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Recess Time: Cameras, Town Halls, Talking Points! Recess Time: Cameras, Town Halls, Talking Points!

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Leadership

Recess Time: Cameras, Town Halls, Talking Points!

House Democrats head into the August recess equipped by their party leaders with pre-written tweets, Facebook posts, attack press releases, event suggestions, and ready-to-go answers to anticipated press inquiries on taxes.

Rank-and-file member don't have to use any of the prefabbed materials in the communications packets distributed on Thursday, and many will choose to wing it.

But for members wobbly-kneed in trying to explain Washington to their constituents, almost none of their campaigning back home has to be left to their imaginations. They would still have to fill in their opponents' names in the sample attack press releases, however.

The kit's overall theme is that Republicans are blocking middle-class tax relief.

Senate Democrats approved extending the George W. Bush-era rate cuts for households making up to $250,000 a year last week. House Republicans voted Wednesday to extend the tax cuts for all income levels, leaving Congress at an impasse ahead of the cuts' year-end expiration.

One sample tweet provided by Democratic leaders: "We can't let tax cuts for the richest 2 % hold #middleclasstax hostage. Let's pass what we all agree on." Another is, "This is a fight for fairness. GOP plan would increase taxes on 25 million working families by average of $1,000."

Among the potential questions they are advised to expect at town halls, editorial board meetings, picnics and senior-center events, "Isn't this just class warfare?"

The leaders' suggested answer: "In America, we admire and encourage success. But when the rich get tax breaks they don't need and the country can't afford, somebody else has to make up the difference -- and that's not right. This is about fairness for the middle class and certainty for the economy ... to get the nation back on track everyone must do their part -- and ending the Bush tax cuts for the richest 2 percent is key to that effort."

House Republicans have not made copies of their recess packets available to press yet.

Earlier in the day, however, Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, gave reporters a sample of the themes he expects his members to emphasize.

The GOP-led House is the only chamber that's acted to eliminate the threat of looming military cuts under the defense sequester, a fact his members can campaign on, he said. House Republicans are also the only "group" in town to take steps to stop the "tax hike" that will follow expiration of the Bush tax cuts.

This post has been updated.

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