Once it becomes law, President Obama will campaign on the health care reform measure, detailing for everyday Americans how they would see improvements to their system and painting the Republicans as blocking meaningful change.
Though health care hangs on the outcome of tomorrow’s vote in Massachusetts, the sales pitch will be critical from here on out.
Superstitious White House officials were reluctant to discuss how Obama would sell the plan given that it hasn’t passed Congress and especially in light of the Senate race other than saying the campaign would be “energetic and aggressive.” But past is prologue, and to get a sense of how Obama would play salesman-in-chief you only need to look back to the economic stimulus plan.
Showcasing real people and their stories has long been a favorite method for Obama as a candidate and a president. The administration also has deployed technology to help explain how legislation works and to prove transparency, even though the stimulus Web site also had some problems.Democratic officials say that despite a gloomy political landscape, Obama remains an incredibly popular figure who can raise money for the party and help Congressional candidates in their reelection battles. They will send him out over the summer and this fall across the country, and health care will surely be on the speaking agenda.
Obama told House Democrats last week he’d be “waging a great campaign from one end of the country to the other,” to detail the bill for Americans and “the long-awaited stability that they’re going to begin to experience.”
He also told members they would be “proud” to campaign on the bill in November.
White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer says Obama “has no intention of relaxing and will undertake an aggressive effort to explain to the American people how reform provides stability and security for people with insurance, affordable options to those without and cuts costs for families and small businesses.”
“If Republicans want to campaign against what we’ve done by standing up for the status quo and for insurance companies over American families and businesses, that is a fight I want to have,” Obama told Democrats last week at their House caucus retreat.
He said Republicans would fail at campaigning on wanting to go back to the George W. Bush era while his team would detail improvements to the health care system.
“It’s not going to be very appealing to Americans who for the first time are going to find out that they can provide coverage to their children, their dependents, all the way up to the age of 26 or 2,” Obama said.
Pfeiffer said Obama will lump Republicans in with the insurance industry as wanting to roll back the provisions in the bill that forbid the denial of coverage to people with preexisting conditions.
Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA) said on MSNBC last week that Obama promised to help members win the political battle over health care.
“He is going to give us a bill that we can sell and that he will do his best to sell all over the nation,” Moran said. “The problem is it needs to be finalized before we can get out and market it.”
White House political adviser David Axelrod told reporters last week that Obama is “highly, highly literate and fluent in the details” of health care, according to Politico.
Axelrod also said the Obama campaign message this year would be one of comparison – the administration’s record “rooted in advocacy for people” versus what role Republicans have played in the president’s first year.