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« Dems Neck And Neck In VA | Blog Home Page | Strategy Memo: Clean Bill »

DCCC Targets GOP Over War Vote

Flexing their financial muscle, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is launching a new round of radio and web advertisements slamming eight Republicans for voting "present" on the supplemental appropriations bill for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The DCCC is targeting two members of leadership, House Minority Leader John Boehner, of Ohio, and Conference Chairman Adam Putnam, of Florida, along with eight members they see as vulnerable. Those potentially vulnerable members include Reps. John Shadegg of Arizona, Lincoln Diaz-Balart and Tom Feeney, of Florida, Randy Kuhl of New York, Thelma Drake of Virginia, Joe Knollenberg of Michigan, Illinois' Mark Kirk and Steve Chabot, of Ohio.

In a conference call with reporters, DCCC chair Chris Van Hollen slammed Republicans for what he called failing the troops. "The new Congress has been working hard on behalf of our troops in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as for veterans," Van Hollen said. "Our colleagues on the other side of the aisle have said one thing and done nothing."

"I was shocked last week when I saw what happened in the House," said Jon Soltz, an Iraq war veteran and chairman of VoteVets.org. "To vote present, that's a complete sellout." Soltz said military members were not permitted to skip a decision or a mission, and that members of Congress should not be allowed to do so either.

Republicans voted "present" on the bill to protest the fact that Speaker Nancy Pelosi bypassed the appropriations committee and instead brought the bill straight to the floor, a complaint Van Hollen dismissed as a common tactic Republicans used "countless times" when they were in the majority. "These members essentially decided to take a walk," he said. The measure will head to the Senate after the Memorial Day recess.

Van Hollen refused to disclose how much the committee would spend on the ads, saying those decisions had yet to be made. In many cases, this is the second time the DCCC has targeted members for votes they have cast this year; earlier, Democrats targeted members over their votes on the State Children's Health Insurance Program.

Updated: Boehner spokesman Michael Steel sends this comment: "This would be laughable if the issue weren't so serious. Democrats have repeatedly voted for defeat for our Armed Forces overseas, as they did again last week. Republicans have fought for the troops, and everyone knows that. These political attacks are beneath contempt and will be completely ineffective."