House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democratic leaders made another push for campaign cash on Tuesday, warning their colleagues who have not met their targets that a party leader would soon come calling.
During a closed-door meeting in the Capitol basement, Pelosi, Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Chris Van Hollen of Maryland praised the 106 Democrats who have paid their dues to the party's campaign arm.
But Hoyer and Van Hollen warned that each of the elected leaders would soon be making the rounds to find out why those members who are still delinquent had not ponied up, according to those in attendance.
Hoyer got things started by telling members that he, Pelosi and Van Hollen have been traveling the country non-stop to raise money and stump for Democratic candidates.
The leadership message was clear: With everyone paying such close attention to the presidential election, congressional Democrats need to help themselves, especially now that most polls show Republicans closing the gap.
Democrats have maintained a significant fundraising advantage since the last election. At the end of August, the DCCC had $40 million more than the National Republican Congressional Committee. But, at the same time, Republicans outraised Democrats for the first time since losing power.
Van Hollen told his colleagues Tuesday that he wants to hear them echo their presidential candidate, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, when he asks them for money. According to the notes of one attendee, the campaign chairman told his fellow House Democrats that when he asks them to help the party, he wants them to respond, "Yes, we can. Yes, I can."