Republicans angling to take back the House and Senate in 2010—or at least trim their losses from the last two elections—are making attacks on Nancy Pelosi a central feature of their campaign, and it's already getting ugly. The GOP has been releasing statements mocking "Gen. Pelosi" for alleged strong-arming, and recently the House Republicans' campaign arm lambasted her stance on Afghanistan, saying Stanley McChrystal had "put her in her place." Pelosi called that sexist: "I'm in my place. I'm speaker of the House."
Compared to President Obama, Pelosi has relatively high negative ratings, especially among independents, and the GOP hopes it can use her image to retake centrist districts it lost in previous races. Yet Republicans targeted her both in 2006 and 2008, to no effect, and Democrats say the third time won't be the charm. "It's been a proven failure," said Rep. Chris Van Holland, who's leading the party's House campaigns. "I'd sum it up by saying, 'Been there, done that, didn't work.'"