Politico Reporter to Obama: Is it Time for Dems to Campaign 'Loudly' on ObamaCare? Will You 'Lead that Charge?'
At Thursday afternoon’s presidential press conference there were no questions about the latest IRS scandal developments (Media Reality Check rundown) or Benghazi, but the presser did give Politico’s Edward-Isaac Dovere a chance to tee one up for the President.
Given the opportunity to ask a tough question about all of ObamaCare’s problems, Dovere instead prompted the President to go on a tirade against Republicans. Politico’s senior White House reporter wondered if it was “time for Democrats to start campaigning loudly and positively on the benefits of ObamaCare?” and then pushed the President: “Will you lead that charge?”
Obama responded with this attack on the GOP:
BARACK OBAMA: I think there is a strong, good, right story to tell. I think what the other side is doing and what the other side is offering would strip away protections from those families and from hundreds of millions of people who already had health insurance before the law passed but never knew if the insurance company could drop them when they actually needed it or women who were getting charged more just because they were a woman. I’m still puzzled why they made this their sole agenda item when it comes to our politics. It’s curious.
The following questions and Obama response are from the April 17 press conference:
MARIA PENA, LA OPINION: Thank you Mr. President. I’ve got a hot spot for you, here in the U.S. House Majority Leader Cantor said that or claimed that you haven’t learned to work with them and he’s angry that you’re attacking the GOP on the lack of movement on immigration reform. So I was wondering how you respond to that? And the second part to that, right now you have hunger strikers across the street demanding relief for undocumented immigrants. And I was wondering if you can dispel the rumors or if there is a leak from the White House that you will make some sort of announcement in the coming weeks to expand that relief for the undocumented? Thank you.
TAMARA KEITH, NPR: So you - regarding the Affordable Care Act I think you -
BARACK OBAMA: Yeah let’s talk about that!
KEITH: You brought it up. I think everyone agrees that it has flaws. But Democrats have been sort of reluctant in Congress to, to re-open the conversation. And Republicans have been more than happy to re-open the conversation, but in a different way. Now that it is, as you say, here to stay, there are so many people that signed up. In this environment is it possible to do the kind of corrections that, that the business community and many others would like to see? Sort of small technical corrections?
EDWARD ISAAC DOVERE, POLITICO: Given all that you were just saying about the Affordable Care Act, do you think it’s time for Democrats to start campaigning loudly and positively on the benefits of ObamaCare? And will you lead that charge? And on Ukraine you’ve said in other situations, Iran for example, that the military option remains on the table, even as talks go on? Is the military option even on the table with Russia and if so would that be threw NATO forces, through lethal aid to Ukraine?
BARACK OBAMA: With respect to the Affordable Care Act, my point is that we’ve been having a political fight about this for five years. We need to move on to something else. That’s what the American people are interested in. I think that Democrats should forcefully defend and be proud of the fact that millions of people like the woman I just described, who I saw in Pennsylvania yesterday were helping, because of something we did. I don’t think we should apologize for it. I don’t think we should be defensive about it. I think there is a strong, good, right story to tell. I think what the other side is doing and what the other side is offering would strip away protections from those families and from hundreds of millions of people who already had health insurance before the law passed but never knew if the insurance company could drop them when they actually needed it or women who were getting charged more just because they were a woman. I’m still puzzled why they made this their sole agenda item when it comes to our politics. It’s curious.
DAVID JACKSON, USA TODAY: One reason the Republicans talk about, is there are people who object to the law, who say they’ve had problems with the law and there are a significant number of opponents of the law. I guess my question is what makes you think a significant majority of the American people or voters will accept this law? Or are we destined to see health care as a 50/50, red state/blue state argument for years to come?
— Geoffrey Dickens is Deputy Research Director at the Media Research Center. Follow Geoffrey Dickens on Twitter.