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Van Hollen Says Democrats Will Be Ready to Fight in 2010

Tom Williams/Roll Call
DCCC Chairman Chris Van Hollen said vulnerable Democrats are going to be well-positioned in 2010, even though they face a playing field that is heavily tilted toward the GOP.

Just as she is an integral part of schooling and promoting freshman Democrats on Capitol Hill, Pelosi is also taking a keen interest in their campaign activities, Van Hollen said. Although Pelosi was far less visible on the campaign trail than many Democratic leaders last year, the DCCC chairman said he would feel comfortable sending her into just about any vulnerable Democrat’s district.

But Republicans continue to use Pelosi as a political punching bag, particularly in the districts of some of the Democrats’ most vulnerable Members. The GOP is happy whenever Pelosi’s name recognition is on the rise, and party strategists hope to link vulnerable Democrats in conservative districts to the “San Francisco liberal.”

“Chris Van Hollen is trying to give a rhetorical facelift to an emerging problem for vulnerable Democrats across the country,” National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Ken Spain said. “The fact of the matter is Nancy Pelosi’s negative poll numbers have become a liability for President Obama and her noticeable absence from the national scene is proof of it.”

Pelosi did not stump with Murphy in upstate New York during the recent special election, but she did raise money for him in New York City.

“The Speaker has been a very effective spokesperson for the party,” Van Hollen said. “The candidates want her to be in the districts. We’ll see more of that later in the cycle.”

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