The Democrat Party senior leadership is feeling a Rush. Rush Limbaugh, that is. Late last week, DNC Chair Howard Dean, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, his deputy, Sen. Dick Durbin and Senatorial Committee chair, Sen. Chuck Schumer, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi all signed off in some form or another direct mail fundraising plans that will feature Limbaugh for their national party.
"'Don't let Limbaugh smear true patriotism,' that's the theme," says a DNC staffer. "We're not going to let Limbaugh determine what soldiers can talk and what soldiers can not."
Bad grammar and ill-informed opinions aside, the DNC hopes to raise millions of dollars off Limbaugh. "If we can't silence him, we should at least make some money to make his life more miserable in a Democratic-controlled Washington in 2008," says a Senate Democrat leadership aide.
Others on the Democrat side are pushing ahead with other plans. Rep. Henry Waxman has asked his investigative staff to begin compiling reports on Limbaugh, and fellow radio hosts Sean Hannity and Mark Levin based on transcripts from their shows, and to call in Federal Communications Commission chairman Kevin Martin to discuss the so-called "Fairness Doctrine."
"Limbaugh isn't the only one who needs to be made uncomfortable about what he says on the radio," says a House leadership source. "We don't have as big a megaphone as these guys, but this all political, and we'll do what we can to gain the advantage. If we can take them off their game for a while, it will help our folks out there on the campaign trail."
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani appear to be playing a game of "Can You Top This?" After a weekend visit to Florida and an event in Estero, Giuliani came away with decent reviews and numbers (between 500 to 600 in a room that had Giuliani staffers pulling seats earlier in the morning to ensure the appearance of a standing room only event, and only four questions taken from the audience in what was billed as a "town hall" event).
"We'll do an 'Ask Mitt' event there and blow his doors off," says a Romney campaign adviser. "A town hall requires more than four questions and 30 minute speech. Maybe he's taking his speech lessons from Fred Thompson."
Romney is also prepping a new series of opposition attacks against Giuliani, one being his support of the Harvey Milk School in New York, which became a certified educational facility for gay and lesbian high school students during Giuliani's administration as mayor. Prior to Giuliani, it was not a school certified by the city of New York.
"Most voters hear Giuliani, but don't know his background, his previous positions, and they just assume that Governor Romney is the only guy who's had to take different positions because of his constituencies," says the Romney aide. "We're going to make sure voters in Florida know that Rudy is not the social conservative he would have them think he is."
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