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House Republicans target moderate Democrats: ‘Where are the Blue Dogs?’

House Republicans are increasing pressure against U.S. Rep. Leonard Boswell and other members of the Blue Dog Democrats with a new website feature.

The initiative asks, “Where are the Blue Dogs?” and gives the label of “lap dog” the remaining 20-some members of the caucus. Blue Dog Democrats, like Boswell, typically represent more rural and/or politically diverse districts and have a reputation for being fiscal moderates. According to the National Republican Congressional Committee, which gleefully recounts the 2010 defeat of 28 former caucus members, the remaining members of the group constitute “Washington’s endangered species.”

Videos have been developed to attack Blue Dogs in California, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, Oregon and Utah. Thus far Boswell, a Democrat who represents Iowa’s 3rd District, has only been a target in a news release by the group. Similar releases have also attacked lawmakers from California, Maine, Minnesota, North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.

With much of the content on the NRCC page focusing on how difficult it will be for more moderate Democrats to keep hold of their seats in 2012, it’s quite obvious that the Republicans would simply like more Blue Dogs to play dead now than force a GOP challenger to run against an incumbent.

It’s hardly the first time that House Republicans have targeted Boswell, who, as a result of redistricting, is expected to face Republican incumbent Tom Latham in 2012. Following a May 31 vote on whether or not to raise the national debt ceiling, Boswell was one of several House Democrats targeted by the NRCC through robocalls.

“After spending recklessly and maxing out the nation’s credit card, [Rep. Leonard] Boswell demanded that Congress vote to increase the nation’s debt limit without making any spending cuts,” the call advised without noting that Boswell and other Democrats being targeted with the same robocall had actually voted against the bill to raise the debt ceiling.

The NRCC said the call was actually referencing a letter authored by U.S. Rep. Peter Welch, a Vermont Democrat, and signed by Boswell and three other Blue Dogs that asked for Congress to pass a “clean extension of the debt ceiling.”

The call’s initial claim about “reckless spending” by Boswell and Democrats was given a “mostly false” rating by PolitiFact Ohio for completely ignoring the impact Republicans themselves have had on the national debt.

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