TAMPA, FLA.—The lack of actual convention-ing here today didn't abate the GOP smack talk. Take the National Republican Congressional Committee, which held a presser to highlight their view that the best defense for their House majority is being on offense. And to that end, they love them some Barack Obama. "We will pay for Barack Obama to go to any of our [targeted] congressional districts," said Guy Harrison, the committee's executive director.
Harrison argued that in Republican leaning districts, President Obama's favorability ratings have collapsed in the last two years. Specifically citing the race for Kentucky's Sixth Congressional District, a rematch race where Democratic Rep. Ben Chandler narrowly beat challenger Andy Barr two years ago, Harrison said that while Obama's favorable and unfavorable ratings were roughly even in November, 2010, he is now 20 points in the negative. "This just shows you the kind of transformation in these Republican seats—how far they've gone away from Barack Obama than we were dealing with in 2010," he said. "The fact is that Obama's numbers were not where they [are] today in most of our districts but as polarization of politics has happened you see them moving further, specifically in Republican [leaning] districts" like Kentucky's Sixth.
Harrison added that while then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi played a major role in Republican ads two years ago, but Obama has supplanted her.
In addition to inviting Obama to campaign with embattled House Democrats, Harrison welcomed the debate over Medicare, which has become a focus of the presidential race since presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney tapped House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan as his running mate.
He argued that Obamacare's cuts immunize Republicans from the Democrats' traditional advantage on the issue. (No surprise that he failed to mention that House Republicans embraced those same cuts in their Ryan-authored budget.) "I predict that in two weeks, Democrats will have stopped talking about Medicare because they will have lost the issue," he said.
He might be right on the politics, if not on the substance. And certainly given how each sides seems to relish the fight, they must each have some data showing that their argument can get traction. Stay tuned.