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DCCC Head: Democrats Could Take Back The House, Maybe

"The House is in play," Steve Israel says. But he stops short of Nancy Pelosi's unbridled optimism.

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Washington, D.C. — Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel thinks his party has a chance to take back the House—maybe.

"It is in play," Israel told reporters Friday -- though he demurred when asked if he thought Democrats would win back control. "The House is in range."

"We brought it from our 20-yard line to the Republican's 20-yard line," Israel added.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has said she thinks Democrats are poised to reclaim control on the House in November—even though most models show Democrats winning just 10 of the 25 seats they would need to do do.

Israel, a Democrat from New York, stopped short of Pelosi's optimistic prediction as he trotted out Democratic candidates for the House, but noted that polls have been trending in Democrats' favor.

Not a factor, at least not yet: Mitt Romney's remarks, caught on tape at a fundraiser earlier this year, about the 47 percent of Americans who do not pay the federal income tax. Israel said he hadn't yet seen "any specific polls" about the comments' effect down the ballot.

But Israel said numbers had moved in Democrats' favor since Todd Akin's remark about "legitimate rape," House Republicans' skinny-dipping dust-up in Israel, and Romney's selection of Paul Ryan as his running mate.

If the numbers haven't moved from Romney's "47 percent" remark yet, Democrats plan to make it a down-ballot issue: Israel said Congressional races would incorporate Romney's comments in advertising.