By Mike Lillis
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Thursday dismissed the notion that she'll be a liability on the campaign trail this year for Democrats.
Republicans have long used Pelosi's polarizing image to attack candidates by association, a tactic GOP leaders are again leaning on this election season.
"It's all subterfuge," she said during a press briefing in the Capitol. "The American people want to know who's going to create jobs, who's going to create growth in our country. And everything [else] is a diversion.
"Most people want to know what the candidate means to them, not what somebody else means to them," she added.
If that's the case, no one told the Republicans. Indeed, in the last week alone, the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) has sent emails attacking at least 44 Democrats, both incumbents and hopefuls, by linking them directly to the liberal Pelosi.
"It’s Pelosi’s World and Barber Is Just Voting In It," said the headline of the ad attacking Rep. Ron Barber (D-Ariz.).
To highlight the PAC money Pelosi has given the candidates, the NRCC messages feature a picture of a $100 bill with Pelosi's image replacing Benjamin Franklin's.
Among the other Democrats targeted by the NRCC campaign are Reps. Collin Peterson (Minn.), John Tierney (Mass.), Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.) and John Faust, who is vying to succeed retiring Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) in a swing district.
Few lawmakers on Capitol Hill are as polarizing as Pelosi. The nation's first female Speaker, the San Francisco lawmaker is beloved by many Democrats for her political savvy and unapologetic liberal views, but loathed by many conservatives for largely the same reasons.
On Thursday, she said the 2014 midterm elections will not be about her, but about the issues each side is fighting for.
Democrats are hoping their support for proposals to raise the minimum wage, overhaul the immigration system and empower women in the workplace will carve a clear distinction between the parties and play to the Democrats' benefit in the minds of voters in November.
"The Democrats are going forth with our agenda," Pelosi said. "We believe that the American people will make a judgment about what positive initiatives you can put forward."