Dan Pfeiffer: Ebola Won't Cost Democrats the Senate

Updated on

This story contains corrected material, published on Oct. 30, 2014

Dan Pfeiffer, assistant to the president and senior advisor at the White House, sat down with Mark Halperin and John Heilemann on Wednesday's episode of “With All Due Respect” and argued that the Ebola crisis was not hurting Democratic candidates.  

"It's important to separate Ebola from politics. We're trying to do what's best for the country here," Pfeiffer said. "The data that I've seen in these races show the Democrats are strengthening their position in the last few days here, so I think we feel good about where we're going." 

Less than a week until Election Day, Pfeiffer expressed his confidence that Democrats will retain control of the Senate. When pushed by Halperin about the president's lack of campaigning during the midterms, he said: "As much as he [Obama] likes to campaign, he likes to win more ... and if the best way to win is to be involved in more targeted ways, he’s, we’re happy to do that.”

Examining tight Senate races, Pfeiffer said he believes Democrats are coming on strong in the last week of the campaign. “I think you’ve seen polls in Iowa that shown Braley summon the lead and the polls that have traditionally had him behind narrowing. Michelle Nunn has shown a good lead on Purdue in recent races … the same thing in Colorado,” he said. “So we’re getting better.”

Pfeiffer has served in the Obama administration since the 2008 election, and declined to say whether he would remain at the White House for the final two years of the president's second term. “Well look, we've always thought about this as a journey. And we've gone along from the people like [Robert] Gibbs and Axe [David Axelrod], who were there when the president ran for the Senate, people like myself and Peter who were there when the president ran and Alyssa [Mastromonaco] ... and we’re all part of a big family.” Remarking on the administration’s recent staff coming and goings, Pfeiffer said, “I always joke you can leave the building but you can’t leave the family.”

Referring to the steady flow of criticism that comes from working for a president, Pfeiffer said the key to longevity on the job is the ability to continually adjust. “The fastest way to being very humble is to work in the White House,” Pfeiffer said, “because you, there’s nothing we do that isn't criticized, and we get good advice, public and private ... I think we would be doing the president a disservice if we didn't listen to that criticism and try to adjust.”

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misspelled John Heilemann's last name and omitted a word from Dan Pfeiffer's quote on data.