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Campaign committees

RNC chairman calls Obama jobs plan a 'big fraud'

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus called much of President Obama's $447 billion jobs plan a "big fraud" Friday, dismissing Obama's claim that the plan is paid for but also acknowledging that Republicans might be able to stomach parts of the proposal. 

"The reality is we're facing a monstrosity of a problem, and the reality is the president is playing with Chinese checkers here," Priebus said on MSNBC. "I tended to believe a lot of what the president had to say was a big fraud last night." 

Priebus said after the plan was evaluated, it became clear it was not actually paid for, and that Obama shouldn't be touting trade agreements that have been awaiting presidential action for years. 

But asked if the House GOP leadership's decision not to totally denounce Obama's plan was a sign of some consensus, he pointed to an extension of payroll tax cuts as one of a few areas where he thought Republicans and Democrats could work together. 

"There are some things I think both parties can agree to," said Priebus, who heads the fundraising and campaign arm of the Republican party. "That's the common ground we're looking for."

In interviews and statements since Obama's Thursday night address to Congress, where he laid out a plan he said would immediately put Americans back to work, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) have been quick to highlight their own plan. They have cautiously avoided dismissing Obama's, however, wary of appearing to be standing in the way of ideas they had earlier embraced.

Cantor said tax relief for small businesses, unemployment compensation reform and trade agreements were all items he thought could pass the Republican-controlled House.


RNC goes after Obama with TV spot in four swing states

The Republican National Committee (RNC) launched a second phase of its TV ads Wednesday, targeting President Obama in four key swing states.

The ads go after Obama and his management of the economy, offering a preview of the messaging Republicans will be using against the president in 2012.

This spot uses Obama's words during 2008's campaign, in which he talks about the need for change, and contrasts them with his economic record. The ad is airing in Michigan, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — four states Obama won in 2008, and four states in which Republicans hope to mount an offensive in 2012.

"President Obama won in 2008 by winning nine states President Bush carried in 2004. These states will undoubtedly be battlegrounds again in 2012 and Obama’s surrogates have also talked about widening the 2012 electoral map and playing in other states he failed to carry in 2008, like Arizona and Georgia," RNC political director Rick Wiley wrote in a memo. "This seems a curious strategy given the trouble he has closer to home."

The ad is the second in a series of new, weekly ads the RNC intends to release this month. They have limited television ad buys.


NRCC has twice as much cash on hand as Dems

The National Republican Congressional Committee outraised the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in May.  While the DCCC ended the month with less debt, the NRCC has double the amount of cash on hand.

On Monday, the NRCC said it brought in $4.6 million in May and ended with $10.6 million cash on hand. The NRCC finished May with $7 million in debt. The month’s numbers brought the NRCC's overall fundraising numbers for the year to $26.8 million.

Meanwhile, the DCCC said on Monday that it raised $3.8 million in May and had $5.34 million cash on hand. The May numbers bring the DCCC's total funds raised for the year to $27.45 million, with $6.6 million in debt.

The May numbers are something of a shift from this year's first-quarter fundraising figures. In the first quarter of 2011, the DCCC reported raising $19.6 million while cutting down its debt to $8 million. Meanwhile, the NRCC raised $18.1 million with a debt of about $8 million. The NRCC reported having roughly double the cash on hand that the DCCC did for the first quarter. The NRCC reported $9 million cash on hand, while the DCCC had $4.6 million.


Wasserman Schultz formally elected as DNC chief

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) was officially elected Wednesday as the new chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee.

Wasserman Schultz, known as a partisan warrior and a fixture on the cable news circuit, replaces Tim Kaine, who is running for the seat of retiring Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.).

DNC members gave Wasserman Schultz a standing ovation as she entered the meeting room, chanting, "Debbie, Debbie." She was elected by acclamation.

Immediately after her election, President Obama joined the gathering by phone to congratulate Wasserman Schultz on assuming the leadership of the committee.


RNC eyeing sponsored debates beginning this summer

The Republican National Committee (RNC) might sponsor a series of officially sanctioned debates for the party's 2012 presidential candidates, Chairman Reince Priebus said Tuesday.

Preibus acknowledged that the RNC remains in the process of contemplating sponsoring a series of official debates, which earlier reports had indicated the party was considering.

"The RNC is seeking to either sponsor, sanction, or put a Republican stamp on a limited number of debates," Priebus said at a breakfast sponsored by The Christian Science Monitor.

Priebus said he could envision a series of monthly debates, beginning in the summer, for candidates who have entered the presidential race. These official forums wouldn't limit candidates from participating in any other debates.

The newly installed RNC chairman likened the party's plans to the officially sanctioned debates the Democratic National Committee (DNC) approved during the 2008 cycle.

"There isn't really anything more than that," he said.

But Priebus didn't address concerns about the debates and their format, namely whether the moderators would be selected by GOP officials or whether media outlets would have to pay for access to the debates.

Priebus did express concern that too many debates could erupt, as he said had happened in the 2008 campaign, leading to fatigue among voters by the time the early 2012 primaries arrive. The RNC-sanctioned debates, he said, would allow for a more organized pace to public candidate opportunities.


Sen. Durbin: 'Not soliciting' DNC chairmanship

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (Ill.) said becoming chairman of the Democratic National Committee is not on his "bucket list."

The DNC's current chairman, Tim Kaine, is expected to jump into the Virginia Senate race shortly and Democrats are quietly searching for his successor.

Durbin said he wasn't interested in the job.

"The idea of traipsing all over the United States is not really on my agenda," he said on NBC's "Meet the Press"

Asked if he would accept the position if President Obama asked him, Durbin sounded reluctant.

"I am not soliciting it, " he said. "I've got a good job in the Senate and a great job representing Illinois."

Other names at the top of the list are former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm and Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) is also in the mix for the position.


Wasserman Schultz mum on interest in DNC post

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) is one of the names in the mix to head the Democratic National Committee should Chairman Tim Kaine run for Senate next year, but she isn't revealing whether she has any interest in the post. 

"I understand there is a DNC chairman at the moment," Wasserman Schultz said Tuesday when asked about top Democrats dropping her name as a contender to head the committee. 

Asked if she would have any interest in the slot should Kaine officially jump into the race for retiring Sen. Jim Webb's (D-Va.) seat, Wasserman Schultz simply repeated her earlier dodge.     

While Democratic insiders put her name near the top of the list of possibilities to head the DNC, working against Wasserman Schultz is her role at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. 

The Florida congresswoman is one of five DCCC national chairmen for the 2012 cycle and is working on the committee's redistricting efforts. That role would present an inherent conflict, said one Democratic insider, given that the two committees compete for donors. 

Other names at the top of the list are former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland and former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, both of whom are pegged as more likely to be selected for the DNC job than Wasserman Schultz. 

One thing tying all three together — they were all supporters of then-Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's (D-N.Y.) 2008 presidential campaign.

Earlier this week, a DNC spokesman said Kaine is "increasingly likely" to jump into the 2012 Senate race, making an official announcement more a question of when than if at this point.