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NV-Sen: Hammering Harry

The National Republican Senatorial Committee is up with a television ad taking Nevada Sen. Harry Reid to task for his support of President Barack Obama's economic stimulus bill, the first of what promises to be a series of attacks against the majority leader as he seeks reelection in 2010.

The ad, entitled "Trillion", labels Reid a "super spending partisan" and urges viewers to tell Reid to "stop wasting our hard-earned money" as the image of a hammer smashing a piggy bank (!) is shown on screen.

While NRSC spokesman Brian Walsh refused to disclose how much money is being spent on the commercial, its limited run on cable stations in Reno (and not the costly Las Vegas market) means that this is not a major investment on the part of Senate Republicans.

But, that doesn't mean the ad isn't important.

It's a signal that Senate Republicans plan to make Reid's political life a living hell over the next two years -- paying him back for the aggressive campaign Democrats ran against Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) in 2008. (McConnell beat businessman Bruce Lunsford 53 percent to 47 percent.) Democrats, for what it's worth, remain embittered from the 2004 campaign when Sen. John Thune (R) defeated Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D) in South Dakota.

The ad is also a tangible sign of congressional Republicans' seeming determination to draw a line in the sand over Obama's stimulus plan, which will face its first test with a vote in the House today. Yesterday House Minority Leader John Boehner (Ohio) urged his colleagues to vote against the bill despite Obama's personal appeal to both House and Senate GOPers.

"Republicans have found their voice and are pushing back hard on this out of control spending package," said Walsh, the NRSC spokesman.

The major problem for Republicans in their anti-Reid effort currently is the lack of a serious candidate to challenge the Democratic leader.

Former Rep. Jon Porter was widely expected to take on Reid in 2010 but lost his bid for reelection to the House last November to Rep. Dina Titus (with a MAJOR assist from Reid himself). Porter is reportedly still considering a challenge to Reid.

Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki has made clear he is interested in running but his December indictment over the alleged mishandling of a college savings fund badly complicates his chances. Rep. Dean Heller has also been mentioned as a potential candidate.

Although the Republican field is not exactly teeming with stars (or potential stars) it's hard to imagine that they don't find someone serious to run against Reid given his leadership role, the competitive nature of Nevada and the animosity among some within the Democratic cause -- particularly the netroots -- for Reid.

For more on the most competitive Senate races in the country in 2010, make sure to check out our latest Friday Line.

By Chris Cillizza  |  January 28, 2009; 11:55 AM ET
Categories:  Democratic Party , Republican Party , Senate  
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Comments

Chris:

Rasmussen finds that 59% fear that Congress and the president will increase government spending too much. Only 17% worry they will cut taxes too much.

Posted by: JakeD | January 29, 2009 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Cizilla, you left out Diane Moyes, a North Las Vegas firefighter, who has indicated her interest in running against Reid.

You've also missed the point of the story -- that the entire state, including the republican governor and the entire republican delegation in the state capitol, is waiting with baited breath for the bailout since we're nearly $2b in the hole and the only way out anyway can see is federal bailout dollars. If a republican candidate against Reid makes the bailout his or her central issue, that candidate will be toxic for the rest of the state republican party.

Posted by: gbrown5 | January 29, 2009 9:58 AM | Report abuse

JakeD, by all means let's have Republicans educate Americans on sound economics. Next door, we can have Madoff educating us on ethical investment practices.

Ah, but that's right: we just survived eight years of Republican economics education. I think most of us feel that was sufficient.

GOP House Members felt safe voting no -- not despite, but *because* Democrats didn't need their vote in the House, and *because* they know it will pass the Senate. House GOP members get to remain pure at no (obvious) cost, because responsible adults will take care of things for them. It's called "posing."

That's ok, Democrats are willing take the hit for this ourselves. No problem. Every single economist, conservative and liberal, says the country needs stimulus now to avoid disaster. Someone has to be the adult. Someone has to put Country First. We'll do it.

Besides, what are you going to do, call us "tax and spend liberals?" Heck, you did that when we reduced spending and cut the federal deficit under Clinton. You did that while you vastly increased spending and the deficit under Reagan and Bush II. You'll do that if we close down the IRS, shut down government, and sell the Capitol stone by stone for the benefit of your wealthy patrons. It's not particularly a threat when you've always done it, are doing it now, and have no intention of ever stopping for any reason.

