Former President Bill Clinton thinks Democrats need to “embrace” Obamacare as an issue in the upcoming midterm elections, rather than shying away from it out of fear it will damage their chances.
Clinton referenced his own well-received speech at the 2012 Democratic National Convention in an interview with Real Clear Politics published Saturday as an example of how to successfully confront the issue.
“When the president asked me to speak for him in North Carolina, I said that I would do it — but that I could only do it and be effective if he let me explain and defend the health care deal,” Clinton told Real Clear Politics.
“I thought that Democrats had a tendency to shy away from things they had done that were unpopular, (and) talk about positions they had that were popular,” he continued. “And that my own experience had convinced me — going back to ’94 and even more when I was governor — that that was always a terrible mistake. That you had to turn in toward all controversies and embrace them — even if you said you were wrong or a mistake was made. You couldn’t not deal with it.”
When a Republican triumphed over a Democrat in a special House election in Florida earlier this month, many began to speculate that the outcome of that race — which had been trumped up as a test case for the way the health care law would play in midterm elections — predicted resounding defeat for the Democratic Party in November, as well as an impending panic among Democratic candidates about addressing the health care law.
But both Democratic and Republican strategists in two battleground states told TPM that the Florida special election had no real consequences for their races. On the other hand, one top Democratic pollster suggested Democrats instead suffered from a turnout disadvantage in the Florida special election.
Catherine Thompson is a senior editor for Talking Points Memo in New York City. She came to the site in 2013 and reported on national affairs. Previously, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She can be reached at email@example.com.