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Campaign committees

Republicans throw cold water on unemployment numbers

A drop in the unemployment rate to the lowest it has been in almost three years might seem like good news, but Republicans aren't ready to let President Obama and Democrats take credit.

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus threw cold water on the latest Labor Department figures on Friday, acknowledging it was positive news but claiming it failed to mask the damage Obama has inflicted on the nation's economy.

“Only in an economy so badly damaged by Democrats’ policies would the White House celebrate 8.6 percent unemployment," Priebus said in a statement shortly after the numbers were released. "The fact is, unemployment remains unacceptably high."

Priebus pointed to another part of the unemployment report that showed many unemployed Americans have stopped looking for work, which also drives down the unemployment rate, calling it evidence that Obama had so discouraged the job market that workers had simply given up.

Priebus joined a chorus of Republican leaders Friday who downplayed the significance of the unemployment report, which showed a steep drop from the 9 percent jobless rate one month ago.


Dems blast Cain’s ‘Princess Nancy’ comment

Democrats are trying to raise indignation over GOP presidential candidate Herman Cains nickname for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) — and possibly raise some money off it.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee on Thursday included in its weekly email to supporters a note calling Cain out for referring to the former House Speaker as Princess Nancy.” Recipients were invited to sign a petition denouncing Cains comment.

That’s outrageous. As the first and only woman Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi has spent decades standing up for women and fighting for the middle class, DCCC Executive Director Robby Mook wrote in the email. She earned the Speaker’s gavel.

The email also included a contribute button so supporters could make donations to the committee.

During a CNBC debate Wednesday for GOP presidential candidates, Cain was asked how we would replace President Obama’s healthcare reform law, and accused Pelosi of burying an already-introduced measure to repeal it.

We didn’t hear about it in the previous Congress [when Pelosi was Speaker] because Princess Nancy sent it to committee and it stayed there, it never came out, Cain said.

He later apologized to Pelosi, but noted that she had also used harsh terms to refer to the Tea Party.

— This post was updated at 7:47 p.m.


Patrick Kennedy fundraising appeal invokes father, uncle

Former Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.) invoked his late father and uncles in a fundraising appeal for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee sent to supporters Tuesday.

My father and uncles fought to build a society that takes care of the least among us. Yet that social safety net is in imminent danger, Kennedy wrote.

Kennedys father, Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.), died in 2009. His uncle, President John F. Kennedy, was assasinated in 1963, and another uncle, Sen. Robert F. Kennedy (D-N.Y.), was assasinated five years later.

If my father were here, he’d tell you it’s going to be a dogfight. We need you in it, Patrick Kennedy wrote in the fundraising appeal. I’ve always been proud to be part of a family that has done so much to help build a strong American middle class. And I’m just as proud to be part of a political party that fights for the needs of that middle class.

Patrick Kennedy served eight terms in the House before retiring in 2011.


GOP prepped to hit Dems on balanced budget votes

With the House likely to vote on a balanced budget amendment when it reconvenes the week of Nov. 14, Republicans are laying the groundwork to knock any Democrats who vote against it.

The National Republican Congressional Committee launched a website on Monday to detail how Democratic members vote on the amendment, and  to document how those who were in Congress voted during a 1995 attempt.

Users will also be able to submit their own videos in support of a balanced budget amendment.

The name of the site,, is a reference to another Code Red site the NRCC launched during the healthcare debate to raise money and target Democrats who supported Obama's push for the Affordable Care Act.

In a video posted on the site, NRCC Chairman Pete Sessions (R-Texas) calls it "a one-stop site you can use to hold House Democrats accountable for spending too much and listening too little."


DCCC chair lays out 'hyper-aggressive' strategy for Dems to take back House

Key barometers of the political climate are leading House Democrats to predict better days ahead, but with one year to go until the 2012 elections, they aren’t sitting back and waiting.

Successful recruitment efforts and fundraising, better-than-feared redistricting results and generic polling that shows Democrats on top give the minority hopes of retaking control of the House, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) Chairman Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) said Friday in a briefing with reporters.

To make that happen, he said, Democrats will continue to be hyper-aggressive, pro-active and energetic.

“We’re going to keep them on the ropes. We’re going to tie them to the ropes. We’re going to encase the ties with cement,” Israel said.


Spooky attacks on Dems from GOP on Halloween

Republican groups embraced the spooky spirit on Monday, using Halloween-themed attacks to blame Democrats for a ghoulish economy.

