Van Hollen to Palin: Bring it on -- no really, please do

Van Hollen dubbed the districts that Palin is focused on as the “Palin primaries.”

“We call them Palin primaries because in these races she’s picked, there are a thicket of Republicans that are competing in the primary,” he said. “Sarah Palin weighing in in some of these races will only create a stampede further to the right.”

Van Hollen cited the recent GOP rush to endorse a repeal of healthcare reform as proof that the party is selling out to its more extreme elements.

The two-term DCCC head declined to go into detail about the role of GOP leaders in the threats being wielded against Democratic members of Congress.

Van Hollen on Thursday accused Republicans of “throwing fuel on the fire.” (House GOP Whip Eric Cantor has lodged a similar accusation against Democrats.) But on Friday, Van Hollen declined to say which Republican leaders were guilty of such an offense, and he was eager to put the statement behind him.

“I issued a statement in response to Eric Cantor yesterday, and I’ll leave it at that,” Van Hollen said. “We want to focus on healthcare reform. We think this has become a diversion and distraction, and I’ll leave it at that.”

At the same time, Van Hollen said it was fair for Democrats to highlight the threatening events.

“Democrats have been pointing to the facts; these are real events that are being covered around the country,” he said.