NRCC Leadership Weighs In on House Races

Rep. Steve Scalise (center), vice chairman for recruitment for the NRCC, talks with reporters at the Westin Tampa Harbour Island on Monday after a briefing on the impact of the Romney-Ryan ticket on House races. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

TAMPA, Fla. -- The leadership of the National Republican Congressional Committee briefed reporters this afternoon and gave some hints of its fall campaign strategy.

The committee's executive director, Guy Harrison, and recruitment chairman, Rep. Steve Scalise (La.), conveyed optimism for the fall, but they also showed some leg on campaign strategy. When asked whether Republicans intended to use House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) as a foil in their campaign, Harrison indicated that President Barack Obama, rather, would be their primary target.

"I think people realize that Obama is affecting the economy a lot more than Nancy Pelosi," Harrison said.

In the 2010 midterm elections, Republicans attempted to tie Democratic candidates to then-Speaker Pelosi to a degree not seen previously in American politics. The tactic proved quite successful.

Harrison was also dismissive of Democratic claims that Rep. Todd Akin's comments about rape and abortion would cause GOP Congressional candidates political problems. Akin is the Republican Senate nominee in Missouri.

"You’ve seen a majority of our party say it’s important for him to step down," Harrison said."If [Democrats] want to talk about that in two months, feel free. We’re going to be talking about the economy."

Harrison also said House Republicans would take a page from their 2010 playbook: turning Medicare against the Democrats by attempting to tie them to the Affordable Care Act, which the GOP refers to as Obamacare.

"We welcome this fight. We want this fight. The only party that has cut Medicare is the Democrats," he said. "The only party that’s cut Medicare for current beneficiaries is the Democrats."

Some media fact-checkers have taken issue with statements similar to that claim.

“I predict in two weeks that Democrats will stop talking about Medicare because they will have officially lost the issue," Harrison said. "They’re going to start going to another issue because for all their talk, they know how bad Obamacare is for them.”

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