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Friday, 11 August 2006 06:15

DNC: Dusting Off The GOP Playbook: Fear-Mongering And Desperate Tactics

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News from the DNC:

Dusting Off The GOP Playbook: Fear-Mongering And Desperate Tactics

Washington, DC - In the wake of an unfolding terror plot and their own plummeting poll numbers, Republicans in Washington have once again dusted off their tired campaign playbook in a desperate attempt to stay alive politically. Party leaders and even White House officials have again begun engaging in fear-mongering to distract from their failed record and salvage their dwindling campaign prospects in November.

"With no record to run on, the President's poll numbers in the tank and polls showing Americans' willingness to put their trust in Democrats to keep them safe, Republicans are resorting to the only thing they have left, using desperate measures to try to win votes," said Democratic National Committee Press Secretary Stacie Paxton. "These smear tactics and fear-mongering only go to show that Republicans realize they are going to lose big in November. The American people want real leadership not more mean-spirited, partisan propaganda. Democrats have a new direction for America that includes protecting our airports, ports and borders, implementing the recommendations of the 9/11 commission, and a real plan for success in Iraq."

The GOP Is In Trouble; What To Do?
New AP Poll: Bush Approval Rating Down To 33 Percent; 19 Percent Edge For Democratic Candidates In November. "An Associated Press-Ipsos poll conducted this week found the president's approval rating has dropped to 33 percent, matching his low in May. His handling of nearly every issue, from the Iraq war to foreign policy, contributed to the president's decline around the nation, even in the Republican-friendly South. More sobering for the GOP are the number of voters who backed Bush in 2004 who are ready to vote Democratic in the fall's congressional elections - 19 percent. These one-time Bush voters are more likely to be female, self-described moderates, low- to middle-income and from the Northeast and Midwest... On the generic question of whether voters would back the Democrat or Republican, 55 percent of registered voters chose the Democrat and 37 percent chose the Republican, a slight increase for Democrats from last month." [Associated Press, 8/11/06]

Argue That You Are Above Politics
White House Press Secretary Tony Snow: The President Doesn't Get Involved In Characterizing Primaries. "Q And Tony, one more thing, the Joe Lieberman election, the primary is today. How closely is the President watching that race...

MR. SNOW: I think the President is going to stay out of the business of trying to characterize what goes on in a Democratic primary." [Press Gaggle, 9/8/06]

Then, Dust Off Talking Points Linking Bush's Failed Iraq policy To 9/11
Snow Contradicted Himself The Next Day; Says Democrats Are Waving "A White Flag In The War On Terror." "As for the primary election in Connecticut last night, I know there's a lot of concern and interest about that... I think instead it's a defining moment for the Democratic Party, whose national leaders now have made it clear that if you disagree with the extreme left in their party they're going to come after you. And it is probably worth trying to trace through some of the implications of that positio... Number three, another consequence would be that it would inflict incredible damage on America's credibility. We have made it clear, and this President has made it clear, that we're in it to make sure that the people of Iraq do in fact have the opportunity to live free and in a democracy, and to walk away from that vow would send not only a sign of weakness, but also of American unreliability, and it would enable forces of oppression and totalitarianism to rise again within Iraq and elsewhere. A white flag, in short, means a white flag in the war on terror." [White House Press Briefing, 8/9/06]

Have Vice President Cheney and Ken Mehlman Create False Charges And Spin For Maximum Political Advantage And Fear-Mongering
Mehlman: Democrats Stand For "Isolationism, Defeatism." "For a man like [Lieberman] to be defeated in a Senate primary is without historic precedent. It reflects an unfortunate embrace of isolationism, defeatism, and a 'blame America first' attitude by national Democratic leaders at a time when retreating from the world is particularly dangerous... a party that once stood for strength now stands for retreat and defeat ... even as our nation faces an ideological enemy as dangerous as any we faced in the 20th century." [Address to the City Club of Cleveland, 8/9/06]

Cheney: Lamont Win Encourages "Al Qaeda Types." "The attacks came in searing remarks from, among others, Ken Mehlman, the chairman of the Republican National Committee and Vice President Dick Cheney, who went so far as to suggest that the ouster of Mr. Lieberman might encourage 'al Qaeda types.'" [New York Times, 8/10/06]

Raise Some Campaign Cash While You're At It
RNC Sends Giuliani Fundraising Email While Terror Plot Unfolds. "Now is not the time to turn our backs on the War on Terror, to soften our stand on security, or to cripple the economy with ill-advised tax hikes. We need Republican leadership setting the agenda in Congress and working with President Bush to keep America strong and moving forward...Please make your commitment felt with a financial contribution for $500, $250, $100, $50, $35 or $25 to the Republican National Committee." [RNC email, 8/10/06]

