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Nation: House Committees Give Recess Marching Orders

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee plans to spend this recess week hammering Republicans on domestic policy and encouraging voters to choose Democrats in November if they’re interested in lowering gas prices, ending the housing crisis and improving the economy generally.

As part of this effort, the DCCC is releasing a host of Internet videos targeting Republicans it believes are vulnerable on economic issues, in addition to firing off e-mail missives directed at these same GOP targets.

Former Sen. John Edwards (N.C.) also is lending a hand, urging Democratic donors in an e-mail circulated by the DCCC to help the committee fund efforts to flip the 29 Republican open seats. The Edwards e-mail was sent to DCCC supporters along with a preview of the committee’s recess strategy.

“With the economy a top concern to Americans, Democrats are committed to working aggressively to offer solutions after years of disinterest and failed leadership by President Bush and House Republicans,” DCCC spokesman Doug Thornell said.

Republicans this week are likely to strike back at House Democrats by playing the national security card — a move that often has proved to be politically successful for the GOP.

“What Democrats should be explaining to their constituents is how they chose not to act when the clock ran out on the terrorist surveillance program,” said Ken Spain, spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee. “Skipping town at such a critical juncture is an abdication of duty that will not be forgotten by the voters anytime soon.”

The Democratic candidates who plan to make the economy the focus of their campaign message over the week include former Kansas City Mayor Kay Barnes, running against Rep. Sam Graves (R) in Missouri’s 6th district; scientist Bill Foster, running in the special election in Illinois’ 14th district; state Senate Minority Leader Mark Schauer, hoping to oust Rep. Tim Walberg (R) in Michigan’s 7th district; and former state Lottery Commissioner Gary Peters, running against Rep. Joe Knollenberg (R) in Michigan’s 9th district.

In particular, Barnes has embarked on a “rural economic tour,” while Schauer and Peters are both hosting events that focus on the economy.
— David M. Drucker

21st Century Democrats Backs Seven Hopefuls

21st Century Democrats, a Washington, D.C.-based group that provides technical support and grass-roots troops to liberal candidates, endorsed seven Congressional Democratic candidates on Wednesday.

The group is getting behind former New Hampshire Gov. Jeanne Shaheen, who is challenging Sen. John Sununu (R-N.H.); former Kansas City Mayor Kay Barnes, who is running against Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.); Franklin County Commissioner Mary Jo Kilroy, who is running for the open seat in Ohio’s 15th district; former Arizona state Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, running for the open seat in the state’s 1st district; attorney Nick Leibham, who is looking to challenge Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-Calif.); and attorney Mike Smith, who is seeking the Democratic nomination and a chance to challenge Rep. Ric Keller (R-Fla.).

“Each of these Democrats has the vision and ability to take our country in a new direction,” 21st Century Democrats Executive Director Mark Lotwis wrote in an e-mail to the group’s supporters.

Earlier in this cycle, the group had endorsed five other Congressional candidates, along with candidates for other offices.
— Josh Kurtz

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