Nation: DCCC Set to Unveil a Vets Outreach Initiative

Posted September 16, 2008 at 6:33pm

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is set to roll out a veterans outreach initiative this week, aimed at aiding the party’s candidates in their efforts to raise the awareness of voters about the Democratic agenda when it comes to supporting members of the military and their families.

In a recent memo to his colleagues, DCCC Chairman Chris Van Hollen (Md.) laid out the “3V Initiative,” which stands for Values + Veterans + Victory. He wrote that the initiative “is designed to aid Democratic Congressional candidates in enhancing and sharing the values they hold in common but too often don’t effectively communicate with voters.”

As part of the initiative, Democratic candidates will receive a workbook to help them develop and execute messaging and grass-roots programs for voter contact.

Candidates are being encouraged to form a Veterans Advisory Council for their campaign and to engage in activities such as visiting sick and injured veterans and troops and putting together a veterans tour of their districts.

Democrats plan to employ surrogates such as retired Gen. George Buskirk — a former Indiana National Guard adjutant general and a member of Sen. Barack Obama’s (D-Ill.) outreach effort to veterans in the presidential campaign.

The message will center attention on the passage earlier this year of a new GI bill and Democratic-led efforts to expand the Department of Veterans Affairs so that it is equipped to deal with the volume of returning troops from Iraq as the war winds down.

“I think they want people who are involved with veterans to validate and say, ‘Yes, they’ve done a good job and made a good effort,’” Buskirk said of his role as a spokesman for the initiative on Tuesday.

Republicans, however, begged to differ on Democrats’ record.

“When Democrats talk about veterans and victory, it rarely seems to be in the context of providing our military personnel the funding they need to execute their mission overseas,” National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Ken Spain said. “Until they begin to do so, their rhetoric will be perceived as little more than political sloganeering.”

Meanwhile, one of the most prominent Democratic veterans in the House will join Republicans at a news conference in Washington, D.C., today highlighting a number of GOP veteran candidates running this fall.

Rep. Jim Marshall (D-Ga.) will appear at the Vets for Freedom event that will feature 16 Republicans running for the House and Senate. The event is designed to show support for the U.S. mission in Iraq and to call on Congress to build support for a House resolution co-sponsored by Marshall that recognizes that the surge in Iraq was successful.

EMILY’s List Endorses Two House Long Shots

EMILY’s List, the group that raises money for pro-abortion-rights Democratic women running for political office, on Tuesday endorsed two candidates waging long-shot bids for House seats.

The group endorsed Dallas County Democratic Chairwoman Becky Greenwald, who is challenging Rep. Tom Latham (R-Iowa), and attorney Sharen Neuhardt (D), who is running for an open seat in Ohio’s 7th district.

“Running in emerging take-back opportunities for the House, Becky Greenwald and Sharen Neuhardt represent the dynamic, capable and visionary leaders we need in Congress today,” EMILY’s List President Ellen Malcolm said. “Hailing from the swing states of Iowa and Ohio, these exceptional candidates have the passion and experience to tackle the real problems facing their districts.”