Posted by: nodebris | January 28, 2009 10:14 PM | Report abuse

"leapin:

Good point."

It's amazing how loosely the term "good point" is thrown around.

Posted by: DDAWD | January 28, 2009 7:15 PM | Report abuse

leapin:

Good point. 11 brave Democrats joined all 177 Republican Representatives in voting NO. Hopefully, enough GOP Senators can educate more Americans on what's wrong with this "Stimulus" Bill.

Posted by: JakeD | January 28, 2009 6:57 PM | Report abuse

You wouldn't need any stimulus for std's if libs kept their parts to themselves.

Posted by: leapin | January 28, 2009 6:00 PM | Report abuse

bsimon1 writes:
"Agreed, which is part of my point: is building publicity by targetting Reid what they should be focusing on right now?"

What else do they have? They can (and probably will) oppose the stimulus bill in the House and hope that there won't be any defections for the cloture vote in the Senate. If (when) the D's peel off enough R Senators for cloture, then the R's will be fairly well emasculated.

I think the gambit of tying Reid (and the D's) to the stimulus and hoping that it won't have a major beneficial effect before the 2010 election is one of their only chances of unseating the Majority Leader.

Posted by: mnteng | January 28, 2009 5:58 PM | Report abuse

The country’s situation is an indictment of the liberal education and value system. Libs should be at the end of the coming soup lines if there is enough “stimulus” left for soup. In the absence of soup what happens? civil war?

Posted by: leapin | January 28, 2009 5:50 PM | Report abuse

nodebris,

Nicely summed up.

JakeD, thanks for posting the GOP proposal, which was introduced by House Republicans in opposition to the the Administration plan.

There are substantial tax cuts in the Administration plan. Newt Gingrich said so and praised the President. GOP leaders are trying to say that they alone want to cut taxes. Hogwash.

Both sides agree that a combination of increased spending and tax cuts are needed.

Boehner is trying to hold on to the members of the house who must either bolt and go with Obama or throw their own leaders under the bus for failing to uphold conservative principles.

Posted by: JohnQuimby | January 28, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Looks like the GOP is counting on Obama to fail. That republicans would sacrifice the well being of America for political gain is sad enough, but even in pure political terms if the Democrats manage to turn things around they are DOA in 2010 and 2012.

Posted by: MarcMyWords | January 28, 2009 4:06 PM | Report abuse

4 month delay... enough time to learn the TRUTH behind the DTV push?

DIGITAL TV SWITCH OPENS ELECTRONIC DOOR TO CENSORS -- AND SPIES?

http://my.nowpublic.com/world/digital-tv-switch-opens-electronic-door-censors-and-spies

OR (if link is disabled):

http://My.NowPublic.com/scrivener

Posted by: scrivener50 | January 28, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

JakeD, I don't think the American public is in the mood to trust the GOP with its economic well-being right at the moment. I thought the last election made that rather resoundingly clear. You are going to have to wait until the Democrats fail before you get another shot at setting policy.

And most of us are somewhere between amused and incredulous when Republicans (or Republican apologists who insist they are actually Independents) speak indignantly about what the taxpayer can't afford, since the size of our debt was never an issue to them when they held the taxpayer's credit card.

Republicans may have a point, but they have no credibility or influence. The only plan worth talking about today is Obama's.

Posted by: nodebris | January 28, 2009 3:32 PM | Report abuse

The Casino/Developer Guy?

The last time I saw him he was sitting on top of his new hotel.

Interesting idea.

Sounds like, "Ocean's 14".

Posted by: JohnQuimby | January 28, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

JohnQuimby:

Wynn 2010

Posted by: JakeD | January 28, 2009 2:54 PM | Report abuse

"The major problem for Republicans in their anti-Reid effort currently is the lack of a serious candidate to challenge the Democratic leader."

Exactly. The GOP is brain dead.

Posted by: JohnQuimby | January 28, 2009 2:50 PM | Report abuse

And, the GOP can simply point out we could not afford another $250,000,000 (on top of the BILLIONS already spent) to switch people over for free.

Posted by: JakeD | January 28, 2009 2:46 PM | Report abuse

When TV screens go blank next month Obama can hammer the Repukes. What a silly issue to make a stand on. These clowns (what's left of them) truly must have a death wish.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | January 28, 2009 2:30 PM | Report abuse

The House has just defeated a bill to postpone the upcoming transition from analog to digital television broadcasting by four months to June 12.

