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Politics

Starting Lineup: Miller's Defiance

November 19, 2010
Van Hollen Names Names: The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee acknowledged that it "took a shellacking" on Election Day but that "it could have been worse" in a memo circulated among the House Democratic caucus and obtained by Hotline On Call. The memo, penned by outgoing DCCC chair Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), is an attempt by the committee to explain how rapidly the House playing field expanded and show what the DCCC did to combat the wave that they apparently saw coming. Van Hollen writes that the DCCC spent $82 million in support of 107 Democratic members and, and as a result, saved 15 to 20 seats. And for the first time, Van Hollen names them. Some of the names are, indeed, members who were sitting in swing districts from early on in the cycle, like Reps. Heath Shuler (D-N.C.) (irony alert!), Larry Kissell (D-N.C.), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), Ben Chandler (D-Ky.) and Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.). Others are legitimately ones where the DCCC spent big at the end of the cycle and may have pushed the Democrat over the top -- like Reps. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), Jim Costa (D-Calif.), Mark Critz (D-Pa.), Leonard Boswell (D-Iowa) and Bruce Braley (D-Iowa). A few who Van Hollen notes, however, are in very Democratic territory, and even in a Republican year, cruised to re-election. So, it is hard to say that the DCCC saved them. Rep. David Wu (D-Ore.), for example, won by almost 13 percent. Rep. Earl Perlmutter (D-Colo.) won by 11. Similarly, Van Hollen also highlights DCCC spending for Rep. Niki Tsongas (D-Mass.), who won by 12 percent and Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine), who won by 13. Friday Fun: Pres. George W. Bush got a lot of laughs Thursday night on "The Tonight Show," especially when Jay Leno played the clip of Bush unsuccessfully trying to get off a China stage only to run into locked doors. "That's the definition of a man without an exit strategy," Bush said. http://bit.ly/dj38LK Tim Sahd contributed to this post.
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