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GOP Group to Hit Pelosi Trip in New Ad

The Republican Jewish Coalition was scheduled Tuesday to launch a television ad campaign blasting Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) for meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on a recent Middle East trip and calling her foreign policy views dangerous and wrong.

Billed as a national campaign, the 30-second spot is scheduled for a five-day run with heavier frequency in the New York City and Washington, D.C., media markets, though it will appear on cable stations nationwide. RJC Executive Director Matt Brooks said his organization is spending $150,000 to $300,000 on the ad run. The spot was produced by the GOP consulting firm Jamestown Associates.

“They promised a tough foreign policy. Instead, Nancy Pelosi meets with Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, sponsor of terrorist organizations responsible for the death of thousands of innocent victims,” the ad’s voice-over says, according to a tentative script.

“Pelosi says ‘the road to peace leads through Damascus.’ The Washington Post calls her statement ‘ludicrous’ …” the ad voice-over continues, before concluding: “Tough? No. Dangerous and very wrong.”

The National Jewish Democratic Council came to Pelosi’s defense, referring to the ad campaign as a misguided smear.

The NJDC also accused the RJC of hypocrisy, citing an interview Brooks gave to New York Jewish Week in which he said national security shouldn’t be used as a political football.

“The notion that the Speaker’s trip to the Middle East had negative ramifications for American national security is laughable,” NJDC executive director Ira Forman said in a statement.

“If RJC wants to do something productive for our national security, they should stand with the majority of Jewish Republicans, Independents and Democrats in opposing the administration’s failed Iraq policy,” he said.

Pelosi last week traveled to Israel, the Palestinian territories, Syria and Saudi Arabia with a contingent of Democratic House Members and one Republican lawmaker.

The trip was criticized by the White House and drew the ire of most Republican Members back home, particularly after the Israeli government refuted remarks Pelosi made in Syria that Israel was ready to engage in peace negotiations with the Assad regime.

Although the ad focuses on Pelosi’s public comments while she was in Syria, Brooks was critical of the trip generally. He said Congress should leave the conduct of foreign policy to the president and said Pelosi’s remarks while in the Middle East raise questions about her leadership.

Pelosi’s office declined to comment publicly on the RJC ad. But an aide to the Speaker pointed to a joint statement released by Pelosi and the Members who traveled with her, including Rep. Tom Lantos (D-Calif.), a Holocaust survivor and longtime supporter of Israel.

“During our trip to Israel, we underscored the commitment of the United States to secure a Jewish state living in peace with its neighbors,” the joint statement read.

Democrats also have pointed out that a separate contingent of Republican lawmakers visited Syria just before Pelosi’s group did.

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