Edwards and Spratt call on DCCC to pull down web video
By Mark Preston
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Democratic Reps. Chet Edwards (Texas) and John Spratt (S.C.) have called on the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee to pull down a controversial web video that uses images of flag-draped coffins and a grave of a fallen soldier.
The two Democrats sent letters to DCCC Chairman Rahm Emanuel (Illinois) asking him to remove the video, "America Needs a New Direction,"from its website after Republicans accused Democrats of trying to gain politically from the pictures. Emanuel urged political supporters in a fundraising e-mail sent Tuesday to view the video on the DCCC's website.
"I would not have included the clip showing the flag-draped caskets or the clip showing a soldier standing at the grave of a fallen comrade," Spratt wrote Thursday in his letter to Emanuel. "I strongly recommend that you pull this ad and delete both of these clips before running it again."
Chris Turner, Edwards' campaign manager, told the Grind that the Texas Democrat wrote a similar letter to the DCCC chairman.
A DCCC spokesman told the Grind this morning they had no comment on the letters. But House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-California) defended the video yesterday and pointed out that President Bush's top political adviser Karl Rove has spoken about how the GOP needs to capitalize politically on the war.
"I don't know why they are making an issue of this except that, again, it speaks truth to power about what is happening in Iraq," she said.
The video has raised new questions about how the Iraq war can be discussed in the November elections. Privately, Democrats acknowledge that Spratt and Edwards must condemn the video because they represent Republican districts.
In Edwards Waco-based district, Bush soundly defeated Sen. John Kerry (D-Massachusetts) 70 percent to 30 percent in the 2004 presidential contest, while Edwards won re-election that same year by a 51 percent to 47 percent margin. Edwards is favored to win re-election again this year, but his GOP opponent Van Taylor is an Iraq war veteran and he is trying to capitalize on the DCCC video. In South Carolina, Spratt is also coming under fire from his GOP opponent, state Rep. Ralph Norman. Bush received 57 percent of the vote in Spratt's Rock Hill based-district in 2004 compared to Kerry's 42 percent. Spratt sailed to re-election that same year with 63 percent of the vote, but he is expected to face a tougher challenge from Norman.
House Republican leaders have urged candidates to speak out against the video this weekend as they travel throughout their districts. For example, Rep. Thelma Drake (R-Virginia) is holding a news conference with veterans in Virginia Beach this afternoon to condemn it.
Avoiding 'advice' overload
First Lady Laura Bush told a German journalist in an interview that, of course, she gives President Bush advice but does so in small doses. And she noted that it is impossible not to discuss politics, after all they live "above the shop."
Excerpted from a transcript provided by the White House:
Q. Do you actually give advice to your husband, even critical or controversial advice?
MRS. BUSH: Sure, doesn't every wife give their husband some advice? But I also am aware that I don't want him to give me a lot of advice or criticism, so I refrain from criticizing too much.
Q. Do you actually discuss politics in your marriage at all?
MRS. BUSH: Sure, of course. I mean, we live politics. We live in the White House. We live above the shop, so to speak, because the Oval Office is right there where we both live and work. So we constantly discuss issues and politics. That's what we think about all day and that's what the President is faced with every day in his office, of course.
Q. Is it sometimes controversial? Do you have a different point of view sometimes?
MRS. BUSH: Sometimes we have a different point of view.
Q. What about?
MRS. BUSH: We also have been married for a long time; we have a real understanding of each other. So even when we might differ on an issue, I understand where he comes from on that issue and I think he understands my point of view, as well.
House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Illinois) was hospitalized Thursday for a skin infection that is expected to keep him off his feet for a few days. Doctors are treating Hastert for cellulitis, a bacterial infection that first appeared on his lower left leg a few days ago. If left untreated, it can spread quickly and be life threatening, according to the Mayo Clinic's website. But Hastert is expected to be back to work next week.
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