DCCC Steps Up Stimulus Pressure on GOP
By Ben Pershing
With President Obama set to do campaign-style events today and tomorrow to boost his stimulus package, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is escalating its own effort to pressure Republicans into supporting the bill.
The DCCC announced this morning that it will make automated phone calls in the districts of seven potentially vulnerable Republican freshmen -- Bill Cassidy (La.), John Fleming (La.), Brett Guthrie (Ky.), Leonard Lance (N.J.), Christopher Lee (N.Y.), Blaine Luetkemeyer (Mo.) and Tom Rooney (Fla.) -- chastising them for voting against the House version of the stimulus measure. "Did you know Congressman Tom Rooney voted against economic recovery that would immediately create and save nearly 330,000 Florida jobs?" reads the script for one such call. "Times are tough, tell Congressman Rooney to put families before politics."
The phone calls follow more extensive efforts by the DCCC last week, including radio ads in more than two-dozen GOP districts and a targeted e-mail campaign. The campaign comes as the two parties are battling for advantage on the stimulus measure, with each side believing that the other is walking into a political trap. Democrats are touting the latest Gallup poll, which gives President Obama much better marks for how he is handling the stimulus issue than it does to House Republicans. Democratic campaign operatives believe that Republican lawmakers will be hard-pressed to explain their votes against the stimulus package in the next election season, and that some vulnerable members of the minority might be persuaded or pushed to support the package on final passage.
But as Alec MacGillis and Perry Bacon Jr. wrote in this morning's Washington Post, House Republicans view their unified stand against the stimulus package as their first step on the road to recovery. And the GOP has been touting other polls suggesting that their criticism of the stimulus measure is having an effect.
We won't know for sure which side is right until November 2010, and automated phone calls certainly don't carry the same weight -- or expense -- as a television ad campaign would. But when the House takes up the stimulus conference report, it will be worth watching to see whether any of those Republicans who have been targeted by the DCCC decide to change their votes.
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