House Democrats Offer 'Grassroots Campaign for Victory'

By Susan Jones | July 7, 2008 | 8:31 PM EDT

( - The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, a group that works to elect Democrats to the House of Representatives, has announced an "aggressive grassroots campaign for victory" in the midterm elections.

The first order of business is to raise money: In an email appeal sent Thursday, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi urged rank-and-file Democrats to "help us raise the first $350,000 today."

Pelosi said the House Democrats' campaign for victory is based on three strategies: keeping Republicans on the defensive, particularly in regard to the alleged "culture of corruption"; recruiting top-tier challengers and protecting Democrat incumbents "who are about to face an all-out assault by Karl Rove and company"; and mobilizing voters.

"Victory this November will depend on how well we inform voters about what Democratic candidates stand for and how effective we are at getting our voters to the polls," Pelosi said.

Republicans have argued that the Democrats stand for nothing but obstruction.

Democrat leaders have been wrestling to produce a cohesive agenda for months. Last week, in an interview with CBS and the New York Times, Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean explained his party's "winning agenda."

Dean mentioned "honesty and openness" in government; a strong national defense; American jobs that stay in America; making energy independence a new, job-creating industry; health care for everybody; and a strong public education system.

The most controversial element of the Democrats' "winning" election strategy is the call to "redeploy" U.S. troops in Iraq - "so they are out of harm's way in Iraq," as Dean put it.

The strategy, first articulated by Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.), calls for a quick withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. The U.S. should station a "mobile force" outside Iraq to respond to regional threats, Murtha said.

Dean said Democrats would be "vigorous about the real problems, which are North Korea and Iran..."

An eruption of sectarian violence in Iraq this week -- accelerated by the bombing of a Shi'ite mosque in Samarra on Wednesday -- has put the focus squarely back on Iraq, which finds itself on the brink of civil war at a time when it should be forming a national unity government.

On Thursday, President Bush called the mosque bombing a political act intended to create civil strife.

See Earlier Stories:
Where's the Democrats' Agenda, Republicans Wonder (Nov. 8, 2005)Murtha Renews Call for Troop Withdrawal (2 Feb. 2006)

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