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Leaked White House Memo Advises Democrats on How to Spin Obamacare

The White House now explicitly recognizes repeal as a very real possibility.

7:55 AM, Aug 20, 2010 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
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Politico has released a piece that begins as follows: "Key White House allies are dramatically shifting their attempts to defend health care legislation, abandoning claims that it will reduce costs and deficit, and instead stressing a promise to 'improve it.'"  This is a truly remarkable sentence. Legislation that the Congressional Budget Office says would cost about $2.5 trillion in its real first decade (2014 to 2023) wouldn't do the one thing that Americans most want out of health-care legislation:  cut health care costs. It wouldn't, despite the administration's repeated claims to the contrary, cut deficits. But, on the bright side, it can (allegedly) be improved. That's an amazingly tepid claim to make on behalf of something with Obamacare's price tag.

Leaked White House Memo Advises Democrats on How to Spin Obamacare

The truth is that Obamacare cannot be improved.  It can only be repealed.  It was passed as "comprehensive legislation," and it must be repealed comprehensively

The vast majority of Americans recognize this. Rasmussen's latest survey of likely voters shows Americans favoring repeal by the overwhelming tally of 60 to 36 percent. This 24-point margin is Rasmussen's 2nd-highest in the 21 polls it has conducted in the five months since passage, despite, as Politico puts it, "the White House's all-out communications effort" in the interim – much of it at taxpayer expense. 

Politico reports that White House allies' "confidential presentation" (it was leaked to Politico "by a source on the call" on which it was outlined) "concedes that groups typically supportive of Democratic causes," including those under 40, "have not been won over by the plan."  Indeed, Rasmussen's latest survey shows that voters in their 30s favor repeal by a 37-point margin (67 to 30 percent), while those voters in their 30s who feel "strongly" (either way) support repeal by the tally of 61 to 17 percent. 

Perhaps most tellingly, Politico writes that the presentation's "final page of 'Don'ts' counsels against claiming 'the law will reduce costs and deficit.'"  Instead, the presentation advises, "Keep claims small and credible"; "don’t overpromise or 'spin' what the law delivers."  Thus, the administration’s central claim from the start – made ad nauseam by everyone from President Obama on down – that Obamacare would somehow reduce health care costs, is apparently just "spin."  (This, of course, was recognized by a great many Americans all along.)  And now, a $2.5 trillion law that's longer than War and Peace must, incredibly, be defended on the basis of claims that are "small and credible."

Highlighting the striking degree to which the administration is on the defensive five months after passage and two months before the midterms, the presentation says, "People can be moved from initial skepticism and support for repeal of the law to favorable feelings and resisting repeal."  Enthusiastic or clear support is apparently no longer even on the table, and even White House allies now explicitly recognize repeal as a very real possibility. 

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