With a dual theme of "tread boldly" and "no regrets," House Republicans this week are receiving their summer assignment book from GOP leaders that broadly suggests they assail Democrats and President Obama for not extending the Bush tax cuts, wasting the stimulus, killing jobs, and fumbling Iran policy. [See a slide show of the 10 keys to an Obama comeback.]
"We are embarking on a crucial District Work Period. Our Democrat colleagues may be planning for a six-week paid vacation, but House Republicans are entering this District Work Period with energy and resolve. We have been preparing for a meaningful time of interaction with the American people, just as we did in 2008 and 2009," says House GOP Conference Chairman Mike Pence in the 22-page document titled "Tread Boldly, Solutions, Hard Work, and No Regrets."
"For the past 18 months House Republicans have stood with the American people against the radical agenda of the Obama Administration and Congressional Democrats. We have fought runaway spending, soaring deficits, job-killing legislation and government overreach. This District Work Period will be a crucial part of how we continue that fight through the final months of the 111th Congress," adds Pence in the internal document.
The pamphlet lists several issue talking points for the lawmakers to hit such as Iran, taxes, unemployment, and government spending. The cover features seven politicians. Four are American: Ronald Reagan, Dwight Eisenhower, former Rep. Jack Kemp, and Teddy Roosevelt. Three are foreign: Margaret Thatcher, Winston Churchill, and Lech Walesa.
It also includes unusually detailed daily media assignments and tricks to promote the GOP leadership's America Speaking Out campaign of collecting ideas from the public that will be transformed into a 1994-style Contract From America in September. Every single day includes a demand to "retweet" the daily message on issues such as jobs, government reform, and spending.
Some days have additional assignments like August 18 when the request is, "Daily retweet; publish jobs/spending column," or September 8 when the order is, "Daily retweet; Conference call w/local press about last 51 1/2 weeks and what you've been hearing."
Pence's "Check List," has more details that suggest the following publicity campaign for the six-week recess: Three blog posts "on GOP solutions and your town halls/events," five radio interviews, three "local TV hits," three press calls or press conferences, and one editorial board meeting.
Then there's a separate assignment list of "12 things members can do to promote America Speaking Out: Hold a town hall event; issue a press release; send a message to your email list promoting ASO; tweet out the link to ASO; sent a Facebook message with the link to ASO; create a YouTube video promoting ASO; do a radio interview; do a TV interview; give a one-minute [speech] on ASO; pitch a local news story on ASO; publish a blog post; draft an op-ed for your local newspapers."
The daybook of assignments was more detailed than previous recess reports. Says one House GOP adviser, "this is much more detail than I have ever seen. It is understandable to educate members of Congress on how best to use social media. However, every member is different on utilizing radio, television, and ed board meetings and to instruct them on how many to do over the recess is highly unusual."
Writes Pence: "House Republicans were listening as the American people spoke out against the Democrats' agenda, and House Republicans contributed common sense ideas for pursuing our ideals of individual liberty, limited government and lower taxes. The intensity that arose at town halls in 2009 has turned to voter resolve, and we look forward to drawing on its strength back in our districts."
His Go Team message: "For the past two August work periods, House Republicans have been tireless in our efforts back in our districts. In return, we have enjoyed a strong and growing relationship with the American people. Now, I want to urge you and your staffs to work hard once again to make this August another winning District Work Period for House Republicans."
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Corrected on 7/29/10: An earlier version of this article incorrectly characterized the cover of the GOP's action plan. The cover features seven politicians. Four are American.