Republicans Charge Democrats With Confusing Constituents
House Republicans are accusing the Democratic National Committee of attempting to mislead voters into believing they have a formal meeting in Members’ offices during the recess as part of the two parties’ escalating war over health care reform.Republicans argue that the DNC, through its Organizing for America grass-roots arm, was “scheduling— meetings for constituents that did not exist in an effort to ramp up anger against the GOP.OFA launched a program earlier this month that encouraged supporters to “stop by— their Congressman’s district office to express their support for the Democratic health care reform plan. The site offered the ability to schedule the visit; the problem is that Republicans say the group forgot to inform the offices about the appointment.The difference between a “visit— and a “meeting— has created confusion in several Congressional districts where district staff has had to field calls and visits from constituents.“Concerned people seeking to meet with their Congressman or Senator, especially on an important issue like health care, do not deserve to be misled and misinformed by the president’s political operatives,— said Brad Dayspring, a spokesman for House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.). “This type of manipulation is not the change’ America was promised and we hope this misleading site is pulled down immediately.—But DNC spokesman Brad Woodhouse dismissed those charges, noting that OFA had only encouraged constituents to “visit— offices and made clear in their materials that a meeting with Members or staff was not guaranteed.“We asked people to pick a time to drop by and drop off a flier in support of health insurance reform,— Woodhouse said. “We asked them to pick a time so that a bunch of people wouldn’t show up all at once.—Woodhouse said constituents were encouraged to visit Republican and Democratic offices. “We sent a guide instructing people to call ahead and made it clear this was not a meeting — but a visit.—Michelle Ozanus, communications director for Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-Texas), cited an incident Monday when a constituent walked into Neugebauer’s office in Big Spring, Texas, to check in for a 10 a.m. meeting and was told by the district staff that no record of the appointment existed.“We have a large district; people come from all over,— Ozanus said. “To have them come all this way and be confused is frustrating.—The constituent said the meeting had been scheduled through OFA and that she had received a confirmation e-mail that said the appointment had been set.Since the beginning of the August recess, Republicans and Democrats have taken turns blaming each other for trying to mobilize “AstroTurf— protests on health care. Democrats have blamed Republicans for mobilizing their supporters to disrupt town-hall meetings across the country.