Boehner 10Oct2013
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, with House GOP Leadership. Reuters

Republicans may have precipitated the government shutdown by refusing to fund the government without upending health care reform, but they blame Democrats for making the shutdown painful. And now they are taking this message to the districts of vulnerable Democrats up for re-election.

The Republican National Committee is going on the offense in the shutdown fight Monday, launching robocalls against three Senate Democrats the GOP is hoping to unseat in next year’s midterm elections, trying to turn what the polls show is a disaster for the party into a win.

The robocalls accuse the targeted lawmakers of “playing politics” rather than pass legislation to restore veterans’ benefits. “These men and women served our country with honor and yet SENATOR (XX) would rather put partisan politics ahead of honoring our commitment to the people who defended this country,” the script reads.

The robocalls, which began Monday, target vulnerable Democrats Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Kay Hagan of North Carolina and Mark Begich of Alaska, as well as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and DNC chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida.

“Between jeopardizing the benefits for our veterans to shutting down the World War II Memorial, Democrats and President Obama are trying to make this shutdown as painful as possible for everyone,” RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said in a statement Monday.

Republicans have been successful in rallying their base against the closure of the war memorials on the National Mall, and most notably, the World War II memorial. On Sunday, crowds of protesters gathered by the White House in protest. Conservative lawmakers attended the rally, including former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and freshman Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, the face of the shutdown.

“This is the people's memorial,” Cruz said to a crowd of several hundred protesters near the WWII Memorial Sunday. “Simple question: Why is the federal government spending money to keep veterans out of the memorial? Why did they spend money to keep people out of Mount Vernon, Mount Rushmore? Our veterans should be above political games.”