"This Halloween, Democrats are dressing up as themselves," blasted a release from the National Republican Congressional Committee. "The Democrats’ job-destroying policies make a frightening costume."

The NRCC then pointed to comments House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) made over the weekend about Democratic economic initiatives and her support for a National Labor Relations Board decision forcing a Boeing plant to shutter in South Carolina over union issues.

Meanwhile, the Republican National Committee sent a memo to reporters saying they had planned to send out a statement about "Obama's Haunted House," but were thwarted.

"Unfortunately, the house was foreclosed on due to the Obama Administration’s policies and we will therefore spare you from any additional Halloween themed references," wrote RNC Communications Director Sean Spicer.

On Monday, when asked at an American Enterprise Institute event which of his GOP opponents he would dress up as for Halloween, White House hopeful Herman Cain thought for a few moments before answering: "I believe I would go as Ron Paul," his rival from Texas.


Blue Dogs hire Whalen to beef up operations

The Blue Dog PAC has tapped Andrew Whalen, a former top adviser to Rep. Heath Shuler (D-N.C.), to head its political operations heading into the 2012 cycle, and charged him with expanding the coalitions grassroots and new media efforts.

Republicans picked off many centrist and conservative Democrats — called "Blue Dogs" — when they took control of the House in 2010, leaving a smaller contingent of more liberal Democrats in office. Aggressive campaigning in centrist districts is a key component of the Democratic playbook to flip the 25 seats they need to take back control of the lower chamber.

“As the extremes on the right and the left fight for their own interests, the interests of the American people are being left behind, said Rep. Jim Matheson (D-Utah), co-chairman of the Blue Dog PAC. “With this expanded operation, Blue Dogs will be better equipped to recruit, endorse and support candidates in the 2012 election who are committed to fiscal responsibility, everyday American values and commonsense measures that help businesses grow.”

Whalen, a campaign veteran, has also served as executive director of the North Carolina Democratic Party.


RNC pulls in $8.2 million in August, surpassing DNC

The Republican National Committee (RNC) raised $8.17 million in August, its highest ever for an off-year August and almost $3 million more than its Democratic counterpart pulled in for the same period.

That brought the total raised by the group this year to $52 million. RNC officials reported having more than $9 million cash on hand and almost $16 million in debt, putting them in much better shape than at the start of the year, when they had less than half a million in cash and $24 million in debt.

The DNC raised $5.5 million, Reuters reported — almost a million less than it did the month before. But its fundraising numbers for 2011 so far, when added to the money raised for Obama's reelection campaign, reached $118 million, far surpassing the Republican figures.

Off-year summers and August in particular are typically slow fundraising periods for both parties.


RNC chairman: Obama itinerary proves he’s playing politics with job plan

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus lashed out Tuesday at President Obama’s road trip to key swing states to build support for his jobs proposal, drawing a contrast between Obama’s pledge to take his plan to people all across the country and his actual itinerary. 

“It turns out he’s using it for political purposes,” Priebus said on a conference call with reporters. “We all get the joke.” 

{mosads}Obama traveled on Friday to Virginia — home of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R) — and on Tuesday is in Ohio — home of Speaker John Boehner (R) — to rally support for the jobs creation package he pitched to Congress last week. He will make another stop at North Carolina State University on Wednesday. 

All three are swing states Obama won in 2008 and all are important to his reelection. 

“I don't think anybody should be surprised he's not stopping in North Dakota and Montana and Alaska to sell his ‘Stimulus 2’ package,” Priebus said. 

Ohio GOP Chairman Kevin DeWine said Obama’s plan should get proper consideration, but that if he’s serious about bipartisanship, he should give equal consideration to Republican ideas on how to spur economic growth. 

“He has a very steep hill to climb when it comes to redeeming his credibility on job creation,” DeWine said. 

Obama’s job plan occupies the delicate and muddled space between a policy issue and a campaign issue. Although the election is more than a year away and Republicans haven’t yet picked their candidate to run against Obama, the election is already poised to be at least in part a referendum on the economy and on Obama’s efforts to dig the country out of recession. 

The Democratic National Committee has already launched an ad campaign promoting the $447 billion jobs package, using clips of Obama’s speech to Congress. Meanwhile, Republican campaign groups have been pushing the message that the plan represents another attempt by Obama to spend on government programs without paying for it.