(CNSNews.com) - In what might be a sign of things to come in this year's midterm election, Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman criticized the Democrats' slogan, "Together, we can do better," during an address to a GOP group on Friday. The Democratic National Committee responded by accusing Mehlman of having had a "childish temper tantrum."
While speaking to the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in Memphis, Tenn., the RNC chair suggested such alternative mottos as "Together, Americans can pay more in taxes," "Together, we can retreat from the central front in the War on Terror" and "Together, we can pay more for gasoline.
"The possibilities are endless," Mehlman said. Democrats "say one thing come election time, but their records show that they mean -- and will do -- another," he added.
"They were for the Iraq war before they were against it," Mehlman continued. "They were for the Patriot Act until the far left came out against it. They were for the Department of Homeland Security until the government labor bosses opposed it ... and now, they say they're for it again."
However, the American people "can see that 'strategic redeployment' is just more of the same old thing: retreat and defeat," Mehlman said. "They can see the difference between leaders committed to winning this war and politicians who will say anything to win the next election."
In a statement released a few hours later, Democratic National Committee (DNC) Communications Director Karen Finney charged that "Ken Mehlman's childish temper tantrum is a desperate attempt to change the subject from the Republican incompetence and growing list of failures.
"Time and again -- from the reasons behind the war in Iraq, to Katrina, to the new Medicare drug benefit -- Republicans have misled the American people," Finney stated. "This election comes down to the one question Bush Republicans don't want people to ask themselves: Do you want change or more of the same?
"We can't continue to have an administration and Republican Congress with a pre-9/11 mentality that would turn our port security over to a foreign country and our economic security over to foreign debt-holders," Finney added.
"We will not be lectured to about defense and the security of our nation by Republicans whose dangerously incompetent leadership has made America less safe and led our country in the wrong direction," she said.
"Republicans may try to run on their failed record," Finney noted, "but it will be difficult for the American people to forget" that:
-- More than four years after 9/11, "Osama bin Laden is alive and on the loose because the Bush administration let him slip away."
-- Republicans supported a deal "that would give a foreign state that was linked to the Sept. 11th attacks control of operations at six American ports."
-- The Bush administration "sent our troops to Iraq without adequate body armor and equipment, as well as no clear plan for success."
-- American soldiers "are forced to serve multiple tours of duty because Iraqi soldiers still aren't trained properly."
-- Iraq is "the terrorist training camp of choice," Iran is "now a nuclear threat," and North Korea "has increased its nuclear capabilities."
-- At home, "Republicans have failed to close gaps in our security, leaving our nation's ports, borders, chemical and nuclear plants still vulnerable."
-- And the GOP has "done nothing as wages continue to stagnate, health care costs continue to skyrocket, and tuition costs continue to go up.
"We have to do a better job securing our shipping ports and nuclear power plants, equipping our first responders and our national guard," Finney added. "And we have to do a better job of securing good jobs for American workers, the retirement security for our seniors, affordable health care and college opportunities for our children."
Nevertheless, the representatives of both parties apparently agree on at least one concept Mehlman discussed Friday: that "party chairmen have a simple job at events like" the one in Memphis -- "come and tell you the next election is the most important in your lifetime.
"Usually, we're not telling the truth. Every election can't be the most important," Mehlman said. "But sometimes, we do find ourselves at a crossroads ... when the outcome of elections was that important.
"Now, with a global war on terror and worldwide competition for jobs, we once again find ourselves at a crossroads," Mehlman added, "and the decisions we will make this year -- and in coming years -- will define the scope of freedom for a generation."
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