WASHINGTON (CNN) - House Republicans have launched a coordinated public relations blitz against 17 congressional Democrats that seeks to tie them to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her accusations that the CIA misled Congress about the interrogation of terror suspects.
Specifically, the multi-faceted campaign targets these Democrats with television or radio ads, or a pre-recorded telephone message to constituents' homes, that criticizes the members of Congress for voting against initiating an investigation into when Pelosi learned about the use of waterboarding.
It is the first time the National Republican Congressional Committee, the campaign arm of the congressional GOP, has bought a TV ad using Pelosi's comments about the CIA. Late last week, the Republican National Committee posted a Web video comparing the House speaker to the James Bond character Pussy Galore. The RNC video has since been removed from its Web site and You Tube.
(Updated after the jump with Democratic response)
The cost of the NRCC campaign is under $100,000, but it is a harbinger of the GOP's decision to use Pelosi as a campaign issue 17 months before the 2010 elections.
"Accusing the CIA of criminal activity might make Nancy Pelosi popular with her San Francisco constituents, but it also makes her a liability in swing districts across the country," said Ken Spain, the NRCC's communications director.
The NRCC is running the 30-second TV ad for a week against Maryland Rep. Frank Kratovil. The 60-second radio ads target New Mexico Rep. Harry Teague, Arkansas Rep. Vic Snyder, South Dakota Rep. Stephanie Herseth, Florida Rep. Suzanne Kosmas, Virginia Rep. Glenn Nye, and Virginia Rep. Tom Periello. The recorded calls are being directed to constituents of New York Rep. John Hall, Arizona Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, Arizona Rep. Harry Mitchell, Maryland Rep. Steny Hoyer, Idaho Rep. Walt Minnick, Alabama Rep. Bobby Bright, Michigan Rep. Mark Schauer, Wisconsin Rep. Steve Kagen, North Carolina Rep. Larry Kissell, and Ohio Rep. John Boccierri.
Jennifer Crider, a spokeswoman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, dismissed the GOP campaign against Pelosi as partisan politics.
"The tired attacks from the Republican Party of No are just an attempt to distract from the progress President Obama, Speaker Pelosi and the Democratic Congress are making on jobs, health care, and energy," Crider said. "Polls show that Americans are reacting badly to House Republicans lack of ideas, obstruction, and commitment to the politics of the past."