Senate Dems voice concerns to Obama, Biden

Fearing backlash from voters in their states, some Senate Democrats met with President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden on Wednesday to voice their concern about the mounting problems with Obamacare.

President Obama and Vice President Biden heard their concerns about glitches and security concerns with the federal Obamacare exchange website, according to a report from CNN. The insurance cancellation letters that millions of Americans are receiving were also brought up, though how prominent that issue was is the discussion is unclear.

Senate Democrats, especially ones who are vulnerable next year, have been in a panic about the law since the beginning of October, when the Obama Administration launched a glitchy website that they knew wasn’t ready. That concern increased when the news began prominently covering insurance cancellations and President Obama’s lie that Americans could keep their health plan.

The concern over the cancellations is odd, given that Senate Democrats, including the vulnerable members, voted en masse to keep the rules that have caused the cancellations in place. Those vulnerable members are Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Mark Pryor (D-AR), Mark Begich (D-AK), and Kay Hagan (D-NC), all of whom attended the meeting with President Obama.

These Democrats saw the election on Virginia on Tuesday, one that Terry McAuliffe was supposed to easily win, nearly slip away because of Obamacare. But President Obama doesn’t seem to be changing course on the law — in fact, he appears to be doubling down even further, which is continuing the headaches for members of his party.

“Misdirection—the president and his aides specialize in that, and they’re deploying the tactic against their own team now. Many Democratic lawmakers are interpreting McAuliffe’s closer-than-expected victory as a sign that voters might punish them in 2014 for Obamacare,” wrote Ron Fournier at the National Journal.

“Some vented their concerns directly to Obama on Wednesday, the same day he flew to Dallas to campaign for his health care law,” he noted. “Others went public, including Sen. Mark Begich of Alaska, who blasted the administration’s ‘mismanagement,’ and Sens. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Mark Udall of Colorado, and Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who proposed changes to the law.”

Fournier pointed to the Virginia exit polls, which found that 53% of voters oppose Obamacare, adding that “Obama’s team dismissed the concerns” because McAuliffe lost voters who voice healthcare as their biggest issue by 4 points. But he explained that the some comments by those close to President Obama “are a repudiation of fellow Democrats who have good reason to worry about Obamacare.”

“They may not be exit-poll experts, but Democratic lawmakers know the stakes. They know what happens to their party—in 2014 and beyond—if reforms sought for decades get suffocated by government incompetence.” Fournier explained of the mindset of many in Obama’s party. “They know what happens to Obama if he keeps squandering his credibility.

“They know what happens to them—in their reelection campaigns—if the White House doesn’t shift from spinning to fixing,” he added.

The fact of the matter this spin — this permanent campaign, to paraphrase Fournier — is useless to vulnerable Democrats.

They not only have to contend with their votes for Obamacare and subsequent regulations causing people to lose their coverage, but they are in red states where the law is unpopular. And, in the end, it may very well cost Democrats their majority.


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