Thursday, August 20, 2009

The White House Retools On Health Care Fight

Politico's Jeanne Cummings reports today on the day after the end-of-bipartisanship talk. The White House now realizes that the Republicans -- by and large -- have become a regional Southern, white party and are thus not up for the sort of bipartisan change that President Obama heralded in his historic campaign. So the Obama White House is re-engaging with their fatigued grassroots. From Politico:

"Amid White House concerns that it’s losing the message war on both its left and right fronts, President Obama on Thursday tried to rally his grass-roots army to regain momentum and redefine the battle for health care reform.

"In a conference call with Organizing For America activists, the 13-million-strong grass-roots wing of his machine, Obama told supporters they must battle misinformation being spread by opponents of his plan, such as claims that the bills in Congress would cover illegal immigrants or amount to a government takeover of health care.

"'Now, come on. We can have a real debate because health care’s hard and there are some legitimate issues out there that have to be sorted through and worked on,' Obama said. 'The best ambassadors for true, factual information is all of you. [You have] more credibility with family friends and neighbors than anyone on TV,' Obama told supporters.

"For many Democratic activists, Tuesday call raised the question: What took the White House so long?'"

Even as the President is getting ready to alight his base, he has been courting the independents hard. Yesterday the President hosted a NASCAR event. Today, Obama gave an interview to Michael Smerconish, a Philly-based radio talk show host who has conservative listeners. Holding Pennsylvania, to be sure, is important to the president (and "Axe"). And earlier in the week the President gave a speech to the indy-friendly Veterans of Foreign Wars in Phoenix. In 2008, we cannot fail to note, Obama won a narrow victory in Democratic-leaning Tucson (and lost the state by less than 200,000). That he did this while John McCain was the hometown hero leaves us asking the question: Is AZ the new Indiana, which had been trending Democrat for almost a decade?

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