Democrats’ excuse du jour: We lost because of outside groups

“Everything was going great and all of a sudden secret money from God knows where — because they won’t disclose it — is pouring in,” Pelosi said, offering a sunny retelling of recent political history.

She also noted that “when the public knows the choice, we think that we will win.”

But privately, top Democrats go even further to detail how exactly the money from groups such as American Crossroads, American Action Network and the Chamber of Commerce is impacting House races – offering the kind of assessment typically heard after Election Day.

“They’re widening the field, it’s just a stunning thing,” said a senior White House official, voicing what in political parlance is known as a prebuttal.

“These guys have been able to put down $500,000 or $1 million in a congressional district that wasn’t on radar screens and make the race competitive,” the official added.