Democrats Gather in Las Vegas to Prepare for Fall Elections

Three months before Election Day, Democrats from around the country were in Las Vegas, organizing for the fall campaign and sharpening their attacks on Republicans about the economy.

"The issue is going to be the economy and who is going to do a better job of creating jobs in the country and that's what I want all of our Democrats to keep the focus on. That's how we're going to win our elections," Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe said.

With a thinly-veiled class warfare message, Democrats are blasting the GOP for being soft on corporate greed and ignoring the little guy. With a focus on minorities, particularly the rapidly growing Latino voting base, the Democrats are ridiculing GOP attempts to court Hispanics.

"You cannot wear a sombrero and say some words in Spanish and then go ahead and permit your party to exhibit the intolerance that the House Republicans have exhibited time and time again," U.S. Rep. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., said.

Republicans, however have dramatically stepped up their minority outreach. Vice President Dick Cheney was in New Mexico stumping for Republican gubernatorial candidate John Sanchez.

President Bush has also populated his administration with Latinos, including HUD Secretary Mel Martinez and White House counsel Al Gonzalez, but Democrats say that's not helped Hispanics who are hurting.

"The unemployment rate for Latinos is almost 8 percent, that's 2 percent higher than the national average and the Bush administration has done nothing except teach the [Republican National Committee] how to speak Spanish. That's pathetic," DNC Communications Director Maria Cardona said.

Statistically, the U.S. economy is on the mend and even though Democrats recently joined the president at the White House to celebrate new laws cracking down on corporate misconduct, many Democratic candidates around the country are still aggressively trying to brand their GOP opponents of being in corporate America's pocket.

"What you are seeing, especially with issues like corporate responsibility that's going on, you have the Republican Party being tagged as the party of big business," Cardona said.

But Democrats are divided over the wisdom of that attack. At the recent meeting of the centrist Democratic Leadership Council, Democrats like Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman warned his party that pounding Republicans for supporting businesses made Democrats appear anti-business, which is where jobs are created.