Dems look to make GOP 'pay a political price' for stimulus opposition

Democrats are organizing efforts to make any Republicans who claim the stimulus has been a failure "pay a political price" in the lawmaker's own back yard.

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) has targeted two senior Republicans, Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) and House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio), in recent days as part of a concerted effort to respond to Republicans' attacks on the stimulus plan.

For Boehner, that's meant a conference call and web video released by the DNC. For Kyl, the same. Even Vice President Biden visited Boehner's district to argue for the success of the stimulus, though it's not clear that visit was coordinated in any way.

"Any Republican who goes after the stimulus in a hypocritical way will pay a political price for attacking job creation in their own backyard," said a Democratic Party source.

Republicans have ramped up their criticism of the stimulus in recent days as some economic indicators remain dismal. Many have characterized the stimulus as having failed.

For their part, Republicans have hit back against the Democratic offensive. After having been targeted by the DNC, House Minority Whip Eric Cantor's (R-Ca.) office targeted DNC Chairman and Va. Gov. Tim Kaine's economic stewardship.

"Based on this curious statement from Governor Kaine's DNC, the question must be asked: Does Governor Kaine believe 8.1% unemployment in the Richmond area is a stimulus success?" Cantor's office asked.

Update, 11:08 a.m.: National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) spokesman Paul Lindsay comments: "The only ones paying a political price for the stimulus are the congressional Democrats who passed this misguided bill and are now engaged in a desperate PR campaign to salvage their plummeting ratings as a result of it. With a skyrocketing unemployment rate, Democrats have yet to answer the fundamental question: Where are the jobs?"

Update, 1:04 p.m.
: The DNC's Hari Sevugan responds: "After championing the Bush-Cheney Economic policies, and continuing to plead for more of the same, it's the height of hypocrisy for Eric Cantor to criticize anyone for working to create jobs in Virginia. Even before the Economic Recovery Act was written Cantor said the Republican strategy was to just say no to action to rebuild the economy he and his colleagues pushed to the brink, but then he takes credit for projects funded by a bill he opposed. The only person's stewardship who should be questioned is Eric Cantor's -- both as a Republican leader and as a Congressman who is supposed to represent his constituents instead of playing politics."