As the threat of Democrats controlling both houses of Congress and the White House creeps its way into nearly every GOP attack, some leaders on the Hill are hitting back. On Tuesday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi pointedly reminded John McCain that, at one point in time, when he was establishing his bipartisan bona fides and exhibiting a form of political chivalry, the Republican nominee actually heaped praise on her.
"Senator McCain has also changed his tune on my Speakership. In July, Senator McCain said that I am an 'inspiration to millions...I respect Speaker Pelosi' in a role that is 'in many ways...more powerful than the president' and that I am 'one of the great American success stories,'" said the Speaker in a statement from her office. "The American people are looking for solutions to serious challenges our nation faces. Democrats will work in a bipartisan way to restore the American Dream by growing our economy, establishing our energy independence, increasing access to health care and higher education, and work toward responsibly ending the war in Iraq, all while restoring fiscally responsible pay-as-you-go budget discipline."
The move on the Speaker's behalf was reminiscent of the McCain campaign using flattering quotes from Sen. Joe Biden against the Obama campaign. As Jonathan Martin over at Politico described it: "Pelosi delves into oppo file."
But it is a reminder that, for an election that began with promises of being civil and bipartisan, this campaign has delved into the traditional demagoguery and demonizing. The RNC responded in due course shortly thereafter, striking a distinction between praising Pelosi the glass ceiling breaker and Pelosi the leader of the "most unpopular Congress in American history."
"Just like Obama, Pelosi offered high-flying rhetoric about 'change' when Democrats took control of the House in 2006, but her record has demonstrated nothing but partisan wrangling and divisive maneuvering during the past two years," wrote Amber Wilkerson, an RNC spokeswoman. "This November, Americans who are looking to shake up the status quo in Washington will reject Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi's liberal agenda."