A day after Nancy Pelosi accused Republicans of targeting Attorney General Eric Holder because of his department's crackdown on state voter ID laws, GOP lawmakers dismissed the claim as "hogwash" while Democrats kept their distance.
Asked about Pelosi's claim at Thursday's press briefing, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney would not say that the administration shares her theory.
"I cannot divine the motivations behind" Republicans' contempt push against Holder, Carney said, though he was plenty critical of the GOP effort.
Afterward, Republican lawmakers pounced on Pelosi's comment.
"Hogwash. That is the most ridiculous comment I've heard so far," Rep. Tim Scott, R-S.C., told Fox News on Friday.
Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., called the claim "mind-numbingly stupid."
"I could not believe it when I heard her saying that. Is that all you have to come back with? Is that the best you can come up with?" Gowdy told Fox News.
Both lawmakers are from South Carolina, one of several states that have tried to implement a strict law requiring photo ID in order to vote -- and have been blocked by Holder's Justice Department.
Pelosi, in a press briefing on Thursday, linked that effort to the ongoing campaign by Republicans to call a contempt-of-Congress vote against Holder for allegedly failing to cooperate in their probe of Operation Fast and Furious.
"They're going after Eric Holder because he is supporting measures to overturn these voter suppression initiatives in the states. This is no accident. It is no coincidence. It is a plan on the part of Republicans," Pelosi said.
Though the theory did not gain much traction among other Democrats, Pelosi and the rest of the caucus were uniformly critical of Republicans' actions against Holder.
Carney called the latest developments "political theater."
"Instead of creating jobs or helping the middle class, congressional Republicans are focused on this politically motivated, taxpayer-funded, election-year fishing expedition," Carney said.
A House committee voted Wednesday along strict party lines to hold Holder in contempt of Congress, with Republicans claiming his department has not turned over subpoenaed documents pertaining to the botched anti-gunrunning operation.
The full House would still need to approve the resolution for Holder to be formally held in contempt. That vote is set for next week -- the Justice Department and congressional Republicans could reach an agreement and head off the confrontation, but each side seems to be sticking by its position. House Speaker John Boehner and his caucus want the documents they've demanded turned over, while Holder has said he's already put a compromise offer on the table. Republicans apparently did not accept that offer, as they proceeded with the committee vote on Wednesday.