Rep. Darrell Issa, a frequent Obama critic, praises the president in new campaign mailer

In a turn from his frequent criticism of President Obama, Vista Republican Rep. Darrell Issa has sent out a campaign mailer saying he was “pleased” with the president for signing legislation he co-sponsored into law.

The legislation, which passed with bipartisan support, provides victims of sexual assault legal protections in the federal criminal justice system.

Issa, who is locked in a hotly contested reelection campaign, is the same Republican who once called President Obama “one of the most corrupt presidents in modern times.” While chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Issa led investigations into the Benghazi attack, the Internal Revenue Service scandal, the botched “Fast and Furious” gun sting and other actions by the Obama administration.

One side of the mailer has a nice picture of Obama at his desk, as well as a quote from Issa saying that he was “very pleased” that the president signed the bill.

Issa campaign spokesman Calvin Moore said Issa’s support of the Survivors Bill of Rights is one of many examples of the legislator’s working across the aisle since he was first elected to Congress in 2000. Issa also worked with Vice President Joe Biden to strengthen the Violence Against Women Act, and for the last three years, he has worked with Republicans and Democrats to improve the Freedom of Information Act, Moore said.

“The day-in and day-out of being an effective legislator means working across the aisle with members you don’t necessarily agree with on every point and putting that aside to get things done,” Moore said.

Last month, Issa told The Times he planned to emphasize his ability to work with Democrats to pass legislation important to California. He endorsed Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Orange) in her U.S. Senate race against fellow Democrat state Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris. 

Issa is running his toughest congressional campaign to date, an increasingly nasty race that has been declared a “toss-up” by the Cook Political Report. Issa’s Democratic challenger in the 49th Congressional District, retired Marine Col. Doug Applegate, has criticized the congressman as a Washington insider and a major supporter of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump

Applegate's campaign manager, Robert Dempsey, said Issa's mailer featuring Obama was evidence of his "desperate" attempt to get reelected.

"He has called for President Obama’s impeachment and has attacked the President at every turn but Congressman Issa has never let the truth get in the way of trying to advance his partisan, political agenda and we don’t expect him to start now,” Dempsey said in an email.

Issa attacked Applegate as well for allegations that he harassed and threatened his ex-wife during their divorce proceedings and child custody battle more than 10 years ago. He outspent Applegate by approximately $700,000 in the June primary, but the Democrat nabbed 45.5% of the vote, while Issa finished with 50.8%.

2:58 p.m.: This story was updated with a comment from Applegate's campaign manager.