House Republicans succeeded in scuttling a bill to delay the transition, which is scheduled for Feb. 17, less than two days after the Senate unanimously passed the plan.

The defeat is a setback for the Obama administration and Democrats on Capitol Hill, who fear too many Americans are not ready for the switchover.

Posted by: JakeD | January 28, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Correction:

It actually is AT LEAST $350,000,000 in STD and TB prevention. Sorry for the "distortion".

Posted by: JakeD | January 28, 2009 2:11 PM | Report abuse

They have a lot of nerve. The Party of Hate, Fear and Division hasn't done a worthwhile thing in 8 years except rubber-stamp the disastrous policies of the Bush Administration. Now that someone is trying to do something to fix their mess, all they can do is attack with distortions and exaggerations.

America is in the worse shape it's been in in 75 years and they're to blame. Maybe they should just shut up and let the grown-ups fix it.

Posted by: thebobbob | January 28, 2009 2:01 PM | Report abuse

mnteng writes
"In the absence of a real challenger, I think the NRSC is targeting Reid just for some publicity."


Agreed, which is part of my point: is building publicity by targetting Reid what they should be focusing on right now?

Posted by: bsimon1 | January 28, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse

abby0802:

What part of #1-5 (below) do you not understand?

Posted by: JakeD | January 28, 2009 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Stephen ALAN Wynn.

Posted by: JakeD | January 28, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

The Republicans are attacking the democrats for trying to help out the average American.
Maybe the Republicans need to remember this headline:

"Seven dead in family murder-suicide after parents lose their jobs"

Posted by: abby0802 | January 28, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

bsimon1:

In the absence of a real challenger, I think the NRSC is targeting Reid just for some publicity. Sort of the same way the campaigns (particularly McC's) released ads in a limited way, but expected them to be picked up by the news people (like The Fix) for broader circulation. And Reid's an easy target since he's not that popular with some D's as well.

I do expect the NRSC to try to take Reid down in 2010, but with who? If I remember correctly, Thune was a very popular Rep. before he started running for Senate and even then he lost to Johnson the first time around. I don't see anyone in NV like that.

Posted by: mnteng | January 28, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

The Republicans' policies and big business gree caused our problems and now the Republicans are trying to hinder the solutions while protecting their big business friends. They will do and say anything to prevent our President and the Democrats from helping our country solve its problems.
The Republicans don't give a darn about the average American.
America needs to take those obstructionists and put them out of work. Let them live off of unemployment without health insurance. If they had worry about feeding their families, paying rent/mortgage and medical expenses, and putting gas in old cars they might have some inkling of what the rest of us are facing. They need a good dose of being truly poor to know what it's like to have hard times.

Typical GOP = Greedy, ornery politicians

Posted by: abby0802 | January 28, 2009 1:25 PM | Report abuse

The Republicans are not spending a great deal of money to knock off Harry Reed. They just want to show that they are still alive. It reminds me of Clinton in '94, after he lost both houses in the mid-term elections. He kept reminding us that he was still relevant. It turned out he was right. However, unless the Republicans change their ways (As Clinton did) they will not be relevant again for a long time.

Posted by: Opa2 | January 28, 2009 1:09 PM | Report abuse

potential wait = potential buyers wait

Posted by: JakeD | January 28, 2009 12:58 PM | Report abuse

5) Stabilizing Home Values

The first indication that many Americans had that our economy was slipping were reports of falling home values and a stagnant market. Now the real-estate market is frozen as potential wait for prices to fall even more and as sellers watch and wonder how much lower prices will go. To encourage the kind of buying-and-selling activity we need to jumpstart our economy, House Republicans propose a home-buyers credit of $7,500 for buyers who can make a minimum down-payment of 5 percent.

Posted by: JakeD | January 28, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse

4) Assistance for the Unemployed

Unless you're received or are currently receiving unemployment benefits, you probably don't know that the federal government taxes these benefits, forcing people to give up about 11 percent of their benefit. House Republicans propose making unemployment benefits tax free so people between jobs can have the full benefit of this income to provide for their families.

