POLITICS: PennAve

House Democrats vow to make Ryan budget 'defining issue'

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Georgia,Hawaii,2014 Elections,Campaigns,PennAve,Political Buzz,DSCC,Michelle Nunn,Magazine,Brian Schatz,Colleen Hanabusa

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel vowed to make Rep. Paul Ryan's budget proposal "the defining issue in the midterm elections."

Israel panned the House Budget Committee chairman's plan, which would cut federal spending by $5.1 trillion over 10 years in part by repealing Obamacare and slashing entitlement programs. He said Democrats would educate "voters early about what this budget means for them."

"When you have a budget that proactively hurts and weakens the middle class, people get angry," Israel said. "When they get angry, they vote."

Ryan has been a valuable target for Democrats in small-dollar fundraising appeals. Israel said the DCCC posted its best grassroots fundraising after Ryan spoke at the Republican National Convention in 2012 to accept his party's vice presidential nomination, and when House Speaker John Boehner announced in February that Ryan would craft a new budget.

But even if Ryan's budget proposal helps some House Democratic candidates at the polls in November, it remains unlikely the GOP majority will face a serious threat. Complicating Democrats’ midterm efforts is Obamacare, which remains unpopular with voters.

Despite 7 million enrollees in the law’s insurance exchanges, Israel said it is "too early to say whether the tide has turned" on Obamacare as a political issue.

But he predicted that eventually “the climate will change on the Affordable Care Act."

 

GEORGIA DEMOCRAT MICHELLE NUNN TRUMPETS WORK WITH GEORGE H. W. BUSH

In her first television ad, Democratic Senate candidate Michelle Nunn introduced herself to Georgians as an "optimist" and touted her work with former President George H.W. Bush to boost her centrist credentials.

Nunn, the daughter of former Georgia Sen. Sam Nunn and a star Democratic recruit in this midterm election cycle, described her tenure as CEO of a nonprofit organization founded by Bush.

"While leading President Bush's Points of Light foundation, we grew it into the world's largest organization dedicated to volunteer service,” she said in the ad.

She is pictured with Bush at one point — consistent with a strategy of trumpeting ties with Republicans in hopes of establishing herself as a political moderate in the GOP-leaning state.

"Some people ask me why, with all the dysfunction in Washington, I'm running for Senate," Nunn said in the introductory 30-second ad. "In the end, I think it comes down to being an optimist."

Nunn will face the winner of a crowded Republican primary race to be held May 20, with a potential runoff in July.

Public polling has so far been scarce for potential general election match-ups, but one recent survey by an Atlanta news station found Nunn tied with all would-be Republican opponents.

 

OBAMA ENDORSES BRIAN SCHATZ IN HAWAII SENATE PRIMARY

President Obama endorsed Sen. Brian Schatz in Hawaii's Democratic primary, calling him the “right choice to continue delivering for Hawaii.”

The rare endorsement from Obama, who has often stayed away from contentious Democratic primary fights, will boost Schatz, who is being challenged by Rep. Colleen Hanabusa.

"I have worked with Senator Schatz on the issues that matter to Hawaii,” Obama said in a statement. “Brian's deep commitment to the people of Hawaii and his effective leadership are why I believe it is important to return him to the Senate.

“Senator Schatz is protecting Hawaii's values and fighting every day on behalf of middle-class families,” added the president. “There is no question that Senator Schatz is the right choice to continue delivering for Hawaii."

"I'm incredibly honored to receive President Obama's endorsement," tweeted Schatz.

Schatz was an early supporter of Obama during his 2008 presidential run.

Schatz was appointed by Democratic Gov. Neil Abercrombie to fill the seat held by former Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, who died in December 2012.

Before his death, though, Inouye in a letter to Abercrombie asked that Hanabusa be chosen as his successor.

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