Take A Victory Lap - On Background, Of Course
Bush Official: Terrorist Attacks Will "Play Big" Politically. "'Weeks before September 11th, this is going to play big' said another White House official, who also spoke on condition of not being named, adding that some Democratic candidates won't 'look as appealing' under the circumstances." [Agence France Press, 8/11/06]

And, The President Keeps His Vacation And Campaign Plans
President Bush Kept His Vacation And Campaign Plans. According to thes, even after the news of a new terrorist plot unfolded, President Bush "followed through with his scheduled appearance in Green Bay and Oneida for a fundraiser to benefit Republican congressional candidate John Gard" The President will also continue with his vacation plans in Texas, the New York Times reported. [AP, 8/10/06; New York Times, 10/11/06] Associated Pres

The GOP's Real Record Of Failure To Keep America Safe

9/11 Commission Gave Bush Administration An "F" On Improving Airline Passenger Pre-screening. Few improvements have been made to the existing passenger screening system since right after 9/11. The completion of the testing phase of TSA's pre-screening program for airline passengers has been delayed. A new system, utilizing all names on the consolidated terrorist watch list, is therefore not yet in operation. [Final Report on 9/11 Commission Recommendations, 12/5/05]

  • 9/11 Commission Gave Bush Administration A "C" On Improving Airline Screening Checkpoints To Detect Explosives. While more advanced screening technology is being developed, Congress needs to provide the funding for, and TSA needs to move as expeditiously as possible with, the appropriate installation of explosives detection trace portals at more of the nation's commercial airports.[Final Report on 9/11 Commission Recommendations, 12/5/05]

Republicans Voted Against $1.1 Billion for Aviation Security. In 2003, Republicans voted against $3 billion for homeland security, including $750 million for border security, $200 million for security at nuclear facilities, $850 million for smallpox vaccinations for first responders, $200 million to improve communication between first responder agencies, $1.1 billion for aviation security and $100 million for the Federal Emergency Management Administration. After failing in an attempt to add $5 billion for homeland security to the $390 billion government-wide spending bill, which Democrats said was $9.8 billion short of what they approved in 2002 when they controlled the Senate, Democrats attempted to add $3 billion. [HJ Res 2, 1/16/03, #3, Failed 45-51 D 44-1 R 0-50 I 1-0; Associated Press, 1/16/03]

  • Republicans Voted Against $720 Million for Airport Security. In 2003, Republicans voted against an amendment that would restore $5 billion in funding for homeland security including: $1.4 billion for State and local assistance to combat terrorism; $1.0 billion for border security; $720 million for airport security; $585 million for port security; $296 million for nuclear security; $300 million for mass transit security; $212 million for Federal law enforcement; $178 million for water security; $128 million for cyber security; and $167 million for food safety, security of biohazardous materials at USDA facilities, embassy security, research to combat chemical attacks, improved security at Washington Monument and Jefferson Memorial, and the D.C. Emergency Response Plan. [HJ Res 2, 1/16/03, #2, Failed 45-51 D 44-1 R 0-50 I 1-0; Associated Press, 1/16/03]

Bush Administration and Republican Congress Underfunded Border Security Called For By 9/11 Act. The Republican Congress has broken the promises it made on funding additional Border Patrol Agents, immigration enforcement agents and detention beds. In 2004, Congress enacted the 9/11 Act, which mandated an additional 2,000 Border Patrol agents being hired over each of the next five years, but the Republican-led Congress funded only 1,000 additional agents. The 9/11 Act mandated an additional 800 immigration enforcement agents over each of the next five years, but in FY 2006, the Congress funded only 350 additional agents. The Act also mandated an additional 8,000 detention beds, but in FY 2006, the Congress funded only 1,800 additional detention beds. [Third Way, 5/14/06]

DHS Report Card: Department Scores "C-/D+" on Port Security; Bush Port Policies A "House of Cards;" Containers Rarely Inspected. The Democratic Staff of the Committee on Homeland Security's annual report card on the Department of Homeland Security gave the department a C-/D+ on its port security policies. They called the current port security regime a "house of cards," and noted that containers arriving at American ports are rarely inspected and that the Department "remains unaware of security arrangements at foreign ports and vessels shipping goods to the United States." In addition to the threats millions of Americans face as a result of the Bush White House's failed port policies, it was estimated that "a terrorist attack at a major U.S. seaport would cause $60 billion in economic damages." [Democratic Staff of the Committee on Homeland Security, Annual Report Card, 2/06]


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