U.S. Congress in early PR push

Aug. 20, 2007 at 7:57 AM

WASHINGTON, Aug. 20 (UPI) -- Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. Congress have mounted unusually early advertising campaigns in the run-up to next year's presidential election.

"There's a limited time period in which to brand the new Congress," Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., told the Washington Post. He leads the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which last week launched television ads highlighting congressional accomplishments in the seven months Democrats have held the majority.

Neil Newhouse, a partner at the Republican polling firm Public Opinion Strategies told the Post Republicans needed an early start on promoting themselves as well.

"If you look at nothing but the numbers, in terms of mood of the country, the popularity of the president, there's no question the environment has eroded for Republicans since November," Newhouse said.

As a result, recent National Republican Congressional Committee radio ads criticized freshman Rep. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., for giving "union organizers more power to intimidate employees" and for voting "for outrageous pork-barrel spending on peanut storage and transporting tropical fish."

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