Posted by: JakeD | January 28, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

3) No Tax Increases to Pay for Spending

Congressional Democrats' proposal includes record levels of government spending that will substantially increase the current deficit. House Republicans are concerned that this level of spending will result in some proposing near-term tax increases on American families. In fact, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was recently quoted in the Washington Post stating that she'd like to see tax hikes "as soon as possible" (1/8/2009).

House Republicans are insisting that any recovery package include a provision precluding any tax increases now or in the future to pay for this new spending. House Republicans believe that any spending should be paid for by reducing other government spending, not raising taxes.

Posted by: JakeD | January 28, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

2) Help for America's Small Businesses

Small businesses (those employing less than 500 individuals) employ about half of all Americans and in 2005, they created nearly one million net new jobs – or, put another way, small businesses that created 78.9 percent of all new jobs. Yet these economic engines can pay up to 35 percent of their income in taxes to the federal government. The U.S. is ranked 29 out of 30 among the major economies in the world for our business tax rate; only Japan taxes its companies more harshly. House Republicans propose allowing small businesses to take a tax deduction equal to 20 percent of their income, which will immediately free up funds to retain current employees and hire new ones.

Posted by: JakeD | January 28, 2009 12:36 PM | Report abuse

1) Immediate Tax Relief for Working Families

The fastest way to get money back into the pockets of working families is to lower taxes, allowing them to keep more of what they earn. The two lowest tax rates in the U.S. are 10 percent and 15 percent; 45 million married couples and 13.5 million heads of households pay at the 10 percent rate while nearly 40 million married couples of 7.7 million heads of households pay at the 15 percent rate. House Republicans propose lowering these tax rates from 15 percent to 10 percent and from 10 percent to 5 percent, which will immediately put money where it will do the most good: in the hands of working families. Under our proposal, every taxpaying-family's gross income will increase by $500 for those in the current 10-percent bracket and $1,200 for those in the current 15-percent bracket.

Posted by: JakeD | January 28, 2009 12:34 PM | Report abuse

bsimon1:

I'm glad you brought that up.

"As some leaders in Washington plot how best to spend your tax dollars on bloated government programs, House Republicans have developed a plan to put money back in the hands of American families, small businesses, entrepreneurs and the self-employed. The latest spending package being discussed is already at $825 billion with some pushing for it to go over $1 trillion. But this isn't our money we're spending – the money will come from our children and grandchildren, and I believe this is simply too much to put on their backs.

The goals of any economic recovery package should be job creation, job preservation and spurring consumer spending. We need to let people keep more of the money they earn. We need to lower tax rates so that families and businesses can invest their money or save it, both of which are good for our economy.

But investing a trillion dollars in government spending isn't going to get our economy back on track. In fact, a recent analysis by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) casts doubt on whether the congressional Democrats' spending plan will actually have an immediate impact, which is the true test of any economic recovery proposal. Just seven percent of the proposed infrastructure spending -- $26 billion out of $274 billion – would be funneled into our economy by the end of this year budget year in September. Worse, just one in seven dollars of a massive $18.5 billion expenditure on "energy efficiency" and "renewable energy programs: would be spent within the next 18 months. And plans to bring broadband Internet service to rural and underserved areas will take years to implement.

Repairing aging infrastructure such as bridges and roads and bringing new technology to rural residents are fine programs, but they're not going to create either the short-term economic conditions necessary to pull us out of the current recession. President Obama asked House Republicans for our ideas on how to help our economy, and we formed a working group to develop our proposals. We look forward to presenting these ideas to the President and to working with him to implement programs that will help our economy."

Posted by: JakeD | January 28, 2009 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Sure, targetting Reid in the next election is a reasonable tactic for the Repubs. But by running the ad now, they sure seem to be demonstrating some misplaced priorities. They ought to be working with their peers in Congress & the President to solve the problems our country faces instead of taking politically motivated shots at a particular Senator. Seems pretty tone-deaf to me. If Sen Reid chooses to rebut the ad, it seems making the argument that he's working on solutions instead of just attacking the opposition he can make an effective argument that the Repubs are the 'party of no' that doesn't offer any solutions of their own.

Posted by: bsimon1 | January 28, 2009 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: JakeD | January 28, 2009 12:07 PM | Report abuse

What kind of "stimulus" are the Dems hoping to achieve with $350,000,000 to prevent STDs? I hope the GOP stand up against this New Deal too.

Posted by: JakeD | January 28, 2009 12:06 PM | Report abuse

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