With less than a month until the election, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is urging her fellow Democrats to highlight the ties between Republicans and corporate interests and aggressively respond to attacks by Republicans that attempt to portray the Democratic Party as out of touch with the economic concerns of voters.
In an interview with The Huffington Post on Tuesday, Pelosi said she was unsure how much help Democrats will get from outside political groups that the Supreme Court has ruled can spend without limit on federal elections, and House Democratic candidates have grown increasingly nervous as corporate money pours into district after district, while union money and help from environmental and women's rights groups has been much more restrained.
"Certainly I don't know that, going into the election, there was any plan to do so," Pelosi said when asked if liberal groups might be airing television ads backing Democrats. Corporate groups have been on the air since 2009 battering Democrats. "I hope so. I hope so. I hope so," said Pelosi.
The influx of corporate money on behalf of the GOP will make it harder to hold the House, Pelosi said. "Absent this, we were really pretty confident about winning the election. We still are. But this makes it harder," she said.
Republican-affiliated outside groups have already committed to spend at least $200 million in 2010. Liberal groups, according to a document being circulated among Democrats, have committed to spend just over $7 million.
Much of that is being spent on mailing and ground work, however, leaving the GOP with dominance of the airwaves.
"Somebody said to me, 'You can survive being outspent eight to one.' I said, 'Just as long as the one is there. Eight to one? Okay. Eight to nothing? No, I don't think so,'" Pelosi said.
If Democrats can't match them in spending, said Pelosi, the party would tar Republicans by connecting them to corporate cash. "Of course, they all have euphemistic terms, "For Seniors" or "For Prosperity," or whatever it is, but really it's just cover," she said.
"Whenever you get hit with an overwhelming weight, you have to jujitsu it. So we want to turn it against them... I want to tattoo them right on to the Republican candidate," she said, smacking her hand for emphasis. "Big oil, big banks, big health insurance: We're going to tattoo you with that, so it's like doggy-doo stuck on your shoe. Wherever you go, people will know."
Pelosi also responded to a new memo circulated by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich on Tuesday, which instructs Republican candidates to portray the GOP as the party of "paychecks" and Democrats as the party of "food stamps." In the memo, Gingrich said that in June, "more food stamps were distributed by the government than ever before in American history. ... You can use this vivid contrast between the record of the Pelosi-Reid Democratic Congress and the last time the Republican Party took control of Congress to powerfully illustrate the difference for every American between the Democratic Party of food stamps and the Republican Party of paychecks."
"God bless them for being true to who they are," Pelosi responded. "They just can't resist the urge to stomp on poor people. They drove the country into a terrible ditch. The President and the Congress are trying to pull us out. The economists tell us that if we hadn't acted the way -- in the federal initiatives from the Congress and others, that we would have 8.5 million more people unemployed. That unemployment would be 14.5 percent, the deficit would be huge -- even huger than it is."
She scoffed at the fact that they wanted to have a "food stamp fight," saying that when the government is working to pull the country out of what could have been a depression, more people will need food stamp assistance until they get back on their feet. Additionally, she added, food stamps infuse more money into the economy as people spend them.
"They [Republicans] would rather give a tax cut to the richest people in America that will increase the deficit by $700 billion than food to people who need help, that will create jobs," she said. "That's the difference between the two parties. This is really, I think, showing their worst side. Let's have a fight over food stamps? Food stamp fight! It's really sad."
Pelosi also brushed aside Gingrich, saying, "Let me just say this: One of these days, in the far future, when I'm not Speaker anymore, I will be irrelevant."
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