WASHINGTON -- Congressional Republicans have taken a lot of heat from constituents at home during the August recess after a bitter showdown with Democrats over the deficit this summer that highlighted core differences between the two parties.
On Wednesday, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee sought to capitalize on the backlash by releasing a new web video that compiles reports from local and national news outlets of protesters at GOP offices and town hall events around the country. The ad features constituents who are upset over a refusal to back down on raising taxes on the wealthy and ending corporate tax loopholes, paired with a failure to focus enough on creating jobs while the U.S. remains stagnated at 9 percent unemployment.
Democrats are calling it "Accountability August" for the GOP's "choosing millionaires over Medicare."
The web ad shows a large crowd showing up outside Speaker John Boehner's Ohio office, protesters outside freshmen lawmakers' offices and a group holding signs outside the Wilkes-Barre, Penn., office of Rep. Lou Barletta after they said they could not get a meeting with the congressman. Another Republican is shown having his town hall interrupted by members of the public shouting "We need jobs."
The town halls have featured many voters upset with the GOP for putting Social Security and Medicare on the chopping block, but not being willing to negotiate higher taxes on the wealthy in efforts to reduce the deficit. Many have also questioned Republicans on oil subsidies and the Ryan budget passed by the House earlier this year.
Police were called on jobless protesters who showed up repeatedly outside of Rep. Paul Ryan's Wisconsin office.
Several Republican lawmakers took heat for only appearing at fundraisers and other events that charged an admission.
Rep. Daniel Webster (R-Fla.) reportedly distributed a "watch list" of political activists.
At one golf fundraising event for GOP lawmakers in Minnesota, a plane flew overhead with a banner saying, "Where's our piece of the pie? Jobs now." One of the Congressmen being protested at the fundraiser, Rep. Chip Cravaack (R-Minn.) eventually agreed to hold a town hall after the incident.
Even Tea Party activists turned on Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) for banning cameras at his public events.
By the DCCC's count, there have been nearly 60 reported confrontations or protests by upset constituents. By other progressive groups' count, like the Americans Dream Movement, that number is much higher.
The DCCC is not the only group that has produced a video highlighting GOP backlash during the August recess. Another progressive group, Rebuild the Dream, put out a web video very similarly compiled of local news clips.
Capitalizing on the town hall turmoil is nothing new; both parties have been playing off of it in web videos and mailers over the past two years.