Pelosi to Des Moines for fundraising swing

,House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) will head to the site of the first caucuses in the nation this weekend, but presidential politics won't be on her mind.

Instead, the speaker is heading to Des Moines, Iowa to raise money for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and to hold an official event with a vulnerable member of Congress.

Pelosi will head to a private residence on Saturday for the fundraiser, which is being jointly hosted by Reps. Leonard Boswell (D), whose district includes the Hawkeye State's largest city, Dave Loebsack (D) and Bruce Braley (D).

Boswell will also join Pelosi for a tour of Hiatt Middle School, which has received funding from the stimulus package. Local and statewide education officials will participate in a roundtable event on the stimulus package.

Braley, who heads up candidate services as a DCCC vice chairman, has encouraged the speaker to hit the campaign trail and raise money for Democratic candidates. Pelosi has raised millions for the DCCC over the years, but her disapproval ratings are higher than most other Democrats who might campaign for House candidates.

"Bruce Braley is either kidding himself or is hopelessly out of touch with his constituents if he thinks Nancy Pelosi's San Francisco values are appealing to Iowa voters. The willingness of Braley and his Iowa colleagues to stand beside such a politically toxic figure speaks volumes about how desperate they are for campaign cash to defend their records of unbridled support for this Speaker," said Paul Lindsay, a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee.

Asked to specify what "San Francisco values" would turn off Iowa voters, Lindsay pointed to a "national energy tax that would devastate Iowa farmers," along with "abortion on demand and reckless spending on the backs of future generations."

The NRCC will target all three Iowa Democrats during Pelosi's visit over cap and trade legislation, which passed the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Friday. Braley is a member of that committee.

Democrats fired back at Republicans intent on defending their congressional leader.

"Rambling attacks from folks who pander to a divisive shock jock and a disgraced former Speaker of the House running for president are laughable," said Doug Thornell, spokesman for Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), who holds the title of Pelosi's assistant. Thornell referred to Democratic critiques of the GOP as beholden to radio host Rush Limbaugh and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.).

As Speaker of the House and second in line for the presidency, it isn't terribly likely that Pelosi harbors her own White House ambitions. Still, anyone hoping to cause her press staff a groan can cite that old political adage: No politician goes to Iowa by accident.

--Reid Wilson