. What's going to be different this time around?

BRAD WOODHOUSE: Well look, it's tough, I'll acknowledge that. I mean, one thing that seems to be a pattern is that Democratic presidents inherit terrible economies and terrible circumstances from Republicans and it takes a long time to fix those problems. Sometimes you don't fix them fast enough before the next election. I would say in this case, I think we've made a tremendous amount of progress.

And I agree with John, what Democrats need to do in addition to working on Build Back Better, the chunks or the pieces that we can get done, working on inflation, continue to work to put the pandemic in the rearview mirror, we got to talk about the things that we've done. We've accomplished a lot historic number of jobs created. We of course, got to 75% of people vaccinated. We're literally delivering mask and tests into people's homes.

And so we got to go out and talk about the things that we've done. And the other thing that we'll be able to do is Democrats and almost no Republican would be able to stand in front of groundbreakings that are funded by the bipartisan infrastructure bill.

ADAM SHAPIRO: Really?

BRAD WOODHOUSE: Do all that, I think we can do better than people think we can.

ADAM SHAPIRO: Brad, you just opened the door on this, and you talk about talking about what the Democrats have done. What about attacking the Republicans, who are now actually taking credit-- those who voted against, I'm thinking of one I think it's Iowa and one from Texas-- who are taking credit for monies that are going to infrastructure projects in their districts and they voted against the infrastructure bill. Where's the DNC attack ad?

BRAD WOODHOUSE: Well we, look you're going to see it. And I think you're going to see it-- you're going to see those ads in those races. And you're going to see those ads locally. And those ads are going to come out of Super PACs. We jumped all over that news and really hyped that and tried to get that into the media bloodstream about these members who voted against the infrastructure bill and then go and put out press releases and put stuff on their website trying to take care of-- trying to take credit for it.

And I think the president was right yesterday. We have got to call out Republicans when they do that kind of thing. And then Democrats have got to say to Republicans, what are you for? Why don't you want to lower prescription drug prices? Why don't you want to lower health care costs? Why don't you want to lower child care costs? Why don't you want to lower energy costs? And I think if Republicans go into the election only trying to sabotage the president, and have no agenda of their own, I don't think they're going to do as well as they're acting like they're going to do.

SEANA SMITH: Brad, you started by talking about the fact that Democratic presidents have, in your words, inherited bad economies from Republicans. But the economy is actually in a good spot under President Biden, if you look at the overall data. We've talked about the millions of jobs created, unemployment at 3.9%, wages are going up. And yet, the president just can't escape that inflation headline. Why do you think the message on the positives aren't sticking?

BRAD WOODHOUSE: Well look, I think people are frustrated. The president mentioned this yesterday. There are two things that are going on right now that we have to get-- wrap our hands around. That's inflation and that's the pandemic, and this variant that we need to get behind us and hopefully we won't have more variants like that. So those two things are, I think, creating this concern among voters. And they're not hearing and seeing the other things.

Part of that is that we've all been involved, and the hats that I wear, we've been involved in trying to get Build Back Better passed. We've been involved in trying to get voting rights passed. And now we're going to have to split our attention. We're going to have to continue to try to pass those things, but we got to go out and talk about the things that we have accomplished.

Yes, the economy is doing really well right now, with the exception of inflation. But it wasn't when we came in. And we got to make that case. We've got to make the case that we were 6.5% unemployment, and now at 3.9%. The record job creation, more than any other year in history, since we've been tracking. And what we've done and what we're getting ready to do to deliver masks, deliver tests, and continue to deliver vaccines. We've got to go out and take credit for what we've done.

ADAM SHAPIRO: Brad? You know, in the DNC discussions, what are the three top issues that voting Americans care about?

BRAD WOODHOUSE: Well, I think it's jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs. It is inflation, so we need to get a handle on that. And it's showing leadership on getting this pandemic behind us. But right below that is our issues like democracy, and voting rights, and making sure that people have a fair access to the ballot. But I think it's always the case that when it comes to people's economic lives, whether it's the jobs they have, the wages, which we do see going up, health care costs.

I do think the number one issue we see over, and over, and over again in the polls is the high cost of health care, particularly prescription drugs. And you know you got like, 90% of Americans want to deal with that. But every Republican is against it. So we've got to make that contrast. And that's one issue we really do have to get done in whatever the future is for Build Back Better.

BRAD WOODHOUSE: Brad Woodhouse. Thank you so much for joining us today for this special on the one year anniversary of the Biden administration.