Lawmakers running for reelection this year have been carefully avoiding some loaded words—like "Congress," "representative," and "senator," the Washington Post observes. With Congress' approval rating standing at just 17% (hey, it's been worse), lawmakers are eager to distance themselves from the body. In one ad, a rep says he's "fighting for Iowans at the highest levels," without actually defining what those "highest levels" are; in another, a Senate candidate studiously avoids his House term while laying out his biography.
The playbook is simple, one analyst says: "They don’t use their title. They don’t refer to their years of service. They don’t show pictures of themselves in committee meetings. They have to acknowledge the anger." Indeed, when Congress is mentioned, it's to stress the incumbent's distaste for it. One North Dakota senator's ad opens with an image of the Hill, and narration intoning, "If you're looking for Martin Heinrich on weekends, you won't find him here." (Read more Election 2012 stories.)