Pro-Clinton group attacks Rand Paul, Paul Ryan on gridlock

The 2016-centric arm of Democratic super-PAC American Bridge is turning its focus for the first time on Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) in a new memo obtained by The Hill that targets the two potential 2016 presidential contenders for embracing congressional gridlock.

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Correct the Record, the American Bridge offshoot launched by former Hillary Clinton staffers, argues in the memo that the two are exacerbating the Republican Party’s poor standing — and jeopardizing their chances in 2016 — by promoting congressional gridlock over the budget deal and the debt ceiling.

“Both Paul and Ryan hurt the Republican brand going into 2016 by forcing fiscal gridlock at a time when Americans are fed up with Congressional gridlock,” writes Isaac Wright, Correct the Record’s director, in the memo.

Paul’s opposition to the budget deal makes him “out of touch with mainstream America,” because, Wright argues, Congress’s record-low disapproval ratings are due largely to frustration with congressional gridlock over fiscal matters.

“U.S. Senator Rand Paul’s (R-KY) self-promotion campaign for the 2016 GOP Presidential primary has been as subtle as a megaphone in a library. Yet, his tact regarding the country’s feelings about Congress’s perpetual gridlock has proven as politically in-tune as a plagiarizer attending a copyright convention,” he writes, a reference to the plagiarism charges Paul faced earlier this year.

Wright goes on to argue that Paul has left himself open to attacks from his “middle flank,” and that he “has found himself not in the situation of a statesman sticking to his principals even when they are politically unpopular, but instead has created for himself the reality of a political ideologue out of touch with the soul of the electorate whose support he now seeks.”

And though Ryan was part of the bipartisan duo that brokered the budget deal, Wright says in the memo that “he’s abdicating appeal to mainstream America by taking the budget limit hostage and again pushing gridlock.”

Ryan said earlier this week that Republicans are planning to demand concessions in exchange for raising the debt limit, a prospect that Democrats warn could send the nation into default if a compromise is not met.

President Obama has previously said he won’t negotiate over the debt ceiling.

“Playing to his far-right base, Ryan has, in the long-term, abdicated much of the political advantage he might otherwise claim for having been part of a budget compromise,” Wright adds.

The memo marks a line of attack that Democrats see as politically advantageous in both the short and long term — the suggestion that the GOP is the “Party of No,” focused more on obstructing governance than getting things done.

And it’s the latest offensive effort from Correct the Record, the group created earlier this year by Clinton ally David Brock to focus directly on defending potential Democratic presidential contenders and to lay the groundwork for Democratic attacks on possible GOP opponents.

The group has previously targeted Govs. Chris Christie (N.J.) and Scott Walker (Wis.).

Correct the Record Memo on Paul, Ryan by The Hill Newspaper