In it, but not of it. TPM DC

The NRSC Can't Seem To Stop Tripping Over Itself

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Dabbling In Poll Trutherism

Democrat Ed Markey never trailed in the polls en route to a comfortable victory in June's special U.S. Senate election in Massachusetts. Dayspring, working his first Senate race after joining the NRSC in January, was relentless in his efforts to spin those consistently unfavorable results in GOP candidate Gabriel Gomez's favor.

A six-point deficit for the Republican was hyped as great news, as was Gomez's advantage among independent voters -- a voting bloc whose importance was continually overstated by Republicans in the 2012 campaign. When Markey's campaign trumpeted the results of a Republican survey showing him with a 12-point lead two weeks before the special election, Dayspring reverted to another one of the GOP's bad habits leftover from the 2012 campaign: poll trutherism.

"[The poll] might as well have been written in crayon," Dayspring told TPM in an email. "Ed Markey and his Democratic friends in Washington aren't outspending Gabriel Gomez 7:1 because they are confident."

Markey ended up winning by 10 points.

Begich Slammed For Imaginary Fundraiser

When the NRSC was dealt an opportunity to link Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK) to a New York liberal, the group pounced. A press release the committee sent out in late-August slammed Begich for traveling around Alaska "raising money with liberal Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand from New York - a staunch proponent of not only the carbon tax, but also a key supporter of cap-and-trade in the Senate."

The problem: there was no fundraiser involving Begich and Gillibrand. The NRSC said it had received an invitation for the purported fundraiser from someone affiliated with the Alaska Republican Party's central committee, but the state's GOP chair said he had no idea who sent the email.

Dayspring offered a half-hearted apology for the mistake but said the NRSC wouldn't retract the release because Gillibrand was "still spending a lot of time trying to get [Begich] elected."

The 'Empty Dress' Comment

As the Democrat vying to take down Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) in 2014, Alison Lundergan Grimes has understandably taken plenty of heat from the NRSC. She's been a constant target of Dayspring, whose nastiest criticism came in September when he questioned Grimes' intelligence.

"Alison Lundergan Grimes seems incapable of articulating her own thoughts, and faced with questions, either directly parrots the talking points handed to her by [Sen.] Chuck Schumer or she babbles incoherently and stares blankly into the camera as though she's a freshman in high school struggling to remember the CliffsNotes after forgetting to read her homework assignment," Dayspring told The Hill newspaper.

He added: "She's an empty dress."

Democrats and even McConnell's tea party challenger denounced the remark, but Dayspring was unapologetic.

Calling Grimes The New 'Obama Girl'

The NRSC resumed its ongoing mockery of Grimes with a tweet last month from the committee's official account that included a photo-shopped image of the Democrat.

In the photo, Grimes' face was placed on the body of "Obama Girl," the model who became something of a viral sensation for her videos about the President back in 2007. The tweet was denounced as "sexist" by Grimes.

"As I have said, I am proud to wear a dress," Grimes said. "And as Kentucky's more than two million women know, it is not what is in the dress that matters. It is what is in the head, and I will stack my head up against Sen. McConnell's any day."

The NRSC agreed. Though the committee never named the person who sent the tweet, spokeswoman Brook Hougesen called it "extremely offensive." The committee said it was taking disciplinary action. The now-deleted tweet was captured by Mediaite before it was pulled.

The Vatican Embassy Closure Re-Location

After the U.S. announced last month that its embassy to the Vatican would be re-locating to a shared compound in Rome, the NRSC couldn't resist the chance to characterize the move as the "latest anti-religion pursuit" by the Obama administration. The group launched a petition on its website with a photo of the President staring angrily at St. Peter's Basilica, coupled with the banner, "Obama Closes Vatican Embassy."

It wasn't a closure, and Vatican officials made it clear that the re-location was no big deal. Dayspring did his best to defend the petition on Twitter (he got an assist from Jeb Bush), insisting that "[c]losing the Embassy at the Vatican is perceived by many Catholics as insulting."

But then the NRSC quietly abandoned the protest. The petition is nowhere to be found, with the URL for the petition page now directing back to the NRSC's homepage.

Dayspring Gets Thrown Under Tom Cotton's Bus

One of the most vulnerable Democratic incumbents in the 2014 cycle, Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR), released an ad this week in which he said that the Bible guides his decision-making more than political parties.

Dayspring pounced, emailing reporters to contend that Pryor was contradicting previous comments about the Bible.

"So is the Bible Mark Pryor's compass, providing the 'comfort and guidance to do what's best for Arkansas?'" Dayspring said, according to the Hill. "Or is it really not a good rule book for political issues and decisions made in the Senate? Guess it depends on which Mark Pryor that you ask."

That evidently didn't sit well with Rep. Tom Cotton (R-AR), Pryor's opponent and one of the GOP's marquee challengers in 2014. Cotton's campaign spokesman called Dayspring's comments "incredibly bizarre and offensive."

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Dayspring's full statement:

We have a single goal - to win the majority. Senate Democrats and their campaigns will try to distract from important issues - it's their only hope. Our friends at the DSCC need to create distractions for their own colossal missteps - like fumbling the recruiting process so badly in South Dakota that they offended their own Senators, holding a political/campaign meeting with White House officials in government offices, and referring to the sexual harassment and assault of women as a "soap opera." The truth is that the Beltway back and forth doesn't matter much to voters out in the real world. What really matters is that Democrats and their failed agenda are losing support among women and young adults. Women are losing doctors that they like, families are losing health plans that they like, and young adults' health care costs are skyrocketing - Democrats will do whatever they can to distract from this reality.

About The Author

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Tom Kludt is a News Writer for Talking Points Memo based in New York City. A former research intern and polling fellow for TPM, Tom served as assistant polling editor for TPM Media's PollTracker during the 2012 campaign. Before joining TPM, he worked on political campaigns and wrote for various publications in Minnesota and his native South Dakota. Tom graduated summa cum laude from the University of South Dakota in May of 2010 with a B.A. in Political Science and History. He can be reached at tom@talkingpointsmemo.com.