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By now, the National Republican Congressional Committee "May earned media opportunities" memo has been in so many inboxes that we expect it to be forwarded to us next by Mom, along with the recipe for Neiman Marcus cookies and a plea to help get somebody's family fortune out of Nigeria. But we understand the appeal: It is super-educational -- May is "Older Americans Month"! (Who knew?) And, hey, Norm Coleman has legislation whose "acronym is 'CHAIM,' which, in Hebrew, means 'LIFE.'" Oy vey! The memo is intended to help representatives use May dates and events as opportunities to echo the RNC agenda, and dude, the message? "I care." Oh, wait, I'm sorry. . . Really, the message is more "I care but I'm not listening."
We especially like this suggestion, apropos of a holiday we're sure we'll be hearing a lot more about under a second Bush administration:
* Loyalty Day (May 1): Loyalty Day is simply a day for all of us to show our loyalty to the nation. In addition to op-eds and a release, our member can call on all local governmental buildings to fly the American flag that day, as President Bush has asked all federal government buildings to do. Your member can also lead a class of young school children in the Pledge of Allegiance or address a school assembly on the importance of loyalty to the nation.
The signing of the oath comes next year, and the reeducation centers are still being built.
Complete memo after the jump.
To: GOP Press Secretaries
From: Carl Forti, NRCC Communications Director
Chris Paulitz, NRCC Press Secretary
Re: May earned media opportunities
In an ongoing effort to help you maximize your member's earned media coverage, the NRCC has outlined a few themes for the month of May that can help your member gainmedia exposure.
The month of May has been designated:
1) National Military Appreciation Month
2) Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month
3) Older Americans Month
These weeks have been designated:
1) May 4-11 is Jewish Heritage Week
2) May 10-18 is National Tourism Week
3) May 12-18 is National Police Week
Individual days include: Loyalty Day (May 1); Cinco de Mayo (May 5); National Day of Prayer (May 6); Mother's Day (May 9); Armed Forces Day (May 15); National Defense Transportation Day (May 16); 50th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education (May 17); and Memorial Day (May 31).
Below are some ideas on how to generate earned media during the month of May:
* National Military Appreciation Month: There are numerous ways to show your appreciation for the military all month long. Op-eds on the War on Terror, fully funding our military and keeping our promise to our veterans should all be released throughout the month. Visiting the local VFW and attending welcome home rallies for local troops are all must-do's as well. Another great event is to salute local veterans who served during the D-Day landings by presenting them with Normandy Medals. Many veterans were not able to attend the original ceremony in France in 1994 for the 50th Anniversary. Now, many members hold these events each year, honoring veterans and getting them the medals they earned but never received.
* Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month: Chosen to commemorate the first Japanese immigrants to the United States in the mid 1800s, this month is celebrated with community festivals, government-sponsored activities and educational activities for students. For more information on the history of the month or ideas for events, visit the "infoplease" web site.
* Older Americans Month: The theme for this year's Older Americans Month is "Aging well, Living well." Because of your member's efforts, America's seniors are living well. Beyond the obvious - Medicare prescription drug rallies and town hall meetings, press conferences promising to protect Social Security, etc. - your member should talk about things that affect seniors' everyday lives. You member can hold a summit or workshop on housing issues, like long-term care housing, or mental health issues that affect seniors each year. A nutritionist can help you talk to seniors about the importance of eating right and exercising. Everything should be geared toward seniors not only extending their lives, but increasing the quality of their lives.
* Jewish Heritage Week (May4-11): A good place to start for an event to highlight Jewish heritage is your local Jewish Community Center. One of the biggest issues facing many older Jewish Americans is stolen insurance benefits during the Holocaust. Rep. Mark Foley (FL-16) has a bill, co-sponsored by Democrat Rep. Steve Israel (NY-02) in the House and Republican Norm Coleman in the Senate, which helps Holocaust survivors reclaim their insurance benefits stolen by the Nazis. You can sign up as a co-sponsor and then hold an event touting the legislation. It's HR 1905: The Comprehensive Holocaust Accountability in Insurance Measure (acronym is "CHAIM," which, in Hebrew, means "LIFE").
