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Democrats Sound Messaging Retreat on Obamacare

The new line: we'll "improve it."

8:01 PM, Aug 19, 2010 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
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Ben Smith reports:

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."

The messaging shift was circulated this afternoon on a conference call and PowerPoint presentation organized by Families USA — one of the central groups in the push for the initial legislation. The call was led by a staffer for the Herndon Alliance, which includes leading labor groups and other health care allies. It was based on polling from three top Democratic pollsters: John Anzalone, Celinda Lake and Stan Greenberg.

The confidential presentation, available in full here and provided to POLITICO by a source on the call, suggests that Democrats are acknowledging the failure of their predictions that the health care legislation would grow more popular after its passage, as its benefits became clear and rhetoric cooled. ...

The presentation concedes that groups typically supportive of Democratic causes — people under 40, non-college-educated women and Hispanic voters — have not been won over by the plan. Indeed, it stresses repeatedly that many are unaware that the legislation has passed, an astonishing shortcoming in the White House's all-out communications effort.

More here.

Related items:

Rasmussen: 60% favor repealing Obamacare.

Peter Wehner: Remember when The New Republic's Jonathan Chait wrote that health care "is one area where undiluted liberalism enjoys overwhelming public support"?

Jim Geraghty: Remember when Obama said that "if Republicans want to campaign against what we've done... that is a fight I want to have"?

The Hill: Faced with rising health costs, large employers plan to shift burden to workers.

David Freddoso: Obamacare’s stealth ambush of senior citizens.

Video of concerned mother talking to Sen. Kay Hagan (D., N.C.): "My children will suffer because of this health care bill."

And of course, don't forget to bookmark obamacarewatch.org--your one stop shop for Obamacare news.

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