Pelosi skeptical of GOP promises to be a 'check' on Clinton

Pelosi skeptical of GOP promises to be a 'check' on Clinton
© Greg Nash
Republican lawmakers appealing to voters with vows to be a "check" on Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonHouse Intel Republican: 'Foolish' not to take info on opponent from foreign ally House Intel Republican: 'Foolish' not to take info on opponent from foreign ally It's about the delegates, stupid MORE have only obstruction — or worse — in mind, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) charged Wednesday.
 
With Clinton leading handily in polls of the presidential race, vulnerable Republicans are increasingly leaning on the argument that voters should return them to Congress in order to retain the GOP control of both chambers and provide a firewall against the Democrat's policy aims, which they deem too liberal for the country.
 
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Pelosi said such language is coded, suggesting that a Republican-controlled Congress might even try to impeach Clinton.
 
"So what does 'checks and balances' mean? It's a euphemism for obstruction," Pelosi told reporters at the White House Wednesday.
 
Pelosi pointed to the presidential election of 1996 as a warning. That race pitted then-President Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonDems eye repeal of Justice rule barring presidential indictments Dems eye repeal of Justice rule barring presidential indictments Former Senate Dem leader: 'No way' impeachment trial for Trump would lead to conviction MORE against former-Sen. Bob Dole (R-Kan.). Pelosi praised Dole as a "lovely man" and a "hero in our country." 
 
"But when it became apparent that he was not going to win, the Republicans started talking about checks and balances," she said. 
 
"And you know what that translated into? Impeachment of the president of the United States," she said, referring to Bill Clinton.
 
The warning arrives as a growing number of Republicans hinge their campaign message on the importance of preventing Democrats from controlling both the White House and Congress — an indication that they don't anticipate a victory for GOP nominee Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump defends Stephanopolous interview Trump defends Stephanopolous interview Buttigieg on offers of foreign intel: 'Just call the FBI' MORE.
 
Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanIndiana GOP Rep. Brooks says she won't seek reelection Indiana GOP Rep. Brooks says she won't seek reelection Inside Biden's preparations for first debate MORE (R-Wis.) suggested as much earlier this month when he pulled himself off the presidential trail, vowing instead to focus on House and Senate races. And Republicans facing tough reelection contests are adopting a similar position.
 
"It certainly looks increasingly likely that Hillary Clinton is going to win this presidential election," Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) said in an interview Wednesday with PennLive. 
 
"Do we in Pennsylvania want to have a rubber stamp for Hillary Clinton, and maybe a Senate's that a rubber stamp for Hillary Clinton ... or do we want a senator that's demonstrated independence?"
 
Democratic leaders are preparing their troops for such arguments. On a conference call with Pelosi and House Democrats Wednesday afternoon, Rep. Ben Ray Luján (N.M.), head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), laid out what will likely become their common counterargument.
 
"They are asking them to bring back a Republican-led Congress that doesn’t work," Luján said, according to a source on the call. 
 
"This is the lot that shut down the government. They’ve repeatedly blocked efforts to keep guns out of the hands of suspected terrorists," he added.
 
“Voters will see right through this ruse for the obstruction that it is."