* National Tourism Week (May 10-18): The travel and tourism industry is the first, second or third largest industry in 29 states and the District of Columbia, the nation's second largest service export and third largest retail sales industry. After September 11, 2001, this industry, which consists of airlines, hotels, car rental companies, theme parks, shopping centers, restaurants and others, suffered a devastating blow from which it has not been able to fully recover. While travel and tourism generated a balance of the trade surplus of $26 billion in 1996, that number plummeted to $5.5 billion in 2002, and the industry continues to face new challenges. You can hold local events at your district's theme park, major hotels and travel centers, or local landmarks, and urge your constituents to travel. Also, visit the web site of the Travel Industry Association of America to learn more about this week and for more ideas on events.
* National Police Week (May 12-18): Supporting your local police departments - and having their support - is essential. This is an important week for them, so make sure you do as many events in as many precincts as possible. Hold a press conference in front of a precinct touting their efforts to keep your community safe. Go on a "ride along" with the police in a high-crime area for a night and invite one television camera to come along. Write op-eds on the importance of the week and touting Congress' efforts to fund first responders. Also, cut PSAs asking for the community to support their local law enforcement officers.
* Loyalty Day (May 1): Loyalty Day is simply a day for all of us to show our loyalty to the nation. In addition to op-eds and a release, our member can call on all local governmental buildings to fly the American flag that day, as President Bush has asked all federal government buildings to do. Your member can also lead a class of young school children in the Pledge of Allegiance or address a school assembly on the importance of loyalty to the nation. This is also another good PSA opportunity, reminding all of your constituents to be aware of the day and to honor it in their own way.
* Cinco de Mayo (May 5): Many districts have a Hispanic population and, therefore, should recognize Cinco de Mayo in some way. While the NRCC just sent out a lengthy memo on this holiday, here are the highlights (remember, this is an all-week celebration so, even though we're in session that day, these events can take place on non-voting days): Prepare a statement or press release acknowledging the significance of Cinco de Mayo to the Hispanic community. This statement should be added to your Website and disseminated to both the local Hispanic press and your regular media list. Take this opportunity to make an important announcement. For example, you can announce the launch of your Spanish Website; announce someone that was hired in your office or campaign to work specifically with the Hispanic community; or announce a policy or proposal of particular interest to the Hispanic community that you will fight for in Congress. Work with local and state parties to identify the top three to five Cinco de Mayo events throughout the Congressional district. There should be a booth or table at each one of these events with campaign literature (in Spanish and English). You should work on getting Hispanic volunteers to work these booths. You should tape a short 15-second radio spot in Spanish for the Mexican community. This message should be played in the local Spanish radio stations on the day of Cinco de Mayo.
* National Day of Prayer (May 6): We are most likely going to be in session this day, so have your member release a statement on the importance of praying for the country, praying for our troops and praying for each other. The National Day of Prayer Task Force asks everyone to say a prayer at noon, wherever they are. Your member can echo that request.
* Mother's Day (May 9): Have your member highlight local mothers who have either numerous children or children with disabilities; and praise them for their strength and how they're an example for all of society to mirror. Also, you can host a breakfast for mothers and their children.
* 50th Anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education (May 17): This day should be spent at an "at risk" school talking about the importance of the ruling 50 years ago. Talk about the strides the country has made, and how we still need to improve on many areas. Have your member go to a charter or voucher school if you have one in your district and talk about education as the ultimate civil right, and Republicans are leading the way. If you don't have a charter or voucher school, announce your support for the creation of one. You can also talk about the numerous benefits of the No Child Left Behind Act.
* Armed Forces Day (May 15) ...
* National Defense Transportation Day (May 16) ...
* Memorial Day (May 31): For Armed Forces Day and Memorial Day, doing the typical op-eds, statements, parade participation and flag waving go without saying. For National Defense Transportation Day, talk about the importance of transportation in our fight in the War on Terror. Talk about your member's vote for the $87 billion for Iraq and the armor plating for the Humvees that are making our soldiers safe. And how anyone who opposed that vote opposed keeping our military men and women and, in effect, all Americans, safe.
The NRCC will continue throughout the year to work with you to maximize your earned media on topics that are not directly connected to the legislative calendar. You will continue to see memos like this frequently. Life in a congressional office is often dictated by current, breaking events. These memos will, hopefully, help keep a focus on opportunities that aren't always on our radar screens but are nonetheless very important.
National Republican Congressional Committee